My Life!

My people!

If you had asked me about 5 years ago if I would like to go on a family camping trip, I would have said NO WAY!!!  lol  The image below would have been my expression!  However Gabby's expression was for a different reason...keep reading.

Gabby, when she found out that I forgot her Pescatarian food options....and all we had were burgers!

Well, over the last year, I have developed a HUGE love for nature, the mountains, experiencing time away from my city life!  I believe that when I injured my hips and started to feel limitations in my workouts, I found solace in a hike.  I felt like I was still using my body and giving it what it craved while not adding insult to injury.

Our bush-wacking hike that took us up a beautiful single track trail and finally off the path, seeking a waterfall we had seen from the other side of the lake! Photo: Alex Pedersen

Chris mentioned to me that he wanted to take an overnight with his son to try out his son's new camera set up, and I JUMPED on the chance to feed my own passion for photography and get some good night sky photography, away from all city lights!  I've been wanting to practice this type of shot for quite while now and this offered the perfect opportunity for that, as well as spending quality time with my family before we all disbanded from the summer, and headed back to our usual routine!

Having shots of me doing what I love best is AWESOME!  Photo by: Alex Pedersen

...and photographing what I love to photograph... photo by: Alex Pedersen

Having someone else on the trip who was as into pictures as I was, was so FUN!!!  This kid already has a great eye and took some fantastic shots! 

Alex in his element!

We loaded up the family on Friday afternoon and headed to a lake that Chris picked out! As our spectacular luck had it, he left early enough to get THE spot on the lake that we coveted!  It was truly a sight to be seen.  The far edge of the lake, the beauty was SO incredible that once I arrived, all I could do was look this way and that with my mouth hanging open!  No joke!!  

There she is in all her glory!

The "Tuff Truck" was a blessing to have!  My little CRV was not going over all those gigantic ruts and rocks on the road!

Behind our camp didn't matter which way you faced, jaw dropping beauty surrounded us!

The kids and I set off for a short photo trek to take advantage of the most beautiful evening light!  We found TONS of crazy cool mushrooms, glorious wild flowers and mountains/mist to make you want to just soak it all in!

I saw this in the middle of the road driving in and wondered if it was really a mushroom...and decided nah, it's probably just a wrapper of some sort. Well prove me wrong because these babies were EVERYWHERE!  But don't eat them! lol

The road...

We were all mildly obsessed with the mushrooms...I had never seen anything like it before!


..and another!

My two goons, being gooney.

The water was low this trip, but from what we heard, the fishing is great!

Now that you have seen all this beauty, let me backtrack just a minute.  Just one week earlier, Chris and I sat in Starbucks on Sunday, watching our well made plans go down the drain.  This was the BIG TRIP we were ALL so excited for, with pictures, hiking, campfires, fun times TOGETHER...we were all anticipating!  That very Sunday, rain poured from the sky, and had been pouring, and there was not a glimmer of sunshine in the forecast for the next 10 days.  Now I DO know that weather forecasters aren't always right especially in Colorado, know.  A consensus was made that day, by kids and adults, that the trip be a certainty and we would just enjoy what nature gave us!  It would be an adventure regardless!  BEST. DECISION. EVER!

As you can see, we got the best of the best baby!  Beautiful temperatures and partial clouds!

The campsite had us with 5 hammocks set up, 4 tents and 7 people.  A HUGE boulder conveniently served as a "table", and a fire ring ready for the taking!

Now we get to the mom of the year award....when we were walking back from the photo expedition, Gabby innocently asks, "what's for dinner?"    Insert blank stare as I come to the realization that all of Gabby's vegetarian options, burgers etc....are at my house, back in Denver, in the freezer.  Yeah...I felt like a million bucks. ;-)  Never fear though when you travel with Alex P...he immediately came to the rescue by hooking up his fishing pole and setting out to get Gab some food!  ...and he did!  I was so happy Gabby didn't have to subsist on Doritos and smores! ;-)

Alex found the "right" spot, patiently cast his line in the water, and returned home with food for Gabby!!!!  Chris was happy to grill it up for her so she wouldn't starve! ;-)

Alex, Chris and I all had our cameras and tripods with the anticipation of practicing our star photography!  I had tried once before, unsuccessfully, and have been anxious to do some after seeing endless beautiful photographs from my photog friends as well as some of Gabby's buddies!  Again, we were blessed with a mostly clear night that allowed the stars to SHINE ON BABY!!  We got some insane pictures and had a really FUN time doing it!

photo by: Alex

He had a 500 mm lens and got this incredible capture of the moon!

After the sun had set and the light was dimming, a blue tone came over and low lying clouds rolled through the trees creating a magical scene!

Facing the lake was just as incredible, with the reflections and the calm.

Our neighbors, not too far away but far enough, and I was upset that their lights were ruining my night pictures!  lol  Still, I like the shot of their campsite!

I am super proud/excited at how my star shots came out! We saw a ton of shooting stars that night, and I was able to capture some in my long exposures!

I think this is my favorite shot of the night...aside from the light from my neighbors grrrrr ;-), with the detail and the stars even appearing in the reflection of the still water.

I even got an image of the Milky Way before the clouds came in!

The night was long, or short depending on how you look at it.  Gabby was already outside when I came out of my tent at 5:30am, Chris right behind me.  Alex woke up and the other 3 slept for what seemed like forever! All of us early risers were anxious to see sunrise and pull out the cameras yet again!!

It was derned cold when we got up!  Gabby and I had LOTS of layers and of course Chris was comfortable in a thin shell. :-)

It took a bit for the sun to start making an impact on the sky, but the small amount of clouds we had was perfect for the sky painting!

The early morning gang!

From behind our campsite you could still see the moon, mixed with the warm sunlight on the hill!

The light at this time of day can be so warm and welcoming!

Surprise shot that I took on my GoPro! I love the color and fish eye look!

The sun is almost peeking over the horizon!

Coffee was brewed in the French press, tea was made and happily situated in my travel mug and bacon/eggs were on the camp stove.  The other kids woke up one by one and they made their way out into the day.  

Alex getting a sick shot of the moon!

She is her mother's daughter and was as cold as I was all night! ;-)

Chris was a lifesaver getting us all good hot food and making sure we were all warmed by the fire!

photo by: Alex P.

And Gabby...well she IS still a kid in my mind and promptly fell back asleep in the warmth of the morning sun!

After her nap, Gabby played around with Alex's camera since her battery died on hers :(.  Hannah chilled out and checked out the lake!  Oh, and Gabby took to widdling a spear with a hatchet lol!

Hannah. photo by: Alex P.

Sap. Photo by: Gabby Lopez

Tree. Photo by: Gabby Lopez

Tree 2. Photo by: Gabby Lopez

Hannah. Photo by: Chris P.

A girl and her hatchet.... Photo by: Alex P.

Details. Photo by: Alex P.

One of my FAVES!  Me and my girl! Photo by: Alex P.

Gabby, Alex P, Hannah and I wanted to explore just a tiny bit more before we packed up camp and headed home!  We went to the upper reservoir, located a hop, skip and a jump up the hill!

Not even realizing what was located conveniently behind us by literally a few hundred feet...I once again saw jaw dropping beauty!  We spotted a waterfall and took off on the single track to see if we could reach it!  

Gabby was nervous but I knew I could do it without falling in lol!!

What would a hike of mine be without a pistol squat or a handstand?

We ventured off trail as it was the only way we had hopes of getting to our destination! I couldn't believe the view!!!  

Heading back down and this beautiful canoe was paddling around the upper reservoir!

A long stretch from my 3 hoodies, hat and heavy jacket!! :-)

In the end, everything went RIGHT!  I would truly have loved what we got, even if it was rain, because we all were doing something we were looking forward to doing, together.  Getting all the things I was anticipating though, wow, I was in HEAVEN and can't wait to go back and do it all again!!!

Icing on the cake, my dog loving daughter made a new friend!! :-) 

If your family is a nature family and would like to book a session in the great outdoors, please reach out!  I LOVE photographing in this beauty and would love to capture your family doing what you love!