Light the Fire Series: Happy Anniversary Nichole & Craig!

“We got to plan another trip”  we often say to each other, my husband Craig and I.  Its easy to get caught up in the monotony of day to day life spending time on things that are necessary but not of value to fuel our hearts and souls.  Something that’s always strengthened our love for life and each other, and kept the fire alive in our relationship has been adventures, big and small.  In this series I’d like to share with you some of my favorite adventures I’ve had with my husband over the past 10 years we’ve been together.  I encourage you to light the fire with your own relationships and make time for a new adventure whatever that might be and see where life takes you!

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Happy Anniversary Nichole & Craig!

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend our 4 year wedding anniversary than taking a 4 day long backpacking trip through Lost Creek Wilderness.  On the way to the trail head both Craig and I were a little skeptical of this being a good choice as we drove past desert like terrain where the forest had burned down.  Black trees like toothpicks scattered the landscape, but things quickly changed about a half mile into the trail.

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We decided to do the 25 loop in the opposite direction, knocking out the steep incline in the first 2 days leaving us with a gradual decent on the last 2 days.  The trail followed Goose Creek and meandered through a few different valleys and gulches around interesting rock formations making for some spectacular views!

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With the snow pack being so low this year we almost turned around and went somewhere else.  We were carrying a water filter with us and pumping from the creek as we went.  The first night we made camp and then went in search for water, only to find that the creek was dried up where it should’ve been indicated by the map.

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Craig and I had a discussion that night about what to do next.  We could either go further along the trail hoping that water was where it was supposed to be or turn around.  If we kept going and didn’t find any, we’d be dehydrated and grumpy and have a long way to go to hike out.  Or we could drive to another location with a proper lake where we’d be sure to find water for ourselves.

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We decided to turn around.  We were both a little sad but felt like it was the safe thing to do.  We got about two miles down the trail and ran into some ladies who had camped there the night before.  The creek was flowing in that area so Craig went to go filter some water and I went to talk with the ladies to see what their experience had been like.  They had done a similar loop opposite the way we were going.  We got out our maps and they showed me where the creek was flowing.

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It was assuring to get their perspective because they had already been where we were going and knew what the conditions were like.  With the knowledge that there was water further along the trail we decided to turn back around and finish the loop.  I’m so glad we did!  We basically just added 4 miles to our loop with the backtracking so instead of 25 miles we ended up doing about 29 and it was totally worth it!

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Craig got some awesome blisters and pushed through the last day.  I got eaten alive by mosquitoes.  We saw some amazing terrain, camped by flowing creeks, wandered through beautiful aspen groves, and had some quiet time with each other.  We also celebrated with shorts, flip-flops and a victory beer once back to the car which we stashed in a small cooler (still somewhat cold after 4 days in the heat)!  It was amazing trip, I’m so glad we went!

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Chautauqua Dining Hall Wedding in Boulder, Colorado with Laurie & Gusten

The Chautauqua Dining Hall in Boulder Colorado was full of people this past Saturday to gather and celebrate the wedding of Laurie and Gusten.  Gusten stood up to address the crowd.  Friends and family held cups of coffee or hot tea as waiters walked by picking up empty brunch plates.


They turned their attention towards Gusten.  He raised his glass and spoke clearly so that everyone could hear him, “I want to get married!” he said and then instructed everyone to head out to the lawn for their ceremony.


Their wedding day started with a laid back lovely brunch at the Chautauqua Dining Hall.  They decided they wanted to have something casual and feed people first before saying their vows.  In each place setting on the tables was a card with a fun pun like “We like you a waffle lot”.  Beautiful arrangements of flowers from Bonnie Brae Flowers in Denver dotted the tables with accents of bright pink and orange colors.


As everyone sat down in their seats out on the lawn area, Laurie and Gusten stood behind the crowd, waiting for things to start.  Gusten’s daugher, Siivi sang as they walked slowly down the aisle.  Off in the distance the flatirons shown in the sun and made for a stunning backdrop to their wedding ceremony.  They laughed as they searched for and then found the papers they had brought with their vows written down.  They created a ceremony that was uniquely them, sweet and loving.


After the ceremony everyone gathered back in the hall for dancing and continued celebration.  Gusten’s parents led a traditional Estonian Celebration song with many other family members singing all together to wish Laurie and Gusten good luck.


Laurie & Gusten, it was an honor to be part of your wedding day.  You two were so kind and welcoming.  I enjoyed the casual atmosphere of the day filled with laughter, love, and ridiculous puns :).  I wish you two much luck and love in the years to come as you continue into a new chapter of your lives as husband and wife!

The Creative Team

Venue: The Chautauqua Dining Hall

Catering: Three Leaf Concepts

Florist: Bonnie Brae Flowers

Band: The Bickel Brothers



5 Fun and Creative Ideas For Things to Give to Your Wedding Guests

Are you brainstorming about gift ideas to give to your wedding guests?  Or just trying to think of something sweet for them that will make their experience enjoyable?  Over the many weddings I’ve been to I’ve seen some fun ideas and just wanted to share with you all.  Hope this helps you with some fresh thoughts to find or create something that celebrates your love story and delights your friends and family!


1. Mason Jars – This was a cute idea from Erin & Alan’s wedding last year.  It functioned in a dual purpose way.  The mason jars were their cocktail glass for the evening and also at the end of the night guests took them home as their gift.  The mason jars were simple and they have so many uses.  This idea was so practical and a fun way to remember the wedding!

 2. Blankets for Outdoor Receptions – Colorado is a beautiful place and a  wonderful spot for outdoor receptions, but sometimes it can get chilly when the sun goes down, even in the summer.  Putting a basket of blankets out for your guests is a nice touch to keep them warm while their celebrating with you.


 3. Flip Flops on the Dance Floor – Have you ever bought new shoes for a nice occasion only to find out that they are actually torture devices?  This was a cute idea from a recent couple.  They put flip flops on the table where the DJ was set up to encourage more people to dance even if their feet were killing them.

 4. Music for Your Guests to Take Home – For my own wedding, my husband and I made a mixed tape of sorts of our favorite songs for people.  We did it on CDs which cracks me up because who actually owns a CD player anymore? This gift idea could be adapted to a different medium, maybe emailing guests the mp3 file or uploading it to YouTube. It was a fun way for us to share some of our favorite things with our friends and family.


 5. Favorite Trails or Places to Visit A lot of people will be from different places and not always familiar with the area around where the wedding will take place. Do you have a favorite trail with an epic view at the end of the hike that you would suggest? Or favorite places that would be fun to check out while they’re in town?  You could make a map with recommendations like this on your wedding website or your invitations.  This allows you to share with others something personal about the place that you love that might also be a delightful outing that they would enjoy.

Intimate Wedding at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs with Nikki & Amanda

This past weekend I had the pleasure of photographing Nikki and Amanda’s wedding, an intimate celebration at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.  Nikki and Amanda sat at the head of the table with 10 of their closest friends and family surrounding them.  Some from Texas, some from Colorado, they all spoke with a smile about how these two came to be a couple and what a great fit they were for each other.  The DJ played music during dinner and a few people danced in their seats in between courses.  The mood was light-hearted and joyful.


We had just wrapped up the ceremony outside which looked out over the lake at the Broadmoor.  This was a special place for the two of them.  Amanda had proposed to Nikki on the bridge overlooking that same lake not too long ago, and they were back again to finalize their marriage in front of friends and family.

It was a lovely place for a ceremony with the mountains behind us off in the distance.  Coral bows accented the chairs and the details in their ceremony and reception.  The weather was favorable to us as well with a warm day and just a few wispy clouds floating through the sky.


They decided to exchange gifts before the ceremony.  It was fun to see and capture their faces as they smiled while opening their gifts from one another.  Amanda got a sharp looking watch.  I later found out watches were something she really liked.  The wedding party were proud of their own watches as well and showed them off to me together with a photo.  Nikki got a necklace with a heart shaped locket with a photo of each of them inside.  She smiled and tried not to cry as she showed it to the bridesmaids right before the ceremony started.

Nikki & Amanda, thanks for entrusting me to capture this special day for the two of you.  I hope you two enjoy the rest of your time in Colorado and have a safe trip back home to Texas.  I wish you much happiness as you continue on into the adventure that is marriage.  May you have and hold each other forever!


Light the Fire Series – Capitol Peak

“We got to plan another trip”  we often say to each other, my husband Craig and I.  Its easy to get caught up in the monotony of day to day life spending time on things that are necessary but not of value to fuel our hearts and souls.  Something that’s always strengthened our love for life and each other, and kept the fire alive in our relationship has been adventures, big and small.  In this series I’d like to share with you some of my favorite adventures I’ve had with my husband over the past 10 years we’ve been together.  I encourage you to light the fire with your own relationships and make time for a new adventure whatever that might be and see where life takes you!


Capitol Peak

Capitol Peak was one of my favorite adventures.  Funny, just looking at these images makes me feel excited!  My husband and I went on this trip with about 10 other people.  It was a fun group and although it rained on us for part of the trip it was well worth it.  The total distance out and back is about 17 miles.

To get to the trailhead we definitely needed a vehicle with clearance and 4wd.  Luckily our friend Chelsea owned a jeep at the time and we were able to creep over the bumpy road up to the trailhead.  As we started out on this trail I couldn’t help but smile looking out at the mountains off in the distance and the lush green valley all around.



We set up camp at Lake Capitol which sits just under the peak and prepped things for the attempt at an ascent in the morning.  From Lake Capitol to the top of Capitol Peak its only about 2 miles, so 4 miles round trip.  I thought it would go pretty fast, but it took all day because the route is technical.  There’s a lot of scrambling over rocks and being conscious of watching your foot placement, and because of that it lends itself to moving slow.



We set out for the summit with small packs on our backs and helmets just in case of rockfall.  About half way up, part of our group decided to turn back because of the weather.  My husband, myself and two other friends, Chelse & Dave, felt a little different about going forward.  There were a lot of clouds in the sky but they looked pretty far off and it didn’t seem like it was going to rain near us for a while.  The four of us made a calculated risk and agreed that the clouds didn’t look too bad and we kept moving forward.


When we got to the knife edge, I paused for a while.  The rock comes to a low angled point and drops off in either direction.  Chelsea was in front of me with a leg on either side of the knife edge, butt scooting along.  If I was going to move forward I had to make it past this point.  Its not difficult, its just scary because its so exposed.  I decided to move forward and continued to butt scoot along like Chelsea.  I laughed as I moved through that section slowly because it was amazing and terrifying!



The weather ended up holding for us and everyone made it out and back safely.  On the way back I took in the view and deep breaths enjoying immensely the stark and beautiful scenery in front of me.  Craig was an excellent husband and kept tabs on me along the way, making sure I was ok.  In a couple weeks it will be Craig and I’s wedding anniversary.  We’re planning a backpacking trip to celebrate our time together.  Although I don’t think it will be as technical as this trip, I’m excited to get out, explore and celebrate our time with each other!

Outdoor Portrait Session with Sebastian

As we walked through the park over to the spot I had picked out earlier to photograph portraits of Sebastian, he stared at me with curious eyes.  Teresa, his mom carried him along with some of his favorite toys.  He looked at me with a face like, who are you?  But was content in his mom’s arms.  I carried my gear and some props for us to use during the shoot.  As we came up on the place I had in mind Teresa set him down and he started to fuss.


He was a good sport even if he didn’t understand exactly what we were doing.  Why would he want to leave his mom and sit alone in the grass?  That idea seemed absurd at the time.  But we gently distracted and coaxed him into some cute photos.  We even took some images as he crawled around close to his mom’s lap because that’s where he was most comfortable.

With kid portraits all dignity goes out the window.  I had an stuffed animal elephant on my head for part of these who was helping with entertaining Sebastian.  The elephant also gave out kisses to everyone, because of course that’s what elephants would do!  We blew bubbles and overall acted ridiculously, but for a good cause.


Towards the end of the session he became really intrigued with the camera and what it was doing.  He wanted to check it out and press the shutter to make that clicking noise.  He stretched his little hand out at the camera and me wanting to be closer to it.  Could we maybe have a future photographer on our hands?…could be 🙂

Teresa, it was a such a pleasure to take photos of this handsome little guy.  He’s such a cutie and is going to grow up to be a little heart breaker.  Thanks for entrusting me to capture this fun age and time in his life!





Boulder Bat Mitzvah Celebration with Della and Family

Recently I was able to share in photographing the Bat Mitzvah celebration for Della and her family.  Draped across Della’s shoulders was a beautiful prayer shawl that her family had found in Israel.   Also, hanging from her neck was a simple silver necklace with the star of David.   The prayer shawl was full of vibrant blue and gold colors with intricate stitching of buildings that might found in a city like Jerusalem.

The little details in a celebration like this, I find to be so moving.  They hold so much symbolism, respect and love for Judaism.  Its so cool to see the relationships celebrated in this ritual as well.  Della’s parents and both sets of grandparents watched with pride as she read portions from The Torah and sang out of the prayer book.

At one point, Della’s grandmother who was having a hard time hearing, expressed wanting to be able to hear that part of the service.  “Its just so beautiful,” she said with a huge smile and love in her eyes.  Her grandfathers both followed along in the prayer book turning to each other now and then to share thoughts.  Everyone was filled with joy to be able to be part of this coming of age ceremony for Della.



A few days after the rehearsal I met up with them again to help capture images of the party after Della’s Bat Mitzvah.  Not only was it her Bat Mitzvah but it was also her 13th birthday as well.  Friends and family gathered at the Renaissance hotel in Broomfield to share in celebration with Della.  Not long after the dancing had begun Della was raised up on a chair as the honoree in this traditional celebratory dance, followed shortly after by her mother and father.


Della, it was an honor to share in this celebration with you and your family.  I know you all had wonderful time and this will be something you remember for the rest of your life!  I’m glad I was able to be part of documenting this exciting experience, thanks for entrusting me to do so!