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Monday, December 19, 2011

Fall Revisited

I didn't seem to have near enough time to get out and enjoy Fall this year. I managed to get a trip out to Forest Park. We've been busy planning a wedding for my oldest, so I haven't had much time for photo editing. Thought I'd go ahead and post a few of the photos from this year's ventures out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tis the Season!

Dear Family and Friends,

Here we are again, another year almost past.  It's been an exciting year for all of us. The highlight of the year was our trip to Hawaii to visit our friends in Oahu.  Beki joined us on the 9 day trip and we finished with a stop in Seattle.  It was my first time in Hawaii and I loved every minute of it!

John and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in September.  We were able to take a trip to Sedona, Arizona in November to celebrate.

Beki participated in the spring musical, Jekyll and Hyde.  They worked hard for 2 months and put on a spectacular show.  She's been busy preparing for college...ACT's, college applications, essays.  She's gotten 3 acceptances from Missouri State University, The University of Missouri (Mizzou) and Ohio State.  MSU has offered her the Board of Governor's Scholarship which covers most tuition and all out-of-state fees.  She takes her last Senior finals this month.  She's continued to work at 54th Street Grill and was able to purchase her first car in August, a little candy apple red Chevy Cobalt.  As part of the Chamber Choir at school, she's been able to perform the Madrigal's Dinner this season.  It's a renaissance style show.  The kids do a tremendous's a wonderful show.  We are incredibly proud of this girl and all she has accomplished!

Ari is in her 3rd year at MSU, now studying professional writing.  She just accepted a part time job in the writing lab where she'll be able to help others with their writing.  She and Anthony got engaged in July.  We started right away planning for a January 1st wedding.  Everything is falling into place and we are all excited to be bringing in the new year with all our friends and family. 

John's job is going well, he's recently been given a new and exciting part of the world to work with.  We are making friends with his co-workers.  We recently had a party and invited them all out.  He also received a couple bonuses for work well done in his specific areas.  He still enjoys reading, talking politics, and the occasional glass of pinot noir.  Our life has been good here in Illinois, but with Beki soon to be moving on to college, we are contemplating our next steps. 

I'm trying to enjoy my last year with Beki...soaking up as much time and fun as we can squeeze in before she leaves.  I've got a horrible case of empty nest syndrome.  In the midst of all the wedding planning and costume fixing, I'm still working on my photography.  I was honored to have a couple Seniors hire me this year for their senior pictures.  Hoping next year to have more time to get things moving. 

We wish you all a blessed Christmas season...may your new year be filled with great memories.  No matter how long since we've seen you, we think of you all often and miss you.

John, Aimee, Ari and Beki

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Desert Photography

My husband and I took a trip to Sedona, Arizona a couple weeks ago. Except for the hiking required to get these beautiful shots, I was in heaven! This little valley surrounded by red mountains is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The last day we were there, we woke up to snow covered mountains and big snowflakes out our window.

This photo actually taken over looking Phoenix.

The following photo was created using HDR (High Dynamic Range), which is when you merge 2 or more exposures of the same picture to capture detail that your eye can see but the camera loses during exposure. This one was done with 3 different exposures.

This one also done with 3 exposures.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day at the Grand Canyon


Our first day of the trip took us to Flagstaff, AZ for the night.  We got up early our first morning and drove out to the Grand Canyon.  It was a perfect day out there, cool but not cold and partly sunny. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sedona, Arizona

I'm not sure how to explain how much I love this place.  Did you ever have the feeling as you entered a place that you'd come home?  This was my third time here and anticipation filled every sense as we rounded the mountain into this beautiful valley.  This is what you see.

We spent four days hiking and exploring.  I was so exhausted by evening, I could hardly get through dinner.  It becomes almost obsessive, if I don't keep going, I might miss something!  So I pushed through and was rewarded with some of the most amazing scenery I've ever seen.

Morning light

Evening light of the same valley, different direction.

Standing on a bridge leading to a ranch off of Red Rock Loop, we found this beautiful display of fall color.  Notice the snow on the mountains.  We got two snowfalls, the second one producing snow in the Sedona Valley, which is a very rare occurence.

This is the result of our 45 minute hike pretty much straight up the side of Doe Mountain.  We did hairpin turns all the way up.  We had hoped for clearer skies, but got some incredible shots even with the clouds.

Later that day, we took a second hike out West Fork, which is about 6 miles round trip.  We crossed this creek at least ten times.  On the second crossing, I slipped and soaked my shoe through.  Thankfully, with all the walking, my foot did not get cold.

Well, this is a start...I'll post another set later.


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