I’m so excited to be announcing my Holiday Minis this year. I’m a little late in blogging all this since we’ve been sick for the past 10 days (ugh!!!) but at last I am putting all the details here in one place.
This year I was lucky enough to meet Heather, the owner of the beautiful place I am working out of. She and her husband recently converted this beautiful space into a gorgeous AirBnB. I am completely in love with the space and so excited to be able to hold my project here. You can check out their lovely space here. If you’re in the Denver area and need a cozy, clean space this is definitely worth checking out!
Christmas trees to the side and a beautiful garland are the simple decorations that grace my setup. I love that the brick really stands out on its own. I’m a big fan of simplicity. If I could hold all my minis outdoors I would, because I love the elegance and natural beauty of the outdoors. But Colorado cold seasons are no joke. I’ve experienced this with my own little ones and the little red noses, snot and shivering babies just don’t work to make a relaxing session for families. So this year I tried hard to really go above and beyond to create an atmosphere for EVERYONE. Warm, cozy, still simple but full of Christmas cheer.
I will have Christmas cookies (Gluten free choices as well!) and holiday music to make this a fun and enjoyable experience! Even for little ones like my youngest who is 18 months old, just playing on the bed no posing needed made for some adorable pictures.
Investment and Booking Details are as follows –
November 2nd & 3rd, Wash Park:
Basic package starts off at $125. This includes 15 minutes and 5 digital images.
Package 2 is $150, 15 minutes and 10 digital images.
And finally this year I’m excited to offer the VIP packages!
The VIP Package – $200
20 minutes session
all your usable images from your session (anywhere from 15-25 depending on your session)
15% discount on your next full family session (valid until 2021)
One Entry into the VIP Giveaway!!
There are only 10 VIP Packages available to ensure that VIPS get high chances of winning a prize!
Prizes for VIP Giveaway:
Outdoor Family Session in 2020 (Summer of Fall!!) Stunning mountain locations, full gallery included (60+ images)
MYSTERY 11×14 Canvas of one of my new never before printed landscapes from 2019
FREE mini session for 2020 (20 minutes, 10 digitals effective after April of 2020)
Booking this year is extremely easy!! Now you are able to pick your spot, sign your contract and book immediately!! Within two weeks of our session I will email the parking instructions.
Thank you so much for joining me, reading and for your support. I can’t believe this is my third round of Holiday Minis. I’m humbled and blessed that people continue to entrust me with their memories. Xx
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to work with Brooke and Alex for their engagement pictures. I love it when people feel free to express their personal style and visions for their images. It allows us to really put something special together that feels unique and not tailored to what everyone else is doing.
Brooke expressed that she loved forest and a moodier darker aesthetic. They absolutely rocked the moody vibes.
What better place for forest but in the Pine area? This area has some gorgeous dense darker forest that was perfect for what we were going for.
I love the sharp contrast of red in Brooke’s ring and the mossy textures of the forest. So many elements in the forest that are brilliant for getting creative with. This is what I love – exploring and enjoying every part of what nature offers and being able to photograph it makes it an added bonus.
We got so many gorgeous shots in the dark forest but the rest of this beautiful place was not neglected. We enjoyed views by the rushing river as well.
Brooke and Alex are also expecting their first baby together. I love the moments they so naturally included this newest little member of their circle of love.
My favorite moments as a photographer are standing back and watching moments like this happen all by themselves.
Thanks Brooke and Alex for working together with me and creating such beautiful moments. Much joy and happiness to you in the coming months!!
Thank you for stopping by to check out my work! Have a wonderful day!!
Think you’d love to work with me? Fill out my contact form and lets see if we’re a good fit!! 🙂
I LOVE working with Melissa and her beautiful family. I have worked with Melissa many times and am always thrilled when she contacts me to do their pictures. One of my favorite things about Melissa as a client is her absolute trust in my creative vision. I can’t began to stress out how important this process is to an artist or photographer. She doesn’t question when I have an idea, she fully whole heartedly trusts my process and loves what I do. Because of this I feel like her sessions are one of my most inspiring ones to do. When she agreed to do her family session in one of my favorite places ever, I knew it would be magical! And even though true to every session we have ever done together – it stormed and stayed overcast – I think you’ll agree they came out perfectly magical.
I find it fascinating that after a rainstorm or even on a cloudy day, the colors of nature seemed to be on their best behavior. Though I know golden hour is supposed to be the photographer dream for best lighting, these cloudy sessions are secretly becoming my favorite. Too bad I can’t order the weather ahead of time for sessions , lol. Until then, the spontaneity of Colorado weather keeps me on my toes 😉
Doesn’t this sum up married life with kids perfectly? Perfect kiss done in 3 seconds because your kid is running away.
Melissa’s little girl cracks me up. This face is the sweetest and she can seriously distract me to pieces during a session.
Isn’t this every toddler’s favorite game?! Her face says it all <3
Stopping to admire the flowers on the side of the path was a must.
Children have an incredibly intuition at an early age that flowers are something beautiful to be treasured and always given to Mom.
This beautiful place still takes my breath away.
Another one of my favorite things about working with Melissa is her ability to always make the simplest moment the special ones. I tell my clients often, if in doubt and you suddenly feel awkward in front of me, just touch the people around you. Hug them, kiss on them – touch is everything. I don’t think Melissa has ever had an awkward moment in front of the camera in her life lol, but I love the way she holds her family close both in pictures and out of them. <3
Big hugs and wet kisses are the best <3
This is my favorite image of the entire session. Why? Because it’s so symbolic to me. Women are the glue to a family. There is nothing that can take the place of that. There is an obviously special and unique role that Dads play, but there is nothing that can take the place or compare to the role of Mom. She holds the family together with a special strength, she creates the safety net for everyone to feel loved and most often is the true definition of what “Home” really looks like. I’ve always thought home is where my Mom is at. And it’s not because I don’t love my father equally. It’s just that my Mom creates that space of love for everyone to just BE. And Melissa sums all of that up perfectly in this image.
Of course we got one of these. I haven’t met a kid one time who doesn’t love the thrill of being thrown in the air by Daddy only to land safely in his arms.
Such a beautiful session. As always when I’m home, culling and editing, I’m ALWAYS grateful. Grateful to have met so many amazing people doing what I love to do. Grateful to be in the background capturing the moments that people will always remember. Grateful for the beautiful places I love going to and sharing those with other people. And even grateful for the people who support me and inspire me, who take the time to read these posts! Thank you Melissa for trusting me again with your beautiful family and all those special moments in between!
Thank YOU for taking the time read my words xx
Until next time – much love always, Rachel
interested in working together, just feel like saying hi? feel free to contact me through the contact form on my webpage – I would love to hear from you! <3
When my beautiful friend Jennifer contacted me to book a session for their trip to Durango, I was THRILLED to finally get the chance to meet this wonderful soul. We have been online friends for at least two years now. Watched each others kids grow on Facebook, accomplished a 365 photography project together and have talked about how great it would be meet each other for months! Since I had never been to the Durango area, we decided to make it a mini family vacation and stay in the area. I was excited to explore and most of all excited meet Jen!
Exploring the area was a fun undertaking and there was no shortage of beautiful spots. But driving around the incredible Vallecito lake was the winner. Lush green grass, tranquil lake surrounded by coniferous forest and the kicker – those beautiful blue craggy peaks that were magically still snow capped. This was it.
Jennifer and her family brought all the love and connection. I couldn’t have wished for a better experience. I fell head over heels for her beautiful boys.
What I loved most about Jennifer and her beautiful family was the love and affection that came naturally. It’s a beautiful thing for me as a photographer to witness and get to capture people who are oblivious to me. They’re not making a show of their love. Just there to be themselves.
Sometimes people will tell me before a session starts that they need help with posing. That they’re awkward on camera. I get it! I totally get it. I’m a stranger and I’m following you around, and it’s hard not feel liker you need to perform. But the best sessions in my eyes aren’t based on a performance. It’s about you doing what you do best – loving on and enjoying the most important people in your life.
Inevitably, I always feel a sense of gratitude. I’m all smiles in the background and I’m honored and humbled to be in a position of trust where I get to watch these special kind of moments unfold.
Watching parents and children have fun together makes my heart so happy.
Hold them. Love them. Enjoy them. Tell secrets. Laugh together.
When my clients look back on your pictures, I want all the memories of what you were laughing about to come flooding back.
It’s all about being in the moment and appreciating what that moment brings.
I had an amazing time not only photographing Jennifer and her family. Long after the session ended our families lingered in the dusky blue of the evening, laughing, enjoying each other’s families. So much fun! Suddenly, out of the forest a big brown cow came walking nonchalantly across the road in front of us. It was such a funny and unexpected moment. We all stood there laughing at her as she glanced behind her shoulder and then quietly disappeared into the night. Talk about enjoying the moments!
Thank you so much Warren family for the pleasure of meeting you and sharing so many beautiful moments for me to capture. Until next time!
Interested in working together? Want to say hi? I would love to hear from you! You can connect with me by filling out the contact form on my website!
For all of my days on this earth I have always struggled to feel a sense of belonging. That feeling I watch others embrace whether it be a connection with their own family, their home town… Even with their homes. I’ve always felt like a wanderer – not the romantic kind, the adventure-fevered Instagram craze, just that deep restless feeling of not belonging where my feet are at in the now. The acceptance and peace that I’ve always craved in a foundational sense of belonging. I find solace in the quiet and loneliness of the mountains. Maybe it’s a sense of my own smallness, the magnitude of those dark brooding shadows. I feel comfort feeling lost in the giant space. There is no placement, no territory, no tangible sense of mine, yours, theirs. It becomes a vast space that belongs to no one. And there I am able to feel at home.
When I was a kid we went camping as often as we were able. My Dad was a forest ranger for a long time before any of us kids entered the picture. He knew many off the path type of places, the best places that no one else seemed to know about. As we’d drive up the mountain side my Dad would point out things to us, instruct us to pay attention to our surroundings. He offered a small prize to the first one to spot a wild animal. Before the days of having cell phones, or movies playing in the car, this was the best way to make time pass – our eyes would stay glued to the window in hopes of spotting a buck or MAYBE even a rare Colorado ram peering through those dark shadowy trees.
At least we’d reach the ‘special place’.The spot I remember the most was a secluded site far away from other campers. There nestled into the lap of the mountain itself, the perfect clearing. So picturesque in my mind I remember it clearly. An open space full of lush scrabbles of grass and gentle wildflowers. A small creek ran through it and against all sides was the slopes of the mountain itself. It formed a frame around the upper top of the valley, like a diamond cut frame against the sky, the pine tops staggered in sharp contrast. It was here me and my older brother built a dam in the creek, also where my Dad first taught me how to weave the wildflowers into a crown. Being a forest ranger as well as a self educated biologist my Dad would point out various forms of interest. Wildflowers and all sorts of growing things, animal tracks, even animal scat. He would pay close attention to the weather, peering overhead and always pointing out a change in weather. I felt safe. Always a sense of admiration as I trotted along making mental notes about everything and feeling validated that I too was being taught the great ways of the mountains. Maybe it’s that sense of familiarity that brings me back time and time again to the mountains – the wonder and emotion of somehow being apart of such a grand place in time. The great sense of Belonging.
Maybe it’s that sense of familiarity that brings me back time and time again to the mountains – the wonder and emotion of somehow being apart of such a grand place in time. The great sense of Belonging.
It will come as no surprise when my husband asked what I’d like to do for Mother’s Day weekend. Go to the mountains of course! We spent a delightful weekend browsing and exploring mountain areas. My heart was full. I don’t think I’ll ever live up to my Dad’s legacy of teaching the outdoors like he did but I loved watching my kids excitement over the mountain areas. Perhaps, hopefully, I have passed down the great love for these beautiful mountains.
Though I don’t know the names of wildflowers that I see, I can never pass one by without stopping to pause and take note and usually a picture.
The way up was beautiful blue skies. Towards the end coming back we got some clouds and even some snow through the mountains. It’s crazy how within a few hours or even minutes at times the weather can change so drastically. We drove as far as we could before we got to the road block for current passage through the Pass. The snow was quite heavy this year and several avalanches pummeled both the road and sides of the mountain. It was a bit sad to pass by the sides that had been taken out by the onslaught of snow.
Within minutes of pulling up to this closure the snow started coming down. The crazy thing was that it passed almost as fast as it came. Blue skies again within about 15 minutes. But we enjoyed it while it lasted!
And now a view literally about 15 minutes later heading away from the road block. NOT KIDDING!
I love Colorado but I am drawn to Mountains everywhere. I have a traveling bucket list as long as my arm. I want to see them all, even looking at mountains I’ve never been to, I feel an urge as if I’d been there. I guess a sense of belonging somehow in the grand scheme of things after all…
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir
Thank you for taking the time to read and join me in my thoughts. Your time is valuable and I’m honored you spent a few minutes here. xx
This month has been a special one. The anticipation of Spring, warmer days and my very favorite – longer evenings. No more setting sun at 4:30, now the sun sets around 7:30 giving us more time to enjoy in the evening. Here are some of my favorite pictures from this past month!
I am looking forward to many more adventures in May. We will be going on our first camping trip of the year and it’s in a new place for us. So excited to gather around the campfire with my kids and do all the the things that should be done on a camping trip… S’mores around the fire, sizzling meat on grill, cupping a hot mug of coffee in your hands. Ahhhhh….
Thank you for taking the time to read about my adventures and walking with me through my memories. I hope you have a wonderful weekend! (and a happy May!) Go find a new place to wander. Excite your senses. Make an adventure out of what is in front of you.
I am officially bidding Winter goodbye. I don’t know whether or not it’ll listen this time as this isn’t the first time I’ve urged it to leave. The days have been a cycle of typical Colorado weather confusion. 60s and 70s for a few days, just enough to leave us with the tantalizing mood of Spring and then a downpour of Snow. Up and down. I am grateful however for the moisture. Last year there was hardly any snow and we had many fires as consequence. I’m looking forward to warmer days and adventures with my family.
One of our goals this year is to check off as many of Colorado’s state parks as we can! We have went to several but not even close to the 41 that are available. I think we’ve done 6??!!!! I’m guilty of finding my favorite spots and then never leaving them. But you never discover new favorites if you don’t go out and find them first!
Last year we fell in love with Chatfield State Park and went there pretty much every weekend for the months of June and July. My kids called it “The Beach” (having never been to the real beach before) While it’s not the beach you can’t argue that it’s not just gorgeous. We found a little path that wandered down to this area and had many a picnic on this exact sandy spot.
My little ones played in the water til the sun was well over the hills. And my serious 2 yo had many thoughtful moments staring out at shore.
Sometimes arriving at afternoon and staying til the cloudy summer storms arrived.
I love the quote below:
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” — Margaret Atwood
I’m pretty sure my kids smell like dirt at the end of every day haha! But more so in the spring and summer. Spring days are beautifully warm enough to be pleasant without the intensity of summer sun. But there’s a place for that too. I hope you are feeling the inspiration and excitement that comes with warmer days. Memories to be made, trails to follow, sunsets to admire. Take pictures, smile and take the time to make an experience. xx
I have always been obsessed with roads. The road gives a clear picture of where I am going. The way it points ahead into the distance, the yellow lines smoothly flying forward with the confidence of a plane on track. In Colorado there is almost always mountains ahead. And though the road may wind and turn I can feel my excitement building as I watch the horizons come into sight, the mountains building in size until at last I am riding through the craggy sides of the mountains themselves. The road is direction, a clear reassurance that no matter if you lose direction, a road will lead you in and out of it. One of the things that can bring me into a state of panic is to lose sight of the road. Being caught in a blizzard or snowstorm causes me great anxiety. Suddenly that road disappears after two feet. There’s nothing there but a swirling force of… nothing. Unless you are very familiar with the road, every turn brings uncertainty, a drop in the stomach, because you have no clue where you’re going without being able to see that road… Your sense of direction is challenged in every way – where you’re going, what your goal is and the ultimate question, should I pull over or should I blindly going forward looking for a safe place until the storm is over ?
Sometimes the direction of where we ought to go just isn’t as clear as a road. Life can be like driving down the highway with the sun on your shoulders and singing into the strands of hair on your face, and all is GOOD. There’s a joy, a confidence that all is as it should be. And the next moment it can be like standing in a vast dessert, same sun on your shoulders but the road has disappeared. There’s no imminent danger, just a clear loss of vision, of purpose. Or that’s what you feel. That’s what you think.
But maybe Life isn’t just about The Road. Maybe your missing out on a whole different life, experiences you’re missing because, well, that road just goes by too fast.
Sometimes the road stops and it can do so for many reasons. Sometimes there isn’t a choice. Sometimes you’re forced to stop by an impenetrable force. Something life throws at you like the heavy debris from a tornado… Sometimes you come to your own reasons for stopping. Maybe the seeds of doubt began to spread and you just had to see for yourself – what’s beyond the road? Why is following the road so damn important? Maybe the important parts are what’s on the sides. Maybe it’s not just all about the road… maybe it’s about how we get there? What we see on the way? Maybe the road never stops? Maybe it was never about the ending… just the journey.
Maybe it’s not just all about the road… maybe it’s about how we get there? What we see on the way? Maybe the road never stops? Maybe it was never about the ending… just the journey.
Without going into too many details in this post I will say this, What began as what I interpreted to be a road block turned out to be a detour of the most beautiful kind. Painful issues involving my heath (specifically my hands) caused me to take a long leave from several things which included using my phone, computer/editing, and even most social media as it required use of both phone and computer. I struggled for a bit trying to figure what everything meant, what I was supposed to do going forward… in other words, WHERE IS THE ROAD???
I don’t have a clear answer. Although cutting down my work extensively improves the pain, it can come back just as fast when I overuse my hands. I don’t know if I will ever fully be able to go back to the way things were. Taking the detour has caused me to think about what I want to expend energy on. What is important? No, what is priority? After taking a few months off I can look back and see where my efforts and energy were going and they weren’t going into what matters most to me.
Unfortunately blinded with my own good intentions in making my business succeed, my family had taken a back burner. And while my business was thriving and growing, a part of my heart was dying because deep inside I knew I was letting down the people who mattered most to me. I’m thankful for the changes that have taken place because I have gained a deep understanding of what loving and serving my family truly means.
I remember when months ago going to bed every night at 4 am was normal. I didn’t even have time any more to photograph the people I love the most. I didn’t have time or energy for long walks or stories before bed, snuggles in the morning or baking with my children. My weekends were full every single week. It’s hard to start up and keep a new business afloat. And it comes with a lot of personal sacrifices… With my road block I was forced to re-evaluate everything and for the better. I now take into account how long I will be able to have my camera out. I don’t take carrying for an hour for granted anymore… this makes me focus on what I want to capture. It also forces me to put it away and enjoy being in the moment. My children used to hate it when I took my camera because it would dominate everything. I wanted to capture everything, every precious moment. The only thing is that I didn’t realize I was actually missing it because instead of spending it with them I was behind the camera.
My time is different these days and because I am learning to view my time and energy as the gift from above that it is, I am finding purpose and fulfillment in so many different ways. And lately I’ve learned a whole different twist to photographing my children. Instead of making the moment happen so I could capture it, I’ve learned to take special notice of moments that are happening all on their own…
These may not be masterpieces to other people, but these are the moments that matter to me. It’s a huge part of what my journey is about. And I wouldn’t of found it if I hadn’t of went beyond the road.
I don’t think everyone’s journey’s are the same. Our callings are different, our priorities change. And while you may not be able to relate to my personal story, I would still challenge you to look beyond the Road you have set for yourself. And even if it’s the one you’re sure you should be on, have you stopped for a moment to enjoy the scenery? Have you forgotten what the journey is about? Don’t forget that the road is only one of millions you will take and that it all comes down to your journey and all that you allow that to be.