98 degrees guys! Not the boy band…that’s how hot it was when we started Holly & Steven’s engagement session last week in Columbia, SC! To say these two are troopers is such a total understatement. They had the best attitudes about having a summer engagement session and in return I loved spending time getting to know them as a couple and meeting their sweet pups Heidi and Maddi. Thanks for galavanting all over boiling hot Columbia with me guys, I can’t wait for your wedding next February!
I’ve come to really enjoy rehearsal dinners because they offer such a great opportunity to spend more time with my couples and their families and capture more intimate and candid moments. Elizabeth & Will’s rehearsal dinner hosted by Will’s parents at the Chatham Club on the eve of their April wedding was no exception. We started out with some portraits of just the two of them at Madison Square, then captured guests mingling. After dinner was toasts, and that’s when I get some of my favorite expressions, reactions, and tender moments.
Back in June we set out for a six day family trip to Sedona, Arizona. We really wanted an outdoorsy, adventurous type of trip for our first long-distance family vacation and since the biggest chunk of time we get with Landon is during the summer, we opted to head west. Now, the desert in June can be questionnable, but we were totally up for it. That week however was the week of record breaking highs…just our luck! Though dry heat is different from the humidity we’re used to home in the South…113+ is just plain hot…there’s no getting around it. It didn’t stop us from doing everything we wanted to do though, and we had an amazing time – 19 weeks pregnant and all!
We flew into Phoenix and drove to our Airbnb in Sedona. It was centrally located to downtown Sedona and just a short 5 minute walk to Oak Creek which we LOVED. The first morning, we set out for the grocery store and then checked out Oak Creek. We knew that would be such a gem of a spot and we ended up spending a lot of time there…even getting take out from Wildflour one evening and eating beside the creek.
The rest of our time was spent hiking, off roading, hiking lots more, and we took a day trip to the Grand Canyon. Did you know that only 5% of people ever go below the canyon rim? We went on the 1 mile down and back hike to Ooh Aah Point and it. was. intense. I quickly realized that the statistic I’d seen needed to be rephrased…95% of people are smart enough to not hike below the canyon rim. Don’t get me wrong, it was such a wild experience…getting passed by caravans of pack mules a few times, seeing the canyon from a totally different perspective, and getting such an expansive view both east and west at Ooh Aah Point. But hiking below the rim with a clumbsy 10-year-old is absolutely terrifying. The trails are well maintained but they are far more narrow than I ever expected. Of course the hike itself is strenuous as well (as they like to say, “It’s optional to go down, but not to come back up,” and in the extreme heat Arizona was experiencing it was definitely an added challenge. But knowing something as simple as a stumble could send you over the edge of the canyon and gone forever had me terrified of having Landon with us nearly the entire time…ha! So much for enjoying it! And, mad props to my awesome husband for hiking down and back with that backpack full of water, a camera & tripod, and our lunch.
Aside from the sheer panic of that hike in particular though, our trip in its entirety was awesome. My parents had taken my brother and I on a roadtrip out west when we were kids so I had vague memories of the area, but experiencing it as an adult with my own family was so much fun. Below are photos from our various adventures, as well as a big mix of random iPhone photos at the bottom. And, of course I’ve included some of our favorite places and hikes from our trip…
Hideaway House: Probably our favorite dinner! Great views, and we all LOVED our meals. Dustin got a sub/sandwich type thing, I got a big salad, and Landon got a personal pizza
Oak Creek Canyon: Anywhere you can access the creek and get in for a dip, sit and enjoy the sounds, or just see it is beautiful!
Slide Rock State Park & Grasshopper Point: Two super popular attractions but definitely some of our favorite moments! There’s cliff jumping at both!
The Grand Canyon South Rim: We parked near the visitors center and went to Mather Point first, then we hopped on the orange line to Yaki Point where we hiked the trail down to Ooh Ahh Point, then we drove our car the 20 or so miles to Desert View to climb the watch tower. From there, we took Highway 89 toward Cameron to head back to Sedona
My Gal Sal’s: We stopped here on our way into Phoenix to get an early lunch before we got to the airport. It was one of our favorite meals! So, so good!
I’m a South Carolina and Georgia wedding and portrait photographer. I’m also a wife, bonus mom, animal lover, and passionate about creating real, timeless, and romantic images that tell a story and are full of life. I’m inspired by light, love, the outdoors, and adventures with my family