NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP: Blog https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog en-us NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP (NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) Wed, 15 Sep 2021 16:20:00 GMT Wed, 15 Sep 2021 16:20:00 GMT https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/img/s/v-12/u744097602-o956084222-50.jpg NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP: Blog https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog 80 120 Through The Lens; Fintastic Fishing https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2021/1/through-the-lens-fintastic-fishing NFPG6005-Edit (1)NFPG6005-Edit (1)
It goes without saying that Banderas Bay is paradise for all of those who love the water! It boasts marine life and offers perfect opportunities for all aquatic activities like, snorkeling, whale-watching, sailing, and fishing of course! Fishing is a competitive sport, a hobby, a means of sustenance and a great way to relax in the hectic world in which we live. Whether you are living here full or part time or are just vacationing for a week or two, fishing and boating activities provide a major source of enjoyment for the people of our beautiful, tropical paradise. 

We caught up with Bernardo Calzada of Fintastic Fishing, one of the most popular fishing charters in all of Puerto Vallarta. Bernardo and his crew have delighted our family for many fishing charters as well as sunset cruises. Originally from Queretero, Bernardo developed his love for the ocean at the early age of 7 when his father would take him fishing on his 1952 Elgin. He recalled the joy he felt being on the water and knowing that he had discovered his passion. Now, he wants to share that feeling and thrill with everyone. 

“There is nothing better than to see a smile on someone’s face when they are holding their catch. Being out on the water is my special place. Being out on the water and connecting with nature gives me a sense of peace that is unique.”

Prior to opening Fintastic Fishing, he had been working as a chef and living in Italy, which he very much enjoyed; however, he felt that being a chef failed to provide him the freedom that only being on the water afforded him. As a result, Bernardo moved to Puerto Vallarta with a dream and purchased his first boat. 3 Years and many boats later, he is a fantastic success! 

In his career as a fisherman and charter service, Bernardo has caught thousands of fish, the biggest being a 400lb hammerhead shark! He loves being a part of his clients experience, meeting new people and joining them for an amazing experience. 

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Alongside Bernardo is his amazing crew who are equally passionate and knowledgeable on the subject of fishing and boating. Born and raised right here in PV, they have been fishing these waters their whole lives. Surely this passion has lead to Fintastic Fishing’s status in the top 3 fishing charters in Puerto Vallarta! 

In addition to fishing, the crew offers a sunset cruise that tours Banderas Bay from Marina Vallarta to the Malecon so you can enjoy the breathtaking view of Puerto Vallarta from a new perspective! You can come by yourself or with family and friends and have a great trip with a fully stocked bar and a chance to catch a big fish when they set out a couple of fishing rods.

If snorkeling and whale watching interest you, check out their tours and boat charters for private parties and special occasions! And new this year, they are adding yacht rentals and tours to their offerings! It is no question that Fintastic Fishing is a winning experience for everyone! 

You can also join us for a sunset cruise photography workshop! 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) activities activity adventure banders bay boat boats charter charters cruise destination family fish fisherman fishing friendly jalisco marina mexico ocean pacific photo photography puerto rental rentals sail snorkel snorkeling tour tours vacation vallarta yacht https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2021/1/through-the-lens-fintastic-fishing Sun, 17 Jan 2021 17:00:00 GMT
Through The Lens; Trattoria Di Nuovo https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/10/through-the-lens-trattoria-di-nuovo Dining and date nights in the era of Covid-19! So much has changed this year in how we do everything including a simple night out. No longer is it just a case of what you want to eat, but what is going to be safe and reliable. My wife and I rarely have date nights with our young child at home but recently we found ourselves searching for the perfect evening getaway. Our research quickly and overwhelmingly led us to Trattoria Di Nuovo located in Zona Romántica.  NFPG5296-EditNFPG5296-Edit

Trattoria Di Nuovo offers open air dining that veils a beautiful and well-thought-out decor in a way that really makes the place come alive. With palm trees and lush foliage, you maintain the feeling of being in a tropical location; however, the lighting and artwork are classic Italian fine dining with pictures of vintage staple Italian products. There are also black and white photos of people with massive twirls of spaghetti, including Joe DiMaggio which, as a New Yorker, I can definitely appreciate. To add to this scene, the music in Trattoria Di Nuovo is always enjoyable, simultaneously creating feelings of happy tranquility mixed with some nostalgia. Taken all together, it creates the perfect environment for a romantic night out or a group event with lots of laughter and, of course, plenty of vino. And we discovered that they have events where they serve a 3-course meal focusing on the food of a specific region of Italy so we are looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about Italy as we eat our delicious food.

For many of us, all it took was one foot in Vallarta to fall in love. It was no different for the owner of Trattoria Di Nuovo. Noemi recalls telling her parents as a child vacationing from Michoacán that one day she too would live in Vallarta. Lucky for all of us, that little girl was right. Noemi moved to PV after graduating university and found her paradise. In her travels she discovered Spain and Italy, founding and shaping her love of Italian cuisine. Her time working for Italian restaurants in Ibiza taught her the arts and responsibilities of running a business and she began dreaming once again, this time of bringing Italy to Puerto Vallarta.

NFPG5525-EditNFPG5525-Edit Noemi runs the restaurant with her brother, and the feeling of family is present as the entire staff are so friendly and welcoming. She attributes her success to the love and support of her own family. After 10 years, they are still offering the same stellar Italian gastronomic experience and, unsurprisingly, Noemi’s passion for what she does trickles into every aspect of the business. You can feel her determination to give the best possible experience through her friendly employees, the perfect ambiance and the fantastic music that Noemi carefully selects to suit the appropriate mood. And though she is proud and passionate about the food that she serves, I’m sure she would be the first to admit that it is extremely difficult to compete with her mother’s home cooking.

Now, as I already mentioned, I’m a New Yorker. I was born in Queens and raised just outside of the city. I can trace my family back all the way to my great-great-grandparents who emigrated from Eastern Europe to Manhattan in the late 1800s. I have plenty of Italian family, including a 100% Italian grandmother. Basically, what I’m getting at is I know good Italian food because I’ve been eating gourmet Italian food all my life and I have to say that Trattoria Di Nuovo knows how to make some incredible Italian food. You can tell that the pasta that is used is fresh and it is always cooked to an al dente perfection. My wife and I have had several dishes here and have never been disappointed: my favorite is the linguini with clams and my wife is partial to the vegetarian lasagna. The dishes are always well-seasoned and have plenty of flavor. The cream sauces are rich, the tomato sauces are aromatic and flavorful, and the white wine sauces are light and compliment the seafood dishes well. Trattoria Di Nuovo has plenty of delicious wines to suit any palate.

What else is there to say about the food? Dessert! The desserts here are delicious and worth making a little extra room to accommodate them. And if you are lucky enough to be a guest for a special occasion, be sure to let your server know; you will not regret it.

So if you are craving a romantic night out with your significant other or looking to meet with some friends and have a decadent and fun experience with delicious food and plenty of excellent wine, Trattoria Di Nuovo is a must try! Thank you Noemi for never failing to provide an all-around amazing culinary experience. NFPG5620-EditNFPG5620-Edit

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure blog cocktails drinks family food food porn foodie italian italy jalisco mexican mexico nomad nomad family photo photographer photography puerto restaurant taste travel travel blog travel family vallarta https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/10/through-the-lens-trattoria-di-nuovo Thu, 15 Oct 2020 16:30:00 GMT
Through The Lens; Mariposario Jardin Magico https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/10/through-the-lens-mariposario-jardin-magico Through The Lens; Vallarta

Mariposario Jardin Magico

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New to Vallarta this year is an amazing opportunity for individual and family exploration. Located on the northeastern outskirts, about 5 miles from the Marina, is a hidden jewel called Mariposario Jardin Magico. A beautiful oasis devoid of the trappings of civilization, you will find yourself in a truly special place that exudes tranquility and natural harmony.  afzcKFowafzcKFow

Mariposario Jardin Magico is a butterfly sanctuary surrounded by untapped natural beauty. With a body of water, tons of wildlife, and all kinds of beautiful flora and diverse fauna, it sets the stage for what is truly a magical experience. Before you even enter the garden, you are surrounded by many different species of lush trees and plants. There are several ponds in the area that are teaming with wildlife, including exotic birds, turtles, and fish. 

The owner and man who created the butterfly garden, Chris, is a man of true character and clearly has a passion for his work. He has taken the time and care to acquire the knowledge of the butterflies and convey it in a manner that is sure to keep your interest.

The garden is decorated with colorful and whimsical up-cycled materials. The vibrant colors of the diverse plants and flowers sets a sense of wonder. Everywhere you look you will find an abundance of life; the different types of caterpillars and chrysalises for the butterfly species that exist here, for which there are well over 100. From the Reina, which is very similar in appearance to the Monarch Butterfly, to the Zebra, which has stripes reminiscent of those of their namesake, it is a festival of colors sure to please visitors of all ages. 

ayPLYRtwayPLYRtw Biologists are strategically growing flowers and plants within this sanctuary to feed the butterflies and provide them a place to reproduce. They also offer complimentary tours to share their expertise with you. If you are lucky, you may have the opportunity to have a butterfly or two land on you. If you are even luckier with your timing, you may have the opportunity to release the butterflies that have newly emerged from their chrysalises that day, which is an incredible experience.

There is even a small outdoor restaurant next door if you want to stop and have some drinks and food before or after your visit with the butterflies, as well as settings for Tamazcal, DiscGolf and Camping at the Ranch. The Mariposario is also home to our new Macro Photography Workshops! Join us to learn how to create stunning floral images and learn tricks to catching shots of the amazing butterflies. 

This is a magical experience that will leave you feeling more informed about the various butterfly species that live in Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area and more in touch with nature. The work that Chris and Mariposario Jardin Magico does is extremely important and I was excited to have the opportunity to visit this natural haven. My family and I enjoyed this experience so much, we know we will return many times in the future. 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) blog butterfly class course family flora floral flower garden jalisco jardin mariposa mexico natural nature photo photography puerto travel vallarta wildlife workshop https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/10/through-the-lens-mariposario-jardin-magico Tue, 13 Oct 2020 17:11:06 GMT
Life in the Time of Covid-19 https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/4/life-in-the-time-of-covid-19 People travel for all sorts of reasons: some for the weather and some for the food, some people just want to relax but we prefer adventure! We don’t like to waste our time in a new place resting, so when we decided to make the most out of our trip to Spain, we really went all out. We planned a grand adventure with new sights everyday and even scoped out where we wanted to eat and from where we could get the best vantage point to watch the sunset. Our Malaga highlight would have been Pablo Picasso’s house and museum; in Valencia, we were going to visit the Holy Grail; in Granada, we had our hearts set on the Alhambra. 

NFPG4223NFPG4223 We first arrived in Granada around 5pm after a high-speed train ride from Madrid. It was pretty interesting to see the Spanish countryside at about 150 mph. Once we arrived, we made our way to the Airbnb on foot. Even with Jude and our luggage in tow it was less than a 20 minute walk. We dropped off our bags and headed to some nearby markets to stock up on some fresh produce, bread and wine. Then I unpacked the camera and we cleaned up a bit for our walk to dinner. Matt had made reservations for us at Jardines de Zoraya Tablao. The food was amazing: Matt enjoyed some cured meats and pork cheeks while I had some pumpkin flower soup and a goat cheese salad. It was a lovely meal and as we finished and began walking out, Matt, the romantic he is, ushered us into the Flamenco room and surprised us with tickets to their next showing. The dancers, singer and Spanish guitarist were all incredibly talented and Jude especially was mesmerized. Despite being only a few feet away from the stage of stomping feet, he still managed to fall asleep and snore loudly. 

The next morning we had a full itinerary and got right to it. We began at the Capital Real and Granada Cathedral. I am not a talented enough writer to describe to you how grandiose and decorated this church was. It literally took our breath away. The cathedral was built in 1523 by Queen Isabella after the conquest of Granada and its return to Catholic rule. The original architect began with a Gothic style but was later replaced with one who completed the design in a Renaissance style. The result is incredible and truly astounding to behold. The 4th largest Cathedral in the world boasts 2 enormous organs, each with over 1,000 pipes. We spent a great deal of time here and left awestruck. We left claiming that it was one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen but we didn’t know at the time that this was to be the highlight of our entire trip. 

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After the cathedral, we wandered the neighborhood visiting markets and plazas and found our way to a small Russian tapas bar near where we were staying. We enjoyed several hours drinking beer and snacking while chatting with a Flemish family sitting next to us. They had a son Jude’s age as well as a small baby and the boys played with dinosaurs and dragons and ran around the tables having a wonderful time. 

Afterwards, we began our trek up the mountain and took a stroll through the Carmen de Los Martires. After a few wrong turns and long dead end pathways, we finally found ourselves at the entrance for the Generalife Gardens and Alhambra palace. We intended to see the sunset from the palace; however, unfortunately, we arrived at 5:58pm and they closed at 6. We walked the fort walls and took some pictures in the free section and watched the sunset from there. 

Our mission was to arrive at the Alhambra as early as possible the next day, so we quickly ate a breakfast at home and walked back up the mountain. Tired from having climbed this twice already in our short time in Granada, we finally reached the top and joined other tourists congregating outside of the palace. To our great disappointment, we watched a news team interview other upset tourists and they informed us that Spain had officially closed all tourist attractions effective that day. To put it simply, this really put a damper on our trip. It was only our second full day. 

Alternative titles for this blog included: How to spend 48 hours in Spain. 

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We are risk-takers. We love travel and a good adventure. However, we never intended to march into the epicenter of a global pandemic. 

Did we know there were cases of Covid-19 in Spain? Of course! But at the time we got on that plane there were only 500 recorded cases in a country with a population of nearly 50 million. Most of them were in Madrid; however, in Andalucia where we would be, there were only 26 confirmed cases. It didn’t sound so bad and we thought our chances of avoiding it were pretty good. 

Well, we were wrong. We never should have gotten on the plane. Even sitting in the airport in Mexico, we agonized about whether or not we should go, but our options were limited. It was either go, or walk away from the thousands of dollars we had already spent on airfare, housing and transportation. What would you have done? Our primary concern of course was Jude’s health; however, the greatest silver lining of Covid-19 is it has virtually no effect on children under 10. As I said before, we are risk-takers and, Jude’s safety being secured, we rolled the dice and got on the plane. Unfortunately, we gravely underestimated how fast this virus would spread and, like so many others thought at the time, it wasn’t that big of a deal and more people would die from the regular flu. We had no way of knowing that in a few short weeks the virus would significantly impact virtually every person on the planet. 

I packed an abundance of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer and we sanitized and washed our hands at every opportunity. I wiped down every chair and table at every airport restaurant or waiting area and on every plane, train and bus. I even wiped down our bags and jackets at the end of each day. I did my best to play the role of a diligent mama which meant screaming at Jude, “Don’t touch that!”, “Get off the floor!”, “Quick, wash your hands!” And “No! Not your face!” twelve times a day.

We knew it was a possibility that at some point during our trip, like Italy, some places may begin closing their doors to the public. We accepted the fact that we might have to end our trip early. We just didn’t anticipate it would happen on our second full day there. First, Spain closed all tourist locations like museums and churches with bars and restaurants to follow a few days later. 

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What we also didn’t know was that on the day we left, AeroMexico had changed its policy to allow anyone who had already purchased their tickets to change the travel dates with no fees whatsoever.

Alternative blog title #2, ‘Why not to fly AeroMexico. Ever.’

As passengers with flights scheduled on that day, we should have been prioritized and contacted immediately with this announcement. At the very least, we should have been informed while we were checking our bags or when I spent 2 hours on hold in Madrid to cancel our next flight to Ibiza. Instead they charged us an additional $1,000 dollars to not get on one of their planes. 

You see, our original plan was to spend our entire trip to Spain on Ibiza celebrating with family. We were to spend two and a half weeks with Matt’s oldest brother, Jani. It was our 10-year anniversary of meeting him. We only discovered Jani in 2009 when he tracked his birth mother down on Facebook and she in turn shared with her sons, Dan and Matt, that as a teenager she had given a child up for adoption. In 2010 everyone came to Oahu to meet and be together for the first time ever. 

It was an incredible experience and over the last decade the family has had the pleasure of visiting with him and his sons nearly a dozen times. Unfortunately, Jani and his fiancé, Anu, had to leave Spain sooner than expected and we would no longer be meeting them in Ibiza. But we still had those non-refundable tickets. 

After realizing our trip was going to be drastically different than we had imagined, we decided to continue on to Malaga as planned. It was the weekend and no one seemed to be sure just exactly when the bars and restaurants would be forced to close as well. Either way, Malaga was a larger city with more resources for us as it had both an international airport and a US consulate. 

We had registered for the STEP program and contacted both the airlines and embassy in all the ways we could. For the airlines, we had to have friends and family wait on hold for 4-6 hours with no answer. But with all of the information we were able to get from them, we heard the same answer as the embassy: don’t call us, we can’t help you. AeroMexico told us to not even bother calling until our flight was 72 hours away. The embassy took our information and told us to let them know when we found our way home. 

Malaga was not quite what we’d expected when we walked from the bus station. At this time, the morning after the shut down, we were experiencing quite a bit of fear and anxiety already. As we got closer to the Airbnb located in the Centro District, it began to look more charming like we had imagined. We stopped for brunch just outside of the Alcabaza and got a chance to relax. Malaga is where we decided to splurge on our accommodations and our apartment had 2 bedrooms, 2 private outdoor areas and a small balcony overlooking the street. After a quick drop off of our bags, we walked around the city while our hosts finished prepping for us. Most of the shops were closed and only about half of the bars and restaurants remained open. 

NFPG5403NFPG5403 We took a short walk, snapped a few pictures, bought some groceries and headed back to the Airbnb. This was about the sum of our time in Malaga, well, outside in Malaga. We also changed to a less expensive Airbnb next to Malaga Cathedral when we should have been heading on to Valencia. On that outing I wore my camera while we dragged Jude, all of our luggage and our groceries with us. I briefly stopped to photograph the Alcabaza and a car darted right up to us and a masked and gloved police officer quickly began questioning and scolding us. We explained we were just heading to a new Airbnb and he hurried us along our way. We had a very similar experience the night we left Malaga with an officer right outside our door. He was so quick to approach us and question our every travel move that we neglected to leave the Airbnb keys in the dropbox. 

The rest of our experiences in Malaga were spent entertaining Jude with our limited supplies, (he spent a lot of time playing with a small strainer he called a sword), working out as a family to burn off energy and anxiety, cooking and trying to figure out how and when we were going to get home. In our first few days there before reaching maximum stress levels, we had a few nights of listening to our neighborhood erupt in applause for the health care workers, and at all times of day you could hear geese flying overhead. 

With AeroMexico completely unavailable we just had to wait until our original flights got closer, that or spend $2,500 per person on a brand new ticket home. Every few days, we received new and more stressful news. Whether it was the fact that our flight from Ibiza to Madrid was cancelled (we had planned to finish our trip on Ibiza) or the US urging Mexico to close its borders to all international flights, or receiving an email from Airbnb that Spain had ordered all Airbnb accommodations, hotels and hostels closed before our return flight to Mexico. Our options for a timely return home seemed more tenuous every day. The number of cases confirmed in Spain were growing exponentially and we were left not knowing if we would make it home or if we would be spending the next few months there. We booked a flight from Malaga to Madrid in an attempt to reach our original flight back to Mexico just to receive an email several days later that the flight, along with all flights from Malaga to Madrid, had been cancelled. Our plans seemed to change or be completely crushed every day and, at points, our options included spending 1-3 days in the Madrid airport on the floor because you cannot get through security until several hours before your flight. 

When we received the notification about the Airbnbs shutting down at midnight on March 26th, Matt decided to call his brother, Dan, to ask him to give it another go at contacting AeroMexico. After 4 hours on hold, he was finally able to get through. After a bit of back and forth we finally had a plan to get out in 3 days and it would only cost us $350 dollars. However, we were still left with the problem of making our way from Malaga to Madrid. Luckily the buses were still running in a limited capacity and we were able to book an overnight 6-hour bus ride that was scheduled to arrive in Madrid the morning of our flight. On the day that we were supposed to take our bus to Madrid, we were treated to another surprise that may prove to strand us in Spain. I saw one of our friends in our home city of Puerto Vallarta post that ALL INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS into our home state of Jalisco had been banned. After attempting to get some clarification on what this meant to us, it seemed that our flight from Madrid to Mexico City (not in our home state) was still running and our connecting flight home to Puerto Vallarta had not been cancelled because it was a domestic flight. However, the prospect that Mexico could order the entire country’s borders shut to all international air traffic before we could get back seemed very real.

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In addition, the anticipation for our bus to Madrid was pretty intense after nearly 2 weeks in almost total isolation and, with an extensive trip home ahead of us, we dreaded showing up to the bus station only to find no busses running and no way to make our flight home. Thankfully our bus arrived, but it was not the most ideal trip. We left Malaga at midnight and arrived in Madrid around 6 am. Jude slept on and off for the ride but with a passenger behind us who opted to loudly FaceTime her boyfriend half the way, Matt and I didn’t sleep at all. 

After arriving in the bus station, we still needed to figure out a means of getting to the airport. Taxis were still running, but they were not allowed to have more than 1 passenger in them at a time, so we were left with the sole option of figuring out the rail system which, luckily, was not too difficult. Now, Madrid is a city of 6.5 million people and we were getting on a train at about 7 am on a weekday, which would typically be rush hour. However, this was a city under mandatory quarantine where if you were out and about without a valid reason, you could be arrested. For that reason, when we got on the train, there were maybe 6 other people in the entire car, all wearing masks and gloves. It was a very eerie and difficult-to-describe feeling to ride on an empty train during rush hour looking out at a sprawling metropolis that looked like a ghost town. 

Once we made our way to baggage check in the Madrid airport, we still had 7 hours before we could check in and make our way through security. So there we were sitting on the floor of the Airport at the epicenter of the outbreak in Spain. Tensions were high and there were probably a hundred people laying on the floor beside us: some sleeping, some chatting with their friends all trying to remain several feet away from each other and most people wearing masks. A woman next to us desperately pleaded through tears with the service counter for a Russian airline for help finding a ticket for her boyfriend who was stranded and had his passport confiscated by police (likely for violating the mandatory quarantine). I Cloroxed the 6-foot area we set up in and Jude quickly fell back asleep. After about 3 or 4 hours on the floor, we finally made our way to the line for the baggage check still stressed about Mexico possibly closing its borders while we were in the air and having to turn right back around with no where to stay and no idea what to do. 

Suddenly, as we stood there in line, a man waiting alone about 50 feet from us cried out, grabbed his arm and chest and dropped to the floor making a loud slap. The first two seconds, you wonder, is this a joke? One man even laughed out briefly. Surrounded by people wearing masks and already frightened by the microscopic killers potentially all around you, you briefly wonder, is this the disease? Should I touch him? Or run? It feels like the beginning of a bad zombie movie. I can’t quite put into words how this felt. The silence in the airport seemed to stretch on for an eternity.

Wen everyone realized that he was having a heart attack there were another few seconds of being frozen in shock and panic looking at each other for answers. Finally, people started yelling for the police and medics while others ran to the man’s side who was now convulsing on the floor.  

As medics arrived and started helping him, the attendants were still checking people in and ushering us to advance in line, and hey- don’t forget to fill out this luggage tag!’ We all wonder if we are standing next to a dying man. We were all him. Everyone in that airport had the same mission, to get home whether that was a physical place like it was for us or just to be with a loved one. He was traveling alone and the thought of his family anxiously waiting for him only to hear that he had suffered a heart attack in the airport was just unbearable. Fortunately, he was revived and was conscious and speaking when the ambulance took him away. After a vacation ruined, a mandatory quarantine, a struggle to find a way home, the prospect that we still may get turned around and a lack of rest, we wondered what else could go wrong.

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Just before boarding, an AeroMexico agent at the desk informed us that she was going to change our seats so that we would not be so cramped. When Matt looked at the new seat numbers, he realized we had been bumped up to business class. We were grateful for this because we had so much room to ourselves. Business class was 3 rows of 9 seats per row and, aside from us, there were only 2 other people in business class. We used the front row to give Jude enough floor space to walk around, another row for watching movies, and even one more row for taking naps. Jude, as I am sure you are wondering, is actually a fantastic traveler. Throughout his life he has always taken flights and long bus or car rides in stride. But he has alway slept on planes. Even on our 1- or 2-hour flights, he passes out. But, fortunate as we were, he only slept for the last 50 minutes of our 12-hour flight from Madrid to Mexico City. He never threw any tantrums or cried for more than a few minutes and pretty much amazed everyone there. 

Finally, we arrived in Mexico City, grateful to have feet on the ground in the country we call home. At this point, even if our flight to Puerto Vallarta was cancelled, we would still find a way there. We spent a few hours in an Airbnb and were able to finally wash off our travel and sleep in a real bed. The next morning, we had an uneventful flight home. 

As our plane was making its final approach into the airport in Puerto Vallarta, welcoming us home after navigating and enduring the storm that we found ourselves in on our vacation, you could see the shadow of the plane in the low-lying clouds surrounded by a vibrant rainbow. The feeling of landing in our home city was a potent mixture of disbelief, relief and pure joy. The smell of the humid tropical air when we got off the plane was intoxicating. 

After the single greatest adventure of our collective lives, navigating a global pandemic in the epicenter of Spain, a part of the world that had some of the highest concentrations of cases of Covid-19 at that time, an ocean away from our home under almost complete lockdown, we were home! When we got back home, we quickly washed all of our belongings and popped a few cold beers in total awe. We made it! 

 

The vacation that we had been planning and looking forward to for the better part of a year was over, but had not been at all what we’d expected. Our dream Spanish vacation was quite the nightmare. We vowed to return to Spain within the next 10 years and do the vacation properly. 

As I sit in our house here under (self-imposed) quarantine Day 7, I can’t help but to reflect on how extremely lucky we are that we made it back home and even more lucky that we had such an outpouring of love, support and offers of help throughout the entire ordeal. We were extremely unlucky on our vacation, but we are very fortunate in life to be surrounded by the people we have in our corner. Grateful to be back to all our comforts and things at home and for our dear friends that are delivering us everything we could possibly ask for. 

We are so fortunate to be together, healthy and safe, but our hearts go out to the people who will truly be impacted by these times, those who will struggle to pay bills or afford food and housing. We are also truly grateful to the sacrifices of the essential and healthcare workers all over the world helping to keep our friends and families safe as well. 

Stay Home,

Nomad Family

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure airline airport beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem corona virus coronavirus covid covid19 disaster edpidemic españa family global go adventure granada ibiza life is an adventure madrid malaga mexico nomad nomad family nomad family travelers pandemic photo photographer photography spain the famliy that travels together stays together together travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family venice virus https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/4/life-in-the-time-of-covid-19 Wed, 01 Apr 2020 21:11:28 GMT
February Tips; Photoshop for Beginners https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/2/february-tips-photoshop-for-beginners Basics:

  • Adjustments: Making adjustments to an image would mean altering the exposure, contrast, color, etc.
  • Masks can be applied to any type of layer to help show only part of the layer. Whether it is an adjustment that automatically comes with a mask or you are applying a mask to a filter. White reveals the adjustment or layer and black hides the adjustment or layer. Use black and white paint with your brush tool to adjust the mask.
  • Filters can only be applied to a layer with photo information. This means that in your layer palate, the layer should look like a tiny version of your photo. Filters cannot be applied to adjustment or blank layers. When choosing filters, use the filter gallery or make sure the filter has a “…” after it. Under the filter tab, you will see the filter most recently used at the very top. This will apply the exact same filter and amount. If you need to adjust it, us the Filter… version of it. 
  • Brushes: You can change the size, shape, opacity, and edges of all, or most, of your tools. E.g. the brush tool, cloning tool, etc. You can also download or create new brushes.

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Retouching:

  • Healing Tool: The healing brush will blend the sourced pixels with the pixels you paint over. Make sure you use the correct size of brush for the job, source often, and use short strokes.
  • The Cloning Tool will take the exact pixels and copy them on top of the pixels you paint over. Adjust the brush size, edges, and opacity to blend or soften skin, wrinkles, etc.
  • Liquify is a filter. It will allow you to warp, shrink or enlarge certain parts of your photo. Don’t get carried away! Use it to fix wardrobe malfunctions, smooth body bulges or take off a few pounds. This is a favorite tool for many but can be a dead giveaway of a manipulated image if overused.

 

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Extras:

  • Text: You can add text to your images to make cards, invitations, etc. You can change the font, size, and color of your text within the tool. You can also spread or gather the spacing between letters or text lines. After you have finished with the text, you can warp or rasterize the layer to edit it even further.
  • Compositing: By using different selections or images, you can create collages, cards, and more. Make selections of parts of your image, copy them, and use the transform tool to rotate, change size or warp the selections. By dragging other images onto your canvas, you can collage multiple layers.

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adjustment adobe beginner blog composite layer learn learning lesson masks photo photography photoshop retouching tip tips workshop https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/2/february-tips-photoshop-for-beginners Mon, 24 Feb 2020 16:46:14 GMT
Our Week in the Big Easy https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/1/our-week-in-the-big-easy Our first big adventure in 2020 was our trip to New Orleans; a city we’ve always wanted to visit and it certainly did not disappoint! We got our fill of amazing music, fried food, southern hospitality, and beautiful architecture. New Orleans is one of the most interesting and unique parts of the US I have ever been to. With its history as a French colony, it has a very different feel that certainly sets it apart from the rest.

Where else would we start our adventure if not Bourbon Street. Because it was still the morning, it was fairly tame from the Bourbon Street that you typically see on tv and in movies. However, the lack of people did not remove the fact that this was clearly a street dedicated to a never-ending party. As we walked along, the street was lined with bars, restaurants, cigar shops, and gift shops.Throughout our trip we saw many versions of Bourbon Street, crowded and peppered with the orange and purple jerseys for the National Championship game, echoing with musicians and kids drumming on buckets on every corner. We spent our last night walking Bourbon for the full effect of absolute madness, and we saw it from above; lunching on a restaurant balcony while Jude had the time of his life throwing beads at passersby. Aside from the poor, unsuspecting woman who took some beads to the face at his hand, it was pretty cool to see him enjoying something that so many people have on their bucket list.  NFPG1904NFPG1904

A popular dish in New Orleans are beignet is deep fried bread covered in mountains of confectioner’s sugar, basically a French donut. While we had them many times, it was a point to enjoy them for our first meal in the city and we started with Cafe Beignet located in Music Legends Park, a small alcove with statues of famous musicians. Though the consensus was that overall the best ones were for our last breakfast at Cafe Du Monde’s historical coffee stand that has been open since 1862. In our memories, Jude spent the majority of this trip covered in powdered sugar and smiling from ear to ear. After many attempts to pick it up and eat it, Jude adopted the tactic of eating them face first. 

As expected we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the French Quarter; there were many sites there were to see, including the amazing St. Louis Church situated right outside of Jackson Park, Washington Artillery Park which provides a fantastic view of Jackson Park and St. Louis Church behind it, and the steamboats along the waterfront. It took a lot of self control to stop Ash from photographing every building and balcony. 

We also explored Louis Armstrong Park, which is a cool, network of paths and bridges over a pond with several fountains in front of the main building. It was another peaceful location with people on dates, reading, and strolling along with no cares. It is also worth seeing at night when the entrance to the park is lit up.

Many times we found ourselves at B.B. King’s Blues Club at the edge of the French Quarter right near the French Market. We loved this place as a spot to rest, have some inexpensive drinks, eat delicious food, and listen to fantastic live blues. There, we had the opportunity to listen to the Kevin Gullage Band. Kevin Gullage had such an amazing voice, especially considering he was only 21 years old. It was truly a pleasure to listen to him work the crowd and place his amazing talents on display. We also had the opportunity to speak with him and he was a very humble and down-to-earth man. 

NFPG2414NFPG2414 We made a point to check out the House of Blues, which had a really cool vibe to it. It was located down a narrow alley that had some cool murals on it and ended at a little “Voodoo Garden”. On the inside, there were glass cases with the heads of blues legends in them with red and purple lights all over. Unfortunately, there were no bands playing that the time because the NFL playoffs were playing; however, it was a great spot nonetheless!

Whenever possible we took the opportunity to ride one of the beautiful streetcars that NOLA is known for. We took it up to an area that had tons of cemeteries with their unique crypts that are a staple of New Orleans. We also explored the massive and peaceful City Park, including its fantastic sculpture garden. Also located within City Park, we explored the New Orleans Museum of Art, which was 3 floors of incredible artwork from various periods and regions. We could have easily spent hours exploring its many rooms, artifacts, paintings, and other attractions, but Jude is not quite so invigorated by such things. We are fortunate with our abundance of street art in Mexico, we were more than pleased to see so much soulful and music inspired murals and statues, and bright colored buildings every where we went. 

While in the city we didn’t have the best weather and one of the days we were struck by an intense storm, so we visited the Audobon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, which was tons of fun and provided Jude some of the most excitement of any spot we visited. There was tons of information and cool creepy crawlies to look at. We forced Jude to eat some Cricket King Cake, a classic New Orleans Mardi Gras cake, made with crickets. He picked them off the top but didn’t seem to mind the cricket flour it was baked with. Jude loved the butterfly garden so much and desperately wanted a butterfly to land on him. He was pretty offended that none of them liked him enough to do so and we headed towards the gift shop with a crying toddler. 

No blog of NOLA can be complete without a mention of all the fantastic food to be found there (they have so much more than just beignets). We ate, and ate, and ate some more. The catfish and shrimp po boys, crawfish étouffée, gumbo, jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage - all of it is amazing. We even got Jude to try alligator, which he was a big fan of and I got the chance to have a crawfish, crab, and shrimp omelette. Ash on the other hand struggled as a new non- meat eater and her only option was to take in her vegetables through all the delicious Bloody Marys. 

All and all, NOLA did not disappoint at all. It was too much fun and we really enjoyed exploring, eating, and speaking to the many friendly people of the city. At some point, we will definitely have to take the opportunity to visit again. 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure art beautiful life beignet blog blogger blues carpe diem catfish family go adventure la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle Louisiana musi new Orleans NOLA nomad nomad family nomad family travelers our beautiful life photo photographer photography poboy streetcar the famliy that travels together stays together together travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/1/our-week-in-the-big-easy Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:51:44 GMT
January Tips: Lomography https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/1/january-tips-lomography 1046_509301829278_5218_n1046_509301829278_5218_n
Lomography is a style of photography that uses film and toy cameras. Lomography has been around for decades but has never been more popular than it is now. The 120 Cameras create square images. This is what the App Instagram was based off of. Some Lomography Cameras include the classic Holga, Diana, Sprocket Rocket, Fisheye, Sardina and more. The Cameras have Fixed focal lengths and cannot zoom or adjust focus. 

Settings: 

You will only have 2 options when it comes to controlling your shutter speed on Lomography cameras; Normal and Bulb. Normal is for regular exposures. The shutter speed is approximately 1/125. Bulb is for long exposures. When set to B, you will be able to make the exposure as long as you want- all you have to do is keep the shutter pressed down. When shooting long exposures try to keep the camera as still as possible. These images are most effective at night or in dim light. 

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Creative Effects: 

Because most people are not used to advancing the film themselves, you are almost guaranteed an accidental double exposure. As long as both images are not too bright it should still turn out. For best results pre-plan your double exposure. The dark parts of your first frame are the best places for your subjects of the second frame. 

For a panorama, take one image and partially advance the film as you pan your camera, then take another image. this is not an exact science. Use a tripod for best results. Pan in the directions that the film is advancing, and only shoot horizontally or your panorama will not line up. 

Color shifts generally occur in longer exposures but can also happen when using certain fils in specific lighting. You can mimic color shifts with filters or gelled flashes. GGBridge-EditGGBridge-Edit Light Leaks:
Because the film is light sensitive, any amount of light will be recorded on the film. Be careful when loading and unloading the film, especially 120 film. Light Leaks Use dark tape to cover any loose fitting camera backs to avoid light leaks. Film can also be damaged by extreme heat. Keep it in a cool place when not in use. 
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Developing and Scanning Film:

Develop Only- DO NOT CUT. This is what I always include on my developing envelopes after having a lab cut all of my Sprocket Rocket Panos in half. Scanning the film yourself, or at least cutting it personally will give you full control over the final crop of you image. 

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Other Tips: 

You have limited exposures so slow down and take time to compose your image well and make sure you have advanced the film and your settings are correct. 

Don't Expect Perfection. Try not to get too attached by the idea of the image you just took, it may not turn out the way you envisioned. Lomography for this reason, is not suggested for important events. 

 

Happy Shooting! 

Nomad Family

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Christmas Time in Guadalajara https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/1/christmas-time-in-guadalajara We visited Guadalajara for the first time back in April and we enjoyed it so much we decided to come back just before Christmas. With it's close proximity to Tequila, we also felt it a great place to meet up with Matt's mother for her annual Christmas visit. Coming from Hawaii she wanted to get a feel for the big city. We were looking forward to a bit of cooler weather but we got a little more than we bargained for. The chill did make the trip feel more Christmas like, and the city topped it off with all their magical decorations! 

 

Last time we came out to Guadalajara, we stayed at an Airbnb in Zapopan which was great but, seeing as we loved Tlaquepaque so much, we decided to stay at the beautiful Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel. This was an adventure in and of itself with its beautiful rooms, delicious food at the hotel restaurant, TlaquePasta, and the amazingly friendly staff. The moment we walked into Quinta Don Jose, our jaws hit the floor. Every inch of the hotel is covered in beautiful artwork. It was colorful, authentically Mexican, and well thought out to the most minute of details. If you ever have the opportunity to stay in the greater Guadalajara metropolitan area (Tlaquepaque is its own separate city), this one is a must.

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Our first day was relaxed so we decided to just explore a bit more the beauty that is Tlaquepaque Centro. Being known for its artistic history and haven for art connoisseurs, the streets are lined with sculptures, art galleries, and more excellent restaurants than you could possibly eat at. Additionally, you have the oldest and newest churches in Tlaquepaque standing right next door to each other. Those churches border the main square with plenty of food vendors and outdoor markets selling all sorts of items. 

 

Among street food like Tortas Ahogadas, we sampled a Cantarito in El Parion, a famous drink in these parts that are so close to the town of Tequila. Although everyone makes this drink differently, the drink is generally made with tequila, grapefruit soda, and fresh oranges and other citrus fruits. It was very good.

 

The next day, we decided to take a trip to the zoo because, on the previous trip, we ran out of time to do the safari. It was well worth the return as it was truly amazing! We got to see tons of animals, including lions, elephants, zebras, antelope, and many more. Jude even had the opportunity to feed a giraffe from his hands. The look on his face alone was enough to make returning to the amazing zoo well worth it. We also had the opportunity to visit the aquarium, which we had missed last time. It was a lot of fun and we all enjoyed ourselves.

 

After leaving the zoo, we headed for some Indian food at Delhi 6. Indian food is one of my personal favorites, certainly in my top 5, and living in Mexico means it is not always easy to find it. However, Delhi 6 was amazing! Also, Ashley does not eat meat anymore, so it offered many vegetarian options for her. I always say you can slap curry sauce on pretty much any food and I’ll eat it. 

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On this return trip to Guadalajara, we had the opportunity to actually travel to the town of Tequila, where tequila was invented. There are tons of distilleries to visit here, including Jose Cuervo, which most people will recognize. However, after several recommendations, we decided to take the Herradura tour, which was fantastic and worth every penny. It was 240 pesos per person for the normal tour and 360 pesos to try the higher end tequilas during the tasting. That’s approximately $18 and you get a tour of the facilities and a step-by-step walkthrough of the entire process and some of the history that goes into making Herradura. We even got the opportunity to try the cooked agave, which had a juice that was thick and sweet. My mother being a fan of tequila, we opted for the higher end tasting, which we were very happy about. I am not the biggest tequila fan myself, but I never knew tequila could have such a smooth flavor. My favorite was the Selección Suprema and my mother enjoyed the Ultra Añejo. All in all, it was a great time.

After the tour, we planned to go to a restaurant in the center of Tequila called Quinta Sauza. While trying to order an Uber (no Ubers to be had and getting nervous), the large family that had taken the tour with us asked us if we would want a ride as they were heading to the same place. The restaurant was a fantastic all-you-can-eat buffet of mouth-watering variety, including tortilla soup, steaks, chicken, chorizo, quesadillas, tacos and so much more!

 

After dinner, the kind family that offered us a ride to the restaurant decided to give us a ride all the way back to our hotel, about a 40 minute drive past their home and a 2-hour drive, but only under one condition: they had to make a stop at Cantaritos El Güero, a famous bar with two traditional Mexican bands playing at the same time. It was open air and massive and we had a great time. We are truly lucky to have had this kind family treat us so well. They treated us like family. In one night their kindness summed up that of which we find so abundant here in Mexico; truly wonderful people. 

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In the crazy way that things happen, the following day we were visiting the Cathedral de Guadalajara in downtown Guadalajara when we ran into some of the family that we had met in Tequila the previous day. Now, it’s always possible that you may run into people you know, but this is not a small city. The Guadalajara metropolitan area has about 6.5 to 7 million people in it. It was just one of those amazing things that happen like there was some destiny that we make a connection with these people. We will always remember the kindness that they showed to us and, as the father and husband of the family said to me outside of the car after dropping us off at our hotel, I will be sure to pay it forward.

 

Finally, wrapping up a short, but full, 6 days, we ate our final meal at TlaquePasta, restaurant at our hotel. I had the rack of lamb, which was brought out and flambéed with liquid fire right at our table. My mother enjoyed a vegan lasagna, which she said was amazing, and Ashley, being a huge fan of pasta, had her fettuccini Alfredo. We topped it all off with a delicious creme brûlée for dessert, torched right at our table. It was a great way to wind down our trip surrounded in the warmth of that restaurant covered in Christmas decorations and beautiful paintings with family, great food, and fine tequila. This will not be our last visit to Guadalajara, but it will certainly be tough to top in the future. 

Safe Travels,

Nomad Family

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure agave beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem family go adventure guadalajara herradura hotel jalisco life is an adventure life is beautiful mariachi mexico nomad nomad family nomad family travelers our beautiful life pasta photo photographer photography tequila the famliy that travels together stays together together tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2020/1/christmas-time-in-guadalajara Sun, 05 Jan 2020 15:30:49 GMT
Week in the Life of the Werters: Dec 2019 https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/12/week-in-the-life-of-the-werters-dec-2019 Hello again! 

This Week in the Life almost got away from me, I was supposed to start it on the 24th of November but with busy season in full swing, family visits and Jude's birthday I just didn't get to it. I also decided to start this week on a Monday because on Sunday the 1st the only photos I took were for a clients portrait session, where as on the 8th we went to the beach with friends. So here you go:  DSCF4965DSCF4965

On Monday we had a busy morning bouncing around with errands and then I spent the rest of the work day on my shoot from the evening before. Mondays are never particularly exciting around here, more like battery charging days. But we did snap a few of Jude and Dad goofing around. <3

Tuesday is one of the days I like to take Jude to the playground after picking him up from school. We sometimes have a few friends waiting for us there and on this day I was expecting them and brought along some candy and soda we have been left with after Jude's birthday. We wanted to share with Jude's friends because they always spoil him with pizza and juice. But they weren't there, so we had to enjoy it all to ourselves. We brought Jude's Dinosaurs to play with and he left one in the dirt. I was setting up a picture of it when Jude decided he didn't want me to and threw a different one right at my face. I'd like to think he felt bad for hurting me and not just for getting in trouble.. lol. Well we did quite a bit of running around after all the sugar and Jude passed out on the couch as soon as we got home. 

On Wednesday we decided to try our hand at walking home and see how far Jude would make it. The minimum distance had to be the Coconut Man. On the walk there he made his obligatory jump off of a ledge on our way and posed for a few pictures on the promise of a treat. Jude guzzled down the first bag of coconut water while our coconut was prepared with lime and salt. He waited patiently on the bench so I could take some pictures of him; the lighting was making his hair look so red! After we finished Jude requested a car because 'his legs hurt'. So we made it about a quarter mile. :D  DSCF4931DSCF4931

Thursday Matt and I walked Jude to school and continued on to Centro for a Travel Photography Workshop. I managed to snap a few shots of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish while my student was on an assignment. We finished the workshop and it couldn't have been a better weather day. We had lunch at our favorite little sports bar and picked up Jude early from school. He loved that! He has a new habit of going around and telling every teacher when his Momma has arrived. They all entertain his excitement and laugh with me while we wait for him to finish. <3 He is so sweet. 

Friday was another relatively quiet day and Jude having not slept well the night before, fell asleep on dad while throwing a tantrum for no reason.  DSCF5078DSCF5078

Every month we have Dad and Jude Days and Mom and Jude Days and this week was a Mom and Jude Day. We decided to check out the new book store in the marina. First we walked around looking at the boats, iguanas and chasing pigeons. The book store is also a cafe and unfortunately the lay out means having to walk past the case of sweets before reaching the children's section. Well needless to say I had one very uninterested-in-books toddler. We finally were able to agree on a few good ones; a Shel Silverstein book, the Runny Babbit and 2 Dinosaur detective books. Finally Jude was allowed to pick a treat; he chose a chocolate turtle. We walked back to the main road and caught an Uber home. Jude was asleep minutes after getting in the car. 

Finally, on Sunday we met with some friends who just moved back to PV from Guadalajara. We went to our favorite little beach where we swan and snacked and watched whales impress us with their sweet moves and crabs scuttle along rocks. Jude asked me to put a hermit crab in his hand, screamed and pulled his hand away before it even touched him. It was the best day and we went home refreshed and sun kissed.   

 

I've enjoyed forcing myself to take pictures of the less glamorous parts of our life with this little project. I will definitely continue it in 2020.

See you then! 

Ash

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem everyday family go adventure la vida bella la vita bella life life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle mexico nomad nomad family nomad family travelers opt outside our beautiful life park photo photographer photography playground puerto the famliy that travels together stays together toddler together travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo vallarta wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/12/week-in-the-life-of-the-werters-dec-2019 Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:40:03 GMT
December Tips: Camera Basics https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/12/december-tips-camera-basics Here are some tips for storing and archiving your images as well as basic camera information. 

 

Camera Types: 

  • Point & Shoot/ Camera Phones: Small & compact but limited abilities because of the lens. 
  • DSLR: Larger sensor, interchangeable lenses and superior image quality. 
  • Mirrorless: Larger sensors than P+S, interchangeable lenses but smaller and lighter than DSLR’s. 

 

Memory Cards: 

  • Memory cards come in many formats, ex: Compact Flash card (CF) and SD.  
  • Memory cards come in many sizes, ex: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, etc. 
  • Memory cards have a finite amount of information they can hold based on their size and the size of the images that are being captured.
  • Memory cards do not last forever! These cards are not indestructible and should be cared for. Keep them in a safe place and use memory card holders.
  • Format your cards every time you put them in your camera- information other than your images can build up and this excess data can lead to corruption.
  • Use a greater amount of smaller cards as opposed to shooting all of your images on one card. This way if a card is corrupted you only lose some of your images. 
  • If your camera has a dual slot, use the SD card as a back up JPG file in case something happens to the primary card. 

 

Downloading Files: 

  • Use card reader or sd slot in computer to download your files. The cord that attaches to the camera is doable, but if your camera dies during the transfer your images could be corrupted. 

 

Archiving: 

  • Always back up your files! I cannot stress this enough. Set a reminder to back up monthly or weekly depending on how often you shoot. 
  • Do not delete off the card until you have downloaded files to your computer and then backed it up. I only save my jpg back up cards and format and reuse my primary cards with RAW files. 
  • Use external hard drives to store photos. This is the most cost effective and easiest way. 
  • Print your images! Home decor, photo albums, gifts, these are all important! Decades from now you will be grateful of this habit. 

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File size & type: 

  1. The file types used in digital cameras are JPEG and RAW.
  2. JPEG is a compressible file that can be read by any program.
  3. You can change the size of the file in camera or in a software program.
  4. Use JPEG to post/send images, they are smaller and degrade over time. 
  5. RAW is a more advanced format with more information and editing capabilities.

 

Reach out with any follow up questions or for information on Private lessons in photography or post production. We work both in-person and remotely!

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) archiving basic beginner blog camera card cf downloading format image images jpg learn learning lens lesson lightroom photo photographer photography photoshop raw sd teach tip tips travel https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/12/december-tips-camera-basics Tue, 10 Dec 2019 06:45:00 GMT
November Photo Tips; Food Photography https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/11/november-photo-tips-food-photography Whether you are a food blogger, a restaurant owner, or just a foodie with an Instagram, captivating food images are not out of your reach or capabilities. 

Start with lighting; you will need a soft even light to avoid distracting and unappetizing shadows. Use natural light over on-camera flashes and overhead lighting. If you can compose your image near a bright window and use a reflector to bounce back some light you will have a more ideal light. If shooting in a studio or larger space you can also use softboxes with strobes or continuous lighting. You can also use a diffuser to help reduce shadows from overhead lighting, or a ring light for macro photography. 

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When setting up your subject, explore various angles and pay attention to the background; even if it will be blurry watch out for distractions. Keep your table clean and with minimal clutter, generally you want to set the table for two. Be careful with your depth-of-field, make sure you are getting enough focus on your subject. Use a tripod to help you compose a better image and always turn off your images stabilizer when on a tripod. Live view can be helpful when arranging your scene. Use a custom white balance for perfect color. 

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There are many industry tricks to making food look more appetizing, some of these examples include painting burgers with shoe polish, adding soap to coffee to increase foam or propping food up with sponges. These are the extremes and used mostly when trying to sell food, but at the very least, take time to style your food, clean plates, arrange garnishes, etc. Pack yourself a kit os q-tips, cotton balls and tweezers to help with your shoot. 

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These are all general rules for food photography; style your images appropriate to your clientele. Perhaps a dark and moody pub would prefer images with deeper shadows, or a company that sells spices may want a messy counter, in Mexico, this also applies to tacos. When is doubt, shoot both styles. 

Ash

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) advanced beginner blog blogger bloggers camera composition food food photography foodie intermediate learn learning lens lesson lessons lighting photo photographer photography pro professional settings tip tips trick tricks workshop workshops https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/11/november-photo-tips-food-photography Mon, 11 Nov 2019 17:45:00 GMT
October Photo Tips; Self Portraiture https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/10/october-photo-tips-self-portraiture Self Portraits are such a fun way to document your trips or to use for self expression. Not to mention actually being in a picture once in a while. The latter is what usually dissuades photographers from ever doing this assignment. Self portraits are also an amazing way to capture your growth as a photographer by using more and advanced and creative techniques. 

The most difficult part of self portraits is focusing. To help you get sharper images, use a stand-in (or object) to focus on and trade places for the image. You can also use smaller apertures for greater depth of field or ask someone to focus for you while you pose. Shoot yourself in mirrors or reflections for easier set ups. 
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When composing yourself in an image, choose a corner or space with visual cues that can help you know where to stand when you are ready to pose. Use a tripod with a cable release, remote or timer to shoot your images. If you have a cable release or intervelometer you can select a continuous drive and try several poses before beading back to your camera. You can shoot tethered to a computer or use a mirror to help you see your pose. Choose your lenses wisely; if you use a wide lens and remain close to the camera it will distort you, making your face wider and your nose bigger, however in a larger land or cityscape it will help capture more of your scene. 
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If you are creating a self portrait as a form of self-expression, then make you image personal; photograph yourself in a vulnerable state or pose with your loved ones. You can also create a still life image of objects that represent you. Get creative; use long exposures, unusual lighting or use a second image to create a double exposure. If you are shooting a silhouette make sure your profile is clean and defined.

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Good luck and happy shooting! 

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Ash


 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) abstract advanced assignment beginner blog create creative intermediate learn learning lesson long exposure photo photographer photography portrait portraiture pro professional self self portrait self portraiture shoot shooting tip workshop https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/10/october-photo-tips-self-portraiture Thu, 10 Oct 2019 15:30:00 GMT
Top 5 Seattle Attractions for Kids https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/9/top-5-seattle-attractions-for-kids TOP 5 SEATTLE ATTRACTIONS FOR KIDS

 

In no particular order, here is a list of our favorite places to take Jude when we lived in Seattle. Though there are no shortage of parks, museums, and art-filled spaces to take your kids of all ages, these places stood out to us for their various forms of entertainment, room to run around and play, or just their sheer beauty. Seattle is an amazing and extremely family-friendly city and we were happy that Jude got to spend the first 2 years of his life there. 

 

PACIFIC SCIENCE CENTER:

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Whether you are a local or just visiting Seattle, you should certainly make some time for the Pacific Science Center. There are endless attractions for kids of all ages and you can participate in almost all of them because the Pacific Science Center takes a hands-on approach to learning. Make sure you check out the Laser Dome, Butterfly House, Planetarium, and IMAX Theatre guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment for both your children and you! You could easily spend half the day here and then follow it up by exploring the rest of Seattle Center, which is mentioned below and filled with plenty of attractions for your children as well!  unspecified-1unspecified-1

ENTRANCE FEES: General Admission ranges between $14 and $26 with additional fees for IMAX movie tickets as well as some other features with additional fees. Check out their package deals to customize your visit and save. 

RESTROOMS: Adequate bathrooms available. 

FOOD: The IMAX Theatre has a full service concession stand, but your best bet for food is just outside the Pacific Science Center in Seattle Center. 

STROLLERS: Strollers are allowed in and there are ramps available, but for the laser dome, butterfly house, and other attractions, you have to store them outside during your visit. 

SAFETY: Most of these exhibits were built for kids and are very safe but keep an eye on them outside near the water and in general. 

 

SEATTLE CENTER:  unspecifiedunspecified

Seattle Center is a staple of Seattle and an absolute must visit! You will find the Pacific Science Center, the MoPop (Museum of Pop Culture), the Monorail, the Space Needle, the Chihuly Exhibit, the International Fountain, and more! Kiddos will love the "Artists at Play" interactive playground and the Children's Museum located in the Armory. The sheer size, number of attractions, and variety of entertainment offered in Seattle Center will ensure that children of any age and interests will find multiple activities to keep them having fun while also providing plenty of entertainment for parents as well.  23004604_862593944048_5509244787915580973_o23004604_862593944048_5509244787915580973_o

ENTRANCE FEES: There are no fees for Seattle Center itself, but you will have to pay to use most of the exhibits. The fountain and playground are free, as are some activities in the Armory. 

RESTROOMS: Changing Stations are available in public restrooms inside Seattle Center Armory. Family Restrooms are also available. Please visit Customer Service in the north end of the Food and Event Hall to gain access.

FOOD: There are concessions all over the center as well as in the surrounding areas. You will also find several eateries to enjoy inside the Armory. 

STROLLERS: Strollers are allowed everywhere and you will find ramps and smooth pavement around most of Seattle Center. 

SAFETY: Lots of safe running room in areas all over the park, but always keep an eye on your child. 

 

MUSEUM OF FLIGHT:  30073426_890624555478_6182772751156710446_o30073426_890624555478_6182772751156710446_o

While this is not a kid-specific location, it was always one of our absolute favorites. There are hours of fun and exploring for you and your kids. Check out all of the buildings to see planes from different eras and, in the large hangar, you can board most of the airplanes to see the inside. There is also a children's area with small models of toy planes and helicopters and a flight simulator- for adults only! The Museum has displays for WWI, WWII, space travel, and the era where flight began. If this were not enough, there is also an excellent movie theater showing educational movies, some of which are shown in 3D. If you have children that like planes or have a greater interest in learning about all areas of flight, this is an excellent location and the most extensive flight museum we have ever seen by far.  29983584_890624385818_560002333756521781_o29983584_890624385818_560002333756521781_o

ENTRANCE FEES:

Child (4 and under) FREE
Youth (5-17) $16
Adult (18+) $25
Senior (65+) $21

RESTROOMS: There are adequate restrooms. 

FOOD: Wings Café is open daily from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM and does not require admission to the Museum.

STROLLERS: The entire museum is stroller-friendly, though you will not want to take them on to the planes themselves. 

SAFETY: Kids need to know their boundaries here as some parts are off limits and there is a sky bridge connecting the buildings. 

SEATTLE AQUARIUM:

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Located right on the Seattle Waterfront, this aquarium has it all! There are tanks floor-to-ceiling, over your head, indoors and outdoors, and plenty of kid-friendly spaces and areas for touching and examining some of the sea creatures up close. The variety of aquatic life offered here extends beyond that which you would find in the Puget Sound or the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The Aquarium is great for children of all ages as there is a significant educational component so that visitors can delve deeply into information on all of the aquatic life. If none of this grabs your attention, our son, as well as most other adults and children around us, took an immediate liking to the cuddly and cute sea otters here. They are like teddy bears that swims! Also, the Aquarium is located on the Seattle waterfront with its many piers and attractions, which makes this another great location for spending an entire day exploring.  27983193_881392860868_4811831211233981731_o27983193_881392860868_4811831211233981731_o

ENTRANCE FEES: Children 3 and under are free. Youth & Adult fees range from $18-$33. 

RESTROOMS: There are adequate restrooms. 

FOOD: There isn't any food inside of the aquarium itself but a short walk on the waterfront will give you plenty of options. Personally, we found the aquarium quite appetizing and would stop at the Crab Pot before heading home. 

STROLLERS: There is accessibility for strollers, but use the stroller parking outside some of the exhibits. 

SAFETY: Very safe for little ones to run around, but always keep them in sight. 

 

BELLEVUE DOWNTOWN PARK:

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Okay, so Bellevue isn't technically Seattle but it's close enough and this park is totally worth it! Pictured here is a lovely urban park with a sprawling lawn, but this hidden gem has one of the most amazing playgrounds! You just have to see it to believe it!  43440978_920607629158_7179235755946934272_o43440978_920607629158_7179235755946934272_o

ENTRANCE FEES: This is a free public park. 

RESTROOMS: The park has public restrooms.

FOOD: There is no food here though it is just a few blocks from the main strip with a variety of options. However, this place really is meant for picnics.

STROLLERS: There are smooth pathways and ramps throughout the park.

SAFETY: The playground has soft padding and is made really well, but this is an intricate playground. Always keep an eye on your children. 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) 5 adventure air aquarium architecture attractions beautiful life bellevue best blog blogger boeing carpe diem center child children downtown family five flight fountain go adventure kid la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle museum needle nomad nomad family nomad family travelers opt outside our beautiful life pacific park photo photographer photography play playground review science seattle space statue the famliy that travels together stays together together top travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/9/top-5-seattle-attractions-for-kids Tue, 17 Sep 2019 16:14:02 GMT
September Photo Tips; Shooting Panoramas https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/9/september-photo-tips-shooting-panoramas cockroach cove pano-2-2cockroach cove pano-2-2Cockroach Cove, East Oahu, Hawaii.

Equipment: 

  • First things first, for successful and powerful panoramas, use a tripod. Tripods are not only crucial for getting your panoramas to line up perfectly, they will help you to slow down and compose the perfect scene before clicking away. 
  • Choose a prime lens like the 50mm or 85mm. The 35mm can also be successful but do not go any wider as you will create distortion and it will be impossible to line up your panorama. 
  • A Panoramic Tripod Head is designed to place your camera so that it rotates in the exact point that will avoid any parallax error.
  • While in most cases I would recommend a polarizing filter for nearly any landscape, when rotating your camera for your panorama it can cause the polarizer to have different effects from image to image and usually causes dark spots in skies or difficulties in sticking images. 

Camera Settings: 

  • Shoot in RAW to capture more information and allow you to edit as needed. However if you are creating a longer panorama and want to reduce the file size you can shoot in a Small Raw instead of JPEG. 
  • For landscape photographs you generally want to focus 1/3 into the scene, or 1/3 from the bottom of your frame. 
  • Shoot with a smaller aperture (larger number) to make sure you maintain the same depth of field in each image.
  • You will need both your camera and tripod to be completely level. Use a spirit or bubble level in addition to the tripods level. 
  • Make sure to capture overlaps of about 30% so you can stitch them together either with a program or by hand in Photoshop.
  • After finding focus in autofocus, switch to manual focus.  

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Composition:

  • When composing your foreground, consider parallax errors be careful not to have some of the subjects too close to the camera.
  • Some subjects make for very difficult panoramas, like waves, fast moving clouds and moving subjects in general. If you are attempting these subjects you may need to over shoot and composite them manually in Photoshop.

Here is an example of a panorama shot with a lens that was 2 wide, and too close to the foreground with intricate lines. 

Boat Pano-editBoat Pano-edit

Additional Tips: 

  • Start off by shooting some nice vertical images of your scene that are good images on their own. This way if your panorama doesn’t line up or process well you still have some nice shots. While you’re on a tripod might as well toss on a Neutral Density Filter and make it a long exposure!
  • Often in panoramas and larger scenes there are areas of high contrast. In these cases you should meter and expose for your highlights and develop for shadows by lightening them up in post production. You can also try shooting an HDR panorama! 
  • In Lightroom make sure to check the Lens corrections for wide angle lenses and vignettes. Use the auto crop and boundary warp slider as well.
  • Try creative panoramas; if you have the opportunity to have your camera out all day, shoot several panoramas in the same spot throughout the day and then manually stitch them in Photoshop for a day to night panorama. Try shooting longer exposures or star trails as panoramas and see what kind of crazy results you get! 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) aperture blog camera composition exposure focus landscape lens lesson lightroom nature pano panorama panoramic photo photographer photography photoshop prime puerto stitch tip tips travel tripod vallarta workshop https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/9/september-photo-tips-shooting-panoramas Fri, 06 Sep 2019 15:33:17 GMT
Week in the Life of the Werters; August 2019 https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/9/week-in-the-life-august-2019 Well I guess it's about that time again. I actually pushed this one off a week because we were in NY for half of last week. I figured since I was already heavily documenting that trip it would've been a missed opportunity to record our everyday, normal/ non-traveling life.  AMP_1096AMP_1096

So, Sunday was a very lazy recovery day. Matt and I have been suffering with some pretty nasty coughs and this was day 2 or 3 of some pretty exhausting and totally ineffective antibiotics. I did manage to play around with my macro lens while Jude sat next to me at the window. It wasn't a huge success but I do appreciate the details of his smile, eyelashes and ... back hair. :D 

Monday was our first day back to work and school after a 2-week vacation. Jude's first day of Pre-k did not start off terribly enthusiastic, but mostly he was crying because he has become infatuated with my camera, and he wanted to take a picture, not be in one. That being said there are a lot of Jude's photo
s in this collection, can you guess which? :D A little laundry and back to work. When Jude got home from school we transformed some boxes into a catapillar and some butterflies and colored the floor.  

The most significant change between this Week in the Life and the last one, is Jude. In the week and a half since coming home from New York and writing this blog, Jude exploded with personality and is talking more than ever before. Totally blowing our minds. It's cool to have these photos of him to remember it by. 

DSCF3161DSCF3161 Tuesday was a pretty average Tuesday; I walked Jude to school and ran home; another new happening since May, I run 5 days a week. Later, I had a quick photo lesson with one of my Seattle clients and got a good amount of work done. It is slow season here so we spend our time and energy working on next years bookings. After picking Jude up from school we headed to the park where he was finally able to pull off the rock wall and climbing the steep slide all by himself. I love that his goofy little had it always sitting sideways. He reminds me of "Smalls" or Gordy LaChance. When we got home he devoured 2 mangos and made a huge mess of himself in the process. Well, after all that exertion poor dude passed out before dinner. <3 

Wednesday flew by with the highlight being Jude insisting to push the garage door opener button when heading off to school. This is a good time to mention his favorite new phrase, "Awwww, Mooo-ooom! 

Thursday Matt and I were supposed to meet up with a fellow traveler in town, but when she couldn't make it we opted to take the day off anyways. While walking Jude to school we picked up some bananas for his class and checked out all the diggers paving our neighborhoods streets. Then Matt and I bussed into town for tacos and beer. Treated ourselves to shots and cake too.  DSCF3316DSCF3316

Friday morning, a little somebody who has been having a rough time adjusting to their new no-nap-at-school schedule woke up 2 hours early. And since it was the release day for Tool's new album, Fear Inoculum, we had a 6am TOOL party. Jude kept thwarting my attempts to photograph him and quickly took back possession of the camera, from which we gained a pretty adorable video selfie. :D  We all headed off to school, and mom and dad made our monthly Costco trip. A few hours of work, and our family weekend began again. 

Jude and I went back to school shopping on Saturday morning and then we spent some time at the playground in Macro Plaza. It was here that I discovered he had turned on the Toy Camera Filter on my Fuji. For dinner we made our way back to our neighborhood restaurant, Cava for some Agua Chile. We wanted fire and it did not disappoint! 

All in all, it was a pretty good week and I do really love some of the photos I captured. Next time Jude will have just turned 3! What a week that will be! 

Safe Travels,

Nomad Family

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) beautiful life blog carpe diem document documentary family life life is an adventure life is beautiful log nomad nomad family photo photography photojournalism photojournalist travel family https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/9/week-in-the-life-august-2019 Mon, 02 Sep 2019 15:24:48 GMT
Travel & Safety Tips for Photographers https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/8/travel-safety-tips-for-photographers TRAVEL & SAFETY TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS 

 

Regardless of where you are traveling to, when traveling with valuable camera gear you are automatically a potential target for thieves. Here are a few tips to avoiding loss of equipment. 

Before Leaving Home:

  • Make 2 copies of your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, and travel docs.

    • Make 2 copies of the lost/stolen card notification numbers.

  • Leave one set of copies with a friend or family member and take the other set with you.

    • Make sure the set with you is packed separately from the original docs.

  • You can purchase a money strap that sits comfortably under your clothing. Thieves will sometimes cut straps on a purse or bag and run.

 

Packing Your Luggage:

  • Make a list of everything in your luggage and take pictures while you pack.

  • Medications, valuables, and prescription glasses should be packed in a carryon so those important items are with you at all times. 

  • Do not list your full address on your bag tags because it will inform people that your home will be empty for some time.

  • Make sure your bags are securely closed and will not potentially open while being handled and transported.

  • When traveling or walking around a big city, you are most susceptible to theft.

  • Do not place your wallet in a backpack or an area where you cannot easily observe someone’s attempt to take it.

 

In addition to these general theft prevention methods, here are some tips to ensure that expensive photography equipment is kept safe.

 

Pack Your Gear in Carry-On Luggage:

  • This is the safest option because it will be in your possession or close to you for your entire flight.

  • People have had items stolen from their checked luggage many times. The last thing you want is to have your valuable camera and camera gear exposed to that risk.

  • Checked luggage is often handled forcefully and you do not want to risk that your camera gear gets damaged or destroyed.

  • More durable and less valuable camera gear, like tripods and extra memory cards, can be placed into checked luggage without much concern.

 

Pack Spare Lithium Batteries in Carry-On:

  • If the battery is not installed in your camera, TSA guidelines require that they be packed in carry-on.

 

Buy a Protective Camera Bag:

  • Cameras, and much of the gear that comes with them, is expensive and delicate. They are worth the investment for a protective bag that provides padding. Having a camera in a normal bag or backpack that you are wearing increases the risk that it will be bumped and some of its sensitive components will become damaged.

  • Most camera bags are weather-resistant or waterproof. Imagine you are in a beautiful city taking pictures and a torrential downpour comes out of no where. Not a pleasant thought! Having this layer of protection is invaluable and, in comparison to your camera, very affordable.

  • These bags are almost always cleared for carry-on, allowing you to keep your camera with you.

  • Never leave your camera bag in your vehicle. Not even if it is out of site. 

 

Modest Bags May be Better for You:

  • Some camera bags are very clearly that, while others look much more like normal backpacks. It may be worth your while to get a more modest bag that does not attract as much attention to what you are carrying in order to avoid theft.

    • Another option is to make your bag look a bit more beat up and dirty. This has the effect of making people think that the contents are probably older and, therefore, less valuable. 

  • Most importantly, the type of bag you purchase for your camera should depend on what your needs are for your equipment. If you need to go less modest because your gear will be better served by that, then do it. This is just one possibility to minimize risk.

 

Be Aware:

  • Intuition can go a long way. If you feel like someone is staring at you or standing a little too close, it is best to keep your gear well secured. Use your senses before you put the camera up to your face to take a shot. 

  • People have had cameras snatched right out of their hands while trying to get a good shot.

 

Travel in a Group:

  • While traveling, it is especially important to be with a group of people when taking pictures. You are not as easy of a target when you are with other people because everyone else will be paying attention as well.

  • We will be in our group during lessons; however, there will be times when you will want to go explore outside of our group to practice your skills. Make sure you bring family, friends, or even each other with you so you are not making yourself an individual target.

 

Keep Your Bag in Sight:

  • When you are moving through crowds, you may want to wear your backpack on your front, so that you can have eyes on it at all times. Sure it’ll look like an overgrown fanny pack, but at least your camera is far less likely to be stolen.

  • Whenever your bag is not on your back keep it attached to you. In airports or while shooting, if I put my bag down I will wrap the strap around my leg so no one can grab it and run off. 

 

Use Several Different Memory Cards:

  • Memory cards are very small and can be lost easily. Use several memory cards with small storage instead of one large memory card for everything so if you lose one, your entire trip is not lost with it.

 

Make a Note of All of Your Gear:

  • You should make sure all your gear is accounted for throughout your trip. A good way to accomplish that is to make a list of all of your items. 

  • You should also opt to add the serial number for each item for even more protection in case your items are lost or misplaced. Taking photographs of the lenses and serial numbers and backing up those photos are a simple way to accomplish this. 

 

Photography Insurance:

  • If you want to be protected in case your equipment is lost, damaged, or stolen, you can opt to take out insurance on your photography equipment. There are insurance companies that specialize in this.

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) airport bag battery blog camera equipment expensive gear insurance lens loss luggage photo photography safety theft tip travel traveling tripod https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/8/travel-safety-tips-for-photographers Fri, 30 Aug 2019 20:08:49 GMT
Small Fry in the big Apple https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/8/small-fry-in-the-big-apple Oh Hey! Just back from our quick trip to New York. Jude's first time on the East Coast! Matt and I have really been looking forward to introducing Jude to the city and point out all the familiar spots he knows from his books and favorite shows. 

We had a great time! Oh man, did we pack in as much fun as we could. Poor little dude went a whole week without a decent nap, but thankfully he is a great traveler and was happy most of the trip. 

It didn't start out as our greatest adventure once we arrived in Houston. We sat on one plane for nearly an hour before they sent us to a second plane, only to find out there wasn't enough fuel, then to a third plane that didn't exist, and finally to an amazing Marriott bed for fours hours of sleep and $600 in travel vouchers. Over all, an exhausting win. 

After an unplanned second layover in Atlanta, we lost our first day there. However we did get to dine with friends and family for some of the best Chinese food ever! We have great food in PV, but no decent Chinese spots, so this was a real treat. Jude and his cousin Danelo spent the entire meal demanding oranges instead of oh, the lobster and veritable feast! Kids.. Don't know what they're missing. 

We visited the American Museum of Natural History because I was dying to show Jude the dinosaurs! And a few days later we caught some with 'flesh' at the Bronx zoo. It's safe to say Jude is now officially obsessed with dinosaurs! 

Other highlights included the food! So many amazing dishes at Schmorgesburg in Williamsburg, pizza, Haitian food with cousins, Moroccan food with Uncles, pizza, bagels, Sandwiches.. If only we had more pizza! 

The best take away though was the family and friends we got to hug and laugh with, if only for a short time. Jude spent countless hours playing playing and bonding with Danelo and his other distant cousins while we snuggled newbie, Mason as much as we could. While we miss everyone so much it is a blessing to have people all over the world that we get to travel to. 

It was really nice being able to spend the entire week in NYC and with 4 dogs at our AirBNB, Jude was in heaven. We also got the opportunity to spend time on Roosevelt Island, which we had never seen before. 

Only a few more months until our next planned trip and a new one to plan for with our travel vouchers! NOLA we'll be seeing you..

Safe Travels Amigos,

Nomad Family

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure Apple beautiful life Big blog blogger Bronx Brooklyn carpe diem City family Friend Friends go adventure la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful Manhattan New York nomad nomad family nomad family travelers NYC opt outside our beautiful life photo photographer photography Pizza Queens the famliy that travels together stays together together travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/8/small-fry-in-the-big-apple Mon, 26 Aug 2019 16:19:56 GMT
August Photo Tips; Night Photography https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/8/august-photo-tips-night-photography When shooting star trails, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

~Use a wide angle lens with a large aperture. 
~Increase your ISO to see more stars.
~Continuously shoot 30 second long exposures and process them with a program like StarStax. 
~If you want circular trails like these, make sure to include the North Star in your frame. 
~Use live view to help find focus and then switch to manual focus. 
~Try using a tungsten white balance for extra blue skies.

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When using the standard metering mode (Evaluative or Matrix), it is very difficult to get a clear image of the moon. This metering mode gives you an average exposure based on the entire frame; in most cases of the moon, that includes a very bright moon against a very dark sky as the majority of your Image.

This tells your camera that the exposure should be long (attempting to expose for the dark sky), and the result is a blurry and over exposed moon. Use spot or partial metering modes to meter off of the moon itself and you will see that your exposure is very fast as the moon is so bright.

Usually this will mean a solid black sky. This image is a composite created with 2 different exposures so the clouds and moon would both appear.

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Painting with Light is a great creative technique. Your camera should be on a tripod and you should also have a remote, cable release or use a timer.

Use manual focus and manual shooting mode. Start with an exposure of about ISO 400, f5.6 @ 10” (Ten Seconds).

Use flashlights to “paint” the light where you want it on your still life subject or “draw” subjects by “drawing” pictures towards the camera with the flashlight.

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) astro astrophotography beginner blog composite intermediate lesson lessons light meter metering mode moon night painting photo photographer photography professional shutter sky speed star stars starstax technique tip tips trails workshop workshops https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/8/august-photo-tips-night-photography Sat, 10 Aug 2019 18:30:00 GMT
July Photo Tips; Natural Light Portraiture https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/7/july-photo-tips-natural-light-portraiture We're always hoping for sunshine when we intend to shoot outdoor portraits, but overcast weather can make your job so much easier and have a beautiful result! You don't have to worry about uneven lighting or harsh shadows so you can place your subjects anywhere! This also applies to sunrise and sunset times when it is bright enough but without direct sunlight. Give it a try!

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Backlight your subject by putting the sun behind them and use a reflector to bounce the light back on them to create lovely lighting and catchlights!

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When shooting natural light portraits find a small patch of shade. Make sure your subjects is near the edge of the shade while still fully covered by it. 
Being this close to the edge will help create a direction of light and allow you to use a reflector for a nice catchlight in their eyes. This is what we refer to as 'Open Shade.'

 

Window light is a photographers best friend! Position your subject near a window; the window should not have any sunlight coming directly through it, but the diffused light will be very flattering for your portrait photography. You can Also use a reflector opposite the window to bounce back in some more light and slightly reduce shadows. 
 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) backlight backlit beginner blog camera child diffused diffuser intermediate lens lesson lessons light lighting natural outdoor overcast photo photographer photography portrait portraits portraiture pose professional reflector shade sun sunny teen tip tips window workshop workshops https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/7/july-photo-tips-natural-light-portraiture Mon, 08 Jul 2019 18:26:44 GMT
June Photo Tips; Manual and Panning https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/6/june-photo-tips-manual-and-panning Panning is a technique that allows you to follow a subject (typically a car) moving in a straight line parallel to you. You need a shutter speed generally between 1/8 and 1/15 of a second. Focus on your subject, click and pan with the subject. It will take a lot of practice! Don't be discouraged, though hard to achieve, it is a fun technique!

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Zooming is a technique similar to Panning but used with stationary objects. Keep your shutter speed around 1/8th to 1/15th of a second, focus on your subject and shoot on continuous while zooming in or out with your lens. 
It creates an unusual but fun effect! If you are having trouble getting a slow enough shutter speed, make sure you are using a smaller aperture, your lowest ISO and if you still need to reduce it, toss on your polarizing filter! 

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If you are getting comfortable with your camera and are ready to try shooting in Manual mode, my best advise to you is to shoot in Manual mode! Just remember to pay close attention to your light meter and be aware of what it is telling you; are you over or underexposed? I like to give my students a short checklist to help them get started: 

#1: White Balance-  Where are you? Choose the most accurate preset or create a custom WB. 

#2: ISO- How much light do you have? Noon in full sun, go low like 100, rainy evening or indoors try starting at 800. 

#3: Aperture- Are you trying to blur out the background? Use a large aperture (small number). Need a lot of focus, use a small aperture (big number). 

#4: Shutter Speed- Is it fast enough to stop the action of your subject? If your shutter speed dips to 1/30th or lower you should increase your ISO. 

AMP_2396 copyAMP_2396 copy After these become second nature you can add on things like exposure compensation, changing focus modes, etc. And of course whenever necessary you can change your drive or white balance. 

Another important thing to remember is that when shooting in Manual, you are not required to use Manual Focus; so many of my students have been under this assumption. Use Auto Focus when ever possible! I only switch to manual at times when shooting macro and my lens is having trouble finding my subject. 

Happy Shooting! 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) aperture art balance beginner blog camera creative creativity depth field focus intermediate ISO lens lesson lessons manual mode motion movement panning photo photographer photography professional shutter speed technical technique tip tips travel white workshop workshops zooming https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/6/june-photo-tips-manual-and-panning Mon, 10 Jun 2019 05:15:00 GMT
Week in the Life of the Werters; May https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/5/week-in-the-life-of-the-werters-may With all of my 'Week in the Life' weeks already planned out for the year, we were surprised and thrilled to find out we would be hosting an old friend and his fiancee for several days of this installment. The week had it's ups and downs and we kept super busy with lots of photoshoots and events!  59758925_954258183178_5073703557492899840_o59758925_954258183178_5073703557492899840_o

Sunday had hardly begun when we got the invite to Seth and Jules elopement yacht! Just FYI, we are always down for a yacht. Jude especially found it enjoyable, dancing and jumping all over the place. However, he did not appreciate the restraint when the boat was moving. We got to cruise and relax and see some amazing places on our own private tour of Banderas Bay. At one point Seth and Jules swam to a totally empty beach for some sun while we stayed with Jude and dipped him in the surprisingly freezing water. And we got some really amazing portraits out of it. It was such a wonderful day! 

Monday we dropped Jude off to school and made our way to Villa Premiere to celebrate and document this lovely couples wedding! We all enjoyed a nice breakfast and searched for the perfect florist so Jules could make her own bouquet. Jude joined us just in time for the ceremony and portraits, then we were off to find tequila y mariscos! 

We were able to do a bit of recovering on Tuesday, keeping it simple with some crispy tacos in our neighborhood. Then for a plot twist I suddenly came down with a fever and chills not long before I had to go out and teach a sunset photography workshop. It was not entirely pleasant shivering in 85 degree weather but I muscled through it and we had a great class! One of my students was the cowriter of "Under the Sea" and the producer of the album, "Say my Name!" I only took a few snapshots with my Fuji mirrorless camera and I love my soft focus sunset. 

After extending their stay one extra day, Wednesday we sadly said goodbye to Jules and Seth, sending them back to Texas and hoping they return soon! And resting. Lots of resting as this momma still had a nasty bug. 

Thursday felt more like a regular day, back to work and feeling somewhat normal. After dinner I headed to the Grand Pelicano resort to shoot some family portraits, and got to check out an amazing sunset from the beach. 

AMP_2890AMP_2890 In Mexico, May 10th is always Mother's Day so it happened to fall on this Friday. Matt and I sent Jude off to school and relished in some alone time, getting a little work done but mostly just spending quality time together. We picked Jude up from school a little late and then headed out to get some family sushi! We tried a new place and managed to find a few rolls without cream cheese. Then we hopped an uber to Centro for some drinks and dessert while we waited for the fireworks! There was an incredible fireworks symposium in town and it was the last night to see it. It took a lot of running around (and some cotton candy) to entertain Jude while we waited, but the show did not disappoint! We got home just after midnight and looked forward to sleeping in! 

Saturday was another lovely family day, We stopped by our local library to restock on some reading materials. I made sure to document the way Jude insists on wearing my baseball caps on the way, lol! We can't stop at Los Mangos Biblioteca without checking out the playground. And mud puddle. A mud puddle that required an afternoon bath. Jude gifted me with a tiny bit of cooperation for some portraits and we relaxed and napped for the remainder of the day. 

All in all it was a bit hectic but that is just life these days! We are picking up new business constantly and are always on the go. Life is good here in Mexico!

Safe Travels,

NFT

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure banderas Bay beautiful life blog carpe diem centro family firworks go adventure la vida bella la vita bella library life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle nomad nomad family nomad family travelers our beautiful life photo photography portrait portraits puerto Vallarta the famliy that travels together stays together together travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family wanderlust yacht https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/5/week-in-the-life-of-the-werters-may Mon, 13 May 2019 16:52:16 GMT
May Photo Tips; Macro and Focus https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/5/may-photo-tips-macro-and-focus Macro photography is the art and science of photographing subjects up close, typically flowers and insects. It is not for the faint of heart; it takes loads of patience!
 

Lighting: If you are a fan of photographing flowers and macro nature, try shooting in shaded areas or on overcast days. This will help you avoid harsh light and shadows on your subject. But if you do find that perfect subject in full sun, you can always use a diffuser to soften the light. A diffuser is an opaque piece of fabric that helps cut the harshness of light. Get yourself a 22" 5-in-1 reflector; the base will be the perfect diffuser!

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Depth of Field is crucial in Macro Photography. We want a shallow DOF to make the subject pop, but we also want to make sure the whole subject is in focus. Macro lenses tend to have a blurry background regardless of the aperture, but using too big of an aperture can blur too much. When shooting in Aperture Priority (A or AV) try sticking with a medium f-stop like 5.6 or 8.

If you've got one, a DOF preview button is a huge help! It's a little button near the base of your lens on the camera (not the lens eject button but close to it), tapping that button will show you how much of your image will ultimately be in focus.

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Macro Lens Alternatives: You don't need a macro lens to get close up shots! There are many less expensive options such as close up filters or extension tubes as well as the technique of 'Poor Man's Macro,' used here. If you set up your exposure first and then disconnect your lens, (any lens!) you can turn it around and hold it up against your camera to create a macro lens! (Be warned, this does increase your chances of collecting sensor dust!)

All of the alternatives to a macro lens; extension tubes, and close-up filters, require even more patience than usual and the best focusing tips are to simply move back and forth in regard to your subject until you see it become sharp. In the case of the filters and tubes it can also be helpful to zoom in and out if using a zoom lens. If you have trouble focusing, you probably need to get closer!

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Consider using a tripod. A tripod will allow you to slow down and carefully compose your images. It will also give you the option of shooting longer exposures, however if you have long exposures you need to be in a controlled macro environment; no wind or motion! Remember to always turn off your lens's Image Stabilizer when using a tripod. 

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Focus Modes: There are a few ways to allow your camera to focus on a subject. While still subjects like portraits and flowers fare well with the One Shot or AFS mode, animals are unpredictable and may move quite a bit; in this case you may want to try shooting in Continuous or AFC mode, which will automatically focus on the moving subject. Always remember to turn off image stabilizers when using a tripod. Accompany it with a remote or cable release and try using live view to compose and aid with focus. 


 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) advice aperture beginner blog camera close close up diffuser exposure floral flower focus image ISO learn learning lens lighting macro micro mode overcast photo photograph photography puerto Vallarta shutter speed teach tip tips tripod workshop https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/5/may-photo-tips-macro-and-focus Fri, 10 May 2019 05:00:00 GMT
Hola, Beaches! https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/5/hola-beaches Nomad Family Beach Review

Mexico (Part One)

 

San Pancho Beach

San Pancho Beach is located about an hour drive north of Puerto Vallarta if you do not hit any traffic. It is located along a small town named San Francisco, but most people refer to the town as San Pancho as well.

Pros: San Pancho Beach is rarely crowded. There are several restaurants that line the back of the beach where you can get excellent food and drink service. If the beach begins to get somewhat crowded, it will usually be along the portion with the restaurants, leaving the majority of the beach pretty open. The town has plenty of fantastic restaurants and street food to try. Also, on the beach, there are typically people walking up and down that will freshly slice mangos, coconuts, and other delicious fruits and top them with lime juice, chamoy sauce, and chili powder at a very reasonable price! Also, you can pay to rent chairs and umbrellas that will be set up for you.

Cons: The waves at San Pancho Beach can be fairly large, which is good and bad. If you are a surfer, it is a great spot; however if you are not a strong swimmer or you have children with you, it is not a great spot for swimming. 

Best Time to Go: During peak season, it is better to go early, especially if you are looking to get a spot at one of the restaurants or you want prime positioning for chair rentals. During off-peak season, any time should be fine. This is also a great beach to watch the sunset. 

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Bucerias Beach

Bucerias Beach is another beach located north of Puerto Vallarta, but about half way to San Pancho and will be about a 45 minute drive from Puerto Vallarta. Bucerias is a large town with plenty of food and activities and has a large Canadian and US expat community.

Pros: There are tons of fantastic restaurants right along the beach where you can either sit inside or right on the beach. The beach is very large and there is typically plenty of room. Also, the waves are small here, so it is a great place to bring children. Additionally, there are people that offer horse back rides along the beach.

Cons: At certain times of the year, there can be sting rays and jelly fish. Sting rays rarely harm people; however, in this area, young sting rays will burrow into the sand and if you have the unfortunate experience of stepping on one, it will be extremely painful. Also, there will be a lot of people walking along the beach constantly trying to sell you local wares and toys, which can get annoying.

Best Time to Go: Like San Pancho, if it is peak tourist season, you may want to head to the beach a little earlier to ensure good seats, especially if you intend to sit at a restaurant. Also, it is a great place to watch a sunset.

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Yelapa Beach

Yelapa Beach can technically be accessed by driving, but that will require an vehicle suitable for off-roading over difficult jungle roads and will take several hours. The vast majority of people heading to Yelapa Beach access it by boat. Yelapa is a quaint village with winding, cobblestone streets located on a hill. The meandering streets will take you up to a beautiful waterfall where you can go swimming or sit at a restaurant and enjoy the scenery. You can access Yelapa by boat from Los Muertos Pier in Puerto Vallarta for a very reasonable price and a 45-minute trip along the coastline.

Pros: Despite the fact that Yelapa Beach is mostly accessed by boat, there are several good restaurants to choose from right along the beach that set out lounge chairs and have small tables. There is much more seating inside the restaurants. The beach is located in a mid-sized alcove where there are few waves, so it is great for swimming. There are also some very nice places to stay right along the beach if you decide to spend the night. You can also take part in some water sports here, such as parasailing and waterskiing. There is also plenty of beach space unoccupied by restaurants that you can utilize for picnicking or to avoid the crowds. 

Cons: Yelapa Beach can be very touristy which, in of itself, may not be a bad thing for you; however, the beach can get extremely crowded by midday. Also, being a tourist location, you will be paying tourist prices, which are not bad compared to the US, but are definitely inflated by Mexico's standards. Also, the alcove can become pretty crowded with boats too. There are many people trying to sell local wares here. 

Best Time to Go: The best time to head to Yelapa Beach is early! As I mentioned, the beach can become very crowded and there is not much space to sit on the actual beach because the retaurants' lounge chairs will typically go right up to the water. If you want to ensure comfort and a spot with a good view, I would recommend trying to catch the first boat that leaves from Los Muertos Pier (around 10 AM).

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Mismaloya Beach

Mismaloya Beach is a 30-minute drive south of Puerto Vallarta and is located just before the highway curves away from the ocean and heads up into the mountains. Mismaloya is a small village with a few resorts along the beach.

Pros: Mismaloya Beach is a perfect spot to charter a boat for some snorkeling because a short way off the beach are Los Arcos, which is made up of 3 small islands with arcs that create small caves you can swim through. The fish here are plentiful and you will see a wide variety of them. This makes Mismaloya Beach uniquely suited for an excellent snorkeling experience. There are a couple of restaurants with seating that line the beach.

Cons: Mismaloya Beach itself is not great for swimming because there are many boats that are moored right inside this small cove and along the water line. Also, the beach is not very large, so it is not a particularly good spot to bring kids unless you plan on taking a boat out. 

Best Time to Go: It is best to go to Mismaloya Beach in the morning to ensure that you can get a boat or a decent spot at one of the restaurants.

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Los Muertos Beach

Los Muertos Beach runs along Old Town, one of the main tourist areas in Puerto Vallarta. It contains Los Muertos Pier, where you can board a boat to get to some of the smaller beaches along the cost, such as Yelapa Beach. The beach is lined entirely by restaurants and hotels.

Pros: Los Muertos Beach is easily accessible from many of the hotels and rentals in Puerto Vallarta. Because of the many restaurants that line the beach, it is not difficult to find any kind of food you may be looking for. Many of the restaurants offer seating on the beach. You can go swimming along Los Muertos Beach, but the waves can be large. If you are looking to avoid the large waves, right next to Los Muertos Pier is the best spot and is suitable for children. You can rent chairs and umbrellas in this area. If you are interested in doing any water activities, they are all offered here, including jet skiing, parasailing, snorkeling. 

Cons: During peak season, this beach can get so full that you will not be able to find a spot. Also, because this is one of the busiest sections of the city for tourism, you will be paying inflated prices at all of the restaurants that line the beach. Also, there will be a ton of people walking the beach trying to sell you local wares. 

Best Time to Go: Because of the high volume of people, you will want to arrive early if you are looking for a spot. Also, Los Muertos Pier is a great place to go at night when it is all lit up. 

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Punta Negra Beach

Punta Negra Beach is a small beach that is a 20-minute drive south of Puerto Vallarta. You can also easily catch a bus to here. There is not much in the surrounding area except for a couple of resorts at one end of the beach.

Pros: This beach is a local spot that is never crowded. You get a few mostly Mexican tourists from the resorts along the beach. There are no restaurants along this beach; however, there are two shacks where you can get some good food and ice cold beers for inexpensive prices. The water is typically pretty calm and good for swimming and the water will stay shallow for a bit of a distance out into the water. There is plenty of room along this beach to pick a spot. There are also rocks on one side of the beach that jut out into the ocean if you want to sit there. There will often be fishermen on these rocks. This is a very peaceful beach. There is rarely anyone walking the beach trying to sell you something.

Cons: You have to walk down several flights of stairs to get to the beach, so it can be a little difficult if you bring a lot of things with you. Also, there are no public bathrooms or changing areas here. If you are here after the sun goes down, walking back up the stairs can be a bit difficult too. Furthermore, the shacks selling food and drinks will typically close around 4 or 5.

Best Time to Go: Because there are not many people here, any time is fine, although, it is a very peaceful place to watch a sunset.

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Camarones Beach

Camarones Beach runs along Cinco De Diciembre, which is the section of Puerto Vallarta just north of Centro. Being so close to Centro, the back of the beach is entirely lined with buildings, mostly consisting of hotels and restaurants. 

Pros: Camarones Beach is one of the less crowded beaches in the main area of Puerto Vallarta. The restaurants also put out plenty of chairs or you can rent chairs and umbrellas as well. There are also some volleyball nets set up on the beach. Jet skiing is available here. 

Cons: You can swim here, but the waves can be large at times, so caution is recommended. 

Best Time to Go: Sunset is a great time to go, especially because you are located right in the middle of Banderas Bay, so you can see the entire bay very well. 

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Las Caletas Beach

Las Caletas is accessible only by boat and is about 40min south. It used to house director, John Huston. Now it is a resort type of location operated by Vallarta Adventures. 

Pros: This is a truly beautiful and luxurious section of Banderas Bay. The beaches are small and may have hammocks. There are floating docks with private hammocks as well and among many sections of the resort there are kids adventure parks with activities and exotic birds. There are bars and a restaurant along the scenic walkways and a section with its own restaurant, beach and houses for weddings and events. 

Cons: Because this is a resort type environment and adventure experience it can get quite expensive. However if you do decide to go you will not regret it as Vallarta Adventures sure does know how to entertain their guests! 

Best Time to Go: If you want to have some time and space to yourself visit during the evenings in the off season. But don't arrive too late, this is a great place to dedicate the day to. Arrive as early as possible during tourist season. 

 

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Rosita Beach (Malecon)

Rosita Beach is bordered by the Malecon, which is the main pedestrian walkway that runs along the entirety of Centro, or Downtown Puerto Vallarta. It is lined with tons of restaurants and stores catering to the high volume of tourists. Although the Malecon runs the entire length of Centro, Rosita Beach covers only a small portion at the northern end. 

Pros: It is easy to access any convenience you might want because of its location in Centro. One of the best parts of this beach is that you can see Puerto Vallarta's Flying Bird-Men of Papantla, possibly the oldest dance ritual in all of Mexico, where 4 men in traditional dress will hang upside down from a pole swinging around it until they reach the ground while a 5th man plays the flute on the top of the pole. It is truly an amazing experience. 

Cons: The waves are typically rough along this beach. In addition, this beach can be rocky in some areas, which cuts down on the suitable areas to set yourself up; however, the beach is rarely crowded.

Best Time to Go: Sunset is a great time to visit this beach. Also, the Flying Bird-Men of Papantla will typically start their ceremony around noon and will repeat it continuously throughout the day.

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) banderas Bay beach blog blogger bloggers bucerias camerones centro crowd jalisco las caletas malecon mexico mismaloya photography puerto punta punta Negra review rosita san fransisco san pancho'' photo sand sunset tourism tourist travel travel blog travel Photography vallarta water wave yelapa https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/5/hola-beaches Wed, 01 May 2019 05:00:00 GMT
Food Photography https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/4/food-photography Food Photography Workshop

 

In addition to our regular Travel and Sunset Photography Workshops, we were happy to design this private workshop for food lovers, food bloggers, and the average hungry photographer. 

In this course, you will first arrange the workshop date and location. As this is a private lesson for you and your guests, availability is dependent on our schedule. You can choose your favorite restaurant or from a list of our recommended restaurants. We will join you for a meal at this location and will teach you optimal lighting and exposure for food as well as composition, color control, and styling. 

 

About the Lesson: 

We will begin this lesson by assessing your skill level and reviewing your equipment. This will allow us to customize the workshop to your particular wants and needs. Then, after ordering, we will have a demonstration of our lighting set up as well as discussing settings for Depth of Field, white balance, and focal points. We will also set up tripods (optional). The hands-on portion of the course will begin when the entrees arrive. You will be able to style and photograph your food before enjoying your meal. During mealtime, we will review images and discuss further points of improvement. This is repeated as often as you like with new dishes. 

Need to Know: 

  • Though tripods are optional, they are highly recommended as they make it much easier to compose and style your shot while viewing the exact visual changes in real time. You can rent a tripod for a small fee by clicking here. 
  • The course costs $35 USD and covers 1 hour of instruction. It does not include food though, if we opt to order as well, you are welcome to photograph our food too. This can be paid in person, via Paypal, Venmo, USD, or MEX Pesos (with conversion rate of the booking day). 
  • This course is open to all camera types and skill levels. 

 

To book a session, you can shoot us an email to reserve a date!  Ask us about availability and get to shooting (and eating)! 
 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) advanced beginner blog centro food food photography instruction intermediate learn lesson mexican mexican food mexico photo photograph photographer photography puerto puerto vallarta restaurant romantic Zone style teach travel vallarta zona Romantica https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/4/food-photography Tue, 30 Apr 2019 18:39:02 GMT
Destination Portraits https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/4/destination-portraits Destination Portrait Sessions 

 

Welcome to the paradise that is Puerto Vallarta! Whether you are a resident or a visitor to the stunning Banderas Bay, I'm sure it now has a piece of your heart. We want to help you take advantage of its beauty and charm to capture theses special moments in time with your family. We all deserve great family portraits to preserve the memories you're making today. 

To book a family session, first choose from one of the following options; 

 

30 MIN: $150

20-30 Images

Great for: 

Small Families, Mom & Me/Dad & Me Sessions, Grandparent Portraits, Couples & BFFs; A short intimate session for you and your closest loved ones with 3-5 backdrops and multiple poses and subject combinations. 

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Graduations, Senior Portraits, Headshots, Milestone Birthdays; This session is for single person portraits with time for wardrobe and backdrop changes. 

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Maternity Portraits; A quick session for your convenience and comfort that includes images of just mom-to-be, and some combinations with dads, grandparents or siblings. 

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60 MIN: $300

40-60 Images

Great for: 

Mid-sized Families; Families of 3-6 people will benefit from this session to maximize family combinations and poses to include a few whole family shots, just mom & dad, all the kids, single portraits of each child, etc. 

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120 MIN: $600

80+ Images

Great for:

Larger Family & Friend Groups; This will allow for more poses and combinations of subjects for a diverse family album.  familyfamily

1st Birthday Portraits & Cakesmash; It will allow plenty of time for portraits with different outfits and a messy cakesmash. 

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Romantic Portrait Tour; This session is a guided walk through your choice of location (Zona Romantica, The Malecón, Your favorite beaches or adventures), with portraits along the way. This is a fun way to experience PV and get a large amount of backdrops and poses. Perfect for Honeymooners or newly engaged lovers. 

 

*Newborn shoots not included in the above prices and packages. Ask about newborn sessions and scheduling by clicking here

 

Because we take care to get optimal images in camera with the most flattering lighting, and because sessions offer so many images, retouching will not be included. However editing such as color and lighting will be adjusted to optimize your images. Retouching is available, please inquire here

 

Booking your Sessions: 

After choosing your session you can simply send an email request to book your session. We will ask for a $50 deposit to reserve your session, this can be paid in person, via paypal, venmo, USD, or MEX pesos (with conversion rate of the booking day). 

 

Selecting Shoot Location: 

The time of booking is a great opportunity to decide on location and wardrobe recommendations. The time of the shoot will depend on availability as well as our recommendation about the lighting as your chosen destination. Certain times of day can have harsh or unflattering light, we want to select the most optimal time for the shoot and have the most beautiful results. 

We have many locations to suit your family! Ask about gardens, beaches, or urban backgrounds in the Romantic Zone! Any admission or travel/ boat fees will not be included in the session fee. If reservations are required please send a confirmation to us as soon as you have secured the location. 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adult adventure baby beach blog boat child couple dad father garden grandparents image images jaliso lifestyle mexico mom mother newborn photo photograph photographer photographs photography portrait portraits portraiture puerto puerto vallarta romantic sail session shoot siblings vallarta https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/4/destination-portraits Mon, 29 Apr 2019 18:20:37 GMT
We left our Heart in Tlaquepaque https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/4/we-left-our-heart-in-tlaquepaque This was our first big adventure since moving to Mexico and discovering Puerto Vallarta and its immediate surroundings. We chose to visit during Semana Santa to get away from the tourist crowds along the coast, and to celebrate a special week for our family. 

We opted to take the bus from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara on Ash’s birthday. The intercity bus was not like one of the city buses that we use to get around PV. It was very roomy and comfortable with large reclining seats and a tv for each seat (think business class on an airplane with a bit more room and no drink or food service). It was a 4-hour trip to Guadalajara and fairly painless as trips go. Once we left the coast, we drove through mountains, deserts, and farmland with plenty of horses, cows, and bulls along the way. Jude was exstatic, mooing at every one of them. As we got closer to Guadalajara and Tequila (the town where tequila was invented), there were plenty of farms growing agave. 59093791_952135302448_5147093987256958976_n59093791_952135302448_5147093987256958976_n

Guadalajara is a sprawling city that is built mostly outward (like LA as opposed to New York City), the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the second largest city in Mexico. It is a hub of Mexican art, culture, and food with so much to do that there was no way we could do much more than scratch the surface in the quick 4-day trip that we made. The city is made up of 8 main municipalities: Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá, Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, El Salto, Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, and Juanacatlán. We were staying in Zapopan, the westernmost portion of the city. The city did not look as I had expected, at least not so much in Zapopan. Zapopan was beautiful with plenty of parks and flowering trees and the majority of the structures were more modern. There were also plentiful fountains.

On our first full day, our 10 year anniversary, we decided to take Jude to Zoológico Guadalajara, which was fantastic! I have heard it compared to the San Diego Zoo on several occasions. It is massive and includes plenty of birds and animals, a park with rides, and an aquarium. There were tons of animals, including elephants, lions, giraffes, tortoises, parrots, penguins, bengal tigers, polar bears, and tons more.  58430227_952135092868_630290638281113600_n58430227_952135092868_630290638281113600_n

We initially took a ride on the train around the zoo. Jude was not feeling great that day because he was a bit disoriented from the travel, but his eyes lit up the moment he saw the elephants. At each exhibit along the train route he would point and ‘wow!’ After taking the train around, we walked around the entire area, making sure to walk through monkey land, where the different kinds of monkeys are literally running all around you (you are in a netted area). Sadly, after walking around the entire park, we intended to go on the safari; however, the line was so long, we were forced to skip it. We also did not have the opportunity to visit the aquarium because Jude fell asleep, but we will be sure to go back the next time we are in Zapopan. If you have a child, this zoo is a must see! It is by far the best and most extensive zoo I have ever seen. 

The following day, we met up with some friends in Zapopan Centro. This area was very nice with plenty of outdoor restaurants. We got lucky as there was an Earth Day celebration with a ceremony made up of drums, song, and giving praise to the earth taking place in the central square against the backdrop of the Basilica of Zapopan. The square was also filled with people selling art, ceramics, and food. It made for an incredible scene and experience. 

On our second to last day, Easter Sunday, we decided to squeeze in both Tlaquepaque Centro and Guadalajara Centro. Tlaquepaque has a small town feel inside a very large city and is traditionally known for its hand-painted pottery. The heart of the municipality is located at Jardín Hidalgo, which is bordered on two sides by two historic and important churches: El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad and San Pedro. Close to Jardín Hidalgo is El Parián, which is a large plaza surrounded by restaurants and bars. This is an area known for its mariachi bands. The majority of Tlaquepaque Centro is filled with small shops selling artwork and fantastic restaurants. The buildings are brightly colored and you will find artwork and sculptures all along the streets. On Calle Independencia, there are plenty of stands selling trinkets as well as more galleries selling works from local artists. Tlaquepaque was certainly the highlight of the trip, we were so in love with the area we picked out neighborhoods and houses we would move into in the future. All it was missing is the beach!  58461584_952007997568_955757942802481152_n58461584_952007997568_955757942802481152_n

Following Tlaquepaque, we took an Uber to Guadalajara Centro. Although, this is much more of a bustling and modern area, there are a few sights that made it stand out, including the amazing Guadalajara Cathedral the Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacaramento. In the case of the Guadalajara Cathedral, it is located in a massive square with a fountain and many small shops and restaurants along the bordering streets. We were lucky to come across a local band that was playing in front of the Cathedral while we were there. And of course, Jude found plenty of birds to chase and terrify. 

Our bus ride home was not quite how we would have liked to end our trip. While comfortable, there were construction delays and we ended up spending about 8 hours on the bus. Thankfully, Jude has always been a good traveler and conveniently mastered potty training that week. 

All in all, I knew we would enjoy Guadalajara, but I was surprised as to how much it was different from what we had anticipated. It is a beautiful and clean city with an abundance of parks and places to appreciate nature, all while taking in the beauty of tons of centuries-old buildings and churches. The food is both amazing and incredibly inexpensive. No trip to Guadalajara should be made without trying their local specialty, the torta ahogada, which is a delicious sandwich. 

We had plenty of fun in this city and look forward to returning and delving deeper into what is at the heart fo this beautiful, sprawling city, in addition to exploring more of Mexico! 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure animals beautiful life blog bus carpe diem cathedral catholic country family go adventure guadalajara la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful mexico nomad nomad family nomad family travelers our beautiful life photo photography santa semana the famliy that travels together stays together tlaquepaque together travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family wanderlust zapopan zool https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/4/we-left-our-heart-in-tlaquepaque Thu, 25 Apr 2019 18:08:26 GMT
April Photo Tips; Shutter Speed and ISO https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/4/april-photo-tips-shutter-speed-and-iso Understanding Shutter Speed: The shutter is the clicking noise you hear when taking a picture and the shutter speed is how quickly that shutter opens and closes. It controls how long your are letting light hit your sensor. Shutter speeds can be as fast as 1/4000 or 1/8000 of a second and as slow as 30 seconds (or 30” in camera). The faster the shutter speed, the fast the action you can freeze and the slower your shutter speed (or the longer your exposure) the more motion you will see in an image. If your image is over exposed (too bright) you want to speed up your shutter speed (higher number) and if it is under exposed (too dark) then it needs more time so you should slow down your shutter speed. Generally speaking, for high speed activities like sports, shutter speeds should range 1/1000 of a second and higher, children and pets should range between 1/250 of a sec and 1/1000 of a second, and adult portraits can range between 1/60 of a second to 1/250 of a second.
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3 Ways to achieve a faster Shutter Speed (stop action):
1. Open up your aperture to let in more light.
2. Increase your ISO to be more sensitive to the available light.
3. Add more light to your scene if possible. (make it brighter). IMG_8062IMG_8062



 

ISO is referring to your cameras light sensitivity. It controls how sensitive your camera is to the available light. The ISO range starts at 100 (or 50 depending on the camera) and ends at 6400 (or 12,500 or 25,000 also known as High 1 and High 2 on some cameras). The smaller the number, the less sensitive you camera is, indicating that there is more available light and that your camera does not need to be as sensitive. The less available light there is (or the darker your scene) the higher (or more sensitive) your ISO would need to be. If your photo is under exposed make your ISO higher and if it is over exposed make your ISO lower.
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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) action beginner blog blur camera fast ISO learn learning lens long exposure motion movement photo photograph photographer photography shutter speed slow stop teach tip tips workshop workshops https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/4/april-photo-tips-shutter-speed-and-iso Wed, 10 Apr 2019 21:30:00 GMT
Oahu Beach Review https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/3/best-oahu-beaches Oahu Beach Review

 

Makapu'u Beach

Makapu'u is a fantastic beach that is well-removed from the more crowded beaches as you get closer to Waikiki. Makapu'u Beach is in an alcove bordered by Makapu'u Light House, which is on a large rock hill stretching into the ocean, and has a backdrop of steep green mountains. 

Pros: This beach is more of a locals spot, so it should not be very crowded. The scenery around Makapu'u Beach is amazing and really makes for a unique Oahu beach. Whether you are coming from Honolulu or the North Shore, the drive here is filled with stunning mountains and oceanside cliffs. 

Cons: The waves here can get very large. Make sure you pay attention to the signs that will give warnings to keep out of the water. 

Best Time to Go: Because of its location on the east side of Oahu, this is a great beach to view a sunrise.

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Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach is a beach park along the southeastern shore of Oahu, located in Hawaii Kai. This is another beach that is primarily used by locals. It is set against the backdrop of Koko Crater, a long-extinct volcano. 

Pros: Sandy Beach covers a large area and it is rarely difficult to find a place to sit. There are many events held on this beach, including the occasional surf competition. It is a great place to fire up a bbq with friends or fly a kite. The waves out here are great for surfing too. Because it is a beach park, there is a large grassy area that is perfect if you are looking to avoid the sand and have a picnic. 

Cons: As I said earlier, this is a great location for surfing; however, this is also the SECOND MOST DANGEROUS BEACH in the Pacific and is aptly nicknamed "Break Neck Beach". The waves here can come out of nowhere and leave the unsuspecting person in a lot of trouble because the waves break right on the beach, hence the nickname. In addition, the undertow can be incredibly powerful even if you are only in water up to your shins. If you are not a very good swimmer and used to handling big waves and strong undertow, do not get in the water here. We have seen people's vacations ruined or far worse at this beach. Although finding a spot to sit here is not difficult, parking can be extremely difficult on the weekend.

Best Time to Go: If you are going on the weekend or a holiday, we strongly recommend that you arrive in the morning to avoid the difficulty of finding a parking spot.

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Halona Beach Cove (From Here to Eternity Beach, Cockroach Cove)

Halona Beach Cove is located along the cliffside drive from the southern portion on to the eastern portion of Oahu. It's nickname, From Here to Eternity Beach, comes from the fact that this is the location from that iconic movie where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr filmed their passionate scene. It is known colloquially as Cockroach Cove, although I am unsure why as I have never seen a cockroach here myself.

Pros: This is a beautiful cove that is removed from some of the more frequently attended beaches. It is unique in that the cove is bordered on 3 sides by large rocky hills. At the beach, there are typically small to mid-sized waves. 

Cons: The walk down to this beach can be a bit difficult as you have to walk down the rocks, so be careful not to fall over or twist your ankle. Also, the parking lot is very small so, during busier times, you will not be able to find parking anywhere near it. There have been gates installed to prevent people from walking out along the rocks that border the sides of the cove since we have lived there. The reason for this is people would jump off those rocks and not realize how strong the current is in this area. Many people have been injured or have died as a result. Always pay attention to signs and always respect the power of the ocean. I have had some close calls myself at some of these beaches.

Best Time to Go: Sunrise is a good time; however, the walk down to the cove in the dark can be precarious. Otherwise, the weekdays are typically better when it will be less busy. 

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Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is located in the heart of Honolulu and is lined with hotels and restaurants. Just off of the beach, you will find plenty of shopping and nightlife. It is located on the south shore of Oahu.

Pros: Waikiki Beach is a very safe place to swim as the waves are large, which makes it a fantastic place to learn how to surf or bodysurf. You can find places that rent boards along the beach. Also, the water remains shallow pretty far out. Waikiki Beach is home to an excellent restaurant called Duke's where you can get a juicy burger or a Mai Tai right off the beach. Duke's is open to the beach side, so you can just walk right up. Right behind Duke's is where you can catch the Na Hoku, a fantastic booze cruise that will take you out around Diamond Head Volcano. There are several booze cruises now, but the Na Hoku was always our favorite.

Cons: Waikiki Beach is the most crowded beach on Oahu. There are constantly tons of people here and it can often feel like the beach is a sea of people. If you limit your time exclusively to this beach and surrounding area, you can have a great time, but you will not experience what Hawaii actually is unless you venture out.  

Best Time to Go: Waikiki covers a significant amount of space; however, as mentioned, there are so many people here that you will want to grab a spot early so you can get a spot you like. 

Waikiki SunsetWaikiki Sunset

 

Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach is located next to the Town of Kailua on the east, or windward, side of Oahu. It is located in a strip of residential neighborhood that you can only access and exit by one road that runs just passed Kailua Beach.

Pros: There are two small islands several hundred yards off the shore here which makes for unique scenery. Additionally, it has some of the best sand (aside from the North Shore) and the bluest water, giving it a feel more like beaches in the Caribbean more so than any other beach on the island. If you are looking for warm tranquil water to just relax, this is the spot for you. There are virtually no waves here. 

Cons: More people have discovered this beach in the last several years, so it has become fairly crowded. Because it is located in a small, residential neighborhood, parking can be very difficult at times. 

Best Time to Go: Because of parking and the increasing crowds, earlier is better. Also, it is a great spot to catch a sunrise. 

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Kailua Beach

Kailua Beach is located just before Lanikai Beach, just on the edge of the Town of Kailua. There is a small river that bisects the beach and empties into the ocean. 

Pros: The waves at Kailua Beach are small like its neighbor beach, Lanikai, making it a good option for swimming. Also, there is a place to rent kayaks so you can actually kayak out to a few small islands out in the ocean. There is also good restaurant right across the street from the beach.

Cons: This beach can get crowded and parking can be difficult. 

Best Time to Go: Try to get here early to beat the crowds and inevitable struggle to find parking. 

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Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is a famous beach located on the North Shore of Oahu and is known for the big wave surfing, especially during the winter months. The North Shore is the most authentically Hawaiian area of that island with not much more than residential homes lining the coastline. 

Pros: Sunset Beach has perfect sand for laying out and is a huge surf beach in the winter. No matter what time of year you visit, it is perfect for enjoying a Hawaiian sunset. It is also home to the Volcom house. 

Cons: This can become a pretty crowded beach and is often difficult to find parking. 

Best Time to Go: Arrive very early, especially during the Winter months. The traffic heading to the North Shore at this time of the year can be horrible and you can find that a typical 1.5-hour trip from Waikiki can be a several hour long traffic jam.

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Waimea Bay Beach

Waimea Bay Beach is another famous surf spot on the North Shore where you can go to experience big waves and big wave surf competitions. You can recognize the bay by the large rock out in the water that you will often find people sitting on top of.

Pros: If you are looking to see some massive waves, the winter months will often bring 30 to 40 foot waves here. It makes for a very unique experience as the waves are so large, you can feel the ground rumbling whenever they crash from well away from the shoreline. In addition, the large rock in the water allows for people to climb to the top and jump off into the water if you are looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush. The only thing is to ensure that a swell is coming in when you jump so the water is deep enough. 

Cons: Because this is such an iconic beach, especially for surfing, you will often have large crowds here and the parking lot is far too small to accommodate all of the interest. As a result, you can often be driving around for a long time waiting for a spot to open up. Additionally, the large waves during the winter make swimming in this bay borderline suicidal. Sometimes, it may not look like the waves are anything significant; however, it could be in-between sets and you can quickly find a 30 to 40 foot wave heading your way. Even during the other seasons where the waves aren't massive, they are still pretty big and can change rapidly, also leading to strong undertows. Also, the water gets deep very quickly as you go out. Exercise a lot of caution if you go in the water here.

Best Time to Go: The best time to come here is early morning to ensure you get a parking spot. Otherwise, it is a fantastic place to be all day.

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Waimanalo Beach

Waimanalo Beach Park stretches across the entire shoreline of the Town of Waimanalo and technically includes Makapu'u Beach. This is a vary local area and the style of beach varies significantly depending on what portion you are on. There are areas that are covered in grass where you will find local events and parties. In addition, you can see two small islands off the shore from some portions, including rabbit island (it is difficult to make out the rabbit, but once you see it, you will know you have it). 

Pros: Some of the best scenery runs along this beach from small islands, to large mountains, to the light house atop a massive hill at the tip of Makapu'u Point. The beach is very diverse, so it can accommodate pretty much any type of beach environment you are looking for, including if you are looking to avoid the sand entirely and just have a BBQ on a nice sunny day. There is tons of parking along this long strip of coastline and plenty of space to accommodate everyone.

Cons: I should note that this is a very local spot. It does not mean that you should be particularly concerned if you are a tourist and want to check it out. However, it is worth noting that Waimanalo is one of the few almost exclusively Hawaiian areas left on Oahu on a chain of islands that were literally stolen from these people. As a result, be cool, be respectful, and do not come here acting like you own the place. You very well may have trouble if you do. Also, there can sometimes be swarms of box jellyfish along this beach; however, there will typically be signs during these times, so just pay attention.

Best Time to Go: Really, any time is a good time for this beach, but it is particularly beautiful during the sunrise.

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Bellows Beach

Bellows Beach is just north of Waimanaolo Beach Park, but is very different in many ways. First off, Bellows is owned by the U.S. Air Force, so you will often find a lot of military personnel here relaxing. Also, there is a beautiful Pine Forest just behind the beach. 

Pros: The pine forest at Bellows Beach really makes for a very unique aspect environment on Oahu. You can reserve lots in the pine forest portion for camping, which I would highly recommend. It is one of the few places on the island where you can camp in an environment that feels very much like more traditional camping areas on the mainland U.S. You will find many people doing the same, including building camp fires at night. In addition to camping on these lots, you can rent cabins on another section as well. The waves here are also never very large, so it makes it a good spot for swimming, learning to surf, or even fishing. 

Cons: The cabins and lots are first come, first served, so if you are looking to reserve your spot, make sure to do it well in advance, especially if it is during a holiday. 

Best Time to Go: Any time is a great time but, again, this side of the island is great for sunrises. Also, it is fairly removed from large light sources, so you can see the stars very well at night here.

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Rabbit Island Beach Park

Technically part of Waimanalo Beach, this small beach is the best spot to view Rabbit Island beach. It is shallow with small waves and contains manny tide pools; beware the sea urchins. There is also a nice area for swimmers and body surfers or boarders. 

Pros: This is nice spot for a more private beach experience since it is so small. Perfect for a small family to enjoy the day soaking up the sun, picnicking and swimming in the tidepools. 

Cons: The beach has a small parking lot, but no restrooms. 

Best Time to Go: For a parking spot and a relaxed beach vibe, arrive early. However many times this beach is still relatively empty on most afternoons. 

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Kualoa Regional Park

Kualoa Regional Park is located along the eastern coast of Oahu as you approach the North shore from that side where there is less tourism. The park is known colloquially as Chinaman's Hat after the island that is off the coast. The beach is unique in that it is situated around a pond, so the beach portion is a thin strip of land for a fairly large portion.

Pros: You will have a great view of Chinaman's Hat, which is technically called Mokoli'i Island, but you will understand very quickly when you see it. The beach is off of the more typical tourist track, so you can typically avoid large crowds here. Also, the grassy portion of the park is very large, so you can enjoy all sorts of activities, including sports. The waters here are very calm and great for swimming. 

Cons: Kualoa Regional Park is a remote location as far as activities and entertainment. While this makes for a more peaceful environment, it will be a longer drive to get here, especially if you are heading from the Waikiki-area. 

Best Time to Go: Sunrise is a very peaceful and beautiful time to come here and it can act as a good early morning stop on your way to the North Shore.

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Ala Moana Beach

Ala Moana is a large beach park just across the street from Ala Moana Mall, the largest open air mall in the U.S. It is located between Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu. 

Pros: Despite its location right near some of the highest population concentrations on the island, Ala Moana is rarely crowded and usually is occupied by residents. It is a great place to jog or bike along the water. Magic Island, which is a portion that juts out into the water is a great place to picnic or catch a sunset. The parking lot here is massive, so finding a spot is rarely, if ever, a problem. Also, the water here is tranquil, so it is a great place for swimming. Another aspect that I like, and this may just be unique to me, is that the planes taking off from Honolulu Airport will typically make a shallow ascent along the coastline toward this area before turning off and heading away from the island. It is not noisy and I find it to be very peaceful surrounded by Waikiki, Ala Moana Mall, and Downtown Honolulu in this beautiful oasis. Somehow, in a way, it reminds of Central Park in Manhattan in its escape from the constant hustle that is city life. 

Cons: If you try to come here during rush hour in the morning or evening, you may end up sitting in a significant amount of traffic trying to get here.

Best Time to Go: Since most of the time, this is a great place to be, I will point out when you should not try to get here. Rush hour in the morning from around 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM to 6 PM in the afternoon.

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Turtle Bay Beach

Turtle Bay Beach is part of the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore. You can enjoy the beach as a guest of the resort. They also have a bar on the beach open to everyone and you can find access to the beach from there. The beach is very shallow with few waves so it is great for children and not-so-great swimmers. 

Pros: This is a great beach for a quick stop to have a drink or pupus with your friends. 

Cons: Since this beach is part of the resort, if you are not ordering from the restaurants you may not be welcome on the beach. 

Best Time to Go: As a resort guest it is best to go early, especially during high tourist seasons. 

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Laniakea

Laniakea is a small beach on the North Shore nicknamed 'Turtle Beach' because of the high volume of Sea turtles that rest in the sand here. This beach is a wildlife protected area and you are not to disturb the turtles, or any other sea life on the beach. 

Pros: It is a beautiful little beach and amazing to see the turtles. Makes for wonderful photos. 

Cons: This beach is very small with large rocks scattered along the beach, so there is not much room to set up and relax on this beach. The parking lot is very small and always full. Even if you don't stop at this beach, you are sure to notice it for the traffic it creates on the highway. 

Best Time to Go: It would be best to pop in whenever there is a turtle to admire, but not a great stop if you are looking for a real beach experience. The earlier in the day, the better; the traffic really picks up in the afternoon. 

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Bonus: While these aren't beaches, they are few points you'll definitely want to know about. 

China Walls

Although this is not a beach, China Walls is definitely worth mentioning as you can sit on the large rocks on the shore that are only a few feet above the waves. China Walls is located in Portlock right on Maunalua Bay. 

Pros: This is a very relaxing location to sit and listen to the waves. It's location in residential Portlock means that it is easy to find parking along the street close by. You also have a stunning view of Diamond Head Volcano and a bit of Honolulu across the water.

Cons: You can jump in the water here, but that is the easy part. Getting back out can be pretty tough as you have to climb up the face of the rocks with swells coming in that can scrape you ride off the side. Also, you will want to stay vigilant on the rocks. Bigger waves have been known to come in and knock people over and, possibly, off the rocks as well. 

Best Time to Go: Any time while there is a decent amount of light out, so you can navigate the rocks.

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Spitting Caves

Like China Wall, Spitting Caves is not a beach, but a 70-foot cliff on the ocean. Spitting Caves is located at the tip of Portlock on the southeast portion of Oahu and is only a short drive past China Walls. There is a lava tube right inside the cove where, if the waves are breaking just right, the water will get "spit" back out, hence the name.

Pros: This is one of my favorite spots on the entire island. It is rarely crowded an offers plenty of rocks to sit on and view the water. Sometimes you can sight large sea turtles swimming around here. Also, similar to China Walls, Spitting Caves offers a great view of Diamond Head Volcano and parts of Oahu. Also, if you are the adrenaline junky type, people do jump off of this cliff. I'll just remind you this is a 70-foot cliff. If you want to jump off it, I would imagine you are enough of a risk-taker to understand the risks here. 

Cons: You have to walk down a winding dirt path followed by rocks, so you have to watch your footing to avoid slipping. Also, closer to the water, people have slipped and fallen off before and died as a result. Also, the current has dragged people into the lava tube where they drowned in the past, so it is important that if you do jump, you are a strong swimmer and can read the current well. 

Best Time to Go: My absolute favorite time to come here was on a clear night when you have a bright moon. The thousands of stars you can see combined with the sound of the waves and the view makes this one of the most peaceful places on the planet for me. However, I knew this area well, so I did not have any issue walking down the path at night. 

 

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NFT

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) ala moana bay beach beach park beaches bellows bodysurfing chinamans hat chinaman's hat hawaii honolulu island kailua kayak kayaking kualoa lanikai makapuu makapu'u makapuu beach makapu'u beach north shore oahu park parks rabbit rabbit Island sandy beach sandy beach park sandy's sunset surfing swimming turtle waikiki waimanalo waimea waimea bay waves https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/3/best-oahu-beaches Mon, 25 Mar 2019 20:30:00 GMT
Sunset Photography Workshop https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/3/sunset-photography-workshop Sunset Photography Workshop

 

This is our most popular workshop! 

Our Sunset Photography Workshop has varying start times but will always begin 45 minutes before the sunset on the day of the workshop and will continue until 45 minutes after the sunset. This will allow us to shoot silhouettes along the boardwalk as well as the actual sunset from the beach. Every workshop is tailored to each group of participants. This means we will assess the skill levels and particular interests of all the group members to decide what subjects to focus on and what other subjects may need to be covered. Due to how often our workshops run, many are private or very small. 

The workshop takes place on the Malecón as well as Rosita Beach, the beach adjoining the Malecón. The workshop will last 90 minutes. The intent of this instructional workshop is to teach or enhance your techniques for shooting better images of the sunset. 

We begin the session with an informative lecture and follow it with a comprehensive hands-on portion where you will practice the discussed techniques and assignments. This is repeated with each subject. During the hands-on portion, each student will receive one-on-one instructions and review with the instructor. 

 

About the Lesson: Students will learn how to control the colors of the their sunset images with white balance, and shooting fast and long exposures of the setting sun. First, we will have a group lesson on the Malecón to gauge everyones interests and skill levels. We will take some time discussing metering modes and practicing silhouettes of the statues. Next, we will use fast shutter speeds to capture the sun as it sets from the beach and then experience the difference when using smaller apertures and longer exposures. In addition to the gorgeous sunset, this beach is often graced with pelicans. 

Need to Know:

  • Tripods are highly recommended for this course so we can practice long exposures. You can rent a tripod for a small fee. Availability is limited. Please inquire at the time of booking. 
  • Some fun lenses to use for this workshop would include wide angle and telephoto lenses. 
  • All skill levels and camera types are welcome to join this course. We will be able to adapt the lessons to suit your needs and equipment. 
  • We will be setting up on the beach for a large portion of this workshop; I will typically bring blankets to sit on. You are welcome to bring your own folding chairs or sit on the rocks if you prefer. You can also stand, but we will be exploring low angles when we capture motion in the water, so you should not be standing for this portion of the lesson.
  • The cost of the course is $45USD. This can be paid in person, via Paypal, Venmo, USD, or MEX Pesos (with conversion rate of the booking day). 
  • I will also typically bring bug spray as some people, myself included, are highly attractive for mosquitos. 

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(You can also inquire about our Sunset Photography Cruises!)
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After leaving this workshop, you will have the confidence to capture stunning sunset photographs and can easily apply all of these same techniques to sunrise photography too. 

 

To book a session, you can shoot us an email to reserve a date! Ask us about availability and get to shooting! 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) advanced beach beginner blog camera exposure image images instruction intermediate learn lens lesson long photo photographer photography puerto puerto vallarta sky sunset teach tripod vallarta waves workshop https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/3/sunset-photography-workshop Mon, 18 Mar 2019 06:30:00 GMT
Travel Photography Workshop https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/3/travel-photography-workshop Travel Photography Workshop

 

Curious about our travel photography workshop? Great! Let's fill you in on what your experience will cover. 

First of all, every workshop is tailored to each group of participants. This means we will assess the skill levels and particular interests of all the group members to decide which locations to spend the most time at, which photo subjects require the most focus, and what other subjects may need to be covered. Due to how often our workshops run, many are private or very small. 

The Workshop takes place on the Malecón in Centro Puerto Vallarta and is 3 hours long. The intent of this instructional workshop is to teach or enhance your techniques for landscapes and seascapes, editorial portraits, street photography and mastering both harsh and low light. 

We begin the session with an informative lecture and follow it with a comprehensive hands-on portion where you will practice the discussed techniques and assignments. This is repeated at the next location. During the hands-on portion, each student will receive one-on-one instruction and review with the instructor. 

 

Seascape Photography 

About the Lesson: We will be shooting images of Rosita Beach during the day. This is a great opportunity to learn to shoot long exposures during the day. We will use small apertures and filters to show motion in the waves of the Pacific Ocean. You will also learn how to compose successful seascapes and landscapes with different angles, framing, and creating a foreground. Other information will include white balance, basic exposure information, focus modes and more! The lessons learned in this section can be applied to landscapes and cityscapes on all of your future travels. 

Need to Know:

  • We will be shooting from the beach so you should be prepared for walking along the sand; however, if you do not wish to shoot from the beach, you can join us for the lesson and shoot from the Malecón during our hands-on portion.
  • Tripods are recommended for this section as well as Polarizing Filters and, for best results, Neutral Density Filters. You can rent a tripod for a small fee depending on availability. Regardless of your equipment, we will teach you tricks to get amazing results!
  • The cost of the course is $55USD. This can be paid in person, via paypal, venmo, USD, or MEX pesos (with conversion rate of the booking day). 

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Street Photography

About the lesson: Now we will walk to Los Arches Amphitheater to shoot a bustling section of the Malecón and the Lady of Guadalupe Parish across the street. During this portion of the workshop, we will practice the art of street photography, such as editorial portraits and street scenes that tell a story. We will also discuss architectural details, creative techniques like panning and zooming, and shooting in black and white. This is where we will practice shooting in harsh light and, whenever possible, shooting inside of the Church for low light practice. 

Need to Know: No additional equipment is required for this portion but, if you plan to take portraits of the vendors, their merchandise, or the performers along the Malecón, please bring some single dollars or 20 peso bills to tip them with. We will only be able to shoot inside of the church when there is no service in session. While not required, polarizing filters are wonderful for this application! 

 

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After leaving this workshop, you will have the confidence to capture stunning travel photographs on your own in all lighting types and with a large amount of subjects. 

 

To book a session you can shoot us an email to reserve a date! Workshops run most weekdays from 10am-1pm. Ask us about availability and get to shooting! 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) advanced banderas Bay beach beginner blog camera centro church exposure filter intermediate jalisco lady of Guadalupe landscape learn learning lens lesson long exposure malecon mexico ocean pacific panning parish peurto vallarta photo photographer photography portrait sand seascape street travel tripod vendor white balance workshop zooming https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/3/travel-photography-workshop Mon, 11 Mar 2019 06:00:00 GMT
March Photo Tips; Aperture and Depth of Field https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/3/march-photo-tips-aperture-and-depth-of-field  

Understanding Aperture: The Aperture (also known as F-Stop) is the opening in your lens. The range varies based on what lens you are using but it always controls how much light is hitting your sensor. A large aperture refers to the physical size of the opening but will be represented by a small number like 1.4 or 2.8. Small apertures are represented by small numbers like 16 or 22. The larger the aperture the more light you are letting in; so if your image is under exposed (too dark) open up (or make larger) your aperture. If your image is over exposed (too bright) then you should close down (or make smaller) your aperture. The aperture also controls how much of the image is in focus. Remember large numbers mean large amounts of focus, small numbers will give you a shallow depth of field, or small amount of focus. 

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Depth of Field: Depth of field is the range of distance that appears sharp in an image.  So from the foreground to the background of a photo how much of that is sharp before it falls off to a blur. Depth-of Field is controlled by the Aperture or f/stop of the lens, the distance from the camera to the subject and the focal length of the lens. Wide angle lenses yield more depth of field than telephoto lenses. Use one of the creative modes, like portrait for shallow depth or landscape for maximum depth.  DSCF8072DSCF8072

3 Ways to reduce your depth of field (blur out the background):

  • Open up your aperture; larger opening, smaller number.
  • Zoom in or use a longer lens. 
  • Move your subject farther away from the background. 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) aperture basic beginner blog blur bokeh camera digital exposure focus large learn lesson photo photograph photographer photography small workshop workshops zoom https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/3/march-photo-tips-aperture-and-depth-of-field Sun, 10 Mar 2019 22:30:00 GMT
HONEY, I Love You To The MOON & Back! https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/2/honey-i-love-you-to-the-moon-back We were married in June of 2013, right after Matt finished his first year of Law School. We had a trip back to Hawaii planned in August for a family reunion and another in Finland in 2014, so we decided we would save our Honeymoon until after Matt graduated. We considered many destinations but by the time graduation came around, we were once again facing a cross country move so we decided the honeymoon would be a road trip across North America! 

It was a difficult goodbye to make to Matt's New York family, especially his twin sisters who were both 17 at the time. 'Pools of Sorrow and Waves of Joy' filled our hearts on the morning of our departure; we were so excited to begin our journey yet so sad to say farewell to our oh-so-special loved ones. After a tearful departure from their home on Long Island early in the morning on October 1st, we started our journey! 

DAY 1 of our honeymoon adventure took us to upper New York via Woodstock and Albany. Just outside of Woodstock we had a chance to visit Matt's wonderful uncle Richard and his lovely wife, Marta at their home. I must admit that Woodstock was a but of a disappointment. It was mostly overpriced tye dye T-shirts and reeked of patchouli, but we did meet one or two interesting locals, picked up a souvenir and some postcards and went on our way, eager to get to our next stop; our sister Nelly, a new Freshman at SUNY Albany. 

DAY 2 was dedicated to exploring Albany and hanging out with all the cool college kids. Though there isn't much to Albany we did enjoy the Capitol Building. The 'Million Dollar Staircase' was extremely impressive. 

12095294_741282303548_656111589176775165_o12095294_741282303548_656111589176775165_o DAY 3: Finally heading west; the adventure has truly begun now! We left early this morning to get to Watkins Glen State Park. There were waterfalls around every corner! Then onward to Niagara Falls. It was an incredibly wet day but we visited both sides of the fall. Just like everyone before me, I will admit that the view from the Canadian side is much nicer. 

DAY 4 We woke up in Ontario and headed back for the US border, Detroit bound. Unfortunately Hitsville U.S.A. (Home of Motown) was closed and so was the exit so we couldn't even drive by. We kept moving towards Newark, Ohio. Why Ohio, you say? Because of the world's largest picnic basket and headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company and our first day of nice weather. It was also about 300 miles out of the way and after the picnic we somehow harbored a bee that later stung me while in the car. And the one thing we wanted to see in Indianapolis was also closed. So Day 4 was a wash and we turned north earlier than expected. 

I was so looking forward to DAY 5 of our adventure; Goshen! The home of my great aunt Clara and uncle Mel. I have never seen so many Amish people and buggies in my life! We even went to an Amish store where we bought some homemade pickled okra. 

Clara showed us to the farm where she and my grandfather grew up. We also visited our family cemetery to visit her siblings, Liz and Floyd and to introduce me to my great grandparents and great great grandparents and so on. 

We sacrificed quite a bit of time in Chicago for this extended visit but it was well worth it. And we still managed enough time to visit Pequod's for some genuine Chicago Deep Dish! And I'm not afraid to admit it... they've got you beat NY. Yep; I said it! 

On DAY 6 we decided that due to day 4's disaster of roaming around the country to see somewhat cheesy things that I would trade Green Bay's UFO Landing Port (an auto parts store with a pile of scrapmetal on top) and Minneapolis' Sculpture garden for Colorado's Loveland pass. Unfortunately that meant driving through Iowa and Nebraska, which was lovely in its own way but all looked the same.  14203251_1515269368499240_1545848211273877143_n14203251_1515269368499240_1545848211273877143_n

After a long day of driving and a nightmare of a time finding a hotel in the rain, DAY 7 found us waking up in Denver to a beautiful sunrise.  We headed southwest to Loveland Pass and drove all the way to the summit. It was a little terrifying on the way up but the view was worth it! Afterwards we discovered a cafe in Dillion that was right on the lake and enjoyed the fresh air during breakfast; aka the best Denver omelette ever! A short walk along the shore and mesmerizing views of the mountains. 

DAY 8 we visited Grand Teton National Park. We went to a few spots but of course for me, the most important was Snake River Overlook; viewpoint of that famous Ansel Adams photograph. Unfortunately, like the majority of our trip, the weather was not on our side. The clouds really started to roll in and the lighting on the mountains was less than perfect. So I used my 10stop Neutral Density filter to create some motion in the clouds.  

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Wanting to beat the rain, we quickly made our way to Yellowstone. Just minutes after entering the park we saw Lewis Falls.  And of course, we had to visit Old Faithful. Once again, in tow with my new favorite toy; the ND filter. And lastly, before we had to head out we stopped by Lower Falls via Artist Point. This was the highlight of our day. Other than the adrenaline high of having a herd of bison walk past our car, just a few feet from us!  

DAY 9 we cruised through Montana as fast as we could and made it nearly to Calgary. Tomorrow we will only have about a 2 hour drive to Lake Louise. This by far has been the best part of the trip but the next few days will certainly give it a run for its money! 

Days 10-12 were spent at Lake Louise in Alberta! I will say that this was the most relaxing part of our trip; a grand hotel (with a surprise free room upgrade!), walks around the lake, fabulous food and drinks and a Swedish massage. It was a great way to wrap up to our trip as we followed it by a few weeks visiting family in Spokane and then heading into Seattle. 

As our last road trip for awhile, we certainly made the most out of it! 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure alberta beautiful life blog calgary canada carpe diem chicago denver faithful falls family glen go adventure grand honeymoon la vida bella la vita bella lake life is an adventure life is beautiful louise loveland national new niagara nomad nomad family nomad family travelers old our beautiful life park pass photo photography pizza teton the famliy that travels together stays together together travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family usa watkins yellowstone york https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/2/honey-i-love-you-to-the-moon-back Tue, 26 Feb 2019 22:01:00 GMT
East Coast Adventures https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/2/east-coast-adventures While living in New York we had a few opportunities to visit some surrounding cities and states, aside from checking out NYC on a regular basis. 

Boston took Matt down memory lane as we toured his undergraduate campus Harvard Yard and the waterfront. Boston is a really charming and green city. It reminded me very much of an East Coast Seattle. 

AMP_7706-Edit_1AMP_7706-Edit_1 Matt took the UBE Bar Exam in New Hampshire so he could transfer it to Washington State, something he wouldn't have been able to do with the NY Bar at the time. While he was slaving away I was exploring State's Capitol. Mostly because there isn't much else to see in downtown Concord. The Millbrook Gallery and Sculpture Garden was pretty cool.

I have one word to describe the Maine Coastline; Paradise! And if I had a few more I'd use Lobster, Champagne and Beaches! Matt and I had the pleasure of staying at a relative's home in Wells, ME. Aside from the worlds greatest lobster at Beach Plum Lobster Farm, we saw some incredible sights. An amazing beach, phenomenal sunrises and sunsets, and experiencing the rise of the Blue Moon over the ocean. If we could have stayed, we would have! 

 

As we prepared to leave the East Coast and head west, we squeezed in as many adventures as we could, and one morning found us in Philadelphia! Our main objective was to answer that age old question; Pat's or Geno's. You couldn't possibly go wrong with either, but we ever-so-slightly preferred Genos! After 5 miles of walking around the city (burning off all that cheese!) I have to say that Philly has moved to the top of the list for my favorite East Coast city! I love the architecture! I LOVE Love Park! I love all the fountains and sculptures. Fun fact; Did you know that Monopoly was based on Philadelphia? Totally blew my mind, and I loved the game piece statues! And who could miss this; Rocky outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Last but not least, a PA beer in Reading Terminal Market. It all made for an amazing afternoon Philly! 

One Sunday morning we explored a new part of the City; we toured the stunning neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights to appreciate the architectural details and scenery. We popped in a pub and I sampled some refreshing Brooklyn beers on Montague street, the street that Bob Dylan wrote about in his song, Tangled Up In Blue; "There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air!" Then a stroll along the promenade with stunning views! Such a lovely neighborhood. 

The winters were rough and the summers were humid, but The East Coast will always have a little piece of our hearts. 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure beautiful life blog boston carpe diem city cityscape family landscape life life is an adventure maine Massachusetts new nomad nomad family philadelphia philly photo photography seascape travel travel family wells york https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/2/east-coast-adventures Tue, 19 Feb 2019 21:13:00 GMT
Week in the Life of the Werters; February https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/2/week-in-the-life-of-the-werters-february So I've decided to make it a mission of mine to make more quality portraits of Jude and our home life this year. I came up with the idea of picking a few random weeks throughout the year and documenting as much of it as I can. I had anticipated many things for this particular week, but a barrage of toddler misfortunes gave us quite the twist. Jude has been suffering through pushing out his molars and has been in a lot of pain with many a sleepless night battling high fevers. 

Cm1SRN9ACm1SRN9A Sunday was a sleepy Superbowl morning after a mostly sleepless night. To top it off, we woke up to no power in our house or anywhere along our street. Just our street. Just our luck! A large Wal-Mart truck had turned onto our narrow street around midnight and taken out an electrical pole. We weren't disappointed to not watch American Football, but Jude was not thrilled to miss out on Paw Patrol. He and I spent the morning building pillow forts, block towers and reading books while dad did laundry and cleaned the house; yeah, I'm a lucky lady! I managed to get quite a few smiles out of Jude and ended up with some of my favorite portraits of him to date. Later, still not being able to open the refrigerator, we ventured into the neighborhood for some birria de chiva.. mmm! Jude played in the playground structure in the mall, we waited out the lack of power with some neighborhood friends and eventually had to go to Dominos for dinner as it was pitch black in our house. Thankfully it's way better pizza than it is in the states and we came home to power, just in time to get Jude off to bed. 

Monday was a Holiday recognizing Constitution Day so Jude didn't have school and he was starting to have some stomach aches and a whole lotta crap you non-parents won't want to hear about.. 

Tuesday we got out and about early as we had work to do! We headed off to Rosita Beach in Centro where we had a photoshoot with some new friends celebrating their 5 year wedding anniversary. We decided to make a beach day out of it so their son Cayden, who just turned one, would have the chance to play with Jude. Both boys were teething, tired and very cranky! We persevered and got some wonderful pictures of everyone. Jude had the best time trying to catch a flock of pelicans on the beach even though any one of them could have gobbled him right up and flown away. The weather was beautiful and Matt got his first sunburn in Mexico. We gingers and our sunscreen left the beach sun-kissed and unscathed.  bbJHaLvgbbJHaLvg

Wednesday, more crap; no school for Jude once again. His little tummy was not happy and we spent the majority of the day snuggling whilst trying to juggle the laptop to get some work done. Thursday was virtually the same, except halfway through the day we realized Jude totally could have gone to school and he was finally over his bug. We had a lot of regrets on Thursday. :D A few weeks ago I introduced Jude to shadow puppets using the flash from my phone to cast them on our bedroom wall. He was afraid of them at first but has now taken to stealing my phone, holding it up to his face and making giant shadow Judes. This was how we ended Thursday. 

Finally Friday, Jude is back to school. We were thrilled to be back at our normal routine, walking Jude to school, riding on dad's shoulders the whole way and stopping at Javier, our beloved Birote man! I had to stop at the immigration office and took the bus; on the way home we were serenaded by a mariachi. 

Saturday was a morning of un-photogenic tantrums and our shopping day. Jude joined Matt to the meat store while I went produce and seafood shopping. All in all it was a rough week but I think someday we'll appreciate having photos of the bad days too. Jude is growing up so fast, and not all of it is easy, but all of it is so precious! 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure beach beautiful life blog carpe diem day family february in journal la vida bella la vita bella life life is an adventure life is beautiful mile nomad nomad family nomad family travelers our our beautiful life photo photography shoes teething the toddler together travel travel family walk https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/2/week-in-the-life-of-the-werters-february Tue, 12 Feb 2019 17:08:21 GMT
February Photo Tips; Beginner Basics https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/2/february-photo-tips-beginner-basics Digital Beginner Photography

 

Exposure Modes: Exposure modes are the different options of shooting in digital cameras. They are the options on the control dial of your camera. 

  • “Green Mode” is the fully automatic mode. You cannot make adjustments even if you want to.
  • “Scene Modes” based on the subject matter (portrait, landscape, sport, etc) the camera will pick an appropriate exposure setting optimized for that scene. It is still fully automatic.
  • Program Mode (“P”) camera picks proper exposure-you can choose ISO and White Balance.
  • Aperture Priority (“A” or “AV”) you set the aperture and the camera will determine the appropriate shutter speed and ISO. 
  • Shutter Priority (“S” or “TV”) will allow you to choose your desired shutter speed while the camera handles the aperture and ISO. 
  • Manual (“M”) You are responsible for all settings in this mode. 

 

What format are you shooting in, JPEG or RAW?

  • Jpeg files are smaller, readable on any computer/ phone and are processed by your camera to add sharpness, color, etc.
  • RAW files are much larger as they contain the maximum amount of information, but require a software like Photoshop, Lightroom or Picassa to read them, and are unedited, meaning you HAVE to edit them in post production.
  • If you are not ready to upgrade to RAW files, make sure you are shooting in the largest JPEG format your camera can allow.

 

Editing programs: You may already have on your computer that are user friendly and help you organize as well as edit are iPhoto on a Mac, Windows Photo Viewer or Picasa; a free download and can be used for Mac or PC. Every camera generally will come with its own image-editing program but these are not widely used or maintained. The state of the art programs for image editing are Adobe Photoshop Elements or Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Lightroom.

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Lenses and Focal Lengths: Here's a quick guide for what lenses to choose and when:

  • 8-15mm: Extreme Wide Angle, also known as Fisheye; These lenses are great for creative image. Warning, the closer you are to your subject, the more distorted it will appear!
  • 15-24mm: Wide Angle; Meant for landscapes and cityscapes, wide angle lenses can capture vast subjects.
  • 35-85mm: Portrait Lenses; Usually prime lenses, or lenses that only have one focal length (35mm, 50mm or 85mm) they tend to have very large apertures. Perfect for not distorting your subject and creating a beautifully blurred background.
  • 100-600mm: Telephoto; Great for wildlife, sports or any far away subjects due to their ability to zoom in. You may notice that these lenses wont allow you to focus on a subject closer than 3-7 feet away from you.

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Polarizing filters: Though technically an accessory, Polarizing filters are a must have for outdoor shooters! The best option is the circular polarizing filter; 2 pieces of glass, that when rotated, help to darken blue skies, saturate colors and reduce glare on reflective surfaces. These inexpensive filter can be one of the most effective accessories! Try your circular polarizer on all subjects shot outdoors.
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White Balance: White balance is how the camera sees and interprets color of light. All light sources have a different color temperature. This temperature scale is call Kelvin Temperature. White balance has nothing to do with exposure, or how bright/ dark you image is, it refers to if you image is looking too yellow or blue, etc. Cameras can be set to “Auto White Balance" in which the camera will interpret the light and take the exposure as an estimate of color temperature. AWB tends to be too cool or blue in most situations. All cameras have WB settings for; daylight, shade, incandescent, fluorescent and you can choose one based on your lighting situation. Alternatively, you can create an ‘in camera’ Custom White Balance for the most accurate color rendition. Whit balance is especially important for capturing accurate skin tones. 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adobe aperture blog camera canon cityscape color edit editing exposure filter fisheye green iso jpeg landscape lens lightroom manaual mode nikon photo photographer photography photoshop polarizer polarizing portrait priority program raw reflection scene shutter shutter speed software telephoto white balance wide angle https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/2/february-photo-tips-beginner-basics Sun, 10 Feb 2019 22:15:00 GMT
Ash; Stranded in Wyoming https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/1/ash-stranded-in-wyoming Having grown up in Spokane, Washington with little means to do so, we rarely traveled. Aside from visiting lakes in Idaho every Summer, our big trip out to Seaside, Oregon and Seattle when I was in second grade, the only other place I had been was San Diego for a few days with my mom and little brother. So moving to California for college was a huge adventure for me in and of itself.  10511099_669335909698_4252406274956484282_n10511099_669335909698_4252406274956484282_n

When 2007 began, I was in my second year in photography school and I had made it my resolution to buy a vintage Volkswagen bus. I found one for sale in mid January and scrimped and saved (forgoing eating out or buying the random shit college students buy with their student loans) and on April 11th, the title was signed over to me. It needed a new muffler and I needed to learn how to drive it but neither took long. 

During my Travel Photography course, one of my assignment was to visit a new place for a week and document my experiences. I chose to explore the Rosebud Reservation for the Lakota Sioux Tribe in South Dakota as this was the tribe my paternal grandmother belonged to and I thought it would make an interesting collection of images. Also, I was always curious to learn more about my measly amount of Native heritage. 

I decided I would take a road-trip in my brand new 1974 bus. My mechanic highly advised against it but, having just turned twenty, I didn’t listen. We’re all invincible at twenty, right? A couple of my friends came along to make sure I didn’t die and I will always appreciate them for that! 

The trip started out uneventful enough taking turns cruising through California, stopping for a meal in Vegas, probably spending the night somewhere in Utah. It was so uneventful its all really a blur. But the story picks up in Alcova, Wyoming. It was just past 9 pm in the middle of nowhere when we heard a loud clunk come from the back of the bus… you know, where the engine is in those old VW’s. The bus died and we coasted down as much of the hill as we could. I pulled off in a closed Sinclair gas station where we called AAA. It took awhile for them to show up but eventually we were towed to the next town with an auto mechanic: Casper, Wyoming. 

31043_127300913962766_2645770_n31043_127300913962766_2645770_n We dropped off the bus, headed to a hotel. So the three of us walked back in the morning and waited for the mechanic’s diagnosis. It was lucky for us there was actually a Volkswagen repair shop in town and the lot was full of classic, though rusted, beetles, vans and other VW classics. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good news. They said it appeared a bolt had come loose, fallen into the engine and seized it up. Not an uncommon problem for vehicles over 30 years old I was told. But it was toast! There was no repairing it. I needed a new engine and they didn’t have it. We were stuck. In Wyoming. 

It was only the third day of our 10-day trip and my options were to document Casper, not exactly a travel destination, or rent a car. We opted for the latter. Only, none of us were old enough to rent a car, so we had to settle for a U Haul. Here we were, three just-barely 20-year-olds with a 10 foot, 2-seater U Haul, a few backpacks and some miscellaneous junk.

We wrapped up the day of renting and learning to drive our new mode of transportation. Thankfully, we were able to leave the bus behind for a few days and would pick it back up on the way home. Walking from our hotel to get dinner, we stumbled across a bar/liquor store/drive-through liquor store (because apparently that’s a thing in Wyoming). While my friend, Bert, and I stayed outside and peered in windows, Dan, the only 21-year-old among us, went in for a 6-pack. He came out a few minutes later with what would be one of the most interesting people I have ever met. 

It was an older, hispanic man (to us, older meant probably mid 40’s). He was beyond wasted, falling over, barely-able-to-walk wasted, but elated! He was child-like in his enthusiasm for every thing he saw. He was staying in the same hotel as us and so we all walked together. He was grabbing balloons from car dealerships and roaring about how much he loved life! He explained to us that he had just been released from a 23-year prison sentence for a crime he was involved in that ended the life of a police officer. We didn’t ask for too many details. When we got back to the hotel, he came to our room but I had to kick him out when he wanted to smoke cigarettes inside, so he invited us to his smoking room. Only, not all of us were invited. He was sharing the room with his brother and his Native American sister-in-law and explained that my white skin would not be welcome there, so only my Filipino and Mexican friends joined him.

When they came back I was disappointed to learn that they were very discouraged from continuing our trip to the Rosebud Reservation. I had done my research and called the tourism office for the area ahead of time and was assured that visiting would not be a problem. But this was a very poor reservation; most families did not have power or running water and the average annual income was less than $3,000.00. Bert and Dan explained that we would most likely be met with anger and violence and we should not continue. 

We decided to take their advice. We were determined to make the most of our adventure in South Dakota without the reservation and time was running out. I had an assignment to shoot. We set our sights for Mount Rushmore. 

Not long after we entered South Dakota, we saw a herd of wild Buffalo and wanted to stop to take a few photographs of them. I had just bought my first digital camera and all the fixings with various lenses, filters, you name it! So, I unpacked my gear and Bert and I took the walk about 3/4 of a mile from the road. We were still about 1/2 mile from the buffalos, so I set up my tripod and camera with telephoto lens. Why a tripod you ask? Because I was young and stupid and determined to use all the new gear at once. Afterward, I was pleased with the photos and ready to head back when Bert asked if he could take a few shots. I agreed and quickly regretted it. He picked up the tripod and started heading closer and closer to the herd. There were babies there and some of the mothers were getting visibly anxious and starting to stand up. All I could think about was the story my instructor, Ralph Clevenger, had told me when we discussed my trip: he warned me about wild buffalo and compared them to the size of Volkswagen buses but twice as fast. After a few minutes of terror and me pleading with Bert to turn back, the mothers realized we were harmless and sat back down. I would live to see another day. I breathed a sigh of relief as we approached the U Haul only to nearly step on a rattlesnake hidden behind a rock. It was a stressful morning to say the least. 

Moving on, we photographed Keystone, South Dakota, drove through a wildlife park where we were able to see all types of animals, including much more docile bison, stopped the surprisingly small Mount Rushmore and unfinished Crazy Horse Monument, dined next to men making million dollar oil deals, walked quiet Main Streets in “nowhere” towns, drew unwanted attention from men living in trailers while we photographed their overgrown junkyards and, in general, had a decent time despite everything that had happened.  31043_127300907296100_1724698_n copy31043_127300907296100_1724698_n copy

The drive home was far more memorable than the previous cross-country journey as we were now hauling my bus on the back of our already-giant vehicle. On the trip home, we were forced to stay in flea bag motels and had little to eat as we had already spent nearly all of the loans we  were able to beg off of family just to make it home. Utah was the worst, with it’s narrow and winding parking lots and the people who made it very clear my companions’ brown skin was unwanted. We were rejected over and over again from motels that clearly had plenty of vacancy. 

I don’t think any of us had ever been so happy to arrive in Ventura, California either before or since. It took months for me to get a new engine and it wasn’t the last I put in that bus before our 4-year relationship ended. 

It wasn’t a relaxing or luxurious vacation but it was just enough gritty, real-life experience to make me fall in love with traveling and seeing new places, whether I liked them or not. We are all shaped by our experiences and this one left a lasting impression that I will never forget. 

Safe Travels,

Ash

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure beautiful life blog buffalo bus california carpe diem casper class college crazy crazyhorse dakota friends horse lakota life is an adventure mechanic mount photography reservation road rushmore souix south travel trip u-haul volkswagen wyoming https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/1/ash-stranded-in-wyoming Tue, 29 Jan 2019 21:54:52 GMT
Matt; Into the Wild https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/1/matt-into-the-wild Having been born and living in New York City and its suburbs and going away to college in Boston, I had very little camping experience. In fact, it was virtually non-existent. It’s not that the opportunity to get out of the City and into the wild was impossible in these places, but it just was not something I grew up with. The only camping I had ever done was in the backyard of my house in a tent a few times when I was still in grade school. When we would get hungry or thirsty or bored or miss any of the comforts of modern-day living, we would simply go inside the house. To place things even more in context, one morning my father, brother and I woke up in the tent to what sounded like a torrential downpour! Upon opening the zipper door to the tent, we discovered that the automatic timer had turned the sprinklers on. Not exactly anyone’s idea of roughing it!

So, when I graduated college at twenty one, I had never been camping. My father had been on several Outward Bound excursions and thought that I would enjoy it, so he decided to make it my graduation present. If you do not know what Outward Bound is, basically, it is a group that goes out into the wilderness and traverses an area while performing a number of different outdoor activities from hiking and kayaking to rock climbing and cross-country skiing. I chose an 8-day hiking and rock climbing excursion in the Pioneer Mountains in Montana, where we would hike over the Continental Divide and across the mountain range. Of course, we had a couple of group leaders who were well-trained in outdoorsmanship.

Our group of about 15 people began by meeting in Butte, Montana and taking a bus into the middle of nowhere. At this point, I was very nervous because, as I said, I had never done anything even close to this before. Once we were dropped off, we went through our supplies to make sure that everyone had everything they needed. Then, we loaded up our packs (about 50 pounds worth of food and supplies each) and went on our way.

Matt at the Top with Full Gear-1Matt at the Top with Full Gear-1

Initially, the trip was very difficult. I was not in the best shape and had trouble hiking many miles a day through rough terrain. On top of that, while we were still in the lowlands, the mosquitos were brutal! Also, the only water we had to drink was supplied by lakes and rivers, so we had to add iodine to the mix to kill any bacteria, which made the water taste horrible. Additionally, it was not easy to get used to sleeping in a sleeping bag on the rough ground with the temperatures dropping into the 30s at night. However, if anything, human beings are adaptable and it did not take long for me to not only get used to, but enjoy roughing it.

As we hiked further into the mountains, testing my abilities and preconceived notions of what I am capable of, I felt a growing sense of boldness and the ability to take on obstacles I never would have thought possible before. With all of the physical exertion and surrounding beauty, I felt peaceful and connected to nature. I felt both strength and humility. It was a time in my life that was defining in that it gave me a deep appreciation for the outdoors and provided me a period of clarity and profound reflection. It was as if, with every additional mile I hiked, the more truth was exposed.

At about 3 days in, we arrived at our rock climbing site. It was a cliff around 100 feet high in the woods. Being afraid of heights, I was not excited about this part so much, but I had hazarded out into the mountains in order to test myself. So I slipped on my harness and attached my carabiners. It turns out that I was actually pretty good at scaling that cliff. It scared the shit out of me at the time, but I did it. I was even able to successfully repel down the cliff, which was both terrifying and fun.

Making My Way Down-1Making My Way Down-1 I remember at the end of one of our more difficult hiking days, we arrived at an alpine lake that was absolutely pristine. It was freezing, but the first opportunity we had to wash off in about 4 or 5 days. It was freezing and invigorating! I cannot begin to put into words the feeling of fresh mountain water on skin that has not been cleaned in so many days of physical exertion.  

The following day was the most strenuous and best day of the entire excursion. From that alpine lake, we hiked up to the mountain peak, which was over 10 thousand feet and back down again to camp. As we were ascending the mountain over scree and rough terrain, it became obvious that a thunder storm was heading our way, although, still somewhat far off. Our hike leaders were considering turning back because of the possible danger, but we all were enthusiastic to continue on to the top. At this point, we were not far. Upon arriving at the peak, you could see the Continental Divide, as well as the surrounding mountains and valleys and our alpine lake where we had made camp. It was worth the effort, even though it was short-lived because the storm was rolling in. We headed back down as the rain started coming down. At the end of that day, we had hiked for over 12 hours. We earned our sleep that night!

On the second to last day, we had our solo. Our hike leaders placed us in various places in the woods where no one could see anyone else and we were to spend the next 24 hours there without a means of keeping time and in isolation, just our thoughts to keep us company. We were responsible for setting up our own tents and camp without any outside help. I never quite got the hang of the different knots, so my tent (really a tarp) was not great. However, this solitude at the end of our time in the mountains allowed me to reflect in a way that day-to-day life rarely offers. I thought about how empowered I felt in having overcome this challenge, but this was countered by the humility I felt in realizing how small and insignificant I was in this world. It was a comforting feeling because I felt a connection to this grand system that is far beyond any individual person.   

The next morning, not having any idea what time it was, but being fairly certain that the 24 hours was almost over, I took my tarp down. That turned out to be a mistake because it began  hailing and I had no cover except my pack for what I would guess was around 2 or 3 hours. Half frozen, soaked and tired from a long adventure, I descended down the mountain and back to civilization.

Matt on Peak with Continental Divide in Background-1Matt on Peak with Continental Divide in Background-1

The lessons I learned from my Outward Bound excursion were some of the most profound and lasting I have had in my life: the importance of challenging yourself and the inevitable feeling of empowerment when overcoming that challenge through sheer force of will; the humility unavoidably felt by the utter vastness that is the wilderness compared with our miniscule selves and the contrasting feeling of experiencing our connection to this infinite wilderness; that fear is necessary but can easily become a barrier to living a full life. All of these lessons helped me grow as a person and were instrumental in giving me the faith in myself that has allowed me to leave the comfort of friends and family and everything I know to move to a new and unknown place and go out and experience the world. Every time I do this, I still feel the fear of uncertainty, but I also think of all the knowledge of both the world and myself that I will gain by forcing myself into the unknown.

You'll have to forgive the photos; I was using a disposable camera and had no idea at the time that I would eventually marry a professional photographer. 

Safe Travels,

Matt

 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure alpine backpack backpacking blog butte camp camping carpe diem cliff climb climbing continental divide fear hike hiking lake life is an adventure montana mountain mountains obstacale outdoors outdoorsman outward bound pioneer range rock success travel trip https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/1/matt-into-the-wild Tue, 22 Jan 2019 18:53:02 GMT
Our Travel Disasters https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/1/our-travel-disasters Matt and I have done quite a bit of traveling together at this point in our lives, and while nothing truly catastrophic has happened to us (fingers crossed), we have had mishaps, some comical and some not so comical. 

We wanted to share them with you because we appreciate that, even though we are promoting a business and wanting to show our best selves, the internet is full of the polished, perfect versions of people’s lives, which is only a small part of the truth. No matter where you go, disappearing off into the sunset is something only for Hollywood and cannot reflect the inevitable hurdles of real life. This is our real life and we thought you'd appreciate a few not-so-flattering stories. 

Back in 2011, when we were newly dating and visiting New York for the first time together, we spent a few days in the Big Apple at Matt's father's apartment in the West Village. As wonderful as that was, we decided to walk to Central Park and ride in one of those beautifully picturesque horse drawn carriages. Did I mention it was February? Do you have any idea how epically cold it is in NY that time of year, especially when you're out in the open area of Central Park and not sheltered by the massive skyscrapers of the City. This has become one of our favorite cringeworthy stories, retelling it to friends often. Back then, we were both smokers and, of course, we took the opportunity to have a couple of smokes. We were shivering under a blanket that was closer to a large napkin than any blanket I’d ever seen, fumbling to even hold the cigarettes in our frozen fingers, dropping them all over and burning ourselves, totally unable to enjoy what was supposed to be a romantic moment. It was far more painful than romantic, but the unpleasantness is minute when compared to our entertainment from telling about this small disaster.

A few years later, while on our West Coast trip, we stopped for dinner with friends in San Francisco, and we had a blast! But we needed to hop on the road and get to our hotel in Santa Rosa that night, so you can only imagine our frustration when we couldn't find an entrance to Highway 101. All we needed to do was get on the Golden Gate Bridge. So simple, yet totally impossible for some reason. I mean, it’s one of the most well-known landmarks in all of San Francisco and, despite the fact that we were driving underneath and around it, we couldn’t seem to get on the thing. I have to point out that this was right when smartphones were becoming a thing but neither of us had one yet. We called our friend for advice but he had no idea where we ended up. We asked a taxi next to us at a stoplight and he was more than eager to show us the way, but we had to bail when it was clear he was not helping, but leading us to a sketchy neighborhood and probably planned to rob us (it was easy to see that we were heading the opposite direction of the bridge). Eventually, we found our way to Santa Rosa and the next day Matt proposed, but this is still one of our favorite incompetent traveler stories. We both bought smartphones as soon as we got back home.

GGBridge-EditGGBridge-Edit

When moving from New York to Seattle in 2015, we created an amazing road trip that would cover a large portion of the US as well as meandering in and out of Canada so, of course, we brought our passports. We each had new, valid ones, but Matt, being his father's son and overly prepared, also brought his expired passport. Well, when we were leaving the NY side of Niagara Falls and heading to the Canadian side, I hopped out at the border to retrieve the passports from the trunk. There I was with more passports than travelers and totally innocently (in my mind anyway) asking Matt which of his passports was the right one. This clearly made both Matt and the border security guard uneasy. Then, when I did get it sorted out and handed him the passports, he opened mine and immediately handed it back, saying something with a very thick Canadian accent I didn't understand. After what seemed like a very awkward few seconds, we realized there were some Euros left over from our Finland trip tucked in there and that such convenient placement could easily be construed as a bribe. It wasn't until we finally were let through and drove away that we chuckled at how stupid he must have thought we were fumbling with too many passports and accidentally trying to bribe him with Euros, especially because Canadian dollars would have been the appropriate currency. 

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Our biggest and, by far, least funny travel blunder to date was when preparing to move to Mexico. We made the decision to migrate south back in April and, by May, Jude had his very own passport and we had all of our Temporary Resident Visas months in advance. We had no worries other than selling and donating all of our belongings and fitting our whole life into 10 suitcases (not a simple task). We had always kept all of our important documents in a safe place with copies in the file cabinet but then the time came to get rid of those pieces of furniture too, so we had to move them into a temporary storage cube. I cannot accurately describe to you the madness that is having a furniture-free apartment with all our household items sorted into piles (sell pile, donate pile, storage pile, give to friends/family pile, pack here pile, pack there pile), with a curious toddler constantly undoing all of them. Well, come September when time was really starting to speed up, we went to check on our paperwork only to find everything, including the passports and visas were gone! Everything else totally safe but the most important documents had disappeared. Did I mention Jude's love of throwing things in the garbage? Before this fiasco, the worst I would find in the trash would be several-day-old sippy cups of milk. Those were bad, but this was way worse. We were hopeful that wasn't the case and that we would find them. We called and searched every inch of the local Goodwill looking for our file cabinet and other furniture to no avail. We rushed ordered our new passports and put them in a Ziploc bag that we duct taped to the wall so we had eyes on them at all times. While we were thankful that we had exactly enough time for our new paperwork to be processed, we found out that we would not be able to get a new Visa appointment until the day after we were already supposed to be in Mexico. Thankfully, in the end, we were able to drive the 6 hours each way to the Mexican Consulate in Boise, Idaho and get new Visas that same day (Jude was shockingly very well behaved for each trip). So, we got it done, but it cost us around $1,000 and a lot of anxiety and maneuvering once all was said and done. It was not a pleasant situation and we are still not sure how it happened. Could it have been Jude? Possibly, but we will never know. 

Thankfully, since moving to Mexico our biggest faux pas have been messing up our Spanish, like when I was trying to tell the chef at one of our favorite restaurants how much I loved his cooking but accidentally told him that I loved him instead, or Matt confusing his French with Spanish and saying 'Qu'est-ce que c'est se dice' instead of 'Como se dice' when asking how to say something. 

Here's hoping we continue to have many adventures and more good stories than bad. 

Safe Travels,

NFT

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) accident adventure beautiful life blog blunder california canada carpe diem english family french funny Golden Gate Bridge life is an adventure lost lovers mexico mishap mistakes new York partners passport San Fransisco spanish together travel travel family visa wander wanderlust https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/1/our-travel-disasters Tue, 15 Jan 2019 20:15:00 GMT
January Photo Tips; Composition https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/1/january-photo-tips-composition Composition Tips

 

  • The most common composition tip you'll hear in photography is the 'Rule of Thirds.' This is thinking of your image broken up into thirds from top to bottom and left to right. The idea is that where those thirds intersect, are where you should frame your subject. 

 

  • Think of this ‘rule’ as more of a suggestion, because while it works for many images, some subjects scream to be centered! Embrace symmetry when you find it.

 

  • However, for Landscapes, it is quite effective to place the horizon on a horizontal third; what is more interesting, the sky or the land? Give that portion 2/3rds of the frame. Try to include a foreground in your landscape to create a sense of scale and place. 

 

  • Leading lines are the composition technique that allow the viewers eyes to easily follow a path directly to other subjects in your image. Shooting reflections also creates a bold composition. 

 

  • You frame your favorite photos for a reason right? It makes your image stand out. Well try framing your subject within the frame! Use elements around you to create an effect that borders your subject.

 

  • Explore your subject from all angles in order to create the bast image possible. Not only does this allow you to catch the best angle and light on your subject, but you will be able to control the background of your image. Just look at how different all of these images of the same lavender bush offered me!

 

  • Pay attention to all areas of your image, not just your subject. Consider the background; does it relate to your subject? Is it distracting? Do you have a tree growing out of someone's head? Busy backgrounds make it difficult to make your subject pop! 

 

  • When searching for new subject give yourself a photo assignment like 'shape, line, texture' to help you look for patterns, shadows, leading lines, or pick a color to be on the look out for. 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) angle background beginner blog composition foreground framing instruction landscape leading lines lesson photo photographer photography rule of thirds subject symmetry tip tips workshop workshops https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2019/1/january-photo-tips-composition Thu, 10 Jan 2019 21:40:00 GMT
Dia De Los Muertos 2018 https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/11/dia-de-los-muertos-2018 Dia De Los Muertos is a traditional Mexican celebration honoring lost loved ones. 

Though this is a Mexican holiday with its roots in paganism, Dia de los Muertos takes place on November 1st and 2nd and coincides with the Catholic holidays of all Saints Day and All Souls Day, distinguishing between lost children and adults.  AMP_2922AMP_2922

In Mexican culture, when someone dies, their loved ones come together to celebrate their life instead of mourning. It is common to wear brightly colored clothing instead of dressing in black. Mexicans create extravagant ofrendas (or alters) for their deceased friends, family, or honored celebrities so that the dead can come back and visit the living world. 

The ofrendas can vary in different levels or meanings but the most basic alter is filled with fresh fruits, pan de los muertos, or dead bread, and objects that the spirits loved in life to help invite them back home. 

As a family, we adore the idea of celebrating, as opposed to mourning, our deceased loved ones and all of the rich and vibrant colors and traditions that Mexicans are known for, so we were beyond excited to have the Day of the Dead as our welcome to living in Mexico! 

The Malecon, Puerto Vallarta’s waterfront walkway that runs along Centro and Zona Romantica, was filled with enormous and ornamented skeletons, elaborate sand art, known as tapetes de arena, and ofrendas covered in flowers, fruits and gifts. Many people adorned faces painted as skulls and we found Coco references around every corner.  DSCF8294DSCF8294

There was no shortage of music, with live bands playing in the main square, the Plaza Principal de las Armas, and nearby parks, as well as huge mariachi bands in the parade. The mariachi bands are extremely talented and truly create musical art. They are not the misrepresented parodies that are often envisioned north of the border. Vendors of all kinds offered fresh, delicious foods and agua frescas, water mixed with sugar and various fruits, flowers, cereals and seeds. 

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Jude was most fond of the parade, especially the dancing horses and cowboys. Mom and dad would be hard pressed to pick a favorite of anything. The music, ofrendas, painted faces, clothing and food all came together to create a truly magical experience that displayed a beautiful and unique aspect of Mexican culture: the Mexican people's great respect and adoration for their loved ones who have passed. 

We look forward to celebrating again next year and creating some decorations and an ofrenda of our own to remember and celebrate the lives of the people that we have loved who are no longer with us. 

Safe Travels,

NFT

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem celebrate celebration culture day dead dia family go adventure jalisco la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle malecon mexican mexico muertos nomad nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers ofrenda opt outside our beautiful life photo photography puerto saint saints soul souls the famliy that travels together stays together together tour tradition travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers vallarta wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/11/dia-de-los-muertos-2018 Sun, 04 Nov 2018 16:47:09 GMT
Our Minimalist Journey Part 1 https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/9/our-minimalist-journey-part-1 I am a hoarder! Hands down. Self diagnosed, but trust me, I was born a pack rat.

I’ll be the first to admit this, though I’ve always thought of myself as more of a packrat; convinced that whatever it was, no matter how obscure- that I would use it for something, eventually. I just knew that as soon as I threw it away I would come up with the perfect use for it. And sometimes I was right. 

I’m also the most sentimental person I have ever met; which really doesn’t help the situation. After my grandparents passed away and their home of 40+ years was being foreclosed on, I literally kept doorknobs, heating registers and buckets of bolts, screws, lightbulbs and God knows what else from my grandfathers workshop. I had planned on someday welding them into adorable metal sculptures as gifts for my family. But since we lived in an 800 sq ft fully carpeted apartment without the means or know how to actually weld, they just gathered dust hidden from my husband under our bed. 

What can I say, I liked things! Loved them in fact. Stuff, yay! It wasn’t until the week of our son’s first birthday when my moms house was robbed and my laptop and hard drive were stolen that I wanted to be free from possessions and my attachment to things. I realized that I would have gladly given up the majority of my belongings instead of my beloved photos. While most of my work was backed up I did love about a year of my professional work and a much larger portion of Jude’s baby photos than I would have liked. 

When we arrived home I quickly and happily purged our apartment of about 15 garbage bags worth of clothes and household items I just didn’t need. Poppy’s bolts included. Most of it was just junk anyways. And IT FELT GREAT! 

A few months later we started seriously discussing a move to Mexico, and while I had already spent a ridiculous amount of time and money hauling our useless belongings from Hawaii to NY and NY to Seattle, the red tape with an international move meant that we had to seriously simplify our life. 

To my surprise I was able to clean out another 20+ bags from our apartment; donated jewelry and accessories to my coworkers and clothes and pots and pans to goodwill. MY GOD! I couldn’t believe how little attachment I truly had to these things, and wondered what possessed me to want them in the first place. I wasn’t seeing as big a difference in the space as I expected and began to feel overwhelmed. I became obsessed and frantically started giving away as much as I could. 

My goal was to strip down our belongings to a few suitcases we planned on taking to Mexico and perhaps a few storage bins of family heirlooms and camera equipment I would want back if/ when we got a house. I worked in stages; sometimes in the beginning I would come across items that I knew I wouldn’t keep but wasn’t ready to say goodbye to yet. On my next go around I would be annoyed with them and they’d have to go asap. 

My husband was thrilled! He viably cringed every time we went home and he had to watch me load up the car with another trunk full of junk I assured him I could cram somewhere. 

Jude’s stuff was easy. We already avoided buying him absurd amounts of plastic toys, so all I really struggled with was narrowing down his massive book collection and a few way too cute to donate outfits that he had outgrown. 

I won’t lie; it did get harder, way harder. The more I progressed it became almost painful. Could I really throw out my grandparents glass figurines or my father in laws shoes? They felt like my only connections to the people we loved and missed. But I pushed through and kept reminding myself about how I felt when I was robbed, knowing that the only things that really mattered were my family, our memories and our photos. 

It has completely changed the way I think about shopping and gift giving. We are so happy to be able to teach our son that life is about experiences and not possessions. 

The attachment to things is the root of depression…

I am convinced that if I could become a minimalist, anyone could. 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem family hoarder hoarding life lifestyle live live simply Minimal minimalism minimalist pack rat simplify https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/9/our-minimalist-journey-part-1 Fri, 28 Sep 2018 14:30:00 GMT
Wandering; Washington https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/8/wandering-washington WASHINGTONWASHINGTON

Moving to Seattle was such an amazing experience for us. It was the city of our dreams; bustling street scenes surrounded by a vast and beautiful natural landscape. What makes it so wonderful though are the people. We arrived with a connection or two but no real family or friends, and by the time we left, we were leaving behind some very dear lifelong friends.  AMP_1541AMP_1541

Our personal favorite hang out spots included: Volunteer Park which contains the Conservatory for me, the playground for Jude, and the Bruce and Brandon Lee headstones in the cemetery for visiting family members. We also loved Kubota Garden in the fall, sailing on Lake Union with seaplanes buzzing about and appreciating the houseboats, and picnics and sunsets at Gasworks Park. Beach days were split between Golden Gardens for the shaded forests, playground and tons of activities, and Alki Beach for the awesome mountain views and boardwalk vibes. 

Though you also can’t beat a walk around Fremont to visit the Troll and Bus Stop People, also known as ‘Waiting for the Interurban.’ Discovery Park is another can’t miss location. It has the best view of Mount Rainier, a nice little beach and a lighthouse. Olympic Sculpture Park is obviously a great spot for scouting cool Seattle sculptures, but is a fantastic spot for tossing a hammock in the shade or a stroll along the beach. As many parks as Seattle has, Freeway Park has got to be one of the most creative. It is a large park with water sculptures, flowers and gazebos and is built on top of the tunnels that contain Interstate 5. This is a great example of how Seattle uses clever methods to make a greener city.  30073426_890624555478_6182772751156710446_o30073426_890624555478_6182772751156710446_o

Being Seattle and expecting some rainy days, there are plenty of amazing indoor spots as well, like the Pacific Science Center, Museum of Pop Culture and Armory in Seattle Center, and the Museum of Flight and the Aquarium. The Boeing Air Museum of Flight is by far our family favorite. Matt is a plane and WW2 buff, so the exhibits are so fun to check out with Jude. And in case you didn’t know, Seattle just happens to have the coolest library you could ever find; if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check it out! Lastly the aviaries of the Woodland Park Zoo are very stimulating!

There are plenty of great suburbs around Seattle as well. Bellevue for one is definitely worth a look. Especially if you have little ones, and at least an hour to spare, you have to see the Bellevue Downtown Park. With a short drive out of the city, you can visit the incredible Snoqualmie Falls.  AMP_5687AMP_5687

Outside of the city, we loved visiting our nearby State and National Parks like Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Park. Our day trip to Mt. Rainier was an amazingly clear, sunny day and we enjoyed driving the scenic roads and views of reflection lake. Even though we visited in July, the mountain was still too snowy for hiking with Jude, then 8 months old. Towards the end of summer, we spent a weekend exploring the Olympic Peninsula and, by far, our favorite sites were the lush Hoh Rainforest and stunning Rialto Beach. Sol Duc Falls was the highlight of the rainforest and the Rialto sea stacks at sunset were simply amazing! We were also fortunate enough to go hiking and camping all over the outskirts of Seattle. 

Being from Spokane, I will admit it isn’t my favorite place in the world but can be a beautiful city with plenty of attractions for visitors and locals alike. One of my childhood favorites was always the gondola that hangs over the rushing Spokane River. The artwork in the park are some of my favorites, like the Bloomsday Runners, Garbage Goat and, how could you forget, the giant Radio Flyer. In general, Riverfront Park is an amazing place to be. People of all ages can enjoy the carousel, feeding the ducks, riverfront views, and the pavilion and clocktower. 

Safe Travels,

NFT

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beautiful life bellevue blog blogger carpe diem city coast discovery family freeway fremont garden gasworks go adventure golden gooutside kubota la vida bella la vita bella lake life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle mount mountain mt nomad nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers northwest opt outside our beautiful life pacific park photo photography puget rainier riverfront rural seattle sound spokane the famliy that travels together stays together together tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers troll union urban volunteer wandering werters wanderlust washington we love our life west https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/8/wandering-washington Mon, 20 Aug 2018 16:15:00 GMT
Chapter Three; HEY, JUDE! https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/8/chapter-three-hey-jude 16422624_1738224756203699_6142548775969509862_o16422624_1738224756203699_6142548775969509862_o Chapter three finds us in a new location once again: Seattle, WA. Seattle was an idea we had early on while living in New York. We planned on moving back west after 7 or 8 years in NY, but circumstances changed and we were both itching for a fresh start. So in October of 2015, we packed up and left, arriving in Seattle after an amazing road trip across the country.  26198442_873105553698_5015166434344484309_o26198442_873105553698_5015166434344484309_o

We had only been in Seattle for a few months when we found out we were expecting a new team member. Jude was born weighing in at 8lbs 1.6oz and has been a barrel of laughs ever since. Parenthood has definitely been our greatest and most challenging journey yet, but has shaped us as a couple and brought us closer. 

Seattle was a wonderful adventure! We absolutely love this city for it's people and parks, inclusion and even weather! To be able to enjoy the advantages of a big city and still be so close to nature was such a joy for us. While living here, we explored the Pacific Northwest from Rainier to Olympic National Park and many places in between! We thought we had found our forever home. 

Meanwhile, Matt was lawyering it up with his own practice and Ash was teaching photography lessons and workshops in the greater Seattle Area. We dreamed about starting a travel photography company that would allow us both the opportunities to experience new places and offer our son a freedom that even we had never known. 

As much as we loved our lives in Seattle, we didn't pick the best time to reside there; the city was blowing up and so was the cost of living. As our leases came to an end, we found ourselves seriously considering a new, big change in our lives. We came up with a plan and announced to our shocked friends and family that we were moving to Mexico! 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto baby beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem family go adventure gooutside home infant la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle love love story nomad Nomad Baby nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers northwest opt outside our beautiful life pacific parent parenting photo photography seattle the famliy that travels together stays together toddler together togetherforever tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/8/chapter-three-hey-jude Mon, 13 Aug 2018 16:15:00 GMT
Finland Family Adventures https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/7/finland-family-adventures IMG_2760-2 copyIMG_2760-2 copy Having a tie to Finland is such a wild story for us and we’re so grateful for it! Right around the time Ashlee and I started dating, I found out that I had an older brother I had never known about and he just happened to be raised and living in Finland. His name is Jani and we’ve had the pleasure of traveling with him, his sons, Juuso and Jesse, and his fiancé, Anu, for many years now. 

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Finland is a beautiful country that looks very much like the Pacific Northwest in the US. There are vast lakes, islands and pine tree forests. 

Ash managed to teach herself a decent amount of conversational Finnish, which was far more than our previous vocabulary that consisted of ‘hyvää syntymäpäivää’, or ‘happy birthday!’ Many of Jani’s friends were impressed, as I don’t think it’s often that people who travel to Finland take much time to learn any of the language. And with her fair skin, she even had some locals thinking she was actually Finnish!

IMG_2911-2IMG_2911-2 We loved spending our time on the boat and at Jani’s lake cabin that he built with some of his friends. We spent one fantastic Midsummer there one year and enjoyed the traditional holiday and lakeside bonfire where we cooked the first salmon that Ash ever actually enjoyed. Other activities included cruising the lakes, waterskiing and tubing, listening to music, and enjoying some quality family time. 

Probably my favorite aspect of Finland was the sauna. I very much enjoyed the sense of community that goes with this where we would talk about all manner of topics. I’ve been in many saunas in the US, but none of them could ever compare to a Finnish sauna. First of all, it is much hotter by far: we had the sauna at about 70 degrees Celsius. Second, once we would get sufficiently hot, we would leave and walk down the stairs in the woods and jump into the cold lake, which was very refreshing. We would keep at this, going from the lake to the sauna and back again for around an hour.

Aside from our time at the lake, we stayed in Lappeenranta which is small city. We ate some street food that this area is known for; Veti ja Atomi, it is a bread filled with boiled egg, meat and sauces, a must try! There are some nice shops and museums downtown and a sandcastle park at the harbor with large, professionally crafted sand structures.  13925130_780192272658_8909307461296554986_n13925130_780192272658_8909307461296554986_n

We did some sight-seeing to appreciate the Finnish culture: we saw the worlds largest wooden church in Kerimaki, Olavinlinna Castle in Savonlinna and the totally bizarre Veijo Rönkkönen Sculpture Park in Parikkala. 

In Helsinki, we walked around the central portion of the city and shopped in the waterfront markets. However, our main reason for visiting Helsinki was to board a ferry to Estonia. Once landing in Tallinn, it is always our mission to get to Old Town and find some delicious food and get our fill of walking the streets enjoying the shopping and incredible architecture. Tallinn, in general, is a modern city like many others; however, Old Town is truly a piece of history with cobble stone streets and town squares filled with people and entertainment, including a medieval theme in many areas.

 

Safe Travels,

NFT

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem estonia family finland go adventure gooutside helsinki island la vida bella la vita bella lappeenranta life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle nomad nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers nomad lovers opt outside our beautiful life photo photography suomi tallinn the famliy that travels together stays together together tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/7/finland-family-adventures Tue, 24 Jul 2018 01:18:00 GMT
Werter Wedding https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/7/werter-wedding I make these promises to you;

I vow to be patient and compassionate when life challenges you,

and to be adventurous and passionate throughout our journey together. 

I vow that my admiration for your intrinsic beauty will inspire me to bring positivity to our existence. 

I vow to be loyal, truthful and kind;

to share your sense of humor and bring you peace of mind. 

I vow to instill in you, trust in me through respect and integrity,

and to devote myself to you so we may grow together. 

And above all, I vow to love you more with each passing day. 

Venue: Roberts Mansion, Spokane, Wa.

Wedding Photographers: I Heart My Groom

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) beautiful life blog ceremony family la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful love mansion nomad lovers photography roberts spokane wandering washington wedding werter Werters https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/7/werter-wedding Mon, 16 Jul 2018 13:24:00 GMT
Empire State of Mind; New York https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/7/new-york IMG_6122 copyTEXTIMG_6122 copyTEXT Living on long Island offered us the diversity of both city and island life. 
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For Matt, the best part about bringing an outsider to the city for the first time was hopping on the Long Island Railroad and heading into Penn Station and the shock of stepping out onto the street right in Midtown Manhattan surrounded by Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building and tons of skyscrapers. I loved flying over Manhattan on evening flights and seeing all the city lights and driving through the City late at night and seeing all of the action that is happening regardless of what time it is. There is just so much to look at.

Manhattan truly is the city that never sleeps and has so much to offer; you could live there your whole life and never visit the same place twice. The history of the city is on full display and contrasted with constant change and growth. Take Trinity Church for example, a structure of historical architecture sitting in the backdrop of skyscrapers in the heart of the Financial District. We got our fill of touristy activities like visiting the tops of the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, and grabbing some “dirty water” dogs from street vendors or pizza. One year or Matt’s father’s birthday, we took a dinner cruise that went along lower Manhattan in the Hudson River and East River. We enjoyed views of all the Manhattan bridges as well as the Statue of Liberty. Another fond memory was when Matt surprised me with a Blue Man Group show while we were spending the weekend in the West Village.  IMG_6599-2-2IMG_6599-2-2

Central Park is far larger than most people could ever imagine. Though we spent a lot of time there exploring the zoo, taking carriage rides, getting caricatures drawn by street vendors, or walking through strawberry fields, we only scratched the surface. 

The other boroughs had plenty to offer as well: The Bronx has the best Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade offers the best view of lower Manhattan, Francis Lewis Park in Queens during the fall is amazing. 

Long Island offered a slightly slower pace, but in Huntington, we had our fill of amazing restaurants and music venues, whether we were rocking out to the Stone Temple Pilots at the Paramount or relaxing to Cuba Gooding Sr. at Hecksher Park. And while it wasn’t Hawaii, we enjoyed beaches from Montauk to Fire Island. We even made snowmen on the beach one winter. 

A big part of New York for us meant family. We were so fortunate to be able to spend precious time with Matt’s father, siblings and stepmother, not to mention extended family and friends from his youth. We celebrated every Easter with Nani’s pizza rustica, and every year his aunt created a feast for thanksgiving. Summers meant pool parties and late nights with his sisters and our weekly family dinners are now cherished memories. 

 

 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beautiful life big blog blogger carpe diem city empire family go adventure gooutside island la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle long long island new nomad nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers opt outside our beautiful life photo photography state the famliy that travels together stays together together togetherforever tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters wanderlust we love our life york https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/7/new-york Mon, 09 Jul 2018 21:39:00 GMT
Chapter Two; ROSES & THORNS https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/7/chapter-two-roses-thorns EmpireVeiw2-Edit copyEmpireVeiw2-Edit copy

Continuing our series on our lives together, chapter 2 takes place on the other side of the country on Long Island in New York. We moved there to be closer to family while Matt attended law school.  1236497_622551750528_548484830_n1236497_622551750528_548484830_n

After a year, we were married and were thrilled to be starting our happily ever after. We had a beautiful wedding at Roberts Mansion in Spokane, Wa. And while our relationship flourished, as usual, life is typically a mixed bag and we were faced with some very difficult family losses. 

New York was very much a 'wrong place at the right time' situation. We were so fortunate to be around family and wonderful friends to help us celebrate our marriage and new life together, but also to be surrounded by the love and support of family while suffering the losses of Matt's father and Ashlee's grandmother, people who were both major role models for us.

Our location, while beautiful both in the City and on Long Island, was just not our pace. We found ourselves scouting out future locations for our forever home. 

Still we managed to find joy in each other and in shared interests like traveling and experiencing new things. We explored NYC and bits of the East Coast as well as traveling to Washington, Hawaii, Finland and Estonia. New York was kind enough to provide us with some amazing friends, both new and old, and overall we will always be grateful for that. 

Safe Travels,

NFT

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem family go adventure gooutside la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful long island love love story new nomad nomad family nomad family travelers nomad lovers opt outside our beautiful life photo photography the famliy that travels together stays together together tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters we love our life york https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/7/chapter-two-roses-thorns Mon, 02 Jul 2018 16:15:00 GMT
West Coast; Best Coast https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/6/west-coast-best-coast Palm_2TEXTPalm_2TEXT

We have both always loved road trips, so for our 2 year anniversary, we planned a route from L.A. to Seattle. Considering that the west coast was where she attended photography school, Ashlee captured the nostalgia of the trip using only film cameras. 

StateState Santa Barbara was where Ashlee’s school was, so she had many friends in the area that I had heard all about and was finally able to meet. So our first few days were spent in jazz clubs in Pasadena, wandering around the Lancaster Poppy Fields, exploring the Salton Sea, and making our way up to Santa Barbara. Our first night there we met up with some friends and hippies and found ourselves in a massive moonlit drum circle on Goleta Beach. Our days were spent wandering State street; enjoying farmer’s markets and the Earth Day celebrations. We stayed at Hotel Santa Barbara and dined at Pascuci’s Italian Restaurant for Ashlee’s Birthday.
 

Now, if you are doing a road trip along the coast of California, Highway 1 is a necessity. We drove up this highway for some time and were rewarded with winding roads along cliffs overlooking the Pacific. This bit of coastline would be recognizable to many people as it is often shown in many movies. Sadly, we did not have the opportunity to continue along on Highway 1 all the way to Big Sur due to a rock slide; however, if you are interested in seeing the largest trees on the planet, that is another reason to take this route.

11 Santa Rosa was a charming little town in the heart of California wine country and we had such big plans! In celebration of our 2nd anniversary Ash had surprised me with a Hot Air Balloon trip, but it was cancelled just before launch due to fog and rain. We decided to have our own champagne brunch and continue on to wine tastings in town. After far too many flights, we ended up at Jack and Tony’s Whisky bar where I suggested maybe we should stop drinking for a while. After dinner, I proposed to Ash in our room at Hotel La Rose and she said yes. So, more celebrating! This is a fantastic place to stay, especially if you are looking for a romantic getaway. The employees were incredibly friendly and accommodating and even set out champagne and rose petals in the room while Ash and I were out to dinner. The room came complete with a large jacuzzi. Also, the fact that Hotel La Rose is right in the middle of Santa Rosa, it makes it easy to walk to many restaurants and bars that offer wine tasting. Untitled-5Untitled-5
 

Hi Lo CafeHi Lo Cafe Our stop in San Fransisco was brief but spent dining with old friends, walking through Haight Ashbury and getting lost looking for the Golden Gate Bridge. As it was traditional for Ashlee to stop in Weed, Ca on her college drives back to Washington, we obliged and stopped for a bite at the Hi & Lo Cafe. Having never been to northern California, I was surprised to see that it was mountainous with plenty of greenery around. As a New Yorker, I always thought of California as desert and coastline. 

We stopped in Portland only for one evening, but that gave us the opportunity to go to the Rogue Pearl Public House. At that time, the Rogue Brewery was one of my favorites for its flavor and fun personality, and I often enjoyed a Dead Guy Ale. At the public house, they had far more beers available than I had seen in any store and all the ones I tried were great. The big surprise was how amazing the food was. Definitely worth a meal if you find yourself in Portland. We also enjoyed views of the lovely Multnomah Falls on the way to Spokane where we visited with family and announced our engagement. 

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Seattle was our final stop and we had the opportunity to spend 2 days just outside of the downtown area, just long enough to see how amazing a city it is. This is when we fell in love with Seattle and the possibility of a future life there began. We did the obligatory tourist things like riding the monorail, going to Pike Place Market, heading to the Observation Deck of the Space Needle, and saying hey to the Fremont Troll; all worth doing. 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure analog ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beautiful life best blog blogger california carpe diem coast family film go adventure gooutside la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle nomad nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers ocean opt outside oregon our beautiful life pacific photo photography the famliy that travels together stays together together tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters wanderlust washington we love our life west https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/6/west-coast-best-coast Tue, 26 Jun 2018 00:45:00 GMT
Volcanic Voyage; Big Island https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/6/volcanic-voyage-big-island IMG_4995 copyIMG_4995 copy

Our Big Island adventure began with an unexpected upgrade at the car rental counter; a Mustang convertible at no extra charge? Yes please! We spent the majority of our time cruising around the island taking in as much scenery as we could and enjoying the top down. 

Some notable points of interest were Rainbow Falls, although we caught it on a muddy day, and the drive on Mauna Kea, the largest mountain in Hawaii and home to the largest telescopes on earth. Unfortunately, they had closed the road to the top when we were there. 

We also had the opportunity to explore the black sand beach of Punalu'u. It was incredible with its fine black sand and the lava flows that had cooled into wavy, black rocks. Any trip to the Big Island of Hawaii should include a stop at this rare sight. Black Sand PanoBlack Sand PanoHawaii, Big Island, Kalapana Balck Sand Beach.
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The highlight of our trip was our snorkeling adventure. We headed out to the Captain Cook Monument and saw a wonderful array of tropical fish and sea life, but certainly the giant Manta Rays made the entire trip worth it. They swam right up to our boat! 

While the lava was not bubbling over, our trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was very exciting. We have always appreciated when people gather around nature to be entertained and amazed. The caldera was smoking heavily during the day and, as the sun set, you could see the orange and red glow get brighter and brighter.  IMG_4940IMG_4940

The most thrilling volcanic display for us was the landscape itself. Driving around the island, it was incredible to see how quickly and intensely the terrain changed. One moment, we were in the rainforest visiting an incredibly lush Botanical Garden and the next thing you know you’re in a black desert wasteland that feels more like driving on the surface of Mars. As it rained and the water seeped into the ground, steam would rise all around the highway as a result of the heat from the underground rocks, resulting from the volcanic activity. 

Big Island was a must see for us and we are so glad we visited!

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Travels,

NFT

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beach beautiful life big black blog blogger caldera carpe diem family go adventure gooutside hawaii island la vida bella la vita bella lava life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle national natural nature nomad nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers nomad lovers ocean opt outside our beautiful life pacific park photo photography sand snorkeling snorkle the famliy that travels together stays together together tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers volcanic volcano wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/6/volcanic-voyage-big-island Mon, 18 Jun 2018 15:24:00 GMT
Rainy Roaming; Kauai https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/6/rainy-roaming-kauai kk7-2-2 copykk7-2-2 copy

Our visit started with an immediate, although unintentional off roading trip in our Jeep Wrangler. We decided to go for a cruise right from the airport and ended up at one of the only two places we were instructed to avoid; the long and extremely rugged road to Polihale Beach.  IMG_4133IMG_4133

Kauai was full of adventures for us and made up for the unfortunate weather, but it was to be expected when visiting one of the wettest places on earth during rainy season.

First, we went zip lining with Just Live Zipline Adventures in Lihue. Being slightly afraid of heights, this one was a challenge for me; near tears for those initial rope ladders I saved face in front of the group of high school cheerleaders that were part of our group. It was nerve racking at first because we were pretty high up in the trees and you would have to unclip from the tree to attach to the zip line. Matt, being more of an adrenaline junkie, was jumping off and spinning and turning himself backwards, and even hopped on the monster swing and dropped from about 40 ft in the air! By the end, we both had enjoyed ourselves. 
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Kayak Kauai took us on another cool excursion: a kayak and hiking trip to Secret Falls. After a rainy, but beautiful ride on the river, we docked the kayaks and started the hike. It had been raining for days so the trail was completely muddy. Matt and I being the only Hawaii residents on the tour, we opted to go barefoot. The tourists mocked us mercilessly in the beginning, but one by one they kept slipping all over the place and we didn’t fall once. That is until right before we were getting back in the kayaks to leave. Our hike took us through forests of Hala trees, or ‘walking trees’. We also stopped to hop on a rope swing and jump in the river and were lead to a beautiful waterfall you could swim right up to. We stayed here for a dip and a picnic. When we were done, our feet up to the top of our shins were completely covered in mud.  kk14-2-2kk14-2-2
 

Waimea Canyon was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. It is so amazing to witness the incredible things nature is capable of. Matt has been to the Grand Canyon before and says it is beautiful, but Waimea canyon is filled with amazing colors, like green, red and yellow, making for a much more vibrant canyon according to him.

Kauai was our favorite island. Although we only spent 4 days there, it was long enough to see that it was much more of an authentic experience. Even though we found ourselves flooded out of seeing beautiful beaches like Hanalei and Tunnels Beach, we made up for it by experiencing as much of it as possible. And all the rain made a lot more time to enjoy the bars and bistros. We did so much driving and exploring that by the time we turned that brand new Jeep in, it had over 300 miles on it.

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Travels, 

NFT

 

 

 

 

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem destination family go adventure gooutside hawaii hike hiking island island life kauai kayak kayaking la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle nomad nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers nomad lovers opt outside our beautiful life photo photography rain rainy staycation storm stormy swing the famliy that travels together stays together together together forever tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers Vacation wandering werters wanderlust waterfall we love our life wet zipline ziplining https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/6/rainy-roaming-kauai Mon, 11 Jun 2018 15:24:00 GMT
Enchanting Excursions; Oahu https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/6/enchanting-excursions-oahu Untitled_Panorama1 copyUntitled_Panorama1 copy

Oahu will always be a special place for us as it is where we first met and fell in love. No matter where we find ourselves, part of our hearts will remain on Sandy Beach. 

Tantalus RoadTantalus RoadView of Tantalus Road, Oahu, Hawaii. Living on Oahu allowed us to discover places tourists might not think to look for. Some of our favorites were in Hawaii Kai such as Spitting Caves and China Walls. If you’re the scenic driving type then you have to check out Tantalus Drive. You’ll enjoy the rainforests and incredible views, especially of Honolulu from up in the mountains. Lanikai is a personal favorite spot for swimming, though it no longer is an “off the beaten path” beach and parking can be difficult because there is only on street parking available and there are many houses along these streets. Waimanalo can be another amazing and relaxing beach for sunning and swimming and, if you’re planning a trip there, time it to allow picking up breakfast sandwiches at Keneke’s. It’s a local favorite!

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North Shore trips were not complete without a stop at the Pali lookout, Byodo Temple and Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Waimea Beach is a great candidate for swimming and, depending on how bold you are, cliff jumping! Don't forget to take a peek at Laniakea for turtles! Haliewa is probably more of what you pictured when you thought of Hawaii than the rest of Oahu; surf shacks, beaches everywhere (check it out in the winter for giant waves!), and pineapple fields.  Waikiki SunsetWaikiki Sunset

There is no shortage of great hikes or campsites on Oahu but Kuli’ou’ou and Hawaii Loa Ridge were our absolute favorite hikes for their dynamic topography and viewpoints. Also, we had an incredible time camping at Bellows, complete with fishing and fire dancing.  

We played tourist plenty of times with snorkeling trips to Hanauma Bay (get there as soon as they open; the earlier you are the more sea life you will see!) or being entertained at Germaine’s Luau, a great activity for big families or families with children. Our favorite though was renting kayaks from Kailua Beach Adventures and kayaking out to the Mokulua Islands for a beach picnic. One year for Matt’s birthday we even went skydiving with Skydive Hawaii. What a rush!

Waikiki was always a great time! Whether you are grabbing a Mai Tai and some food at Duke’s (named in honor of Duke Kahanamoku), taking the Na Hoku booze cruise (a catamaran with an open bar), shopping or catching a surf lesson, it has many experiences to offer and something to offer travelers of all ages.  cockroach cove pano-2-2cockroach cove pano-2-2Cockroach Cove, East Oahu, Hawaii.

 

Safe Travels,

NFT

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beach beautiful life blog blogger carpe diem family go adventure gooutside hawaii hi life hiking island la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful lifestyle nomad nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers nomad lovers oahu opt outside our beautiful life pacific photo photography skydiving snorkeling swimming the famliy that travels together stays together together tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/6/enchanting-excursions-oahu Mon, 04 Jun 2018 22:18:00 GMT
Chapter One; LOVESHACK https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/5/chapter-one-loveshack sandy pano-2sandy pano-2Panoramic View of Sandy's Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii
We’ve always loved telling people that we met on a beach in Hawaii and have looked forward to sitting our grandkids around to listen to our love story like it was a magical love at first sight, and ‘we both just happened to be on vacation and fell madly in love’ kind of story. 

In some ways it is. Picture this; it was a beautiful, warm, sunny Sunday in February. She was ‘fresh off the boat’ from California with her red hair glistening in the sunlight like gold, and meeting some new friends at Sandy Beach. He had been living in paradise for a few years already and enjoying a typical Sandy’s Sunday BBQ. Their eyes met and there was an instant attraction.  10392199_515697123058_6524067_n10392199_515697123058_6524067_n

And in other ways it is more like ‘they met through mutual friends and had a few brief and probably mildly awkward conversations before becoming friends.’

In some ways it was an ooey-gooey, first kiss under the stars kind of story. And it other ways it was a ‘they may have had a little to drink and made out behind the bar’ kind of story. 

Mostly we hung out at the Shack and talked about music, or sat in my 1974 Volkswagen bus, watching the waves crash on the shore. But we did fall in love quickly; once we got started we rarely ever spent a day apart, and I will never forget that first kiss. 

We hadn’t been dating for very long when I told Ash I loved her for the first time. Every moment that I spent with her was brighter than the last. She could always get me to do incredible things that I have always dreamed about, but probably never would have with out her encouragement. But it wasn’t anything that Ash had done for me that made me fall for her, it was who she was. 

The day I decided to propose to her, I woke up and I just knew I had to do it; just like that. I hadn’t seriously thought about it previously, at least not more that a theoretical thing that could happen one day.

I always felt so safe and brave with Matt at my side. We used to joke about how if every relationship was made out of a boat and an anchor, then I dibs-ed the boat and he would be my loyal anchor. 10 years later and we might be inclined to say it is the opposite. 

Our first chapter of love took place over those 3 years in Hawaii; getting to know each other, taking our first adventures together and just enjoying what we found in us. 

Safe Travels,

NFT

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(NOMAD FAMILY PHOTO GROUP) adventure ashlee meyer photography ashmephoto beautiful life blog carpe diem family go adventure gooutside hawaii la vida bella la vita bella life is an adventure life is beautiful love love story nomad nomad family nomad family tours nomad family travelers nomad lovers oahu opt outside our beautiful life photo photography the famliy that travels together stays together together togetherforever tour travel travel blog travel blogger travel bloggers travel family travel photo travel photography travelers wandering werters wanderlust we love our life https://www.nomadfamilyphotogroup.com/blog/2018/5/chapter-one-loveshack Mon, 07 May 2018 16:15:00 GMT