The desert delivers...

Confession.

I said something recently and I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth.

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“I could live here.”

Once I realized what I said, I quickly added, “If it weren’t for the 120’ and the snakes & scorpions.” But seriously… this scene makes my heart go ‘pitter-patter’.

I love bringing families out to my favorite desert location for a session. Everyone is awestruck by the beauty surrounding us and are surprised to know this is just a short drive from town. Aren’t the red rocks stunning?

The S family wanted a desert location for their family photography session and I know this one delivered the look they were going for.

 I’m loving the flannels and plaids!

I’m loving the flannels and plaids!

 What a great big brother!

What a great big brother!

 Mom & Dad

Mom & Dad

This was such a fun session. I’m so glad I captured some authentic moments and expressions.


Wouldn’t you love an authentic desert location for your family photo session or your senior session? I photograph out here in the desert September through April.

I’d love to share it with you! Contact me today to book your session!

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Let's Just Go!

How do I relax? By heading out on an adventure in the desert, of course! 

Last Friday, my friend Jamie (jamiezanotti.com) and I headed into Lake Mead National Recreation Area to explore the Northshore Road. To access the Northshore Road, enter Lake Mead through the Lake Mead Drive through Henderson, Nv. Once you go through the park entrance, the road is just 1/4 mile down the way to the left. 

We started with a hike at the 20 mile marker, Northshore Summit Trail. Overall, it was an easy hike, but straight up hill. Our efforts were rewarded with a magical view of the park. 

Onward and up Northshore Road, we took a detour into Echo Bay. Echo Bay is one of the few areas left inside Lake Mead from where you can launch a boat. 

Although this was in essence a photographer's play date, we soon realized we had stumbled upon a phenomenal area for a photo session! We explored all the beautiful little spots and made mental lists, took photos, and began to plan a styled photo session. 

If you're a senior or teen in the Las Vegas, Henderson, or Boulder City, NV area and are interested in this peaceful location for your senior session, contact me! 

Next, we explored Rogers Spring Trail at mile marker 40. What a treasure! Rogers Spring Trail is a natural warm spring and fills a wide, shallow area suitable for wading. I'm not sure I would though, haha. 

I'd definitely add this location onto a senior session. The palm trees and bridge area perfect. 

We made it all the way into Overton and took a brief respite at the Lost City Museum (and McDonalds). If you've never been through Overton, I urge you to go explore this cute town. The Lost City Museum is full of native Indian relics and history of the area. It's worth the trip.

Back down into Lake Mead NRA, we were racing against time to be back at mile marker 20 for the sunset. We didn't quite make it, but that's okay. Sunset along any spot of Northshore Road will not disappoint. 

We first saw the light play on this spot in the desert just a little before sunset.... 

Down the road a little more and then this happened. 

All this beauty is in our own back yard. 

Would you like to have your family session or senior session right here in Lake Mead? There are so many wonderful areas I didn't touch on! 

Specializing in family desert sessions and senior desert sessions!

Las Vegas Senior and Family Photographer 

 

A little adventure every now and then is good for the soul!

Our trip didn't go as planned, and it was probably more fun!  Sailor Boy made it back from the seas a few days early, so our Navy-sponsored Family Cruise was cancelled.  The benefits were we didn't have to wait around for a phone call to drop & go and got to spend more time with Sailor Boy and his wife, Sailor Girl. We spent their 3rd anniversary together with them and shared some good ol' home made comfort food! 

 Home made macaroni & cheese

Home made macaroni & cheese

 with Key Lime Pie for desert

with Key Lime Pie for desert

We also had more time to explore the area! The kiddos live in the Paulsbo area of Washington, west of Seattle. We spent a day exploring by foot and a few days exploring by car and foot. 

Port Ludlow was a beautiful stop on our tour. It seems to be a retirement community, lol -  maybe our next neighborhood? (Nah - don't ever let me do that!!) 

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This little sea otter was sunbathing and he let us know he didn't want company!  That's ok.... hubby found a huge starfish that enjoyed the attention. 

 Love this view of Port Ludlow Marina on the Olympic Peninsula 

Love this view of Port Ludlow Marina on the Olympic Peninsula 

Some scenes from the peninsula 

 Port Hadlock - not much there but the private marina and this bear 

Port Hadlock - not much there but the private marina and this bear 

 Wild berries and rose hips everywhere! This was taken in Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland. Such a beautiful place! 

Wild berries and rose hips everywhere! This was taken in Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland. Such a beautiful place! 

 Spent a little time with family on the east side of Seattle... Juanita Bay Park. 

Spent a little time with family on the east side of Seattle... Juanita Bay Park. 

All in all, this was my favorite place every morning... 

 Viking Brew

Viking Brew

And my favorite place every evening.... 

 Sailboats, Sunsets, Paulsbo Marina 

Sailboats, Sunsets, Paulsbo Marina 

Where do you start?

Over the last 2-3 months, I have been asked by several people to help them with their various photography questions, relating to gear or how to get a certain look. I thought I'd take some time, here on the blog, to cover some of the questions that I get asked more often. 

I'm no Ansel Adams, Scott Kelby, or Sue Bryce... I'm basically a mom with a camera who has been passionate about photographer for like, ever, and who decided to be brave and make a business out of what she loves to do. I do some photography well. I'm also a good teacher. So why not share some information with those of you who want to know? I'm not planning on writing a book for each topic, just a few pointers I might give you if we were out shooting together. And please, if you have questions regarding any type of photography or gear, ask away. I might not be able to tell you much, but you get full access to my brain. 

So I put a bunch of topics (that I've been asked about) into a hat and drew out LANDSCAPE. So we're starting w/ Landscape Photography. 

Landscape photography typically shows wide-open spaces in our world. Most of the landscape photos we see focus on nature. Landscapes are not restricted to nature, but can highlight several other views - including man-made objects. Landscapes can show us forests and deserts, mountains and valleys. 

Look at a landscape photo on Flickr or in a National Geographic magazine. What do you notice first? Light? Color? The beauty of the scape? What you will also notice, but maybe not realize is everything is in focus from close-up to far away.  

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Not a strong example of a great landscape, but you can see everything is sharp from close to far away. This is because I set my aperture to a higher #, which actually means my lens is opening up just a tiny bit. I shot this @ f/16.  

One 'rule' of landscape photography is that the horizon line should never go in the middle of your frame. It should lie in the bottom 1/3 line or top 2/3 line of the frame. Look above, and imagine dividing this photo into 3's, horizontally, then place the horizon line accordingly.  And you can see how I did not do that in the above photo. Here's one where I did. 

If I'm shooting for a client or to be published in a magazine, then I'd pay more attention to the horizon line. If I'm shooting for myself... I put it wherever I want. Know the rules first, then break the rules.  Sometimes you just gotta grab the shot as it is, before the view disappears.

Composition is an important element in landscape photography. We see a beautiful sight, and we snap a photo, but it doesn't look amazing on the back of our camera. Not as pretty as we see with our eyes. This is where elements of composition come in. Something is needed to help draw the viewer's eye into the photograph. Elements like leading lines or a strong foreground come into play.

My eyes see lines. I can't help it... call it a curse if you must, but that's what I see.  Used well, they can draw the viewer's eye into the picture. Here's an example.  The fence line begins on the front left of the photo and the fence leads our eye to the middle. The curve of the road takes our eyes back right to the treeline which leads us to the mountain peaks. Movement. 

Another element in landscape composition is to have a strong foreground... something in the front third of the photo to grab the viewer's eye. This item should be in focus most times, when it's not it is for artistic purposes. Here are examples of one w/out the strong foreground and one with. 

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It's an okay photo but nothing to write home about. 

The yellow grass and wildflowers grab out attention and our eyes look up and back to take in the rest of the photo naturally. 

 2 other questions regarding landscape photography. First is what lens do I use and secondly, where do I focus?  You can really use any lens you have for landscape photography. I prefer an wide to ultra-wide angle, such as the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 or Nikon 24-120mm f/4.  Having a fast lens (aperture 1.2-2.8 for example) is not necessary for landscape as you'll be shooting with f/stops in the 2 digit range, so a 16-35mm f/4 or 24-120mm f/4 is fine. I've seen beautiful landscapes taken with a 70-200mm zoom lens. This lens will offer some nice compression in your shot. Now where to focus in your frame. I've read to and practice focusing about 1/3 into my frame. It works for me. 

The final aspect of landscape photography (I thought i wasn't writing a book) is whether or not to use a tripod. I've used them and I've not used them. The more I advance into photography and my skills increase, the more I use it. I am able to visualize a shot and realize what I need to capture it. Sometimes, I need that tripod, especially if I'm bracketing.

So that's it. I hope you're able to pull out a nugget or two of useful information. Please let me know if you 1) enjoyed this post 2) learned anything new from it 3) have any questions! 

Blessings!

Here's a little about me & photography.....I offer clean, classic photography for my clients, with a twist of authentic lifestyle! I specialize in senior and family photography. I love macro and landscape for personal projects.  

 

Photography Field Trip!

I'm so excited to finally make the jump to SquareSpace!  I am still working on the new site, I'm not necessarily the most techie person in town. 

I am bummed that I'm not able to transfer my old blog posts (2 years worth) over to SquareSpace.  I'm going to be reposting some of my favorite blog posts over here as I am able. Starting with this one! 

What Photographers Do on a Day Off of Work

My sweet friend (and fellow photographer) and I recently planned an adventurous photography field trip day. We were heading to the China Ranch Date Farm down in Death Valley. Jamie, from www.jamiezanotti.com , had planned our trip as well as any AAA rep could have!  Unfortunately, and fortunately, we didn't communicate our plans so well to The Weather Channel, haha!

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Armed with waterproof boots, umbrellas, and bags of camera gear,  we drove out of the Las Vegas Valley on a very rainy Friday morning.  We hit snow over the south part of the Spring Mountains and wondered out loud why we didn't own those beautiful homes at the top of the summit.  Down into the next valley we went, heading for the Old Spanish Trail. We arrived safely to the China Ranch Date Farm after stopping to admire the beautiful, desert canyon above it. We enjoyed the quaint gift shop / antique store and then walked around the farm for well over an hour, in the rain, with our trusty umbrellas and boots, Coyotes were out enjoying their day on the ranch too! They stayed on their side of the trees and we stayed on ours. 

We headed up out of the canyon and became aware part of the road had already been washed out from the rain!  Off to our next stop on our tour, Dublin Gulch, near Shoshone.  Pretty soon we came upon a very, very small town, Tecopa.  The town was home to a very tiny post office and a hot springs (for nudists) resort!  We explored the town a little, not the hot springs! 

Heading north, we found Dublin Gulch with little difficulty. You're transported back in time to the late 1800's and early 1900's, where miners hollowed out the hills and created little condo-like homes. Some of the apartments still had chimneys coming out of the top of the hills. My favorite part were the red wooden doors. Pretty amazing! We stayed here for an hour or so, getting wetter and wetter.  

We mosied on up to Pahrump, stopping on occasion to photograph the beautiful colors of the desert.  We filled up on KFC and found a local winery where the grapevines were calling to the cameras. Literally soaked to the bones, we gave up and headed back to the Las Vegas Valley, encountering more snow on the way home! 

All in all, it was a wonderful and refreshing adventure! I was excited about the weather because I knew the lighting would be perfect and we wouldn't have a lot of other people 'exploring' with us! Thanks so much, Jamie, can't wait for the next 'field trip'.