Washington + Oregon | An Adventure

Day 1: Chihully Gardens & Glass, MoPop Museum, + Molly Moon's Icecream \\ Seattle, Washington

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*What camera gear do you bring along when traveling?
 -I like to travel as light as possible! No one likes hauling a ton of gear around when they're trying to hike or enjoy their time away. My lens of choice is my 24-70mm 2.8-- It's wide enough to catch landscapes and large scenery. I don't find I ever need a different lens so I only bring the one (unless I'm shooting a client while I'm away, then I bring my 50mm 1.4 for portraits but for pictures of Josh and I I'm just fine with the 24-70). I also bring a light weight tripod in a comfy shoulder-sling bag and a tiny remote so we can take pictures of us together. 

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MoPop Museum...

Original costumes + props!

Original costumes + props!

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Original tank of heads from TWD!!

Original tank of heads from TWD!!

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I really freaking love Jim Henson, ok?

I really freaking love Jim Henson, ok?

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Brainstormed names for Labyrinth (so cool to see the process of creation) 

Brainstormed names for Labyrinth (so cool to see the process of creation) 

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Original brainstorming sketches

Original brainstorming sketches

THE Labyrinth dress that feeds my inspirations 

THE Labyrinth dress that feeds my inspirations 

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Day 2: Mount Rainier National Park road trip \\ Washington

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Gorgeous creation spotted road-side while gazing out the window on our drive-- so glad we stopped! The plantation here is stunning. 

Gorgeous creation spotted road-side while gazing out the window on our drive-- so glad we stopped! The plantation here is stunning. 

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*Clothes to pack for the PNW?
-RAIN BOOTS. It rained every single day we were in Washington and on and off the whole time we were in Oregon. We went in late November so it was pretty cold. Bring layers and a winter coat if you plan on spending a lot of time outside. We both prefer to dress more our own style even when hiking (instead of hiking shoes and North Face or whatever) especially if we plan on taking tons of fun photos while we explore but we both have on like 6 layers so it's all good, we're warm! Hats and scarves definitely.

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*Do you ever feel bringing your camera on vacation keeps you from really enjoying the moment?
-Nope, not at all. I am the kind of person that processes things best through the lens. I think there is a time and place to leave the camera at home but traveling the world is just not one of them! My dream since I was little was to travel the world as a national geographic photographer but then when I graduated highschool I fell in love with portrait photography so I stopped pursuing a NatGeo job. These yearly trips with Josh give me the opportunity to mix my 2 passions: portrait photography and traveling. It is so much fun for me and we both enjoy being in front of and behind the camera! At the end of every trip I make us a hard cover book of our adventure and it goes on our shelf. We have 4 years of adventures on our book shelf right now! I love that at the end of our lives we will have a whole lifetime of adventures together documented to look back on.   

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The massive underneath of an upturned tree

The massive underneath of an upturned tree

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At this point we reach a fork in the path. The sign said .5 miles back to the beginning or 2 miles up to a view point. With only a few hours till nightfall, we looked at each other debating wether it wasa good idea or not, especially since neither of us had our phones on us to keep track of time. We decided to just do it and started hiking. 

At this point we reach a fork in the path. The sign said .5 miles back to the beginning or 2 miles up to a view point. With only a few hours till nightfall, we looked at each other debating wether it wasa good idea or not, especially since neither of us had our phones on us to keep track of time. We decided to just do it and started hiking. 

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Our first sight of snow in the lush green. We had no idea what was up ahead of us.... 

Our first sight of snow in the lush green. We had no idea what was up ahead of us.... 

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Annnnnd then we stepped into Narnia...

Annnnnd then we stepped into Narnia...

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This was one of the toughest hikes I've ever done (despite the fact that I wasn't sweating on a hike for once), neither of us were fully prepared for how steep and slippery it was going to be AND snow. It took us 2 hours to hike (we met someone with a phone at the top) and by the time we reached the top we were seriously running short on day light. We turned around and hightailed it down the mountain-- no literally, we RAN like we were running from bears DOWN a 2 mile steep mountain. We made it in 45 minutes.    

This was one of the toughest hikes I've ever done (despite the fact that I wasn't sweating on a hike for once), neither of us were fully prepared for how steep and slippery it was going to be AND snow. It took us 2 hours to hike (we met someone with a phone at the top) and by the time we reached the top we were seriously running short on day light. We turned around and hightailed it down the mountain-- no literally, we RAN like we were running from bears DOWN a 2 mile steep mountain. We made it in 45 minutes.    

Day 3: Pike Place Market \\ Seattle, Washington 

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FINALLY got to see the infamous gum wall!!

FINALLY got to see the infamous gum wall!!

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Day 4: Deception Pass, Anacordes/Washington

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Absolutely no editing on this water, it is naturally blue!! Taylor said that these waters have some of the largest octopus in the country and sometimes you can see the whales swimming under the bridge if you're standing up top.  

Absolutely no editing on this water, it is naturally blue!! Taylor said that these waters have some of the largest octopus in the country and sometimes you can see the whales swimming under the bridge if you're standing up top.  

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PC: Taylor Rae Traveled a few hours north to explore with one of my closest friends from YWAM, Taylor! She showed us around her home town and all the secret little corners that we wouldn't have been able to find without her-- thanks Taylor! <3

PC: Taylor Rae
Traveled a few hours north to explore with one of my closest friends from YWAM, Taylor! She showed us around her home town and all the secret little corners that we wouldn't have been able to find without her-- thanks Taylor! <3

*How do you decide what places to see?
-Guys, here's my travel planning tip: PINTEREST. Before I even pick a destination to stay at/book our hotel in, I go to Pinterest. I type in a super broad search for the whole state we are going to: "Things to see in Washington" and I write a huge list of every single little thing that interests me wether it be a national park or a hole in the wall restaurant or a weird road side attraction or cool abandoned place, I write it all down. Then I research where each one is and mark it on a map and when I'm done, I see what places I want to see most are closest to the most things. Then I pick the closest centrally located city and book our hotel. We do ALOT and pack each day with things to see and do, so picking sights to see before destination to stay at really helps us be able to see it all. 

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PC: Taylor Rae

PC: Taylor Rae

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The cutest purple donut house.

The cutest purple donut house.

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Eating doughnuts with a view.

Eating doughnuts with a view.

*Favorite places to eat in Washington/Seattle? 
-How To Cook A Wolf (A very small 10 table restaurant with tiny expensive plates of food in a far too hipster atmosphere but extremely delicious nonetheless haha-- make reservations WAY in advance!) 
-Molly Moon's (small batch homemade icecream in a cute shop with a cute dog on everything so obviously it's good)
-Buscuit Bitch (Fresh buscuits and gravy with an assortment of other things mixed in-- need I say more?)
-Din Tai Fung (Amazing dumplings!! We ordered 6 baskets of dumplings-- yes 6, and ate every single one)  

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Day 5: Jupiter Hotel \\ Portland, Oregon

We loved the Jupiter hotel! 

We loved the Jupiter hotel! 

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If you ever find yourself in Portland, go to the store Three Monkies-- it is me in a nutshell. 

If you ever find yourself in Portland, go to the store Three Monkies-- it is me in a nutshell. 

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Day 6: Silver Falls State Park \\ Oregon

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It has always been a dream of mine to see the falls out west. Being here was so sureal and probably the best part of the entire trip for me. 

It has always been a dream of mine to see the falls out west. Being here was so sureal and probably the best part of the entire trip for me. 

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If you want to understand how big this waterfall is, just look to the left-- see that white dot? That's a person. 

If you want to understand how big this waterfall is, just look to the left-- see that white dot? That's a person. 

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The view from under a waterfall. Feeling the earth tremble below our feet and hearing the rush above our heads as we look out into the mist and pines beyond a 200 foot tall crashing ocean of water. 

The view from under a waterfall. Feeling the earth tremble below our feet and hearing the rush above our heads as we look out into the mist and pines beyond a 200 foot tall crashing ocean of water. 

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The first sunset we saw while out west! It was stormy/cloudy every day besides this one. 

The first sunset we saw while out west! It was stormy/cloudy every day besides this one. 

Day 7: VooDoo Doughnut + Cannon Beach \\ Oregon

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*Favorite places to eat in Oregon?
-SizzlePie (HUGE amazing pizza slices! Try the goat cheese on white)
-Salt + Straw (OMG dreams do come true. The most amazing small batch handmade icecream ever. If you go around Thanksgiving, try the turkey flavor... i know, but trust me. We also loved Olive Oil, Strawberry Balsamic + Feta, Fudge Brownie, and the vanilla almond praline) 
-VooDoo Doughnut (Yes, they are as good as they say)
-Pepper Box Cafe (Authentic Mexican breakfast... tacos full of potatoes?? Count me in. They're super spicy though so if you have a low spice tolerance ask for no chiles!)
-Zell's Cafe (I just liked the fact that they give fresh mini scones with jam while you're ordering your breakfast) 
-Honey Milk (Pick 1 sweet, 1 savory and get the best of both worlds for breakfast. This was my all time favorite restaurant while we were in Portland! Maybe even of the entire trip...)
 

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Haystack Rock where they filmed the Goonies! 

Haystack Rock where they filmed the Goonies! 

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It was SO windy!! I could almost lean backwards against the wind and be held up. 

It was SO windy!! I could almost lean backwards against the wind and be held up. 

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Day 8: Exploring Portland \\ Oregon

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We literally took an evening and just drove around looking for murals and when we saw one we'd hop out of the car and run around like tourists

We literally took an evening and just drove around looking for murals and when we saw one we'd hop out of the car and run around like tourists

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Home For Christmas

Hello there!

I'm so excited it's December! Christmas is on it's way, my hubby is home for the season, it's the month of cookies and comfort food, and the weather is getting chilly which always takes me back to the best memories. I finally have a bit more down time on my hands which means more time for personal photos and journaling! 

It's so different this year doing everything with our new addition/pup, Zelda-- a 5 month old pure euro great dane (She's pretty much the best)! She loves snuggling, music, warm blankets fresh out of the dryer, and EATING-- I may have turned her into a sugar cookie addict like myself-- oops. 

I wanted to give you guys a little tour around our home during the holidays! I love decorating for Christmas and always have an abundance of "things" laying around my house to throw together some cute diy festive touches (super proud of the last minute evergreen garland I threw together myself with the bottom branches of our Christmas tree). Zelda followed me around the house while I snapped most of the photos, so yes, she may or may not be in the bulk of the pictures. 

I know it's only December 5th and no one's really saying it yet? But Merry Christmas, guys!
Hope it's a good one.
xo

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Q&A For New Photographers/Curious Minds

  • How did you get started with photography?

It all started so long ago. I just remember all of us kids standing around the kitchen table at our first house when a mystery package arrived. My dad looked at it and said "oh, this one's for Julie." I opened it up and it was an old battery operated automatic film camera. I took it everywhere, around the yard, on field trips, taking way too many awful photos of the same thing ending up with rolls of film full of trees, skies, blurs, exc...  My dad was a wedding photographer but he was also born with Choroideremia (a deterioration of the eyes) that progressed from the age of 16 and has been legally blind for almost as long as I can remember. At the age of 12, he gave me his old film Nikon that he shot weddings on. I learned everything I know about photography on that thing and took it everywhere. I entered contests with it, photographed friends, took it on camping trips and forest adventures. When I was 16, I sold almost everything I had to purchase my first digital camera-- including the old film Nikon from my dad (I still don't like to think about the fact that I sold it because it makes me cry). That began my journey to truly finding myself as a photographer, shooting with friends almost every weekend, bringing crazy concepts to life, and really kickstarting my passion to create. I like to believe I'm living on my dad's legacy as a photographic creator. 

 

  • Nikon or Canon & What gear do you use? 

I don't believe in the war on Nikon/Canon. If you ask me I will simply roll my eyes and say the only reason I shoot Nikon is because that's what I was given and once you start investing in 1 brand it's silly to switch over. They are both incredible and you will be fine with either. I shoot with a NikonD750. My favorite lens is my Nikon 35mm 1.4 and I shoot just about everything on that lens alone. I also have a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 that I use for travel and wedding ceremonies and a macro lens that I use just for ring shots. I prefer to work as light as possible so you will never see me carrying a ton of gear. 
 

  • What camera do you suggest for new photographers? 

I'm no longer recommending specific cameras. There's way too many out there and frankly, I'm really not that tech savvy to tell you which one is going to make you a great photographer. I will tell you though, get one that has a manual setting, and learn it. The key to taking great photos, is learning the in's out's of your camera and why light does what it does, and how to work with changing shadows and speeds. I do always say though, that if you want to send me a link to the camera you're looking at, I'm totally willing to check out the specs and give you my two cents on wether it's a good purchase or not! 
Ft: Some of my favorite work I shot in 2013 on a crappy crop sensor NikonD90 

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  • Did you take classes/is school necessary to become a photographer? 

I did not take any classes. I am 100% self taught with both shooting + editing. It was completely trial and error over the last 13 years for me and I can almost completely guarantee you that if I went to school for photography I would not be a photographer right now.  I strongly feel it would have squelched my passion and put me in a box which is why I opted out. Some people are different though. I'm better at hands on, taking time, working by myself. Some people need that teaching/project assignment approach and that's totally ok! Is it necessary if you want to be a professional? Absolutely not. 

 

  • Do you have a favorite photographer/who is your biggest inspiration? 

One of the first ever photographers to who really inspired me to create was Alexandra Sophie. It was the first time I had ever seen work that felt truly magical and it was like peering into a whole undiscovered world (her newer work is more fashion oriented but if you scroll to the beginning of her Instagram you will see what I mean). My most current inspirations since my style has truly developed are Hunter Leone, Irene Rudnyk, and Bella Kotak. I would like to say I'm a mix of all 4 with a little spark of my own. 

Alexandra Sophie

Alexandra Sophie

Hunter Leone                                              Irene Rudnyk                                   Bella Kotak

Hunter Leone                                              Irene Rudnyk                                   Bella Kotak

  • How do I find "my style"?

What concepts/generes keep you awake at night day dreaming? That's probably your passion :)  

 

  • Where do you get your ideas from/where do you draw your inspiration from?

Most of my concepts spark from either a piece of clothing, a location, or a quote. I see one of those things and I will start envisioning an entire story/character in my head around that one thing. I'm also greatly inspired by music, directors like Tim Burton + M. Night, nature, outer space/the sky, vintage finds, fantasy movies/books, words, and alone time-- day dreaming keeps my brain on it's toes. 

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  • Favorite editing music?

I love instrumental music and movie sound tracks. Some of my favorite composers are Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, + Peter Gundry, and my favorite Pandora station that I have on almost all day every day is the "Helios" station. My favorite editing songs right now are:
-Solar Sailor (Daft Punk)
-Rebirth (Cash + Ferven) 
-Beyond This Moment (Patrick O'Hearn)
-Divenire (Ludovico Einaudi)
-The Morning Room (Helios) 

 

  • Where do you find your models/MUA's/How do I get vendors to collaborate with me? 

Alot of my "models" are just friends, or people I admire online. There's also plenty of resources on social media where you can find models who want to collab with photographers for free trade. I found my favorite MUA at one of my first weddings years ago. We hit it off and have had a successful creator-ship ever since! Although you can find plenty of Hair/MUA people on all different social media platforms. My tip for collaborating with other vendors is to send them an email. My outline for vendor collab emails look a little something like this:
-What I'm doing
-Why I admire their work
-Why I think the shoot would benefit from their services
-What I expect of them
-What they get in return
-Samples of my work/publications
-Possibly a Pinterest mood board
Then you wait for a response and see if they want to work together or not. I've heard people say they're afraid to reach out because they're afraid of being shut down but really, the worst they can say is no, and you move on and find someone else who peeks your interest for a collab. 

 

  • How do you get the backgrounds so blurry/how do you make your images look so magical?

I shoot basically everything with my aperture at 1.4-- that gives the ultra blur/gorgeous bokeh many of my photos have. 90% of the time I'm shooting with the sun behind my subject which gives everything a magical golden lining. Camera tech aside, I feel idea/mood is super important for that magical vibe! A solid concept, gorgeous/out of the ordinary wardrobe, and most of my models have professional makeup done which gives them that luminous glowing magical skin. 

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  • Biggest word of advice to new aspiring photographers? 

Practice. Practice, practice, practice. When you aren't booking client work, book yourself-- assign yourself projects/concepts. Get together with friends and learn how to pose/work with people. Shoot at least once a week/every other week. Challenge yourself on your own time and fine tune your craft. That way when you have clients, these things you may struggle with will be polished, and become an effortless 2nd nature.  

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  • You finally fulfilled your dream of being a full time photographer! What now? 

Reach new goals! I suppose my biggest goal right now is to do more destination/out of state work-- mostly weddings. I also want to get back into self portrait photography in my own time. But my "dream-big-probably-impossible" goals are to make most of my income as a creative/fantasy photographer. I'd also love to become a vacation photographer and travel all over the world with clients, photographing incredible portraits of them on their adventures. I absolutely believe both those things are possible. Everything changed for me when I started telling myself I could literally do anything I could dream up.