Death Valley + Las Vegas

We recently visited Death Valley National Park and Las Vegas on a western sojourn to see U2 at Sphere. We absolutely LOVED this trip and cannot recommend Death Valley enough and would definitely go back. I thoroughly enjoy my desert National Parks – there’s never anyone there, the weather is always great, and the views are unmatched (if you’re a desert person). Las Vegas was wild, as expected, but I’d go back there too if there was a show or something in town that we’d want to see. Always grateful that our jobs and lives allow us the opportunity to travel and see different parts of the world. In order of appearance, roughly:

1. Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada (red rock formations and narrow canyons)
2. Death Valley National Park, California (palm trees and pool are at The Oasis at Death Valley hotel inside the park, which I cannot recommend enough!) – so many amazing parts of Death Valley. Our favorites were the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Zabriskie Point, Artists Palette and Badwater Basin. So glad that we got to see Lake Manly after the rains DVNP received last year!
3. Las Vegas (Hello Kitty cafe is adorable, Sphere is incredible, Meow Wolf is delightfully weird and wonderful, Neon Museum is delightful)

All photos taken/edited on my iPhone (a few from Geoff’s Android as well).

Banff National Park

We went to Canada in late September and all we got was a case of Covid and some iPhone pictures. Here they are. Banff, though beautiful, is extremely crowded (all of these photos have throngs of tourists carefully framed out of the picture). For every outrageously gorgeous lake, there’s a woman changing her winter outfit into a more Instagrammable-one and having her friend take 5,000 model poses of her right next to us. It’s a very strange feeling to be in such a wild, vast place in such a densely packed crowd. It’s not ideally how we’d experience nature, but it was absolutely beautiful nonetheless. There are so many very isolated places to go in Banff if you want to go truly off the beaten path, but the main attractions are the main attractions for a reason, so you have to tolerate the large groups of people. Despite that, we’re feeling enormously grateful for our ability to travel and for our trip to see this gorgeous part of the world. Thanks to everyone who text us on our trip to make sure that we weren’t eaten by a bear.

Pictured: Calgary (to see Coheed & Cambria), Drumheller, Banff National Park, Yoho National Park, and Kootenay National Park.

All photos taken/edited on my iPhone.

Hatteras Village

My family loves Hatteras. My mom and dad took their honeymoon there way back in the day (no offense, guys) and we’ve been going there for a while. When Geoff and I moved from Pittsburgh to Raleigh, my parents took it as a sign that they should vacation in North Carolina more often… and thus the series of vacations in Hatteras Village begun. I typically don’t take a lot of pictures when I’m not working. I used to, but once I went full-time I discovered that there were days when, after shooting portraits Monday-Thursday and two weddings on the weekends, I just wanted to go on vacation to relax and leave the camera at home. But I started to feel like something was missing and, with my nostalgia for the days when I used to shoot only landscapes coupled with my obsessive need to document, I decided to take pictures on this vacation. I only brought one lens, which I’ve found is the key to really enjoying taking pictures on vacation. You’re limited, so you don’t have to go through your gear every two seconds to switch lenses… get sand everywhere… and freak out about the sand scratching your lenses while everyone else is boogie boarding.

Needless to say, we were quite worried about Hurricane Irene and its affect on Hatteras, the Outer Banks, and all of the stray cats of the island. While it took out sections of Highway 12 (the only main road on the island), most of the island itself seems to be surviving. I am quite glad that I took pictures. Highway 12 sits right between the ocean and the Pamlico Sound, which Irene went right over. Below are pictures of both from the week of the 14th-20th of August.

The parents came down from the ‘Burgh and though my sister couldn’t make it and Geoff could only make the end of the week, we had a lot of fun. Here’s my vacation.

**The last few pictures are of the Pine Knolls aquarium far south where we attended a beautiful wedding. No Geoffs were harmed in the making of these photos. Further above shows a picture of a crab holding a hushpuppy. Crabs love hushpuppies.