Chicago | {Workshop and more!}

Just last weekend I was in Chicago for a few days and thought I would share a peek at what I was lucky enough to see (and do) while there. A workshop with Audrey Woolard is what brought myself and a friend there. It was a wonderful workshop, focusing on shooting in full sun and working with some great “tweens” who were not only beautiful girls, but all very sweet and fun to get to know. On the first day of the workshop, we had gorgeous weather…about 75 degrees and not a cloud in the sky…talk about a perfect fall day! The second day was even warmer! An added bonus on the second day was that it was the day of the Chicago Marathon, which is one of the six major world marathons…and the course took it RIGHT in front of the studio! How lucky were we…getting to see the VERY first group going by, including the handcyclers and then the first group of runners (with the top finishers being in that group!). Of course, we all had to take a few photos of the runners, who could pass up an opportunity like that, as well as a chance to cheer them all on! I traveled with a good friend, Connie, and we had a day on each end of the weekend to see some of the sights. I’ve been to Chicago before, but Connie had not, so it was fun to show her some of the highlights!

Chicago_0001Millennium Park


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Senior Sierra… | {Part II}

It’s time for another dose of Sierra…more of this beautiful young woman and some amazing scenes from Montana! As you will see, Sierra LOVES horses and everything about them…she is quite passionate about each and every one of them and they are a huge part of her life. After high school, her plans are to move to Washington and attend Central Washington University (CWU) and join the Equestrian team…which seems like a perfect fit for her! Of course, I’m thrilled she will be in Washington and maybe get a chance to photograph her, possibly while competing with the team!! Along with the equestrian team, Sierra plans on double majoring in business and French in college…and sees travel in her future! As for the French…she’s taken it for several years and is quite fluent in it! I asked Sierra where she’d like to travel if she could go anywhere…her first thought was Norway since she is a quarter Norwegian and she’d love to explore the country and meet some distant relatives. She also would love to go to Spain…she traveled there a couple summers ago and would love to return and see more. I can only imagine what Sierra will do with her future…she’s ambitious and full of energy to explore all that is available to her in her future! Here is “day two” our our time in Montana with Sierra and her mom…it was as wonderful as the first!

I quickly learned that trying to get three horses to stay in the same place is more difficult than working with three toddlers…

For the past year, Sierra has been the Miss BIG SKY Rodeo Queen…and had the pleasure of representing the Rodeo at many functions in the area during the year!

As I said with the first post…there was lots of laughter during these two days!!

Sierra’s cousin, Tawnie, came out the second morning to help her with the horses…what a kind and generous offer and it was really appreciated!!

Lookie what we found in the barn…these little babies were waiting for momma to return with some food!

 ~ Kisses ~

Of course, we had to make sure to grab a shot or two of Sierra with her dad…I’m sure this year will be bittersweet for him…watching her grow up and move away, but proud of what a great person she’s become!

Do you think she likes horses?!! LOL

I had NO idea that you could find pelicans in Montana…and in a small lake (pond) on their property…I learned something new!!

Another adventure…more “off roading” to find some out of the way spots! Thanks to my husband for helping with the gates we had to open to get through!!

A lovely and peaceful river was where we ventured to and it was a delight to see…not a sole around, besides us!!

Another shot for Subaru!!!As I said before, Sierra would do anything…and this time, she got a tad closer to the water than she planned….see below!!! 🙂

Oops…didn’t bother her a bit!

This horse was quite curious about her boots (these are the “good” ones!)…it was funny to see the curiosity!

LOVED this little barn/outhouse…I knew that we’d return when the light was better and wow, it was perfect for this “All American Girl!”

Some clouds in the sky…mix it up with the sun – it equals magic!!

Wheat fields as the sun nears the horizon…such a wonderful scene!

Our final stop of the day for shooting…an old Stage Coach stop from YEARS ago…such great character and if only it could talk and tell us stories…I can only imagine what this was like when it was a working stop…ahh, the thoughts of the people going through here, I’d love to hear their stories!!

As I said before…we were at Birdtale Ranch the first day, well actually most of both days…behind Sierra is the “Birdtale” landmark!!

One last shot for Subaru!!!

The sun is dropping…the end our second day is nearing…sad to see it ending!

A great day with two great women…mom and daughter, such a wonderful couple of days and so many great memories from our time in Montana!

We were heading out from the last stop and saw some amazing color over the hills…

And, guess what, it was a full SUPER moon that last night, what a treat to see and photograph this in a state nicknamed BIG SKY, and you can see why when you see the gorgeous skies!!!

As we crested over a hill, this was what we saw and WOWZA…I must admit, that I might have screamed a bit and of course, we pulled over to soak up (and photograph!!) this amazing scene…it was the most spectacular sunset I’ve ever seen!!!

Such a wonderful visit to Montana, a beautiful young woman beginning her senior year of high school, some incredible weather and great memories! It was a blast…thank you Sue and Sierra! Rick and I really enjoyed our little getaway and loved sharing a couple of days with you two! I wish you a year filled with fun, joy, great memories and good grades (haha, the mom in me couldn’t resist!!), Sierra and I know you have amazing things ahead of you in life…I can’t wait to see what you do in the future!!


STUNNING…Sierra | {Senior Photography…Puyallup}

WOWZA…that word describes my time/session with Sierra – a 2014 senior who will graduate from Simms High School, in Simms Montana. Now, where is that, you might ask…well, it’s about 30 miles west of Great Falls, MT and it’s a lovely little community filled with acres and acres of grain and hay…lots of cattle and horses! How, you may ask, did I end up shooting a senior in Montana…well, I met this gal a few years back when she was visiting her family in Washington and knew that when the day came, I wanted to shoot her senior photos. That was a few years off, but time flew by and here she is starting her senior year on Monday (tomorrow!)…and I was lucky enough to get to visit her in her home, her comfort zone and see all that she loves and lives by!  A warning…there are TONS of photos (and there will be a second part!)…it was just too hard to not show so many photos of this beautiful (and OH, so much more!) young woman! One of my conditions when scheduling her session was that it had to be two days long…if I was going out there, somewhere I’d not visited before (but will again!!!), I wanted to see all we could and to shoot in as many locations as she could come up with…so needless to say, there are LOTS of photos and I fell in love with the Sun River Valley, as the area is called! Sierra actually lives in Vaughn, on a ranch with her dad and has many horses that she cares for, rides, trains and more. Living on a ranch brings many responsibilities and jobs…and although she’s a teenager, she is a hardworking and dependable one, who is dedicated to her passion…horses, and doing all that is needed to take care of them and their surroundings! I SO enjoyed seeing what her life was all about and just watching her with the horses…not to mention seeing all the incredible places she took us to…wowza (again)…it was amazing!

Sierra’s last year in Montana is one that she wants to make great memories…not only with her friends and classmates, but also her family out there and the community…a place she has lived for a good part of her life and loves. I’d imagine that Sierra has a connection with everyone in her graduating class…given that it’s a small community, the school is small, with approximately 150 students in the whole high school and I don’t recall exactly what the number of seniors is, but it’s around 30 this year…so when I say she has a connection with all of them, this is why! What a great bond these young people have and the life in Montana is really simple…not in a bad way, but in the way that the basics are what they focus on…school, family, work and helping out one another! I think that some of the larger communities around our country could learn a lot from focusing on just the basics in life…these are what are really important and sometimes I think our young people either forget or don’t learn that…but not Sierra! She’s an amazing young woman who I can’t say enough about…more about her in “part II” of her blog, coming up later this week! For now…here’s…. S I E R R A

We had a little visitor while at Birdtale Ranch…this kitty seemed to think we were there for her (him?) and loved any attention she got from us, so how could I leave her out of the shoot! LOL

We ventured up into the fields…creating our out path (to the left)…and then walked further up where there were some great rock formations and some amazing views…dare I say it again… WOWZA!I quickly learned that the next two days would be filled with lots of laughter and giggles and OH, how I loved it when Sierra laughed…and then we would often get the “tongue” which was hysterical…and was often directed at her mom (all in jest), or even me a few times…loved it!Now these boots…these are her “working” boots that I think she pretty much lives in…and you can see they are well broken in and worn with lots of love…the shoes in the photo above…new for Sierra, not something she normally wears and I told her NO breaking an ankle during our shoot…LOLSee what I mean about the views…stunning!We figured a shot to show just where were really did park for this stop would be appropriate…and maybe even for a Subaru commercial…believe me, I learned these cars will go ANYWHERE!!

These cattle were not sure about me, or my camera and maybe when I said something about “shooting” down there, they got a bit nervous…can’t say that I blame them!!This was an old (obviously!) stone house and the remains were amazing to see…to think about how it was built so many years ago..truly incredible what they could do without all the tools and supplies we have today! The only part that made me nervous…the fact that Sierra said beware of snakes…YIKES…not what I wanted to hear, but best to be warned and thankfully, we didn’t see any!! Phew!!Did I not tell you now beautiful this gal is…{here I go again) WOWZA!!This was a beautiful location…Giant Springs State Park and it has an amazing sight…where the largest (Missouri) and smallest (Roe) rivers in the US meet up! The Roe River runs between Giant Springs and the Missouri River.  The Roe River is only 201 feet (61 m) at its longest constant point. Towards its end, the Roe becomes surprisingly deep, at least 6–8 feet. What a beautiful park and the waters were gorgeous…so happy we stopped here!And now…we are at the Missouri River…and Sierra didn’t hesitate to get in it (which was remarkably warm – at least compared to the Pacific Northwest Rivers which tend to be colder)…I even got in a bit…As I said…loved the giggles and the way she crinkled up her nose…adorable and so sweet!!

We found some fun and unique things in downtown Great Falls…it was fun to see the area and explore a bit…all brand new to me!

Sunset across the river…let me tell you, sunsets in Montana are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G  I’m not sure why, but the sun and skies are incredibly brilliant and I just melted with the colors….{okay, again} WOWZA!Such a wonderful day and so great to spend it with a beautiful mother and her daughter!!

Let me tell you, I loved this girl…she would do anything (and I mean anything!) for the shoot/photos…like go waist deep in the river with her clothes on…oh, the fun we had…and this was just day one, wait until the next part!Sierra TOTALLY ROCKED day one of her session and just going back through the photos for her blog, makes me miss Montana and want to go back right away! Sierra and her mom, Sue, were a blast to hang out with and not only did we see some great sights, get some wonderful photos of Sierra (and the surroundings), but we also had a great time together, just talking, laughing and sharing…it really was a blast! 🙂