Adventure In England: Final Episode

Oh boy, folks; prepare yourselves, this is going to be a long one.

On our second to last full day in England, we went for a long hike, starting in Windermere and winding our way through farms and over the hills in the Lake District. The morning started with a prediction (100% chance, in fact) for rain starting later in the morning, but we decided to brave it and get out there anyway.  

The clouds (and humidity) started to slowly roll in as we neared our lunch destination in Troutbeck, but luckily they still held off on producing any moisture. If anything they added to the incredible views, creating a much different, and moodier, type of atmosphere for our hike. 

Our pitstop for lunch was at The Mortal Man, where we enjoyed some simple sandwiches on incredibly fresh and delicious bread, and of course, local beer. The Mortal Man has been in existence since 1689, making it even more incredible that we were eating lunch on their grounds. 

After lunch we continued on, starting out on Nanny Lane. It was kind of surreal walking on that country lane, as I imagine it hasn't changed much in quite a long time, and countless people have walked it before us.

Eventually we ventured off the lane and made our way up the hills, crossing over the old stone walls as we went. It is mind-boggling how many miles of those walls must exist, zig-zagging all over the countryside, and how they were all built by hand over the years. 

We ended the day in Ambleside, after hiking close to 10 miles. Ambleside was a beautiful little (albeit touristy) town, with some stunning homes, and of course lots of history. We wandered around a little bit, treated ourselves to a beer at one of the pubs, and then ice cream and fudge at a local shop as well. We even stopped at the Roman Ruins that are in Ambleside, which was absolutely amazing to see. 

After all that, we began the walk to the bus stop and the moment we stepped onto the bus the skies opened up, letting loose a full downpour. The timing couldn't have been a second better, and even put a nice exclamation point on the end of our time in the Lake District. 

The next morning we jumped on yet another train, this time for a long ride headed to London. We had that evening to see the sites in London, though I didn't bring my camera with for that adventure. If you want to see images from that, be sure to follow me on Instagram (@aithom2), where I will be posting some images over the next few days. 

Adventure In England: Part Three

Hello again! Time to dive into the third segment of images from our England trip this summer! Only one more to go after this!

After spending just over two weeks in Exeter we shifted gears and hopped on a train headed north with an end destination of Windermere. We made a pit stop in Birmingham where one of our friends is from, and he showed us around the city for the afternoon. I didn't bring my camera with, unfortunately, but I did take a bunch of images with my phone. It was really neat being in Birmingham for even just a little while, after spending all of our trip in smaller towns up to that point. This history and architecture of the city were incredible, and they have done some really cool things updating/modernizing areas as well.  

The next morning we were up and moving again, on the train heading still farther north to Windermere. We arrived in Windermere that evening with just enough time for a quick hike, so we took advantage of that, along with the good weather, and explored around a little bit.

I was in awe of the landscape there, with the vast rolling hills and intense green surrounding us. The views of the city, farms, and lake below us were absolutely stunning, and no matter which direction I looked it made me stop in my tracks just to take it in. It was also a really unique experience because the trails are on private farmland, amongst the animals, and you use steps placed in the stone walls to continue on the hike. 

Next Up: The final piece of our trip, with images from our big hike through the Lake District. Tune back in for some historic pubs and architecture, friendly farm animals, and stunning Lake District views!

Adventure In England: Part Two

Time for the second set of photos from our trip to England this summer! The first set of images below are from Sunday of our first weekend there. We completed yet another hike to a pub, this time starting at Castle Drogo and hiking to Fingle Bridge Inn for a simple lunch and some beers. The landscape on this hike was drastically different from the previous day; instead of vast, rolling hills and ocean views, we were treated to dense forests and lushly green landscapes. 

After Sunday, we took a slight break from going to pubs every night and had some lazier nights in with our friends that we were staying with (which was much needed and appreciated). After a few nights of that, we were off to exploring again and walked to the Turf Hotel which is right in Exeter. Once again, it was a drastically different type of walk and landscape than some of our previous adventures, but no less beautiful than any of the rest. 

At this point our time in Exeter, unfortunately, was winding down, leaving us with only a few more days to explore. Two of those evenings were spent, at least partially, in Exmouth. The first trip there was quite brief, but we did stumble on a local neighborhood party where the streets were decorated and there was a stage with music. We weren't there long, but it sure was a pretty little sight!

The next day we were luckily back to Exmouth for most of the day and were able to make time for the first item on my list of things to do in England: fish and chips on the beach. Unfortunately, it started to rain slightly right after we picked up or fish and chips, putting a slight damper on things. We made the best of it, however, and the rain cleared up rather quickly, allowing me to walk barefoot in the sand and get some photos of the beach. 

Next up: Images from the next portion of our adventure, which brought us up to Windermere!

Adventure In England: Part One

This post is long, long overdue (as most of them have been, I suppose). But as the saying goes, "better late than never," so here we are!

This past July Scott and I went to England for roughly three weeks, with the bulk of our trip being spent in the Exeter area (with plenty of trips to the surrounding towns). We are lucky enough to have friends in Exeter who are extremely hospitable and allowed us to stay with them for most of our stay. Staying with friends not only made the trip more affordable but also provided us with some amazing views and experiences, as we were right in the heart of the city and got "tours" from the locals. The two photos below were taken our first night there, and needless to say it was an amazing introduction to Exeter.

Our second night in England was just as amazing, if not more so. After a home cooked meal, we drove to Topsham to get drinks at a pub called The Passage House Inn. Walking through the narrow streets was such a treat for me, and I quickly fell in love with the architecture of the area. The golden evening light certainly helped with the romantic feel of it all. We were treated to perfect weather that night, allowing us to sit outside and be treated to a fully spectacular sunset over the River Exe. 

Our first weekend in England was also all too perfect. On Saturday we went on a hike that was nothing short of stunning. We started on the coast in Wembury, continued through some rolling farms (all the while with views of Wembury Bay), crossed the River Yealm in a water taxi, and ended at The Ship Inn in Noss Mayo. The color of the water there was an unreal turquoise; it was absolutely unexpected for England. We ate a simple, fresh lunch outside at The Ship Inn while watching the tide come in. It was truly a magical day. 

Next up: Shockingly, part two of our England trip! Featuring the second part of our epic first weekend, though with drastically different scenery, and loads more as well. 

Wyoming's Medicine Bow National Forest

Last fall I had the pleasure of traveling up to Wyoming, just south of Saratoga, to photograph a property for my company, Evolve Vacation Rental Network. The property is on both the Encampment and North Platte Rivers, and the fall colors on the banks and surrounding mountains were absolutely stunning. I made sure to take a few minutes to grab some photographs for myself as I was wrapping up the shoot, though I could have easily spent all day there. 

After finishing the shoot at the property I started the drive back, via the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, through Medicine Bow National Forest. I made a point of stopping at a few places along the way, since it was far too beautiful to only drive through. 

Flight

Time for some more images from the air! Last September we were lucky enough to fly down to Clovis, New Mexico to celebrate Scott's nephew's baptism and first birthday. It was the first long flight I had taken with him, and it was such a special thing to be able to fly ourselves on a mini vacation like that. 

Next up: images from an extremely brief visit to Medicine Bow National Forest, and west of there, near Saratoga, Wyoming. 

Fall In Lime Creek Canyon

Hopefully you all aren't sick of seeing images from this magical place. And if you are, take heart, because this will be the last round, since we haven't been back for quite a while at this point. 

Last September we headed back out to our favorite getaway, and as usual spent the time fly fishing (for Scott) and just enjoying the beauty of the area (for me). We had much better conditions for our September trip than we did for our July trip, with plenty of sunshine and near perfect temperatures. Plus, the plants had started to turn to that late summer/early fall gold that makes the landscape look richly magnificent. 

Up Next: Images from our longest flight yet, down to Clovis, New Mexico. 

Hiking At Arapahoe Basin

It's crazy to think that when I typed this (this past weekend), the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area got more snow. Although it doesn't look like it right now, the area is a great place to hike in the summer. These images are from last July (yes, I am that behind), on a hike that I took while Scott cycled up Loveland Pass. The mountainside was completely covered with wildflowers, of all different types. It was a beautiful, straightforward hike that lead to some amazing views. And the best part? The restaurant at the base was open, so we grabbed a beer afterwards, to reward ourselves for getting worked by the altitude. 

Next up: back to Lime Creek Canyon, for more images from our favorite getaway. 

From The Air

Last summer Scott successfully worked towards earning his private pilot's license, which meant that we spent a decent amount of time in the air as he built up flight hours. I have to say, it's quite the nice perk to have a boyfriend who can whisk you into the sky! This particular flight was on the Fourth of July, and we were treated to an incredible sunset on the flight back to Centennial Airport. 

Airplane Landing

Up next: a brief post with some images of alpine wildflowers and mountain views!

Lime Creek Canyon Fishing

Last summer we ventured back to our favorite mountain getaway (which you can see the images from a previous trip here and here) a few different times. The first trip there for the summer took place over the weekend of the Fourth of July, and we were treated to some extremely wet, muddy conditions for a good portion of the trip. It had rained a lot the few days before we got there, as well as the day of, making everything a slimy, muddy mess. But, the plus side to so much rain? Everything was crazy green! 

We did end up getting pretty lucky, and the sun came out for a good chunk of the day, giving us perfect weather to fish (well, for Scott to fish, for me to sit in a chair and read), and allowing things to dry out at least a little bit. 

Up next: images from the sky (the perks of dating a private pilot). 

Delicate Moments

Oh my. It has been quite a while since I last typed in this space. My own photography has more or less gone on the back burner for quite a few months (okay, longer than that even), as I've been almost entirely focused on my full time job. However, as of late the fire has been stoked, and I've found a renewed desire to work on my own images. Part of the itch to create again means that sharing must also happen, as I believe that work shouldn't exist in the vacuum that is my computer. 

So, without further ado, just a handful of images that have been sitting around in that vacuum for almost a year. These images are focused on small spaces; things that create little moments of intrigue for me. Simple, straightforward, and not necessarily all that special. But, these are the subjects that attracted me to photography in the first place, and are the ones that I come back to over and over again. 

Infants: Robbie & Josie

Oh my, I am excited to share these images! These two precious babes are my twin nieces. I was finally able to meet them for the first time when I was home in Minnesota a month ago, and my heart was filled to overflowing. We decided to do a quick photo session while I was there, and even though it was really simple and short, I am so glad we took the time. 

Twin Baby Girls - Infant Photography

Newborn: Everly Mae

My heart melted a little bit on this day. 

Although I have nieces and nephews, I've always lived far away and been unable to see them as newborns, let alone be in the hospital to meet them and see my siblings holding their newborn children. So it was an amazingly special moment to be around these new parents soon after their daughter arrived. Joy absolutely radiated from each of them, and it was very clear that this girl is going to be so well loved.

Welcome to the world, Everly, and congratulations once again, Ben and Katie!

Kevin + Kari + Cooper

A few weeks ago I had a perfect Sunday morning portrait session with Kevin and Kari, and their new pup Cooper. Kevin's family surprised him with the session for his birthday, as a way to celebrate Cooper joining the family. I love the idea of gifting a portrait session, as I think it is too rare that we get photos with those we love, and any chance to do so should be taken advantage of. 

Before diving in to images, a little bit about the session; we spent the morning hiking around Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, which is a quintessential Colorado location. Kevin and Kari were complete naturals in front of the camera, making my job incredibly easy. Plus, how can you go wrong with a puppy that looks like this?!

Spring In Ouray

I've been anxious to share these images since the day I returned from this trip, but unfortunately I just recently was able to get around to finishing the edits. Back in March some friends and I took an adult spring break of sorts to Ouray, Colorado. Ouray has become a very special place to me; I have never left that area without images that I'm proud of, and this trip was no different. We had planned on spending the entire trip ice climbing, but due to warm temperatures the ice was a bit limited. Despite the weather we managed to do a good amount of climbing, and had an incredible time soaking up that pure mountain air.

The first day started out with warm weather, and a forecast of rain in the afternoon, which had us all a bit disappointed. We first hopped on the Kids' Wall (which is a shorter, easier section of ice, out of the actual canyon where the rest of the climbs are), since most of our group had never ice climbed before. After climbing a while, allowing people to get the hang of the process, we decided to switch it up and head down to the canyon to get on some of the more difficult ice.  

As we were walking down, dark clouds started rolling in; we were expecting that the rain was on its way, and therefore the climbing would likely soon be over for the day. To our surprise, however, the temperature dropped just enough and we were quickly surrounded by big, fluffy snowflakes. It was one of the most amazing scenes I have experienced. 

Day two was warmer yet, with much more sun. We headed a bit higher into the mountains, with the hopes of finding cooler temperatures and better ice conditions. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, so we were limited on what we could climb and how long we could climb it. The guys decided to try their hand at some dry tooling (climbing with ice tools on rock) once the ice was no longer safe to climb because of the heat and sun, and I happily snapped away as they climbed. We ended that day back out our rental with some guitar playing on the deck while we enjoyed the views. 

And with that, I am finally finished with all winter images! I can now get on to slightly more recent images that are more applicable for the current season! As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by, and don't forget to subscribe on the left, and share via the links below! 

The Blackhills 100 Mile Race

So much for posting in a more timely manner; this summer has most definitely kept me busy.

I've decided to break from the order that I typically post in (chronological), to share the most recent adventure that I had the opportunity to be a part of. And brace yourselves, because this will be a long one. It was an extremely memorable experience, and although I'm not entirely happy with most of the images that I took (a severe lack of sleep may have played a role), I am extremely proud to share them because of how much of an accomplishment it was for my brother (or anyone for that matter).  

A few weeks ago my brother, Kyle, ran in the Black Hills 100, which is a 100 mile trail race through the Black Hills. Although the Black Hills are at a lower elevation, the race actually has more elevation change than the 100 mile race in Leadville, Colorado. The race is an out and back course, starting in Sturgis, SD and ending there as well. They started off on a Friday morning, and ran through the day with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees for most of the day. I worked until noon in Denver that Friday, and then drove six hours to meet Kyle and the two other members of the crew at the halfway point in Silver City, SD. 

Kyle had planned on being at Silver City by 7:30 pm, but because of the heat he, along with the entire field of racers, was well behind that pace. I spent the time waiting chatting up the women working the aid station, and then the other crew members as they began to show up. Kyle ended up getting in around 11:30 pm, and my crew duties kicked in. I mainly got him any food he wanted (which was ramen, lots of ramen), filled his water, and made sure he was doing alright. His friend Will also met us at Silver City, and served as his pacer for the last 50 miles, which made a huge difference for Kyle. 

Unfortunately I forgot my speedlight, and so was stuck with using an extremely high ISO in the images below, but I had to get at least some images of him during the night.

After Silver City I drove to the Pilot Knob aid station, where I met Will's brother, Michael, who crewed with me for the rest of the race. While we sat and waited for Kyle to arrive, I set up my camera for a brief time lapse. I didn't put a soundtrack on it, and as I said, it is brief, but I think it still does a nice enough job of showing the feeling of the aid stations at night. 

There was one more aid station in the dark, and then we drove to the Dalton Lake Campground to wait once again as the sun started to rise. It was such a welcome site to see the sun coming up for us crew members, and I can only imagine how it must have felt for the runners. 

I had been awake since 5 am the morning before (totaling nearly 30 hours awake at this point), and although I felt pretty great through the night, I started to crash after the Dalton Lake aid station once the sun was up. I was in desperate need of some sleep, and after slinging up my hammock I managed to get a light nap in this amazing spot while we waited for Kyle. 

We next saw Kyle and Will at the Elk Creek aid station, which was at mile 83. Another runner came into the aid station with some wildflowers that he picked along the trail for his crew members, which I couldn't resist documenting. One of the things that I loved about this experience was getting to know the other crew members. For the most part we saw the same people at every single spot, and by the end of the race it felt like we had known each other a lot longer than 12 hours or so. 

There was an aid station prior to Elk Creek that we didn't have access to, so the distance was about twice as long as when we normally saw the runners. This was the first aid station that Kyle started to show real signs of fatigue, and the first time I was even slightly concerned. His pacer was still full of energy however, and was excellent at keeping Kyle moving. 

The next aid station was the last before the finish, and like at Elk Creek, there was a station in between where we weren't able to see him. His wife and twin boys were at the last aid station as well, and as soon as Kyle saw them he visibly perked up. The boys saw him a ways off, and were so excited that they ran out to meet him!

We then drove to the finish in Sturgis and waited for Kyle and Will to arrive. My nephews were loving my camera while we waited; their new (at least new to me) thing to do is to make silly faces constantly while I take millions of pictures, and they loved getting to press the shutter as well. 

Kyle and Will came running in to the finish just before 3:00 pm on Saturday.  We found out later that he managed to finish in 28:48:33, and was 9th place overall! It was so exciting to see him finish the race, and to finish it running no less. 

Crewing for this race was one of the coolest experiences I have had. Seeing my brother accomplish something so major, and getting to help him through that process in even a small way was an incredibly impactful and unforgettable experience. 

And with that, I will finally wrap things up. Hopefully some of you stuck through it all. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and don't forget to share via the links below!

Mills Lake Adventure

Yikes; it has been almost two months since my last post.  I'd like to say that I waited to work on these so that when the early summer heat (I start to melt when it gets over 85 degrees) started to kick in I would have a way to daydream about cooler days. But in reality, my busy schedule and heavy editing load at work makes it difficult and not very appealing to edit at home. I have had a few little breaks however, and finally was able to edit some images from this past winter.

On an early morning in the middle of January, Scott and two of our friends, Katie and Ben, packed up our gear and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park for a day of ice climbing near Black Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. We planned to skin up (using skis with strips that attach to the bottom to allow you to ski uphill) to our climbing destination, spend the day climbing on the ice, and then ski back down to the car.

Unfortunately, the conditions that morning were not exactly ideal. The winds were blowing around 60 miles an hour, with temperatures well below zero and some light snow mixed in for good measure. We decided to head towards the climbs despite the weather, and set off skinning up the mountain. This was the first time I had skied in the back country, and only my third time skiing in the big mountains at all, which made the day even more interesting for me.

After a few hours of skinning we decided to stop and eat lunch in a somewhat sheltered spot in the forest. The sun managed to poke through slightly once or twice while there, and we got a tiny break from the wind as well. We boiled snow to make water for our instant noodles, stumbled around in the extremely deep snow, and just tried to keep warm as we made our lunch. 

After refueling with some instant noodles and granola bars, we popped our skis back on and continued up. We encountered quite a few people coming down the mountain that looked haggard from the weather, and let us know that they wouldn't recommend going all the way to where we were hoping to. One man told us that he had been completely blown over by the wind on one of the lakes, so I was fairly intimidated at that point.

When we got higher up, and the trees started getting thinner, the wind became even stronger. The visibility was extremely low at times, and standing upright was difficult when the big wind gusts came through. We reached a point where it was particularly bad and all decided it would be best to bail and head back to the car. 

After making the decision that we should head back, we opted to go down the main (and smoother) trail, instead of the "shortcut" that we had used on the way up. Before beginning our descent we had to stop and rip off the skins on our skis, and prepare our skis for the downhill portion of the trip. The wind was brutal at the spot we stopped at, with snow whipping our faces relentlessly. It was so windy that Scott had to stand and brace me as I clipped into my skis, since every time I tried to stand on one leg to do so I was getting blown over. 

We did manage to get down safely, despite my poor skiing skills, and were very glad to get in the car with the heaters blasting. The guys had some nice ice formations on their beards, a testament to the frigid temperature.

Next time: More winter adventure photos (this time a successful ice climbing day). Be sure to check back soon (I promise my next post will not take 2 months to publish)! 

Exploring The Catalina Mountains

This year (or I suppose it is this past year at this point) Scott and I made the long drive to Tucson for Christmas to spend the week with some of his family. His sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews live there, and his parents flew in from Kansas as well.

Scott and I have spent a decent amount of time in the Catalina mountains, and we were both really looking forward to getting out to climb quite a bit while there over Christmas. On one of our first days in Tucson, we went out exploring with Scott's nephew and their two Australian Shepherds to scope out some climbs for the next few days. They had a fairly wet fall in Tuscson, so things looked much greener than the other times I have been there. There was also water running down the entire wash area, which I had not experienced there before. The water made everything much more lush and beautiful, and the dogs loved having the water to cool off in. 

3422web.jpg

Next up: more images from Arizona, mainly some climbing photographs, as well as images of one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever witnessed. 

As always, feel free to share via the links below, and don't forget to hit subscribe to stay in touch! Thanks for stopping by!

Simplicity (moments of light)

Today's post is a brief one, in contrast to the one from this past weekend. I'll keep it short and sweet, with some images that make me a bit nostalgic. 

Last thanksgiving I was able to fly home and spend some time with my family in Minnesota. I didn't take many photographs (beyond Alec and Emily's engagement session), except for some documents of the light in my parents' house. As I've blogged about before, my parents' house has the most amazing light, and is most likely the root of my obsession with light. 

The windows there act like projectors during the evening hours, showcasing the lines and patterns of the tree branches outside. It never fails to stop me in my tracks and make me stand there in awe, no matter how many times I've seen the same thing. 

Next up: images from our adventure in Tucson over Christmas. Make sure to stop by to see some adorable pups and desert mountain views. 

Don't forget to share via the links below, and hit the subscribe button to stay in touch!

Kansas Homestead

Happy Saturday everyone! We are currently getting slammed by a spring snowstorm here in Denver, and I'm curled up on the couch enjoying the forced relaxation. I'm also getting caught up (dare I say completely?!) on images and blog posts. Fare warning though, this is going to be a long post with LOTS of images (it was such a stunning place), so buckle up folks.

Last October I drove to Syracuse, Kansas to meet up with Myra and Brandon, two friends from grad school, to give Myra some company while she took images for her thesis work. Myra's mother's family is originally from Syracuse, and they still own the family farm on the outskirts of town (the focus of Myra's thesis). The house has been uninhabited for quite some time, and the land has only been used as grazing land for cattle, resulting in some serious decay and dilapidated conditions. 

The main obstacle to getting into the house was the bird situation. Numerous birds had taken up residence in the home, and they definitely left their mark, on absolutely everything. I have never seen so much bird poop in one area before. Before we entered the house, we tried to make a lot of noise to scare as many birds out as possible. Unfortunately, not all were scared away, which made for some startling encounters once we were inside the house. 

Lots of other creatures had made their home there as well, as well as plenty of tumbleweeds. These items filled the little basement house with lots of great texture, and they all caught the light in rather wonderful ways. 

They have a small tenant house on their land as well, which has also been vacant for a long time. It was falling apart more completely than the main house, with a section of floor completely caved in, and doors that didn't fit right. It still had some wonderful details inside however, and the timing with the sun couldn't have been much better. 

And that sums it all up! Needless to say, my light and shadow obsessed self went a little crazy with documenting it all. Thanks for sticking through that, and hopefully it was all worth it.  

Next up: a short post on my favorite subject in one of my favorite places: light in my parents' home. As always, feel free to share via the links below, and be sure to subscribe so you don't miss anything. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!