So Cal Sun for Those Who Live in the PNW | Travel Documentary Photography

Every fall we head south, much like those Canada Geese (except I still see them all over Portland: silly birds)! Not only do we all crave a bit more sun and warm water splashing on our legs, but our dear friends top the list of reasons to visit.

Friends who have grown up together even though they are now 1000 miles apart. Friends who we call family and my daughter so lovingly says, “cousins, but not really” when people ask about our travels.

This year was no exception to the joy and light which we all needed.

There was time for quiet reflection, romping and falling in the waves, collecting mounds of seaweed to toss at your unsuspecting friends, and so much laughter. Oh, and yes, I got my treat with a stunning late color show at sunset!

Thank you for stopping by. I know I’ve been quiet and social media has taken a backseat for me, but I am back and since you’re here, head over to my awesome friend, Margaret Albaugh (who kicks butt in Spokane, WA) and see her fabulous work!

London & Ireland Summer Adventure | Family Documentary Travel

Are you that type of person who doesn't plan anything? Then all of a sudden you get an itch to DO something? Ya, that's me. My husband, Nate, and I decided we would meet up with friends in London and then travel to Ireland. The last time I visited both countries was 21 years ago! After that much time, nothing looks familiar. 

We took in a show, ate some amazing Indian and Peruvian foods, walked and walked and walked, visited Buckingham Palace and The Tower of London (with a small group private tour-so many insights that you wouldn't otherwise gather on your own), a cathedral where we overlooked the immensity of the city, both old and modern. Thrift shopping was a throwback to the 70s and 80s, with lots of mostly fake fur! Oh, and sitting being bored. That happened a lot.

After our fond farewells to friends, we boarded a plane to Cork, Ireland. We rented a car and thankfully, from the urging of the rental company, got full insurance. If you drive in Ireland, do it. You'll thank me later. The roads...dear God, the roads. Country lanes, more like it, with shrubbery pruned back so as to not entirely puncture your car as you are run off the road by oncoming traffic. I have never felt so terrified being in the passenger seat!

From Cork, we arrived in a fishing town named Dingle. It was absolutely adorable with brightly colored buildings, pubs, and tons of artisan shops. We drove the Dingle Peninsula, petting and feeding sheep and goats, exploring ruins from 1000 A.D., and embracing the wild Atlantic. We ate at local pubs, shopped at a tiny ceramics store and then ventured back to our B&B for a pint of Guinness while the kids watched the iPad. Yay for adult time!

We ended up spending a fair amount of time in the car, but it was beautiful as we traveled north to Doolin. This town is near the Cliffs of Moher, which we hiked for 4.5 miles, traversing mud and treacherous drop-offs. Then it started raining: we were soaked by the end, but it was worth it.

A 3.5 hour train ride to Dublin was next on our travel plans. We saw some rad street art, heard true Irish folksongs, ate at the oldest pub in Temple Bar, and watched kids playing football in the streets. Drunken revelry was high on Sunday when we arrived after Limerick played Cork in a hurling competition (which we sadly missed). We all got a kick out of the fans wearing their teams colors and talking smack.

I know I showed more than my sanctioned 5 images for this months post, but sometimes you gotta break the damn rules! But, please use your fingers to click on over to Kelly Tuohey, an awesome family photographer, to read about the last and best days of summer!

Summer's Rad: Camping | Portland Real Life Family Photographer

Every year we head to Central Oregon to camp along the absolutely beautiful Metolius River. There's a specific campground we love, named Pine Rest, with spacious sites along the water, the quiet rustling of grasses, and crunching of pine needles as our feet delight in the mundane.

A short trip up the road to the fish hatchery leads us over the river on a old wooden bridge where the river creates crashing white whirlpools around rocks. At the holding pond, the kids spotted two bald eagles just waiting for the crowds of interlopers to fade away so they could catch a tasty meal. We usually see some hawks or other smaller birds of prey perched on the stands erected in the middle of the pond, but the eagles were quite a treat to witness.

Handfuls of fish food pellets are purchased for each kiddo. The smell takes me back to being younger and delighting in the flashing bodies of rainbow trout as they leap out of the water and slip back in with their morsels.

There were also hoards of butterflies that had just emerged from their cocoons. They flitted dangerously close to the sprinklers to keep cool and would rise in a cacophony whenever someone or something would approach. Nature is magical.

Back at the campsite, we played bocce ball, card games, whittled found sticks, climbed into the ice cold water, spent time in the hammock and ate food only consumed while camping

Being outdoors in the sun, no technology or work, little cares, and enjoying each moment is what summer is for.

If you want someone to come hang out with you and make real life pictures of your outdoor adventures, then you know who to call/text/email/etc. Simplicity is where it's at. Enjoy it!

I did a thing! Hello, CreativeLive | Portland Documentary Photography

CreativeLive: the epitome of all things solid and awesome about photography education, with unbelievable talent taking their time to share all their secrets with other creatives, like me. 

I've been following various photographers over the years, learning techniques, new skills, business inspiration and more through CreativeLive; live programming with a studio audience and on point goodness.

This year, things were off the charts different though. Instead of sitting in my home office, watching my computer screen, I was invited to sit in the LIVE audience while Kirsten Lewis and Marie Masse shared their most inspiring stories and thoughts on making it in the family documentary photography world.

I didn't even know Kirsten was going to be on CL. I saw a few fellow photographers post about it in some groups, so I casually looked into the class and realized I had only 2 days to apply to be in the audience. Thinking there was NO way I would get in due to the late date and all the people applying, I bought the class. A couple hours later, I decided to apply anyway, because why the heck not?

I kept checking my email like a fool and finally saw the invite. I might have screeched...

I frantically got flights booked (yes, I flew, because I hate driving unless I need to), found childcare, and then magically got hooked up with 3 other ladies who I "know" to share an Air B&B.

2 nights and 3 days in Seattle, YES!

Oh, ya. I also submitted my website for critique! I shared a lot of emotions with 2 other fellow photographers who had also thought,  "Hey, what a great idea to have our work critiqued and viewed all over the world!" And to add the cherry on top, we got miked, sat next to Kirsten as she went though our work. No, we had prior knowledge this would happen, just in case you were wondering.

I sat on a high stool, with my mind racing, wondering what the hell Kirsten was going to say about my site, my work, and as a general reflection, myself. She made me laugh, sigh, and even cry when she insisted that I repeat the words, "I am good!" I took away more passion and commitment to doing what I love because someone else made me realize it for myself. So, thank you, Kirsten!

If you made it this far, here are some of my favorite moments from the end of taping. 

This one deserves comment. Here, Kirsten holds the bladder of a wine box, which is known in certain circles to work well as a pillow while camping, or ya know, where ever you may be drinking and tired.


Thank you for staying with me until the very end! I have so much appreciation for being in a group of other women photographers and sharing our journey. Please check out Erin Berry, Lancaster County, PA Photographer for what I'm sure will be some phenomenal moments!