Land Between the Lakes

Whew! Busy does not even begin to describe the last couple of months. I started classes at a new university and am now considered a full time student in addition to my day job at a law office. My time gets eaten up left and right and my schedule hasn’t left me much time to devote to taking, editing, or posting my photos.

But!! I have been squeezing in as much as I can and a few weeks ago, I was able to squirrel away (pun intended) an entire 3-day weekend to visit my grandma in Tennessee. We decided to go to the Land Between the Lakes Nature Station. We saw hummingbirds at the feeders in their garden, as well as many other birds and animals throughout the nature station, including the red wolves shown above. One of the oddest things I have ever seen was the squirrel above, gnawing away on what my grandma first thought was a nut. Then the squirrel moved and as it paused on the fence, we realized it was chewing on a skull. The best guess we have is that it was either sharpening its teeth, or trying to get calcium. Very strange!

One of the other days we were visiting, we decided to spend the day antiquing. I visited this place a few years back, and I love coming back. Not only did I stumble across some cool old medicine bottles, I also found a little piece of home, from Belleville, Illinois. The rest of the time was spent focusing in on the textures and details of all the odds and ends kept outside.

From fence posts, to rusting pans and tools…

And old machinery… There are always interesting details you find at an antique/junk shop.

I will never tire of this kind of adventure!

Ben & Liz Engagement Shoot

Last weekend I had the pleasure of doing engagement photos for two of my friends, Ben & Liz.

After years of being together, you can almost sense the internal banter and sentiment between them in the photos.

Even though it got quite warm out, they didn’t lose their sense of humor either…

August 2014 MOBOT

Last weekend, Tim and I went down to St. Louis to visit with family and friends. After spending Friday night hanging out with my sister, Saturday morning we hiked with my mom in the woods around her house where they’re working on trails and then headed to the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

It was hotter than we’d expected the weekend to be. Unfortunately, that meant we couldn’t stay outside as long so we didn’t venture as far as we normally would, but it also meant that there were more dragonflies out, which is always a treat.

I even got some up-close shots that remind me of how beautiful the details on their wings and bodies are.

Rural Jacksonville

Last weekend we went with a friend to visit her family’s farm. There’s an old barn on the property that I’ve driven by before while exploring the back roads around Jacksonville, Illinois, but I hadn’t realized we knew the family who owned it. The barn is over 100 years old and unfortunately it’s starting to bow out and they don’t think they’ll be able to save it. I’m glad we were able to get some photos before it will be too late.

On the way there, we stumbled across a field of sunflowers and while at the property, I discovered wildflowers growing up through an old truck tailgate and wild cats and kittens that were on the property.

Summer Sunset

A couple of weeks ago, Tim and I went up to Champaign to visit my grandpa who was recovering from a foot injury. On our way home, we ran into a storm and we pulled off to snap a few quick photos.

We decided to stop in Springfield for dinner. (Sushi for Tim and shrimp fried rice for me. Yum.) Afterward, we took the scenic route home so that we could catch a few photos of the sunset after the storm.

I played around the saturation and colors a lot more than I usually do, but I was pleased with the outcome.

I also decided to put together a panorama. 🙂

Jones Family Home

Last month, my co-worker and friend took me to her old family home on the outskirts of Jacksonville, Illinois. The home has been left to elements for too long and is no longer inhabitable, but she will use fixtures and furniture from it in the new house she is going to build on the property.

Some of the detailing on the fixtures was beautiful. There were fixtures with roses, corn, grapevines and each one with intricate decorative details.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the house was one my friend has her heart set on being able to incorporate into the new house, and I definitely have my fingers crossed for her! This staircase would be a great addition to her new home.

There were plenty of oddities that caught my eye as well, including a doll with a mustache drawn on and an old telephone in one of the old farm buildings on the property.

Ghost Towns, Colorado

On our last day trip before leaving Durango, Colorado, Tim and I spent the day searching for ghost towns. We drove up to Silverton, a little town nestled in the mountains, and made our way from there. We took a couple different scenic, albeit a little rough, mountain roads where we enjoyed the amazing views and the spring water features.

Along the way, we discovered various abandoned buildings, rusting equipment, and signs that the road ahead would be getting a little rougher.

We eventually ended up in Howardsville, Colorado.

From there we took a so freshly cleared mountain road that we ran into the plow on the way up and had to back half a block down the mountain to an area where he could pass. It was not the best idea of ours, but the GPS said we were only a mile away from our end destination of Animas Forks. After nearly an hour going about 5 miles an hour or less, Tim and I reached the top. Within five minutes, we experienced a blizzard, heard an avalanche, and met some fellow travelers who were from Ohio.

Durango, Colorado / Mesa Verde National Park

Back to honeymoon updates! After Tim and I went to Salt Lake City and Arches National Park, we made out way down and back east to Durango, Colorado. We visited the Strater Hotel and then walked around downtown Durango, where I ran across a little piece of home.

After exploring the downtown area, we went to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum. We weren’t able to take a train to Silverton (though we did drive there another day), but we were able to visit the museum.

We took a peak into some of the trains in the museum and then on our way out, I noticed how decorative their radiators in the main lobby were. So neat!

Then we drove out to the Mesa Verde National Park, where we had some amazing views.

We stayed and talked with an archaeologist from the park while we looked around the ruins of the Ancestral Puebloans. We learned that nearly 50 villages had been identified within a half square mile area, and had once been home to hundreds of people. Tim I walked a few of the trails to some of the excavated sites including the Coyote Village, Far View Reservoir, and the Megalithic House.

Katie and Ed’s Wedding

It’s been a while since I’ve had more photos I’ve taken than I have time to edit and post! I am interrupting my honeymoon photo updates to bring you photos of this past weekend’s event – a wedding!

Two of my friends got married this past Sunday and I was honored to be included in their big day. It is rare I see two people as happy just to be around each other as Katie and Ed are. I spent most of the day watching them smile, laugh, and play around with each other.

Some of the most precious moments were watching Katie and her niece interact. I couldn’t be happier to have shared in Katie and Ed’s big day, and I’m glad they chose me to help capture some great moments. Here’s to many more years of smiling, laughing, and keeping each other on their toes!

Moab, Utah

On the second leg of our honeymoon trip, my husband and I stopped at Moab, Utah to visit Arches National Park. I planned our whole trip around being able to visit here, and it was more than worth it.

We arrived in the afternoon and stayed in the park until sunset. We started the hike to the Delicate Arch, but we’d only made it half way before it got dark and we had to head back. The next morning we hiked up the other side for a view of it. Even though we visited before the main tourist season, there were plenty of people out early in the morning hiking.

The views were breathtaking, and we even saw a few brave souls out rock climbing!

On our way to Durango, Colorado, the next stop on our honeymoon, we decided to take a detour to Needles Point where we got out to stretch our legs, hike a little, and look out at the scenery. Tim even walked to the overlook with me – not an easy feat for someone with a fear of heights. The view was worth the hour detour on our trip. I definitely foresee more trips to Utah in our future.