Traveling with children can be fun, stressful, adventurous and exhausting all at the same time.  Add into the mix a mother who is obsessive about “getting the shot” and it can complicate matters.  As a mother and a photographer one can oftentimes find me camera in hand even while traveling just around town with our children.  On a family vacation my camera is rarely out of arms reach and most commonly cross-body slung around my shoulder because you just never know when that next prize-winning shot will present itself.  Truth be told I’m just wanting to tell the story and while I may take many more pictures than the average person (okay, that’s an understatement) I do so because I enjoy it so much.  People have told me before to “put the camera down and enjoy the moment” but what they don’t realize is that I am enjoying the moment!  If I’m not looking through a viewfinder when something special happens then I am feeling disappointment.  That’s just me!  That’s always been me from as far back as I can remember.

My family is so supportive of this that I catch our boys telling me, “Mom!  Get a picture of this!” or “Take a picture of me!” all the time.  My husband is by far the most tolerant and even encourages me saying, “spend as much time as you want!” while wrangling our rambunctious lot allowing me this freedom.  He has even coined himself “pack mule” carrying my heavy gear all over the place.

Before we were married I lived in Mexico for a year.  John came to visit and we went to Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido together for a week on vacation.  The road between the City of Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido is a treacherous one and easily one of the scariest drives I’ve ever taken.  I can only think of two other places that would battle for first place on that list but that’s for another post someday.  Picture winding mountain roads where there were frequent sections washed away by landslides and makeshift alternate dirt paths were your required route.  The road was so narrow that every time a car or truck came at us from the opposite direction (and there were many of them) I had visions of us colliding.  I couldn’t even watch.  Navigating these sharp switchbacks was enough to make anyone sick without thought of plummeting hundreds of feet down to your death.  During the journey we came upon a natural forest fire at sunset.  When we turned the corner we saw the purple sky with the mountain ablaze with different shades of yellow and orange.  It was shocking and beautiful and I just had to get the shot!  So I begged John to pull over on this narrow, winding road with no shoulder and against his will (as he knew I wouldn’t take no for an answer) there we were risking our lives for the shot.  That’s how much he loves me and supports this passion of mine.  Here’s the shot I got.  It’s a film scan from pre-digital era.

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So vacations can look a little different when traveling with a photographer.  That’s for sure!  We recently got back from a trip to Arizona to visit my mom and my sister and her family.  The boys had a lot of fun at a real Ghost Town on our first day.  We traveled down into a mine and afterwards panned for gold!  Here’s our tour guide explaining all about how life was back then.
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Then we headed up to The Grand Canyon for a day to take in the immense beauty of this wonder of the World.  The boys were in awe at the vastness!

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Hunter (our oldest) wanted to hike down in and I’m the hiker of the family so I took him down a trail I traveled on a mule when I was about his age.
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The next day we spent in Sedona which was my favorite part of our trip.  We started by checking out Slide Rock, a State Park that I vividly remember visiting as a child and thinking it was the most fun part of our 5-state adventure.  The water was the temperature of melted snow.  I didn’t think anyone would take the plunge and actually slide the rocks but Hunter and Tyler braved it.  I’m not so sure either of them loved the experience.  Have a look at my oldest son to determine for yourself!
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Next on the agenda was to “climb a mountain” because that was Hunter’s only request for the vacation.  John dropped us off at the trail head and spent the next hour scouting locations for our “extended” family photo session with the younger boys.  Again, most supportive husband ever!  Hunter and I climbed Cathedral Rock and it was a mother-son adventure I won’t soon forget.
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We squeezed Easter Sunday and a trip to Grammie’s house for some tangelo-picking fun in her backyard.  The kids thought that was super fun!
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We rounded out the trip with Easter and a trip to Kartchner Caverns in Tuscon where the kids loved learning all about cave bacon and soda straws all while getting cave kisses.  We stopped on the way back from Tuscon for a quick family picture.  We clean up pretty good, wouldn’t you say?
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It was a fantastic trip with photographs galore to help us keep these wonderful memories alive!

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