2021 Fall Family Photo Sessions Are Here!!

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Click HERE or Scroll to the bottom of the gallery in this blog post for some steamy shots of mom and dad in the rain!


Oh man! So much has happened in the last few weeks. Feels like life has been a total whirlwind and I've been so busy I haven’t had time to blog or book sessions.

SO, without further ado, WE FINALLY MOVED TO IDAHO!!! Yeah! We did it. On August 19th we jumped in the car with all of our belongings in a 17” U-Haul truck and drove ten hours to Shelley Idaho where we moved into a cute little townhouse in the middle of a little rural town a few minutes south of Idaho Falls. It’s been a crazy week. Everyone knows moving is so expensive but the first few weeks after a move everything is so tightly budgeted, it can be super stressful. We’re almost past that though. Dustin’s been working his new job as an interim while he waits for the next step towards his career and we will begin seeing some sort of money turnaround for that when he gets his first check on monday. Does anyone else hate that lag of the additional week you have to wait for your first check when you get paid? Like not to complain about money, I just want to level with you here for a quick second: everyone has money problems or money stressors in life, even super successful photographers like me.. * haaa…. haaa... *.

Anyway, the structure of having our own place again has been so nice. If your new here, heres a short recap of what my life has been like for three years for context: In 2018 we had our first son and Dustin finished his service as an Active Duty Marine. We moved to Washington state, where my family is, and began the home buying process only to get stonewalled by a huge slap in the face… essentially a bankruptcy dustin filed for almost ten years prior was keeping him from buying a home since the bankruptcy was never ‘officially discharged on paper’ and his home he filed for bankruptcy on during his youthful years, was never officially foreclosed on. If you know anything about VA loans, you know that once you've set fire to that bridge, it's not impossible to cross, there's just some hoops you have to jump through to get back in the good graces of the ‘bridge builder’ that is the VA home loan program. So we started the process of jumping through those hoops at the end of 2018. In 2019, Dustin had some issues with post military injuries that forced him to have to switch to a different job and take a $7/hour pay cut (ouchhhhhh), and suddenly our apartment we were renting was uncomfortable to afford. We got lucky and our apartment had a massive pipe burst in our laundry area which caused our apartment complex to let us out of our lease three months early free of charge. We moved in with my family and essentially ended up stuck in limbo after the #covid19 shutdowns took everyone's life to a major poop storm of a stand still.

WHile we were living with my parents, I had my second baby, via home birth and the basement apartment we were living in, started to slowly fall apart piece by piece due to extreme weather and being partially remodeled. So as a woman, I had no place to make a home for two years. No place to cook dinners for my family, nowhere to have a meal together, our laundry was starting to get mold spots from the moisture coming in and my infant was waking up with breathing attacks due to the mold spores in the basement. I eventually just lost it and we moved in with my cousins for about a month until we were finally able to finalize everything and make the move to Idaho. So for the first time in three years I have a house. We didn't buy a house because we wanted to spend about a year scoping out the area. So instead, we rented a townhome, but I have a cute little yard, a nice and organized bedroom closet, my kids have a bedroom to play in and I have a kitchen to cook meals for my family and I could cry with excitement. If you've ever stayed with family to save money for buying a house or while waiting to move, you know the emotions I felt finally getting into our own place again.


I'm telling you all of this because it's so important as photographers to level with normal people on a normal life ‘shit we all deal with’ playing field. Photographers are always put together and have this perfectly assembled package to present clients that it makes clients feel bad when they don’t have their entire life put together and I AM HERE TO TELL YOU, even perfectly put together photographers on instagram have ‘shit we all deal with’.


SO MOVING ON:


My First Fall Family Session of the 2021 Fall Family Photography Season!


Session Recap:

Literally, the night before we jumped in the U-haul and drove out to our new home in Shelley, Idaho, I had my last family session in Washington State. Breanna reached out to me and wanted fall family pictures, but she wanted them done on the 18th of September. Now any seasoned photographer knows that's pretty early as far as fall tones and foliage goes in the PNW but I was determined to make sure she got her fall pictures. I scouted for weeks on end and watched the leaves change. One Day i even drove three hours out to Trout Lake to scout for leaves changing up in that area and I was just not having any luck. WIth the scorching hot weather we had in the early summer in Washington, I assumed that leaves would be changing pretty early and a bit more dramatically than usual because of the drastic weather shift. I was most definitely wrong…. Not the first time, won't be the last time, but this time it was upsetting.


Finally had this bright idea to head eat in washington a little bit hoping that the more drastically changing weather between night and day over towards goldendale would provide a bit of leave color change and we scheduled their session for the Dalles Mountain Ranch at Columbia Hills State Park 30 minutes South of Goldendale, Washington. The leaves were not as bright as I would've liked but the fall tones in the environment made for the perfect ‘faux’ fall look.


I sent Breanna a sample color palette for her session a few weeks prior to the session and let me tell you, they definitely nailed their session styling! Breanna wore the cutest navy blue dress with cowboy boots and a jean jacket and the two girls ( 6 & 8) wore mustard colored dresses with matching jean jackets. Derrick's outfit was probably my favorite piece to the entire ensemble. He wore blue jeans and a cowboy hat with boots to pair, and my favorite piece of all, his wool sweater with a total western cowboy, ‘pendleton’ blanket vibe. The whole style of the family was absolutely on point!


We planned for a golden hour session, but as everyone knows, Washington state in the fall is definitely bipolar as far as weather goes and we had to keep a watch for the rain. The weather forecast shifted and we ended up with a moody overcast cloud cover, but I wasn't complaining, it added so much more atmosphere to the intended ‘fall vibe’ of the photos.


We shot all the typical family poses and combinations of mom with girls, dad with girls, mom dad and girls etc. and it started to sprinkle but judging by the nasty looking gray clouds, we thought this sprinkle was going to turn into a downpour, so we sent the girls to the truck and Breanna and Derrick stayed back with me to take some spicy couples pictures in the rain. When it rains it pours though, as soon as it started to dump on us, the pictures just kept getting spicier! OH MY WORD they killed it.


Here's some of my favorite shots from the session:





About the Location:

Dalles Mountain Ranch is part of Columbia Hills State Park about 90 minutes east of Portland on the Washington Side of the River. The Park itself includes the historical family homestead farm known as Dalles Mountain Ranch, the lower Horsethief Lake Park and Campground. The entire park stretches from the banks of the Columbia River, to the top of Stacker Butte which reaches an elevation of 3,200 feet. The Ranch itself is located on the site of an 1869 homestead that was the first to be established in the county in which Dalles Mountain Ranch is Situated.


Best Time of Year to Visit:

If you're looking for a moody vibe in your pictures, don't hesitate to visit this location in the fall when the weather starts to turn, be prepared for unpredictable weather though!

If you're wanting a light and airy vibe with some colorful spring and summer feels, early May to Mid June is the best time to visit this location. The hillside is COVERED in wildflowers and this makes for an awesome location for family portraits, senior portraits, engagement photos and more! Not only is there wildflowers all around but the Columbia river Gorge as a backdrop to your photos if you are looking South is a must for any session at this location.


Directions to the Location:

From Portland, head east on 84 until you reach cascade locks, at Cascade Locks, Cross over Bridge of the Gods and turn right on the Washington Side of the Bridge to continue your journey eastward. Follow HWY 14 for another hour until you see signs for Columbia Hills State Park. Watch for signs on the right hand road that will take you to a long gravel road. Maximum speed limit on this road is 25, but I suggest doing 15-20 if you've never been to this site. The road to the parking area itself is 3 miles long.


About the Photographer

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