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Welcome to our blog!  Sierra Blanco Photography is committed to creating progressive wedding and portrait photography with an artistic flair.  Our blog is an extension of our business, designed to bring you the latest in our professional and personal lives.  Enjoy and please feel free to participate by leaving your comments!

All images are the Copyright of Sierra Blanco Photography.
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Results tagged “Personal” from Destination Wedding Photography - Destination Wedding Photographers, Arizona

May 10, 2013 // Personal

Kiva had her first birthday yesterday! As a lot of you know, Kiva's first year started off badly. She came from a puppy mill in Mexico and due to the poor conditions there, at just seven weeks of age and less than one week after we got her home, she was diagnosed with the parvovirus. The odds were not in her favor, but she showed what her true spirit is like and defied the odds. Today she has that same spirit that pulled her through a very tough disease and she is now healthy and strong. For her first b-day she ate cupcakes, got a pretty hat and a nice new toy, went swimming in her pool and went hiking and swimming again at one of her favorite trails. We have put together a slideshow set to "her song" to mark her first year of life. We hope you enjoy it. We love you Kiva and Happy First Birthday!

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1-28-13 Nature Photography YNP00.jpg

We just returned from a short trip to Yosemite National Park.  We were so excited to visit during winter but the week we headed out it looked very bad on the "winter" front.  Temperatures had been warm and no new snow had fallen.  We were certain there would be no winter to be found, so you can imagine our surprise when we entered the park to see a fresh dusting of snow that had fallen the night before.  It wasn't a lot but we were thrilled to see Yosemite wearing a thin coat of white.  It was magical!  Following are a few of our favorite shots we took over the two days we were there.

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In June 2012 we visited Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time.  We only had a couple of days to spend there, but that was enough time to get some amazing nature photography!  The landscapes were impressive as were the amount of big game and small critters available to see.  Elk were everywhere and I had a very close encounter with one particularly impressive bull.  While in a crouched position, I waited with my wide angle lens as one grazed nearby.  As he approached, I remained very still and snapped away.  By the time I realized how close he had gotten, it was too late to move without spooking him.  I just sat and he kept moving ever closer.  Finally he was within arm's reach and I just froze.  I took no photos during this time for fear the sound of the shutter would startle him, putting me in harms way.  He stopped grazing for a moment and lifted his head from the grass to lock eyes with mine.  It was magical.  What a humbling experience to be in such close proximity to such a majestic creature.  I waited until he was comfortable moving on and finally I got up and walked away, shaken but so thankful for this once-in-a lifetime experience!  These are some of our favorite shots from our trip!

Beautiful Bull Elk
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Moose Grazing
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Pika Dining on Flower
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Elk Calves Playing
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Bull Elk
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Cow Elk
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Mountain Bluebird
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Pika (Left) and Marmot (Right)
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Chipmunk (Left) and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Ewe Molting (Right)
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Marmot
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Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Ewes (molting) and Lambs
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Cow Elk
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Bull Elk
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Elk Calf
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Bull Elk
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Wishing you all a very safe and happy holiday season!!

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December 16, 2012 // Personal
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The team here at Sierra Blanco Photography (that would be Kevin, Angie and myself ... along with our pups, Kiva and Bump) took a fun day and headed up to Flagstaff to play in the snow!  There was A LOT more snow than we had expected ... close to two feet.  Angie, despite being almost 27 years old and having lived a mere 2 hour drive from Flagstaff her entire life, has never seen more than a few inches of the white stuff, so you might say this was her first time really experiencing snow.  It was fun to watch her :-).  It was also fun to watch Kiva and Bump, this being a first for them as well.  It took us most of the day to get there so we only spent a very short time playing, but we all had a great time and Angie, Kiva, and Bump came away with a new life experience :-)!

On our drive up, I just had to stop to get a couple of pics of Saguaros in fog ... a rare and lovely site!
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October 31, 2012 // Personal
Happy Halloween from all of us at Sierra Blanco Photography including our new addition, Kiva, of course Bump and last but not least, Yoshi, who may no longer be with us but is always with us in spirit :-)!  Have a safe and fun holiday!

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9-5-12 Kiva First Photo Shoot 00.jpg

As many of you know that follow us on a regular basis, we got a puppy at the end of June we named Kiva.  Unfortunately, the "breeder," Margarita Madina, of El Paso, TX, was not a reputable breeder and Kiva came down with the Parvovirus within the week.  After nine harrowing days in the hospital and nearly dying when her blood cell count dropped from 26,000 to 500, our baby finally came home.  That wasn't the end of it though.  Kiva couldn't get the shots she needed to keep her healthy and safe until her immune system built itself back up.  She had to stay isolated at our home for almost two more months before this could happen.

While Kiva was in the hospital and I was so uncertain of her fate all I could think was that this was a puppy and puppies are supposed to be leaping and bounding gleefully through colorful fields of wildflowers.  They should be free to explore their new world, living happy and carefree.  I looked into her eyes, which were nearly dead with sickness, and promised her that if she gave it her all, I would take her to those fields of wildflowers so she could run and play like a puppy should.

In early September I honored that promise and we headed up to Flagstaff to a field we know well.  It is at the end of the road we used to live on and for the five years we lived there we would watch that field explode every summer in a stunning display of gold and purple.  This was where I wanted Kiva to run ... and she did!

Our other pooch, Bump, went along too and we all had an amazing time!  A dream that I was unsure would come to fruition did and I watched my puppy for the first time as she ran and jumped and explored her new world and it brought tears to my eyes.  The last photo of this posting sums it up well.  Kiva is sitting in a field near the end of the day, looking to the sky with glee as the warm sun sets behind her.  She deserves to feel that sun's warmth and bask in it's glow.  We love you Kiva!

We must extend a special thanks to our dear friends, Melissa and Kristen, of Tangled Lilac Photography for taking these amazing images for us!  This shoot meant the world to us and they gave us images that are truly priceless ... thank you both for that!!

ALL IMAGES ARE THE COPYRIGHT OF TANGLED LILAC PHOTOGRAPHY

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May you always bask in the sun's glow Kiva :-).
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Melissa Dunstan:

We're SO happy you love the photos!! Your family is so adorable and you guys mean the world to me. I'm so blessed we're friends. I love you!!

(10.29.12 @ 09:38 PM)
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We are posting this story, our story, for both photographers and brides alike so that you may hopefully learn from one of the worst experiences we have ever had personally and professionally.

This occurrence took place on May 26th, 2012 at Leah and Josh's wedding in downtown San Francisco.  First let us begin with the very kind and compassionate letter Leah sent us a few days later.

"Hi Tina and Kevin,

I am writing to tell you what an amazing job you both did last weekend at our wedding....I truly couldn't have asked for a better day!! Josh and I had the time of our lives and we were so happy that you were there to share it with us!

I found out the next day about the break in that happened outside the venue just before the wedding and my heart literally broke thinking about how devastated you two must have been.....especially after the hard week you had back in Arizona. You two were so professional the whole time and didn't appear the least bit distracted or upset which is so incredible to me. I would have been in tears and unable to go on if something that tragic happened. I can only imagine how hard that day must have been for you both and I can't tell you how sorry I am for what happened. I am not sure how I can help out but if there is ANYTHING I can do at all, please let me know. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you did that day!

Take care,
Leah"

This email brought me to tears!  The previous "hard week" Leah refers to goes back to the fact that five days earlier we had to put our 14 year old dog, Yoshi, to sleep.  He was like a child to us and as anyone who has gone through this knows, it is terribly traumatic.  So we didn't think things could get any worse, but they did.

A couple of hours before the wedding was to begin, Kevin and I parked in front of the venue - in what we believed to be a safe neighborhood - and we took a walk to get some lunch.  When we returned, now an hour before the wedding was to begin, I walked to the driver's side of the car and noticed shattered glass laying all around the ground.  My eyes darted around and fixed on the back passenger window, now gone.  At first, I simply couldn't process what I was seeing.  Then it hit me.  I frantically began searching through the car and realized it was all gone ... I told Kevin, "It's all gone!"  All our photography equipment and two laptop computers were gone ... tens of thousands of dollars gone.  Words really can't adequately describe how one feels when faced with this type of violation.  All at once you feel bewildered, defeated and helpless and that helplessness to change anything leads to extreme anger.  To top it off, it really didn't help when a local woman walked by and exclaimed, "welcome to San Francisco."  Needless to say, I had a few choice words for her.

We have been asked if our equipment was in view.  No it wasn't in view, however we did drive from Arizona to San Francisco for the wedding and our rental car was packed full.  This probably helped to make us a target and there are some that feel we may have been targeted before reaching the venue.  We had stayed in a hotel just around the corner and had checked out and loaded our equipment into the car minutes before we took the short drive to the venue.  Whatever the reason, it happened and we quickly had to pull ourselves together and come up with a plan to photograph this wedding.

This was not the easiest feat, being in a strange city and not knowing anyone we could turn to.  Had this taken place in Arizona, we could have called on one of our many photographer friends to lend us equipment, but that was not an option.  Renting was also not an option as we had to immediately leave the wedding and drive overnight back to Arizona to be at another wedding the following day ... needless to say, it was a long drive back.  Fourteen hours of driving at speeds of 80mph with a garbage bag swooshing and banging against the vacant back window the entire way, all with no sleep for over 24 hours.  Long indeed.

To complicate matters it was a holiday weekend and we were terrified we would not be able to find any professional photography stores open.  Luckily we remembered that Calumet, a large nationwide distributor of professional grade photographic equipment, was based in San Francisco.  That was our saving grace!  We were able to get there, purchase enough new equipment to get us through the wedding, and get back in time to begin our jobs.  We were only about 15 minutes late.  Luckily Leah didn't even notice.  We were also lucky to get the same exact cameras, lenses and flashes we had stolen, so there was no learning curve as there would be with different equipment.  We simply moved on, put the whole ordeal out of our minds for the time and concentrated on photographing this beautiful couple on their wedding day.  FYI, everyone, guests and family alike, new what had happened with the exception of the bride and groom.  It was not the time to tell them ... it was their day and we wanted them to be free to enjoy it.

Since then, we have also been asked if we had insurance on our equipment.  The answer is yes, we did, however ...

Photographers, learn from our mistakes.  Update your insurance regularly.  We took out our policy when we first started our business eight years ago and we never really gave it much thought again.  We simply payed our premiums each year and forgot about it.  As you add new equipment, you need to increase you coverage.  We did get money back but not nearly the equivalent we lost.  Also, be very cautious of your surroundings.  We thought we were.  In the same year we had been all over the U.S. and even to Rome and Nigeria for weddings.  We were so cautious, especially overseas, but we let our guard down in San Francisco and we paid a heavy price.  For the record, we were fortunate.  We didn't lose any previous weddings or shoots.  Everything had been backed up at home before leaving for this trip.  Always think about things like that.  Back up your files in multiple locations and if you have memory cards in your cameras that haven't been backed up, take them out and keep them with you until you do.

Brides, PLEASE make sure when looking for a wedding photographer, that you do your homework and hire a professional.  We can't stress the importance of this enough.  There are a lot of people out there these days who have picked up a camera, charge very little for their services and call themselves professionals and we know how tempting it is when planning such a costly event to try to save money when possible.  Sadly, many of these people are not professionals and you will pay the price in the end if something like this happens as they will not have the means to handle the situation.  A true professional photographer is established in their business and has the industry connections and monetary means to replace equipment last minute if necessary.  They also have the experience to handle something this horrible and carry through to produce the same wonderful photos you hired them to produce ... all with a smile on their face and a positive attitude.  Do your research and remember, you really do get what you pay for.

Again, we wanted to share this experience in hopes that those reading it may take something away from it in order to help them avoid pitfalls in the future.  Take it for what it's worth ... a cautionary tale.

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8-5-12 Kiva01.jpg

As many of you know by now, our new little puppy, Kiva, ended up with the Parvovirus.  Unfortunately we bought her from a breeder who cared more about money than delivering a healthy puppy to us.  It was a devastating diagnosis and we had to prepare for the worst as she was only 7 weeks old when she was admitted.  She spent 9 days in the hospital and we almost lost her on the 6th day.  Throughout, it was a horrible roller coaster of emotions, going from optimism to dread and back every day.  She is a fighter though and she rallied through the worst of it.  She came out of the hospital on July 12th very weak and only weighing in at 4 pounds (very small for an Old-English Sheepdog.)

Since her release she has steadily improved, gaining weight and energy each and every day!  We are overjoyed and blessed to still have her in our lives.  Below are some photos we have taken since he release from the hospital.

We love you Kiva ... our sweet little fighter :-)!!

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We are so excited to introduce Kiva to you!!  We picked her up from El Paso, Texas last week on June 27th.  She was 7 weeks old, weighed in at just under 5 pounds and has one bright blue eye and one soft brown eye.  She is so tiny right now, but she won't stay that way for long.  She is an Old-English Sheepdog just like my beautiful Yoshi was.  And though no dog could take the place of Yoshi, we know Kiva will bring us years of happiness just as he did!

These photos were taken the first day we got her and are a document of her first epic journey to her new home in Arizona :-).

Wondering where she is going.
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Exploring at a pit stop in New Mexico.
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Looking tiny in a sea of large feet.
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Our first portrait together.
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More exploration of the badlands of New Mexico.  It was very, very hot so exploration stayed at a minimum.
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Relaxing in Kevin's arms.
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Finally, we crossed into Arizona ... still a long way to go though.
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Home sweet home!
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Meeting Bump for the first time.
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Discovering the pool for the first time ... yes, she fell in :-(.
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All dry and a beautiful Arizona monsoon sunset (and duststorm) to welcome Kiva to her new home.
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It was a very long day for a little, little tiny puppy.  Good night Kiva and welcome home.  We love you!
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mom:

I finally found the really cute puppy photos, she is adorable, enjoy. She looks healthy now, hope she stays that way. Love Mom

(08.13.12 @ 02:28 AM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: INTRODUCING KIVA - THE NEWEST ADDITION TO OUR FAMILY!! . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.sierrablancophoto.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/14
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Today we lost our wonderful Yoshi.  He was the light of my life for 14 1/2 years and acted as our mascot at Sierra Blanco.  I just wanted to post a few photos.  A larger posting will follow when I feel up to it.

Yoshi, you have been a constant by my side through the very worst of times and some of the best of times and have enriched my life beyond words!  You will always be close in my heart and I am so blessed to have so many beautiful photos to remember you by!  I love you deeply!  Rest with the angels now!

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Today ... our last photo shoot together ...
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Till next time we meet Yosh-Man ... we love you!

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Melissa Dunstan:

I truly think the only fault of dogs is that they live such short lives. But, even though their time on earth is short, they give us such powerful, life changing, unconditional love. This love stays with us forever, and lifts us up at the most unsuspecting times. I'm so so sorry to hear of sweet Yoshi, but I know that he was so happy with you, and loved all the years he had with you. I truly feel he's still around, looking after you, as your angel, like he always did. Love knows no boundaries, and one day you'll see your sweet boy again. My heart goes out to you, Kevin and all the critters in this sad time. But, when you look up at the stars at night, know that Yoshi is smiling back at you. Heaven is now a brighter place with you there Yoshi.

(05.23.12 @ 05:35 PM)
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Melissa Dunstan Photography:

I love Yoshi. And I haven't even met your new pup! But I love her too :)

(01.27.12 @ 12:28 AM)
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This was Purple Bill and Greeny's first trip to Europe and they were super excited!  They posed in front of the Colosseum, sat on a cart full of traditional chianti flasks, got stuck in an old chicken coop in the Dolomite Mountains and played with the pigeons of Saint Mark's Square in Venice.  It was a whirlwind trip for the duo :-)!

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October 31, 2011 // Personal
Happy Halloween from Yoshi, Bump and Sierra Blanco Photography!!

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Donna Wright:

Bump actually looks like hes smiling and Yoshi looks like he feels the same way I do most days--get away and leave me alone...He is still very cute though. Love you..Mom

(10.31.11 @ 09:42 PM)
October 7, 2011 // Personal
We are very excited to say we are headed out this Sunday to Rome, Italy to photograph a wedding at the Vatican next week!!!!  After that we will be taking vacation, traveling around Italy until we finally end up in Venice before heading home.  During that time we will have limited email access, but will get back to everyone as soon as we can.  We will be returning on October 20th.  Thanks so much!
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This past December, the week before Christmas, we traveled to central Florida to visit our friends, Aubrey and Phillip, and to have a short vacation.  It was so nice visiting and simply relaxing.  One way we like to relax is to head into nature to watch and photograph the local wildlife.  On this particular trip it was extremely cold, especially by Florida standards.  With average lows that week in the lower twenties and high teens, we had a rare chance to witness one of nature's great spectacles.  When temperatures dip really low, Manatees head into the warm waters of the local springs - in this case, Blue Springs State Park -  for survival.  We have seen our share of these gentle giants over the years, but never in these numbers.  There were literally hundreds of them ... the sight was staggering!  We also got to photograph many of our favorite birds.  It was a great trip ... I miss Florida :-)!

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I LOVE monsoon season in Arizona!!  Tonight's storms brought Phoenix it's third major haboob (duststorm) of the season.  They are spectacular to watch!

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Meet Bump!  She is the newest member of our family!  She was a stray that was hit by a car at a recent wedding we were at.  Luckily she wasn't hurt too badly.  We took her home and the rest is history.  She is very sweet and gets along nicely with all our other animals.  We are so glad she wasn't killed that day and we are so very happy to have her with us now ... love ya Bump and welcome to the family!

 

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Of course, she doesn't replace Yoshi!  He has been faithfully by my side through thick and thin for 13 years now and I couldn't possibly love any dog more.  Bump actually makes Yoshi young again ... he even plays tug-of-war with her sometimes :-)!  Love you Yoshi!

 

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Nelda King-Sloan:

She looks sweet...hope she recovers well. Love her colors. ;) Yoshi is smiling for the camera. :)

(04.15.11 @ 06:31 PM)
Jessica White:

What a happy ending for Bump! Congrats on the new addition!

(04.16.11 @ 12:12 AM)
Amanda:

I love Yoshi! he's so adorbale!! and Bump looks like such a sweetheart! congrats on the new addition :)

(05.11.11 @ 10:12 PM)
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This shoot is the culmination of half a year of planning.  The idea was born of a need to do something outside the box.  Something very creative, whimsical, full of electric color and very high fashion.  We based the theme "loosely" on 'Alice in Wonderland.'  This past Sunday we saw it explode to life and we couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome!!!

 

Though we did most of the work ourselves, we did have help from two extraordinary people without whom this shoot never would have happened.  They are our Associate Photographer, Angie Gomez, who spent countless hours helping us plan and who donated many great props for the set design and one of our past clients and good friends, Megan Leland (she is 3 months pregnant by the way, congrats again :-),) who is a professional hairstylist and who brought the characters to life through her magical styles!  Her artistry far surpassed my wildest expectations!  Both Angie and Megan also served as our stunning models, and we mean STUNNING!!

 

Thanks to everyone who participated in this and made our "dream shoot" come true!!  It was a great ride down the rabbit hole :-)!!!

 

Hair by Megan Leland

Makeup by yours truly :-), Tina Wright

Set Design by Tina Wright, Kevin Juberg and Angie Gomez

Models, Angie Gomez and Megan Leland

 

Some "behind the scenes" shots :-).

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The "Set".
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The AMAZING shoot!!!!
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Angie:

I LOVE THEM! It was a Looooong day for me, but I made it through with the two of your excitement and with the great company and hard to resist Mrs. Megan! Without the three of you, whoo! I don't think I would have made it. LOL! But man, these came out awesome! Thanks Tina, Kevin, & Megan for these amazing photos!

(03.16.11 @ 05:04 PM)
Louise Seyfert (Jason Seyfert's Mom):

And I thought I was creative!? My son, Jason's marriage to Megan, following these in your blog pictures are wonderful but I have to say the "Alice in Wonderland" layout is extremely sensational. I can see them in a book format as a more adult like fairy-tail. I have spent 2-3 hours studying your pictures taken at various venues. I am a very amateur photographer (use Canon's G-11) and search for hints. "Frankly, after seeing your shots of "our" wedding, I may move some of mine out of the trash and be more adventurous with my editing. Thank you for opening an old ladies eyes to see what could be. Sincerely, Louise Seyfert - Mother of the groom!

(03.16.11 @ 11:59 PM)
Daniela:

These photos are amazing!! They belong to a magazine, I can see them in the Italian Vogue :)

(03.20.11 @ 02:35 AM)
aubreyk916@gmail.com:

I love these! Amazing creativity and so well executed! I miss modeling for you!!

(03.23.11 @ 02:28 AM)
Amanda Mcqueen:

OMG I love these! this looks like SO MUCH FUN!! the hair and makeup look great too!! good job guys!! I'm no model, but if you ever need another girl for one of your shoots I'm available! hehehe :-D love u guys!

(03.30.11 @ 12:51 AM)
Michelle:

I adore these. They have a fabulous edgy feel to them! Can't wait to post them on the blog - Michelle ♥

(07.11.12 @ 08:53 PM)
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Every spring there is a wildlife spectacle in Florida that nature photographers and birders alike come to witness from all over the world.  It is the annual nesting rookery at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and for anyone who loves birds, it is a real treat in every way.  Here, on one short boardwalk constructed over a swamp you can view Roseate Spoonbills, Tricolored Herons, Wood Storks, Snowy, Cattle and Great Egrets and many more species playing out every stage of the nesting process and May is prime time for the chicks to make their debut into the world.  It is a wonderous sight and I always love having a chance to watch them during this early stage of life :-)!

 

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Angelita:

I had NO idea ya'll were going to post this! I have never seen these! What a "treat" for sure! Have I ever told ya'll how much I love and admire your photography and what a pleasure it is to be learning from the two of you?!! I adore you two like you'll never understand! Beautiful pictures!!! Love them!

(02.22.11 @ 08:18 PM)
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While we were in Florida this past May for Liane and Andy's wedding we took time to visit some of my favorite wildlife hotspots and get back to nature.  It was spring and all the birds and reptiles were out either looking for mates, laying eggs or raising their young.  I just love this time of year in Florida for wildlife photography :-).

 
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This past August we went to the Big Island of Hawaii to photograph two weddings.  After we were done, we spent two weeks exploring this very large Island ... by Hawaii standards anyways.  What we found was an Island ripe with rugged beauty; active volcanoes giving birth to new land dotted with high, cold mountains harboring glimpses of the heavens and stars so close you feel as though you can almost touch them; oh, and then there are the secret lagoons and isolated beaches full of sea turtles ... plenty and plenty and plenty of sea turtles ... we love sea turtles :-)!  Below is a record of our journey through the images we took!

 

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Amanda M.:

omg these photos are gorgeous! I love them!!

(02.20.11 @ 02:38 PM)

 

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While we were on the Big Island of Hawaii, we took a boat trip to view the lava flows.  It was spectacular to witness ... one of the most amazing acts of nature we have ever seen!

 

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1-3-11 Trash The Dress Photography ATTD01.jpg

 

I want to start this post by saying that in no way, shape, or form did we harm this beautiful owl!!!  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love all animals, especially birds!

 

On New Years Eve, after Arizona's big winter storm, we hiked into the mountains northeast of Phoenix in search of a nice landscape photo of Four Peaks Mountain with rare snowfall on it.  While waiting for the light and searching out the perfect composition, I turned to see a fence ... and a strange shape hanging from it.  On closer inspection we found that it was a Great Horned Owl.  At first I thought it might have inadvertently flown into the fence, killing it but we soon came to realize that the bird had been affixed to the fence.  The scene was odd and disturbing as I wondered how the bird died and why someone would then strap it to a fence in the middle of nowhere.  The owl showed no obvious signs of trauma, so I guess I will never know.  I took the photo above for my decades-old, on going personal project, "Casualties of War."  It documents man's impact on the wild world and the damage we inflict, whether by purpose or not.

 

Fast forward a couple of days and I got it in my head that it would make for a really cool shoot!  I had an image of a high fashion look with really dark eye makeup and a somber, yet avant-garde look to the final photographs.  I got a hold of our associate photographer, Angie, and asked her if she would pose for the photos.  She agreed, and on absolutely no notice, she came over, I did her makeup, we drove out to the site, hiked in, put my wedding dress on her and did the shoot.  We arrived just in time for sunset, took the photographs, and hiked out through the cactus fields, in the cold, dark of night :-).  At the end of the shoot, Angie asked if I would take a few photos of her beautiful tatoo using the scene.  It was blue hour by this point and it worked perfectly for that set of images!

 

For me, the spring and fall wedding seasons of 2010 pretty much blurred together and I never really felt caught up.  I became terribly exhausted and sick and I am just now getting to where I mentally and physically feel a bit better.  Sometimes as photographers, and artists, we need to take a step back to regroup so we can come back in fresh.  I really needed a shoot like this ... something out of the box and edgy.  Angie, thank you so much for trusting in my vision - both the shoot and the makeup :-) - and for so willing trekking into the wilderness on a cold day to see this shoot through!  You look amazing in these photos!!!!

 

 

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Jessica White:

Breathtaking!

(01.06.11 @ 03:30 AM)
Aubrey:

She's gorgeous! I'm feeling replaced! ;) lol Beautiful images! I love the contrast of the feathers barbed wire and the flow of the dress... :) It was fun having you visit! Hope to see you soon!

(01.06.11 @ 07:02 PM)
Nelda King:

I love the pictures! OMGee! So very beautiful & the sky is amazing. The model is beautiful too, her outfit, her makeup, her tattoo && her jewelry. I feel awful for the owl. In our tradition owls are bad luck to us, but I would never wish bad on animals nor any kind of life. Again, SIERRA BLANCO you are so AWESOME!!

(01.06.11 @ 07:56 PM)
Amanda M:

so sad about the owl, but the shots are gorgeous, as always!! :) and you're defintely getting alot of use out of your dress! :)

(01.08.11 @ 04:42 PM)
Caitlin Smith:

wow. the sky is on fire. love the drama, the colors, the sex appeal... what a fun shoot!

(01.17.11 @ 06:55 PM)

We would like to extend our best wishes to everyone for a happy and safe holiday season!!

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For Christmas Eve we decided to take a road trip south of Tucson to visit Tumacacori National Historic Park for their festive luminaria display.  This is an annual event held each year on Christmas Eve and it was spectacular to witness!!

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Nelda King:

SERIOUSLY!!! I cannot get enough of your photography. :) I just love it! You make me want to be a photographer. Its something I enjoy, but don't think I have the talent like you two do. Happy Holidays & Best Wishes for the New Year.

(12.27.10 @ 06:54 PM)
October 30, 2010 // Personal

Happy Halloween from Sierra Blanco Photography and our "mascot", Yoshi!  He is a shark if you can't tell ... it is hard to find costumes that fit him :-)!

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Donna Wright:

Yoshi still looks so young and cute for his age and your pool area looks very pretty.
Mom

(10.31.10 @ 09:28 PM)
Jason Hicks:

Happy halloween! Congrats on getting to the top of Google!

(11.05.10 @ 01:07 AM)

My best friend in the whole world :-), Daniela, came out from her home in Chicago to help me out with a wedding (more on that in the next posting) in November.  She was only here for 3 days and it was the first time she had ever been out west.  She is originally from Brazil and given the fact that her time spent in the US has always been on the East Coast or in the Midwest, the Wild West was a little different for her.  She loved it from the moment her plane touched down in Phoenix!  Given the short time span I had to show her around, I had to be selective about where to take her.  The obvious choice was the Grand Canyon, so off we went, straight from the airport to the canyon.  She was mesmerized, as most people are who see it for the first time!  Here are a few shots we took while we were there.

 

Daniela and I at my favorite tree :-)!

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This is probably my favorite shot that I have ever taken at the Canyon.  I love the mixture of the mood of the dark storms in the canyon and the beautiful spot of light illuminating her face ... perfect!
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Back in late October we went to Florida to photograph Lisa and James' spectacular wedding in West Palm Beach.  While visiting south Florida, we took a few days to explore the Everglades and a bit of the Florida Keys.  Here are some of the highlights!

 

Yes, this is a Pygmy Rattlesnake ... and yes, I am using a wide angle lens, which means I was probably way too close.  Don't try getting this close to a poisonous snake unless you know well how to read their body language.  This one remained very calm and I took a lot of time to ease up to it to get the shot.

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Alligators
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I was soooo excited to get these next few photos.  These alligators are hatchlings and I have never encountered them in the wild before, despite trolling the swamps of FL for the better part of 10 years.  I heard the classic "chirping" noises and new they were close.  It didn't take long to locate them.  I felt so fortunate to observe them but we were always cautious ... you must always be on the lookout for the mother in a situation like this.  The mother will protect her young.
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So cute!!!!
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The cuttest baby turtle in the world on the left :-).
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Great Blue Heron
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This was one of my favorite shots of the trip!
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A little wild turkey humor :-).
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You know you are entering the Everglades when you see a Florida Panther Crossing.
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Osprey with fish.
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This is an American Crocodile and the Everglades is the only place you will find them and even then it is rare ... we were very lucky!
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Bald Eagle and Raven.
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Great Egret
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Turkey Vultures
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This may seem sad, but it is for my decades long personal project, "Casualties of War."  I really get angry to see a beautiful animal lose its life by speeding drivers, especially in a National Park where they shouldn't be speeding in the first place.  The victim was a snowy egret.
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The Keys ... specifically Islamorada on the left and Key Largo on the right.
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The keys are crawling with wild iguanas.
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Purple Bill and Greeny visit south Florida :-)!!  They had a blast!
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In late September we traveled to Puerto Penasco, Mexico, otherwise known as Rocky Point to photograph a wedding.  Aside from the actual wedding day, we spent a couple of extra days in the area exploring and having a little fun!  One of the highlights was renting ATVs and riding them around the nearby dunes.  The only downside to this was the intense heat.  From what I was told, September is a hot month in general, but they were having a freak heat wave that week which made the temperatures almost unbearable at about 105 degrees with 100 percent humidity.  We still had a great time though!

 

Purple Bill & Greeny being tourists :-).

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Our ATVs alone in the dunes.
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Having fun ... and sweating profusely!
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I know this seems sad, but it is for a personal project I have been working on for the past 13 years called "Casualties of War."  It highlights the damage we humans, intentional or not, inflict upon nature, wildlife in paticular.
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I love the following beach shots!  They were taken at sunset and it was just spectacular!!
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Michael Chansley:

How cool! I love the 4 wheeling photos! I've never been to Rocky Point, but it looks beautiful! Keep up the good work!

(02.05.10 @ 12:18 AM)

This was the winter storm to end all winter storms as Arizona standards go!!!  It swept in Monday, January 18th and lasted through Saturday, January 23rd.  It came in waves and brought with it record rains for Phoenix (nearly 6 inches in places) and record snows in Flagstaff and the White Mountains (nearly 5 feet at the base of the mountain in Flagstaff and almost 8 feet at the peak.)  I personally have never seen this much snow at one time in my entire life.  Love it or hate it, you couldn't help but stare in amazement!!

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The early stages of the storm.
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Yoshi is not pleased :-).
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Our neighbor shoveling the roof.
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By Thursday things were really getting intense.
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The snow is taller than Yoshi now.
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Everything is getting buried.
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Our street sign ... it is the normal height of a street sign.
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The snow is almost up to the roof.
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My illustration of the accumulation ... unbelievable!!!
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The calm after the storm ... simply STUNNING!!!
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December 25, 2009 // Personal
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Josefin:

Yosh is sooo cool! Heard on the news that you´ve got (a troublesome) winter over there. And I´m happy to say that this whole country is covered in snow too - a lot of snow!!! So, no jealousy needed this time ;)) Greetings from Sweden // Mikael&Josefin

(12.25.09 @ 10:33 AM)
Pam Stewart:

Yoshi is so adorable! Merry Christmas Tina & Kevin. Hope your staying warm ; )

(12.25.09 @ 02:52 PM)
kjuberg:

Aw..Yoshi looks so cute..not happy,, but cute!

(12.25.09 @ 08:24 PM)
Caitlin Smith:

I venture out into your blog pretty much every day, and I never get bored. Your personal collections are so much fun! Probably my favorite so far. I had no idea how bad Flag was during that storm! I actually spent the month up here in Portland, and it was really funny to me that everybody back home in Phoenix was whining about all the rain while I was staying nice and dry in a place that is notoriously wet. :)

(07.04.10 @ 11:38 PM)

WOW!!!  That's almost all I can say.  This was an intense storm - howling winds, electric out most of the night and nearly three feet of snow on the ground by Tuesday morning.  But what a beautiful sight :-)!!

 

Monday.

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Tuesday.
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How cute is my dog :-)??!!
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Even for Yoshi with all his fur it was still REALLY, REALLY, cold ... I love that you can see his breath :-).
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Yoshi's ready to pack it in and go home ... after only 20 minutes :-).
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A beautiful view from our yard ...
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... and a stunning one at the bottom of the road!!!!
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Amanda:

your doggy is super cute!! :)

(12.11.09 @ 11:49 PM)
Tim Halberg:

soooo beautiful! I miss living where it snows!! thanks for sharing photos that show the beauty of it!

(12.19.09 @ 05:09 AM)
Lisa:

Aw, Yoshi is a cutie pie!!! Yowza that's alotta snow!!!

(12.23.09 @ 11:43 PM)
November 1, 2009 // Personal
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Melissa Dunstan:

What a cutie! Hope you guys had a great "Howl-o-ween" (sorry, I couldn't resist). I always enjoy reading your blog and looking at all the beautiful photos and hearing about all the great stories behind them. Let's catch up soon!

(11.01.09 @ 02:12 PM)

This all began with the booking of a destination wedding in Michigan for Labor Day weekend.  We decided that rather than fly, it would be a great idea to drive and see some areas of the country we have never seen before.  Thus began the planning and execution of the Great American Road Trip!

 

We really wanted to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park so those were our first big stops.  We spent 2 days in Grand Teton and almost 4 in Yellowstone, both of which far exceeded our expectations!!  We spent much time in the company of bison (my new favorite animal), sometimes finding ourselves within 20 feet of the 2000 pound animals.  It was great!  The rut was in full swing so we got to see plenty of spit-flinging, snot-snorting fights which was also great!  We loved the many geological features of Yellowstone, but not the smell so much :-).

 

We then headed across the heartland through lovely, and flat, North Dakota, picking up plenty of bugs along the way.  We finally ended up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we spent a couple of days exploring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along the wild shores of lake Superior.  I have always wanted to go there and it was well worth it!  From there we headed down into lower Michigan for the wedding and then continued on to Chicago to have a very quick visit with my friend Daniela (she photographed our wedding last year.)  We left Chicago on Monday knowing we had to make good time ... we had to be in Tucson on Thursday for another wedding.  We did spend a little time in Taos, New Mexico on the way home which was really cool.  After the Tucson wedding we headed straight home so we could be at a wedding in Sedona by Saturday!

 

So there it is!  Three weeks, 15 states, and 6500 miles later we came full circle on our Great American Road Trip.  Some of the highlights included spending a lot of time with bison, being charged by a male Pronghorn who confused us for a male he was catching the scent of over the ridge, a raging thunderstorm over the plains complete with american symbols in the foreground like bison and bald eagles, seeing the world's largest cow, Salem Sue, seeing my friend Daniela and those are just to name a few.  It was an amazing trip and I am so glad we decided to do it!  We took thousands of images while we were there, but these five emerged at the top!

 

Bison grazing at Sunrise

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Lightning and Resting Bison
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Bison Emerging from the Shadows
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Silly Face
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Artist Point in Yellowstone
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After this trip my new favorite animal is the bison!!  I completely fell in love with these giant lumbering creatures.  We had many amazing opportunities to be in the company of, get way too close to, observe and photograph bison in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  We were there during the rut and that was definitely something to witness.  Side note: don't find yourself in the middle of two rutting bulls - bad, bad idea ... we are OK though :-)!  We also saw and photographed Pronghorn, mule deer, elk, coyote, bald eagles and much more.  It was nice to concentrate on wildlife photography ... something we haven't done in way too long!

 

Yellowstone Bison

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Love the accessories :-)!
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This bull knows another is near and he is beginning to posture for dominance.
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He goes at it with his adversary!  This was where we found ourselves just slightly in the way!
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Reee-jected ... yes, he got a swift kick to the face for his advances ... poor guy :-(.
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This coyote is hunting and he got a tasty little snack for his efforts :-).
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This guy (Pronghorn) charged us ... or so it seemed.  He ran straight at us and stopped about 10 feet shy of us.  Ultimately it was another male over the ridge that got him so upset, but it definitely got our heart rates up :-)!
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Grand Teton Bison
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This is our car and this is how close they were to us ... pretty cool :-)!
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If I were to try to find words to describe Yellowstone National Park - and believe me, words will definitely escape you when you lay eyes upon this place - they would be somewhere along the lines of primordial, surreal, sublime ... especially sublime.  This place really did leave me speachless.  I haven't felt a sense of peace like this since Africa.  I didn't want to leave.  We are already planning another trip back.

 

Old Faithful

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Mud Pots
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Bison Tracks in Grand Prismatic Springs
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Patterns are everywhere in Yellowstone.
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Yellowstone Lake
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Hayden Valley and Yellowstone River
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Mammoth Hot Springs
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Artist Point
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The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
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Grand Prismatic Springs
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Lamar Valley
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gino:

Really enjoyed these images. Very very nice. Thanks for the eye candy.

Here are a few of mine if you're interested.

http://storybyphoto.com/blog/2008/06/19/yellowstonephotos/

(07.24.10 @ 05:53 AM)

Quite frankly, the Grand Tetons smack you in the face with their immense grandeur!  They are simply jaw-dropping!  Of course, you know you are in for something special when you first enter the gateway of Jackson Hole.  What a pristine little mountain town.  We only had a few days there so we concentrated on the grand landscapes, old barns and wildlife the Tetons are famous for!  We will definitely be back!

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The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is very remote and wild and I have always wanted to visit it.  A wedding in Michigan provided the perfect excuse :-).  Within this peninsula lies Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  Resting against the rough shores of Lake Superior, it is a true gem for nature lovers.  One of the highlights for us was trekking 3 miles throught the woods to emerge on an amazing beach with towering sandstone cliffs!  Its name is Chapel Beach and it was spectacular!  We took photos past sunset ... and yes we did hike the 3 miles back though the woods, in the dark, as the light of a full moon danced through the trees :-).  It was a magical experience!

 

The water's of Lake Superior were so amazingly blue!!

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Miners Castle
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Chapel Falls
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Chapel Rock
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Tracks in the sand
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There were small hints of the beginnings of fall.
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Grand Sable Dunes
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Sunrise!
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I love scenes like this!!  If we hadn't stopped to see if the meadow was worth photographing, we would have completely passed it by.  I'm so glad we didn't ... it was magical!  Made it worth getting up for sunrise :-)!
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Photos and moments captured along the way!

 

Utah

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Bear Lake, Idaho
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Idaho
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Jackson Hole, Wyoming
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Grand Teton National Park
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Someone decided to hitch a ride :-)
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Yellowstone National Park
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Buffalo Jam :-) ... seriously ... that is what they call it in the park
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A photo for you mom!  She has two westies also :-).
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Old Faithful and a little Americana
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Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
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Lunch in Yellowstone
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Though it may look like it, this bison is not attacking ... just moving downhill :-).
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Yes, that is hail ... a lot of it!
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Mountain Pass in Montana.  It was soooo cold up there :-).
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The prairies of North Dakota 
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Sunflowers in North Dakota
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This is our "Dare to be Different" photo :-).
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Here she is ... Salem Sue, the world's largest cow!!!  I love cows and was so excited to see this roadside oddity in North Dakota - how awesome :-)!!
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Old Barn in Wisconsin
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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
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Castle Rock, Colorado
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The Chiricahuas, Arizona
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Of course none of our trips seem complete without Purple Bill and Greeny :-)!

 

Grand Teton National Park

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Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
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Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park
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Old Barn, Wisconsin
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Wisconsin
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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Upper Peninsula - Michigan
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Chicago, Illinois
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Castle Rock, Colorado
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New Mexico
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Chiricahuas, Arizona
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Phuong is one of my dearest and oldest friends.  We met in North Carolina in High School (which was in the late 80's for timeline references) when I was a senior and she was a junior.  Seniors had the privilege of leaving campus for lunch and I would always sneak Phuong out with me.  We also loved to go to those rowdy high school parties together and we ditched our prom dates to hang out for the rest of the night together ... which was much more fun given who my date was :-).  We also would just get together and head out to the beach (a 2 1/2 hour drive away) on a moments notice just because.  We always had fun together - and I loved going to her house to have some of her mother's Vietnamese cooking, yum - and no matter how sad I might be Phuong always had a way of making me laugh ... she just has that kind of personality!

 

The one thing about Phuong is that her love of travel and adventure is only matched by my own - and perhaps her husband's :-).  This is one of those major things we have always shared in common.  The last time I saw Phuong was in 1999.  That was also a "Tina & Phuong Adventure Trip", along with some other people - spouses, etc.  On that trip we spent a month together in Kenya, a week of that living with the Maasai when I was initiated into their tribe.  We had such an amazing time, but I didn't realize when I said goodbye that I wouldn't see my good friend again for a decade ... and she only lives in San Francisco, go figure.

 

I was so super excited when she called and said she wanted to visit.  After picking her up at the airport we headed up to Flagstaff and the first place I took her was Snowbowl.  This was mid-April and it was still barren on top of the mountain.  We took a photo on the last day she was here and it was all green and beautiful.  Before arriving she asked what she should pack in the way of clothing and I told her to expect temperatures from below freezing to over 100 degrees ... I think she thought I was crazy, but she soon learned what those of us who live here well know :-).  She stayed almost 5 weeks and in that time we visited many areas of the state, she assisted me at weddings, she fell in love with our dog, Yoshi, and laughed a lot at the antics of our crazy bird, Ziggy.  We had many new adventures and a great time reminiscing about adventures gone by ...

 

Until the next big adventure Phuong ... hopefully it won't be another decade away :-)!  Love you always!!

 

The first day at Snowbowl.

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Having fun on the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon :-).
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Spring is the time for baby ducks ... love baby ducks - sooo cute!
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The Superstition Mountain Range at Roosevelt Lake.
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This was one of our really big, full-day trips.  I really wanted Phuong to see where I used to live and also experience a place not many tourists to Arizona see - the White Mountains.  We started by going to the Petrified Forest, then continued southeast to Springerville at which point we stopped at Java Blues for lunch (one of our favorite spots to eat in the WM.)  From there we continued on Forest Roads past Big Lake to the West Fork of the Black River and then out to Greer, finally ending in Pinetop for dinner at Charlie Clark's (another favorite) before heading home.  It was still quite barren at that elevation with no leaves yet on the aspens and large patches on snow dotting the mountain.  I really love this area of the state and Phuong definitely could see why :-)! Yoshi went along for the ride and had a great time too!!

 

Yoshi's comfy little pad in the back of the car, complete with his bed and favorite stuffed animal :-).

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Looking out at the Painted Desert in the Petrified Forest.
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Having a little fun :-).
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OK seriously ... this is one of my all-time FAVORITE Yoshi photos ... this will definitely make it onto the wall!!!
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Soooooooo freakin cute!!!!!
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Cutting up.
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Fossil Creek in Strawberry is a spectacular creek with its stunning blue waters and falls.  We also found the most curious thing ... a set of three old, yellow chairs, positioned in the creek facing towards a 20-foot plus waterfall.  It was hilarious and it was even more hilarious when Phuong and Kevin sat in them to pose for the camera :-).

 

Devil's Bridge is located in Sedona and it is simply amazing.  It takes a bit of a vertical hike to reach it but is well worth the effort!  Phuong and I really freaked out some pour woman from New Jersey who isn't used to seeing people walking out to the edge of a rock with a very long drop on the other side of it ... to that woman, we pass along our apologies :-)!

 

Some fun graffiti we found under a bridge at Fossil Creek.

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The drive down to Fossil Creek is a little treacherous ...
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Love this frog's choice of home :-).
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This is so funny ...
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... and this is even funnier :-)!!!
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Phuong and I really love cows ... so we thought we would take a short walk with some :-).
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Devil's Bridge ... gorgeous!!
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We got a little silly with our shadow puppets ... I kind of resemble the creature from the movie "Aliens."
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OK mom, please don't have a heart attack ... it looks bad, but we were VERY, VERY careful - I promise :-).  Again, our apologies to the poosr New Jersey lady.
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Pita Stanton:

I LOVE the picture of you two running across devils bridge. Is that in Sedona?

(07.16.09 @ 08:42 PM)
Caitlin Smith:

Looks like an absolute BLAST!!! :-D

(07.05.10 @ 12:17 AM)

We had a great time exploring Antelope Canyon and a little of Lake Powell.  Kevin and I had never been to Antelope Canyon before and we definitely plan on returning for some serious landscape photography!

 

Heading out to the slot canyon.

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I love taking photos of cows :-)!!
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Our guide, Zac, playing the flute.
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I love this shot :-)!
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Lake Powell was just a tad windy :-)!!!!
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Alison K. Juberg:

very whimsical pictures. Love the dog and the nature pictures.

(08.03.09 @ 01:23 AM)

The Grand Canyon ... that was our final trip on the "Tina & Phuong take on Arizona" expedition.  We had gone to the Canyon when Phuong first arrived, but that was the Trash-the-Dress shoot, so we decided to end our trip here - a place that Phuong was so excited to see.  We brought Yoshi along as well since Phuong developed such a close relationship with him during her stay.  We stopped by Snowbowl on the way to take a photo illustrating the change in season from the photo taken on the first day, seemed befitting.  It was a fun trip, but at the sam time a bittersweet one.  After ten years of not seeing my high school friend, I had grown accustomed to her presence again ... hopefully it won't be another ten years before we meet again and take on another destination :-)!  Love ya Phuong!!

 

Back to where our trip began ... on top of Snowbowl.  Amazing how different it looked after almost 5 weeks.

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I had really been wanting a photo like this.  It symbolizes how great a friend he has been to me over the past 11 years and for me it is a very important image ... it will live on even when I don't have him around anymore and I will always be able to remember and cherish this moment.
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Phuong IM'ing on the phone with her husband at the edge of the canyon ... hilarious :-)!
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Bye Phuong - it was quite an adventure!!!
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Pita Stanton:

The picture of you and Yoshi is really cute. The picture of the canyon with the storms all along the rim is absolutely amazing!!! I brag about you guys all of the time to people. I am so, so, so happy we went with you for our wedding!!! I come back to your blog at least once a week just to see you work and what you have been up to. Thank you!!

(07.16.09 @ 08:45 PM)

A little background here.  We usually have Yoshi shaved down every summer as he is an Old English Sheepdog and even in Flagstaff's temperate climate he still gets really hot with all that fur.  Seems like a simple task, right?  Not with Yoshi.  You see, he had a very bad grooming experience as a puppy (I should have sued those idiots) and ever since then has been TERRIFIED ... and I mean really TERRIFIED of being shaved.  Not even tranquilizers would work.  He had to be put completely under and shaved that way.  No big deal (other than the fact that it cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 a shave) but this year it was a big deal.

 

Yoshi is entering into his golden years - he is 11 now - and our wonderful vet, Dr. Bush of Flagstaff Animal Hospital, didn't feel comfortable putting him under at his age.  The risk of death is just too great and I am not about to lose my best friend that way, so they decided instead to tranquilize and muzzle him and see how far they could get.  We were so proud of him because he did great and they got most of the fur off, but there was a slight snag.  They couldn't trim his face because of the muzzle and his feet were off limits ... he does not under any circumstance like his feet touched.  This left him a little funny looking this time around.  His face resembles that of a schnauzer and his feet remind me of a poodle's.  With this I have come up with my new designer breed ... Yoshi is now my Old-English Schnauzer-Poo :-)!

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Josefin Wahss:

Wow - a new dog!! He is cute ;) Go Yoshi - you don´t have to look like everybody else!!

(07.09.09 @ 04:12 PM)
July 9, 2009 // Personal

We finally finished our pet project this year ... our beautiful backyard oasis complete with gardens, a koi pond, flower planters and a new patio set.  It is our little refuge and since my mom lives all the way across the country, this is the only way I can show her what I have been talking about for so many months now.  Here it is mom :-)!

 

Some of our pretty fish at feeding time :-).

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Our patio and gardens ... and yes that is a 30lb moving rock (our tortoise) in the corner of the upper left photo.
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Nelda King:

I Love TURTLES!!
I just see the top area of his shell, so beautiful though.
I love you garden too, looks so relaxing. :)

(10.22.10 @ 10:24 PM)
July 7, 2009 // Personal

We just wanted to update everyone on our baby skunk.  After one glorious week our baby passed away.  It happened last Tuesday, June 30th and was very unexpected.  Once we noticed the signs that he wasn't doing well, it was only a matter of hours and he was gone.

 

It was a very tough week because we had both let our guard down thinking he was going to make it.  He had a GREAT week though ... and so did we!!  In that week he took more milk daily and gained weight.  His eyes opened fully and he played and played and played.  We loved it when he chased us around and stamped his front feet at us with such spunk.  He was a spunky little guy and had such an incredible personality :-)!

 

Our loss was profound but we are so blessed to have found him.  We named him the night before he died (wanting to wait until we thought he would make it.)  His official name was Squirrel - he ran around and acted crazy like one :-) - and his nickname was MeMe because everything was about him :-).  He is now buried in our garden and we got some colorful, decorative mushrooms to mark the spot.

 

We want to thank everyone for asking about him and making their wonderful comments on his blog posting.  He got a lot of interest from a lot of people which just shows how special he was.  We love you Squirrel!!!  We hope we gave you the love and happiness that you needed, because you certainly gave us a lifetime of memories :-)!

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A couple of weeks ago we headed out to the Sierra Nevada range of California where we had a destination wedding to photograph.  Kevin used to live in these mountains and has a real passion for them ... especially Yosemite National Park, so this was a real treat for him to go back home, if even for a very short time.

 

I personally have never been to this part of the world so I was like a kid in a candy store!  Every turn revealed something new and wonderful.  We started our trip near Sequoia National Park where the wedding was to be held.  We spent the first day scouting the area and grabbing some nice nature shots along the way.  The day after the wedding we headed north to Yosemite National Park.  We were on a tight timeline as this was already Thursday and we had to be in the White Mountains of Arizona for another wedding by Saturday.  Hence, we weren't there during the best time of the day, but it was specatcular none-the-less!!  As we passed through, we stopped frequently to take travel shots (I used to do a lot of trvel photography and really enjoy it), landscape shots (duh...), and of course those must have, silly tourist shots.  We stopped for lunch at the famed Ahwahnee Hotel and then headed on through the park over the Tioga Pass to the eastern side of the Sierras. A big highlight along the way was sighting a black bear in a field feeding ... a really awesome sight!!!

 

We made our way to Mono Lake, a world-famous lake amongst landscape photographers, for sunset.  I have always wanted to take landscapes of Mono Lake and was quite happy with what we got given the tight time frame.  We had dinner in Mammoth Lakes (Kevin lived there and it is one of his favorite places) and stayed in Bishop.  Before heading home the next day we stopped in at Mountian Light Gallery which was founded by the late Galen Rowell.  He was an amazingly talented photographer.  I once attended one of his seminars when I was in college in Florida and he was nothing short of inspirational.  It was a treat to walk though his gallery!

 

An impressive view of Yosemite Valley.

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Yosemite Falls was flowing very well!
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The Ahwahnee Hotel and the view from our table at lunch.
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The view of El Capitan from El Capitan meadow ... one of Kevin's favorite places in the world.
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This is a black bear, not a brown bear - I swear it is.
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A view of Tenaya Lake.
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Tuolumne Meadows ... and one of my favorite photos of the day :-).
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Another favorite of the day!
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A view of Tioga Lake from Tioga Pass ... very impressive!!
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Mono Lake and it's famous tufa towers.
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Most people visit Mono Lake to photograph it's exotic tufa formations.  Me, I had to photograph the millions of Alkali Flies that cover the lake's shores ... definitely got some wierd looks as I lay flat on the muddy banks :-).  These were actually really hard to get and after many frames these emerged as a couple of my favorites. A side note: These flies are very polite ... they do not like touching humans, making my job much easier :-).
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Told you this was a photographer's paradise :-).
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This is my absolute favorite ... I love the pastel colors, very serene.
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The many hues of sunset.
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I didn't believe Kevin when he told me that this plant's official name is "Snow Plant"... then I saw it on an identification sign in Yosemite :-).  Guess I should put more faith in him :-).
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Scouting around Shaver Lake for the wedding.  Wait until you see what this area looked like the next day for couple formals ....
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I have to say ... when we rounded the corner and I first laid eyes on the giant sequoias, it was breathtaking!!!
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This is where the wedding was held ... what a spectaclular spot for a ceremony!!
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Shaver Lake.
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A really cool old cottonwood charcoal kiln on the eastern slopes of the Sierras.
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Owen's Dry Lake.
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Lisa:

Tina,
Great shots of Yosemite!!! I went there with James last year it was awesome. I've got a funny picutre of me sitting inside a Great Sequoia.

~Lisa

(06.28.09 @ 06:01 PM)
Josefin Wahss:

Wonderful pictures and beautiful people! I remember that tufa formation. And the flies. The reflections in Tioga lake, and the view from the Ahwahnee dining room. Further, I forgot my bikini in a tree at the Bishop campground, and we found no ice cream on the top of the upper Yosemite fall. Fortunately, we found sequoias as big as evrything else in USA.
Memories....;)
Looking forward to see more picures from the area!!

(06.28.09 @ 08:51 PM)
Hussey Photography:

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!
I've GOT to go there!!!!
That's INCREDIBLE!!! What amazing shots!
I love the 4 shots of the different hues of sunset! So cool!!!

Great job!

-Tim

(07.01.09 @ 05:24 PM)
clippingimages:

excellent photographs.....................

(12.26.10 @ 04:57 AM)
kushibo:

I came here looking for large pictures of lava flowing into the sea, but I stuck around to look at all the non-Hawaii photos as well.

Very nice. I'll my s.o. stop by here to take a look at all the places on the Mainland where I'd like to take her later.

(06.01.11 @ 01:18 AM)

Kevin and I love animals and we have a real soft spot for anything that has had the misfortune so early in life to be orphaned.  On Tuesday evening we came across a poor baby striped skunk that had obviously lost its family.  With little coordination and no sight, it had wandered into the middle of the road.  We are so glad we came across this little guy because had we not, it's outcome looked to be very bleak.

 

We brought it home, did some research on the internet, went to the pet store, bought some formula and made a home for him, complete with a heating pad to stay warm and stuffed animals to keep him company when we aren't holding him.  Based on our research, we estimate his age to be about 2 weeks ... he is soooo tiny.  We are already attached and are praying for a good outcome.  We will keep you posted on his status :-).

 

His first night ... he was very tired :-).

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His coordination isn't so good yet as you can see :-). One eye opened yesterday, but the other eye hasn't opened yet.
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Look at how proud he looks that he is standing up straight ... soooooo cute!!!
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Feeding time :-).
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Just had to throw in a couple of photos of our pet project this year.  We have been wanting a Koi Pond and gardens for a while now.  We have worked really hard on them this spring and though the lower garden still needs a little more work, we are very pleased with the outcome.
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Aubrey Reel:

This makes me so happy!! I miss your skunk most of all!!

(06.25.09 @ 03:06 PM)
Lisa Liang:

Hi Tina!!!

Aw, what a cute little guy!!! You guys are the best!

I love your koi pond!!! My brother's nickname is Koi (a short form of his Chinese name), so I love koi ponds too.

~Lisa

(06.25.09 @ 07:40 PM)
Michael Chansley:

How cute!! It's a good thing you saw him and noticed the situation. Just don't do anything to scare him or piss him off! lol.

(06.25.09 @ 10:56 PM)
Averill:

don't let john and kathy morgan see your little black and white - they'd want him...

(06.26.09 @ 02:15 PM)
Kathy Morgan:

Hi Tina! When I was 10 years old, I hung old at a neighborhood pet shop and the owner gave my best friend Julie and I a pet skunk. We kept it there. Her name was Rosie and had been descented. She was the sweetest pet of all. She eventually lost use of her back legs a few years later. I'll never forget her. enjoy yours!

(06.26.09 @ 04:55 PM)
Josefin Wahss:

I can see that you are working on your zoo. Well done!! I´d love to visit you in a few years or so ;)

(06.26.09 @ 10:42 PM)

On an earlier posting when I was visiting my family in North Carolina, I mentioned that my mother had recently rescued a dog named Gizmo.  Gizmo was labled a westie by his previous owner (who wasn't really sure) but we were not too sure.  When I first laid eyes on Gizmo I was convinced he was a Schnauzer/Westie mix and my mom thought all kind of breeds.  So my mom had a DNA test run just so we could know exactly what he is and the results are back ..... Gizmo is officially a 100% full-blooded West Highland White Terrier, otherwise know as a Westie!!  Could have fooled me :-).  Love ya Gizzy!

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After leaving Florida, I headed to North Carolina to visit my family.  I have been here almost two weeks now and am not ready to make my departure later this week ... but alas, all good things must come to an end.  I have no family in AZ - they all live in NC - so it is always a joy to come home ... though I don't get to do it nearly enough.

Louie, my mom's Westie, has made appearances on the blog before, but it is time to introduce our new addition ... drum roll please ... Gizmo!!  Gizmo was in need of a better home than he came from (though not from lack of the previous owner caring, which is why she gave him up.)  He came to my mom's house in pretty poor condition, but is now beautiful and thriving ... and really, really sweet.  He was advertised as a Westie, but we don't really think so.  I personally think he is a mix between a Schnauzer and a Westie.  We will find out soon though when we have a DNA test done ... we are just so curious.  Here are a few photos we took of them for St. Patty's Day :-).

This is Gizmo.  What do you think he is?
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Sarah Bason:

He is adorable....and I agree with you, he's got schnauzer written all over him! That breed testing is some cutting edge stuff so it's really cool regular vets are able to offer it now -- I'd love to hear how it turns out!

(03.26.09 @ 11:47 PM)
kjuberg:

Its official. Gizmo is a WESTIE!!!!

(05.02.09 @ 12:59 AM)

We couldn't be happier that winter has finally returned to the high country!!  We were beginning to think it was all over with.  One request though ... for those who don't feel comfortable driving in snow, we beg of you - please stay at home.  Don't get us wrong ... we completely understand that some folks aren't used to driving in winter conditions, but when it takes almost six hours to drive from north Phoenix to Flagstaff with no apparent accidents along the way, that is waaaay toooo long!  That is just what happened last night after leaving from a meeting.  On the bright side though, we returned with two new wonderful clients!

 

This was the view from our front porch this morning :-)!

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Michael Chansley:

Don't get me wrong, but I am SO glad I don't have to drive back and forth to NAU anymore! I am one of those drivers you just mentioned who is not experienced enough with driving in the snow. It actually almost snowed down here in Tucson after reaching 80 last week!

(02.11.09 @ 06:12 AM)

Wishing everyone a safe and joyous holiday season from our family to yours!!!

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Josefin Wahss:

Just so you know - we are so SO jealous over here! No snow in sight and today is the first sunny day for - months?!? We have decided that we have to move north - or over seas - soon. Flagstaff is on our list!!
A merry christmas from Sweden, to all of you, wonderful americans! Still looking forward to visit you again...;) /Josefin & Mikael

(12.21.08 @ 03:24 AM)

And that it did ... for three solid days, leaving us with almost 2 feet of snow and finally making the holiday season feel a little more real to me.

 

I have been extremely busy over the past few months with weddings, shoots and deadlines and when I heard we were going to get this massive winter storm I was soooo excited.  I have paid little attention to the holidays and though I had a tree sitting outside, I had not planned any time to actually move it inside and decorate it.  It worked out perfectly though, because I cannot think of a better way to get into the holiday spirit than to settle in with a cup of hot chocolate, a roaring fire, and some Christmas tunes playing in the background and enjoy the peace of decorating the tree - all while a peaceful snow falls outside.

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A photo to give scale to how much snow actually fell ... it was a lot :-).

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Michael Chansley:

Wow! That's a ton of snow!

(12.20.08 @ 10:32 PM)
Nelda King:

I love the second photo. So beautiful. :)

(10.22.10 @ 08:11 PM)
November 10, 2008 // Personal

We had a very busy weekend down in Phoenix with three large back-to-back-to-back weddings.  Blurry eyed, sore and extremely tired we headed back to Flagstaff late last night only to be welcomed by our first snow storm.  Funny thing is, last year we made jokes all winter long that every time we had a wedding or a meeting in Phoenix we always seemed to have to drive home in a snowstorm ... looks like this year might hold more of the same :-)!

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Krissy Mieszcanski:

Sure makes us miss Flag even more! Beautiful picture!

(11.11.08 @ 12:28 PM)