Photography is the story I fail to put into words.
But in case you want to read my words too...
Northern Utah Photographer and Videographer
Another installment of Hanging Out With the Hamson's is here! February was a lot of fun packed into a shorter month (but one more day than normal with leap year!). I honestly didn't get as many video clips as I'd hoped, but enough to put together a little look at what we did.
In February, I went to Grand Teton National Park with my dear friend, Kristen. I only live 4 hours from the Tetons and I've visited it many times--but never ever have I been in the winter! When Kristen texted me back in November about possibly going with her in the winter, I immediately said "yes!" It was so fun to look forward to exploring the Tetons in a new to me season, and I must say, I was impressed! In fact, I had so much fun that when I got home, I told my husband that we need to take our boys there in the winter, because they would love it!
So for anyone who's like me and has ben to the Teton's in the summer, here's what made winter so different.
The sunrises were later, which made getting up for them a bit easier! (Though we were still awake before 6 am every morning.) But the early sunsets meant we could shoot sunset, then head back to Jackson for dinner and be in bed at a decent hour. I like my sleep!
Most of the interior park road is closed, so we spent time exploring more of the outer areas of the park that we don't see much of during the summer. In particular we went to Gros Ventre canyon area a few times, shot around the Gros Ventre river, explored the area behind the elk refuge, hiked in the snow to Taggart Lake, snowshoed to the Cunningham Cabin and stopped at spots on the main highway we'd never stopped at before.
I got to experience some cool things too! We were able to hear wolves, and even spotted a couple of them! They were sadly pretty far away, and even with my telephoto they look like little dots. :( But we also got to hear some coyotes hunting, and saw one eating on an two day old elk carcass. I never thought I'd want to watch a wild animal eat, but it was fascinating to see! We saw some trumpeter swans, a sage grouse, a couple of moose, a fox and a family of bison. I'd never seen the elk on refuge because they're only there in the winter, but that was pretty cool to see too! There was a lot more wildlife that I don't normally get to see in the summer, since the animals were all down in the lower elevations. (We see plenty of elk, moose and bison in the summer but not much else.)
I can't forget to mention the snow! There was so much of it! Even when we were wearing our snowshoes, we would sink down sometimes to mid-calf. Without the snowshoes, we would sometimes sink in up to our hips! It was crazy how deep it was, and it really made everything so white and beautiful! Along with the snow though came the colder temperatures. Don't ever go there in the winter unless you have some serious winter gear--one morning shooting the Milky Way, it was 16 below zero! We stayed close to the car so we could easily get in and warm up as necessary!
Overall, the experience was an amazing one and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I'm so grateful that I live close enough to visit this majestic park a few times a year--only now I'm going to be adding winter to those visits!
Have you been to the Teton's in the winter? What did you experience?
I love drive by shootings!
There...I said it! But of course, my idea of a drive-by shooting is taking a picture as I'm driving down the road. Well, not me driving, but as a passenger. We love to ski in our family, and living close to the mountains and the famous Utah snow means many trips through beautiful scenery a few times a month. Somedays are overcast and gloomy, some days have bluebird skies, and sometimes we get super lucky on the way home with an amazing sunset view! The problem is, that in the canyons, it's not always possible to stop and pull over, even for a quick picture. Add that to the fact that if we stopped every single time I wanted to, we wouldn't get very far very quickly! (All of these images were taken on different days in different canyons!)
Of course, the view brings serenity, but the fact that we have four very noisy and rambunctious boys in our car doesn't mean that we any have peace and quiet. Fortunately, last year I discovered how to find serenity while we drive (and I kick myself for not finding it sooner)...audio books! We love reading in our house, and it was the perfect way to "read" and have some quiet! We are currently on the last book of the Harry Potter series, which we've all read, but it's fun to hear the voices the narrator does. It makes long rides something to look forward to, and it makes them quite peaceful and serene so I can look out the window and enjoy the beautiful scenery. And get a drive-by shooting in!
Do you do anything in your car to enjoy some peace and quiet? I'd love to have some more ideas as we are going on a big road trip this summer!
The Serenity Project is a monthly group project I do with some of my lovely photography friends. To find more serenity in your day, please continue through the circle! Up next is Iris Nelson, Metro Phoenix Photographer.
In 2018 I made a family film each month of just the normal, regular stuff we did everyday. Some of it was fun, some of it was boring, some of it new, some of it mundane...but it was such a good look at what our lives and home were like that month. By the end of 2018 I was honestly burned out--we were in the thick of homeschooling for our first year and it was wearing on me. So in 2019 I decided to scale back and make a monthly film, but I kind of got out of the habit and didn't get many done...oops. So, I made a goal for 2020 to make a monthly family again. So without further ado, here's a look at some stuff we did in January!
It's always amazing to me how quickly kids can grow up! My own children seem to grow too quickly, but it seems that my friend's and neighbor's children grow up even quicker! Case in point--L is a senior this year and will soon be on her way to the "real world", but I almost had a heart attack when her mom asked me to take her senior pictures, because I've known L since she was about 6 years old when they moved to my neighborhood. And I seriously cannot believe how fast that decade went!
L is not only beautiful, but she's talented! She's a fantastic pianist and plays the organ in church, she runs track (the 200m is her favorite) and she is daring and brave--she competes in the skeleton, as in riding a small sled face first down an ice track on a mountain. Just thinking about that makes me want to cry, because there's no way you'd ever catch me doing something like that! I'll also add that she's an amazing big sister, fabulous friend and a kind-hearted person. If everyone in the world were like her, the world would be a lot better place for sure!
Thank you, L, for letting me capture this special time in your life! I know you will go on to make a big impact in this world with your talents, skills and good heart!
This past summer, my husband, 4 boys, sister, niece and nephew drove to Vegas, and hopped on a plane to Anchorage! We went to go visit my sister and her family, as well as my parents who are there until March of this year. I did post a little bit about taking some alone time to find Serenity in Alaska, but other than that, I didn't post much about our trip here. Although Alaska is beautiful landscape country, I had two problems in finding time to go out to shoot landscapes. #1 was the near 20 hours of daylight...it's hard to go chasing sunset or sunrise when they happen at 11 pm and 4 am everyday. #2 was the fact that there was so much family and honestly I wanted to spend the majority of my time capturing memories of our time together. So that's what I did. While I got a handful of some awesome pictures (most are in the Serenity post), I focused mostly on making a family film of our time there so we could look back and remember the fun we had! So without further ado, here's a longish (4 minute) look at what we did in beautiful Alaska!
Have you had the chance to visit Alaska yet? If so, where did you go and what did you do?
Every year for the last 8 or 9 years, I have chosen a word of the year. It's always interesting to me to see how the word I've chosen each year has helped guide me in different ways! Some years my word has helped more than others. A few years ago, I chose the word brave, and it helped me in some tougher situations when I was feeling a lot of anxiety--I'd repeat to myself many times "I am brave". Some of my words of the year that made a big impact were: focus, simplify, trust and be. I can't remember all of them, honestly. Some years my words meant more than others...I probably should've written them down in a list somewhere, but I didn't, so maybe I'll even choose one of my words again in the future! ;)
For 2019, my word of the year was light. I focused on using light better in my photography, and since we were studying the New Testament in our church this year, I also wanted to focus on being a light to the world as Jesus Christ would have me be. I loved my word, and I feel it guided me a lot in things I did, said and observed!
As each year begins to wind down, I start looking for a word for the next year. To find my word, I think about my goals, what I've learned or want to learn, who I want to be and where I want to be by this time next year. I look for a word that really sticks out to me, or one that I see over and over. While searching for my 2020 word, I kept seeing one word over and over. Joy.
At first I thought it was silly, it was the holidays after all, and of course it's a word I see a lot during the holidays. But for some reason this year, this word kept popping out more than normal. I thought, what? Really? Why is this word sticking out to me this year? I'm not sure why, maybe I need to be more optimistic, or find joy in the mundane or when I'm going through hard times. At any rate, I'm really excited to bring more joy into my life everyday!
Every year, I find a quote that I really love to hang where I can see it to remind me of my word. This year I came across a talk given by the President of my church a few years ago. It says, "When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy." (-Russell M. Nelson) I love that he reminds us to focus on the most important thing, and no matter what's going on in our lives, we can find true joy! All I have to say to that is, bring on the true joy! I'm excited to see how it will shape my 2020!
Do you do a word of the year? If so, what is it? If not, well, get on it and try it out this year! :)
In September I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Magic in the Tetons Retreat, hosted by my dear friend Kristen Ryan. I live only 4 hours from Grand Teton National Park, and I visit there every year with my family, and sometimes even twice a year. I love the beauty that is there and I feel truly blessed to live so close! (I shared more of my experience there in a post about my morning at Oxbow Bend.)
I recently finished making a short film of my magical time there. Since it was a photography retreat, taking pictures was my first priority, so I didn't get video clips of everything we saw or did, but I feel I got a good representation of the magic it was being there in the fall! (Did I mention that I've never been there in the fall?!? I know...crazy sauce, right?)
So sit back, and enjoy a couple of minutes of the magic of fall in the Tetons!
As it is Christmas this week, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to all who celebrate other holidays as well. :)
I have a love/hate relationship with winter. I absolutely detest being cold--I'd much rather be too hot than too cold. But, I really, really love the beauty of winter, especially fresh snow!
To me, there is nothing as serene as fresh snow, blanketing the world in white. The softness, the purity and the freshness always make me smile and I could stare at it for hours! (So could my kids! Really, the wonder of a fresh snowstorm is magical!)
Thank goodness for windows, because I was able to capture some snowy serenity from the warmth and comfort of my home!
What about you? Are you a fan of cold or hot? Do you love snow too?
The Serenity Project is a monthly gathering of friends, seeking serenity in our everyday lives. Please continue in the Serenity Circle to see how some of my friends found their own slices of serenity. Next up is Eileen Critchley, Ohio Photographer.
I love crafting, but it's one thing that has kind of taken a back seat in my life right now. I decided to change that the other day, and made a frame to hang all of my little 4-inch printed pictures from Instagram. I love seeing them, some of them years old, and remembering the fun things we've done and how cute my kids were when they were little! Okay, they're still cute, but let's be honest: no one is as cute at 10 as they were at 4.
I used to have one of these frames on my kitchen wall, but a few too many times of a ball hitting it made it fall off the wall, and the frame is now in a few pieces in the landfill. :( I really missed having those pictures where I could see them everyday, so I wanted to make a new one to get those pictures back up on my wall. It's super easy, and I'll show you how to make one yourself! (And hopefully you don't have to work around an ugly thermostat like I did...)
Step 1: Gather your materials
Step 2: Decide on a few things
First of all, you'll need to decide where to put your frame, and which direction to hang it. I ultimately decided on this wall in my kitchen and to hang it vertically. My pictures are 4" square prints from Persnikety Prints (my favorite place to get them printed!) and I decided to have my strings spaced at 4.5 inches. I also did a little math (not my strong suit) to make sure it would work, by measuring the open part of the frame and dividing it. If you have various sizes of prints, I recommend spacing your strings at different intervals, so you can accommodate them. (P.S. Please ignore the mess in the other room...kids...that's all I have to say, right?!?)
Step 3: Measure, then measure again!
Get your ruler out, and make your first mark about .5" from the top. You'll need room for your mini clothespins on the top string. Then, measure and mark your decided upon intervals carefully on the back of the frame where it won't be seen. Do this on both sides and look to make sure they are lined up (unless you are going for slanted strings, which is totally okay if you're doing it on purpose!)
Step 4: Secure your strings to the frame
When your marks are just how you want them, get your string out and lay it on the mark. Secure it with a staple gun using 1-2 staples per side/string. Then pull it across to the other mark, holding the string taught. Secure on the other side, then cut excess off with scissors. (You don't want to cut it before you secure it, so that you have some extra pulling power to keep it tight.) I looped my twin around and used 2 staples just to give it an extra holding power.
Step 5: Hang it!
Before you actually hang your frame on the wall, I recommend sticking a felt circle thingy on the four corners. Yes, I said thingy because I can't recall what they're actually called, but they're round, and you usually put them on the bottom of chairs so they don't scuff your hard floors. I did this because my staples were on the back frame, and I didn't want them to scratch my wall. It also gives a little bit of extra room for the clothespins to hang naturally.
I find it a bit easier to hang my pictures on the strings before hanging it on the wall, but you can do whatever you'd like! I also make sure the circle part of the clothes pin is what goes on the string, as opposed to the flat part of the clip--this makes it easier to slide the pictures along the strings to adjust where they are on the strings. If your strings are taught, the pictures won't be sliding on their own. :)
Step 6: Step back and enjoy your memories!
That's it! It's a super easy project to do, and once you have all the materials, it takes 20 minutes tops to get it completed! I hope to start sharing more photo projects with you in the future, so stay tuned! :)