2018 Colorado Roadtrip

One week.

We had one week to travel through Colorado and it's surrounding states. In that week we visited 5 states, slept in our car, a strangers bus (NOT an Airbnb, a literal stranger), and on the last night slept in the airport because we had nowhere else to go. We also didn't even book our flight home until two days before flying.

This is how we prefer to travel. It sounds crazy, and I can admit that it is, but I wouldn't change it at all. It's no vacation, we love the fast pace, the unexpected, the freedom to change plans because we don't have anything set in stone. We just go, and see what experiences the road brings us.

I spent most of this week unfortunately being sick, which added a whole new level of stress. Most foods were making me feel ill, so I ate fruits, granola, muffins, and carrots for the majority of our trip. This was also our first time using a rental car, which was such an experience. Our first night, getting the rental car took FOREVER and was easily the most stressful part of the trip. While we were waiting for the car salesman to fix his mistake, Kayla & Nick Dempsey from Devoted & Wild had been waiting for us at Garden of the Gods.

We finally got our car, and rushed to the park where we met them after the sun had already set. This was disappointing to all of us, but I was determined to make the best of it. I pushed my settings higher than they'd ever been, and embraced the grain. The results were worth it! Below is the photos I took of Kayla and Nick on the first night of the trip. It was almost completed dark when I took those, but thanks to my Canon 5D Mark IV and the power of Lightroom, I was able to make something great out of these images.

 
 

Grand Teton National Park

After a day of recovery/editing, we started our adventure into Grand Teton National Park. The forests that surrounded the road were so beautiful, we spent so much time driving on this trip and I'm glad we did because some of the beauty we saw was just incredible. On our way, I thought the road was just so beautiful we had to pull off and take a couple photos on the road. These photos of myself I feel like are an extension of my personality, showing the freedom I feel in a new place.

When we entered Grand Teton, and it was a very moody overcast day. The first thing you see is the mountains, which looked the prettiest color of blue due to the rainy day. We did one of my favorite things to do on roadtrips, and found a spot next to the road to pull off again and take some pictures. Next we went into the park and started a hike, the weather created the perfect mood that fit the park so well. I know we've only been there once, but I can't image it any other way now. We hiked a few miles, and on our way back we ran into a Moose! This experience was so special to me. I was afraid, as I don't know much about Moose and their habits (specifically how they feel about me, a person). But we walked by, and I got the perfect shot of him looking over at me while I was next to him. Chills! One of my favorite moments ever! My favorite thing about this area is all the wildlife we saw, out of all the places we've been I've never seen anything like it.

 
 

Salt Lake City/Bonneville Salt Flats

At the beginning of this day, I was dissapointed. I had been reaching out to photographers and models I knew in the area to see if they would want to meetup, but had no luck. We had to go into Salt Lake City for me to edit some photos, so we stopped at a local coffee shop and I got some work done with I tried their Chai Tea.

I had been praying for days that we would find people and everything would fall into place. The night before, I had posted on my Instagram story that we were looking for a couple to shoot with in the Bonneville Salt Flats. Crazy enough, my good childhood friend Rosalie lived in the area and I had no idea! She DM'd me, told me she her and her fiance were available and within an hour she was sitting with us at the coffee shop. This was such an answer to my prayers, and quite possibly my favorite day of the whole trip.

It had been a couple years since Rosalie had last visited Ohio, I didn't even know she was engaged and her wedding was just one month away! Griffin and Rosalie hadn't gotten engagement pictures done, and it was just too perfect.

The Salt Flats were incredible. A seemingly unending supply of salt covered everything in sight, aside from the distant mountains. It was extremely windy, and Rosalie and Griffin swore to me that they were "No good at modeling, I would hate the pictures of them". As you'll see, they were so very wrong. I was screaming with excitement after every photo, they were incredible in front of the camera. Rosalie has some of the darkest eyes I've ever seen, and they contrast her features so beautifully. Griffin had bright blue eyes, I loved the unique differences between them and how that photogaphed. 

Our surroundings was like a whole new planet, I'd been wanting to visit this place for so long, seeing my dream come true in such a perfect way, I can't even describe that feeling.

 
 

Young Living Lavender Fields

This location is easily the one we got the most excited responses from people at home. Coming from a very Young Living friendly community, I can't even count the amount of people who told me they were so excited to see my pictures there and wanted to come along.

We were so happy to have had Rebecca and her husband agree to meet us there for sunrise. Rebecca is also a photographer, and took some of my favorite images of Jeremiah and I ever. Even though there unfortunately was no lavender, the fields with mountains close by was stunning in itself. The scenery was so perfect to begin with, and then once the sun peaked over the mountains Rebecca and I were both screaming, the sunrise looked like a dream! 

This morning was amazing, because it was such an unexpected beauty. I was anticipating something totally different, and the scenery we were graced with instead was worth it. I'm just going to say it, I LOVE these pictures. Seeing the work I was creating with Rebecca, it felt like watching my dreams and goals come true. The images I took I truly love, and am so proud of.

 
 

Mystic Hot Springs

After leaving the Lavender Fields, we made another pitstop to a coffee shop and edited some photos before heading onto Mystic Hot Springs. This location was one that I really wanted to go to, and I'm so happy we made it happen. For those of you who live in Ohio, it very much reminded me of Yellow Springs in Ohio. It was a hippie little place, with rustic Airbnb's surrounding the small park. One thing in particular that stuck out to me was this run down van, I have a thing for vintage vans. My dream car is a vintage VW van, so I had to model with this beauty for a minute.

We headed into the Hot Springs area, where there were many people just relaxing, reading books, or listening to music. It was like they were taking a bath at home, but instead in the middle of nature. We found a young couple from Canada and asked to take their pictures. We also enjoyed the hot tubs ourselves, although both of us didn't bring swimsuits and had to wear our regular clothes. I wore a dress for the sake of pictures and looked totally silly. But oh well, do it for the photography!

 
 

Arches National Park/Moab

This started the last 48 hours of our trip, and it was the most packed. We met up with our good friend Lauren who is another photographer, and went hiking in Arches National Park. We had no idea where we were going, but decided to take the trail to one of the most iconic arches called Delicate Arch. On the way I noticed a little off the trail the spot you can all see in the first picture. I ran up to it, and Jeremiah and Lauren followed not even realizing we were going off the trail. I really love the shots we got here, on one side moody clouds loomed over us, on the other side the sun shined vibrant making our surroundings even more colorful. 

Once we finally made it to the arch, the sun was setting and the colors were amazing. Orange tones, blue moody skies, and mountains in the distance made for a colorful contrast. We stayed until after dark, and I was even able to take a long exposure of the traffic leaving. Something I rarely do, but felt like challenging myself and got a great result.

Next we had to find a place to stay, and this is where it gets interesting.

Lauren had a friend of a friend who lived in Utah, and offered for us to stay at her place. Unfortunately she had been busy at work all day and had not seen or responded to our messages. Tired and confused, we went out to dinner to try and kill time until she got off work. We even went as far as to show up at her house and knock on the door, but no one answered. Right as we were about to give up and drive a couple hours away to find a hotel room, I got the idea to call her work. We called, she finally answered, and told us Lauren could stay in the house, but Jeremiah and I had to stay in an abandoned school bus in the backyard. I was so down! What an adventure it was to get here, and I was tired, so heck yeah I'll sleep in a school bus. Jeremiah was however significantly less enthusiastic.

The location was interesting to say the least, but we got one of the best nights rest we'd had the whole week, and the bus was actually pretty cute/comfortable. The next morning I took some photos of Lauren, and took some photos of us both together on the back of the bus to commemorate the experience (we're pretty #BestieGoals if you ask me). I love these photos of Lauren and I, even though she lives a couple states away I consider her a good friend and love that we shared these memorable experiences together.

 
 

Dillon Colorado Styled Elopement

Saving the best for last!

This was what I was most looking forward to on our trip, and one of the biggest reasons why we went. I got connected with Kali through a photographer Facebook group, she was looking for a couple to model for her in a styled elopement. I messaged her and told her that if her and her husband modeled for us, we'd model for them! It turned out better than I imagined. This location was private, off trail from a not highly trafficked trail to begin with. Kali and I had been planning this for months, and seeing our vision come true was so exciting! Also this was just one week before Chance & Kali's first anniversary! They got married in Colorado last year, and wanted to come back to celebrate. She wore the dress she wore at her rehearsal, and he wore his tux. I styled her with the headpiece, and we all had so much fun!

Being self employed is awesome, I cannot recommend it enough. But the one thing we as photographers often miss out on, is the co worker experience. We don't have people we see 40 hours a week, just our computers and Lightroom. So to be able to meet with other photographers and 'talk shop', was SO healthy for me. Community over competition is something I talk about a lot, and this day in Dillon Colorado is such a good example of how amazing that can be.

This was the best way to end our trip. I love traveling, and to be able to go out west even for a short time was so fulfilling to me.

Until next time, Colorado!