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travel

  • 2 february 2014: boulder, colorado


    It's been a week since Parker and I returned from our trip to Boulder, Colorado. It was so great to get away and breathe in the crisp mountain air. 
     
    Parker turned 24 on January 21, and I had been trying to decide on the perfect vacation for a few weeks. After bouncing ideas off some friends, we knew Boulder was it.
    It's a ten hour drive through the worst state ever (Kansas, obviously) but it was worth it. We booked our first Airbnb room, which turned out to be a fantastic, flawless experience.
    I highly recommend checking out Airbnb for whatever trip you take next. Locals rent out their entire homes, extra rooms or guest houses.
    We rented a guest house from a retired couple, and we had our own kitchen, our own room & bathroom, and our own SAUNA! It was amazing, cleaner than a hotel, and we felt like locals. 

    Boulder is an amazing city. Initially, I wanted to drive (or fly) somewhere warm, but in such a beautiful city, the cold didn't bother us once.
    We were awed by the scenic views, the Rockies, the food, and most of the all, the community who made us feel so at home.
    Everyone was shockingly - SHOCKINGLY - nice. We had so many people come up and introduce themselves to us and ask us where we were from and welcome us to their city. 



    They've warned me before and I didn't listen. Kansas is the absolute number one worst state to drive through. The windmills were the most entertaining part.
    The mountains at the end of the drive made it all worth it. 




    The city of Boulder from the flatirons. 



    We woke up on Tuesday, January 21st to 60 degrees in Boulder. What a surprise! We hit up the number one place our friends told us to visit: Snooze






    Parker claims that his breakfast tacos from Snooze were better than his Missouri favorite, the "Anonymous Tacos" at Cafe Berlin. That's a bold statement. 


    Next, we drove through Estes Park and onto the Rocky Mountains. Even though it was 60 degrees in Boulder, it was breathtakingly cold in the Rockies. The wind up there is no joke.
    We weren't prepared for any real hiking because some of the more popular destinations around the park in the summer are covered in 40 inches of snow this time of year. 

    It felt like we had almost the entire park to ourselves, which was very unique, as I can imagine the crowds during the summer months. We saw a few cars, a few people, and a lot of elk. 









    Me at the highest point we could drive in the Rocky Mountains, shooting with a 45mm tilt shift lens that we rented from ProPhoto in Boulder. Really great rental place if you're in the area. 





    We bundled up to the best of our Oklahoman abilities, but we still froze. I'd do it again.


    A house nestled in the mountains near the Flatirons. 



    The city of Boulder at night. 
     



    Fast forward a day later: 60 degrees again! We loved it so much, we extended our trip another day to enjoy walking around Pearl Street and seeing all of the stores and outdoor eateries. 



    Loved this kitchen store, Peppercorn on Pearl Street.  

    We went back to Snooze a second time. Our waiter attempted to change our lives with a speech about why Boulder is the place to be -- not that we needed convincing. 

    He said that in most places, the first question people ask you is "What do you do for a living?" but in Boulder, no one really cares. It's not about what you do for money,
    it's about what you do for fun. What makes you happy? Do you rock climb? What are you doing this weekend?
    He said that no one tries to upstage each other with their occupations. It was a refreshing perspective from a local.

    He also brought us free pancakes, which was the third time a waiter had brought us free food just because. How could you not fall in love with this place?


    I went on Yelp to find the best coffee shop in town for Parker, who claims that his cortado, espresso and latte at Boxcar were the best he's ever had --
    even better than his former number one coffee place, La Colombe in SoHo in New York. Boxcar Coffee is on several "best coffee shops in America" lists
    because of their consistently perfect espresso AND they roast all of their beans in-house.
    They have a subscription you can sign up for on their website, and they'll ship beans to your house, which is definitely happening at our house now that Parker has tried it for himself. 


    We met so many locals in Boulder who reached out to us to give us advice for the must-sees in town.
    One of those was driving up the mountains in the city to get a great view, which we did on our last night.
    Because of the recent snowfall and freezing temperatures, the ride up the mountain was an icy one.
    I was holding onto my seat for dear life as Parker got a thrill out of driving on the ice. 

    To Colorado's credit, the roads were amazingly clear and safe almost instantly after the snow fell.
    We're not used to that in Oklahoma, and we weren't in Missouri, either.   

    Now, we've sufficiently been infected with the travel bug, which makes it hard to sit still in Oklahoma. Already planning our next trip. (Austin, Texas?)

  • 5 may, 2013: new york city

    Parker and I jet set to New York City in mid-April, and we miss it already.

    We visited our good friends Andrea, Mary and Dillon and explored the city.  

    We stayed with Mary and Dillon in their cozy Brooklyn apartment, ate everything in sight (no regrets) and walked it off, too.  

    Parker and I had never been to Brooklyn before. This vacation was a great excuse to explore a new part of New York and all it has to offer. (Smorgasburg, obviously.)

    Parker in Central Park with the Canon 17mm tilt/shift lens we rented for the week. Check out some of his favorite shots here. 

    Blue Bottle Coffee at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn

    Maple Bacon Cupcakes at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn

    Springtime in NYC

    During our stroll along the High Line in the city, I stumbled upon a lovely Belgian couple, moments after he proposed. It was so beautiful. I photographed them just moments after she said yes. I emailed them to her today. I hope they love them as much as I do. 

    And a few instagrams from the trip:

    We won't be strangers to NYC. There may be a trip planned to return this summer... :)

  • 17 march, 2013: dreaming of an oregon vacation

    Dreaming of an Oregon vacation today.

    The amazing Amanda Cullen, a professional model I photographed on my last trip to Oregon. 

    And of course, Savannah, who quickly became one of my favorite people to photograph.

    Happy Spring Break, college kids! The rest of the world is a little jealous. 

  • 2 September, 2012: Oregon minimalism

    Today, I found a bunch of old favorites from one of my Oregon trips while digging through my archives. 

    Sometimes, I like to use photography as a way to clean up the clutter that sometimes fills my brain.

    Minimalism helps me smooth out the wrinkles that the clutter creates.

    This is a shot of Parker on the coast. It was cold. Windy. Blue. We were the only ones around. It was very soothing. 

    This last shot is from Astoria. Since that visit, it's been one of my favorite places. 

    I hope it see it again soon.

  • 22 August, 2012: Tourists in Chicago

    Well, I love Chicago.

    Maybe more in the summer than in the winter. :)

    Chicago is just... nice. The people are nice. The streets are clean. The neighborhoods are beautiful and the public transit is easy to use. I felt at home in Chicago, unlike I've felt in a few other big cities. Maybe it's because there are so many Mizzou alums! 

    Parker and I escaped to Chicago for a few days with my parents before college classes started up earlier this month. 

    We were only there for a few days, so we barely checked things off of our Chicago bucket list, but that just means we have a great excuse to go back soon. 

    We enjoyed being tourists, eating tacos, and vacationing, damnit! The hardest I worked in Chicago was when I couldn't decide what to order at Flaco's Tacos.  

    So, that's my kind of vacation. 
     

    On the way to Chicago, we stopped in Louisiana, Missouri at the Eagle's Nest. It's a little hidden gem in a small river town on the Missouri-Illinois border. Everything is delicious. It's also an inn and a winery, too!  

    We got a bit spoiled, too. 

    We stayed in a high-rise hotel on Michigan Avenue with an excellent view. We enjoyed watching the city at night and waking up to the beautiful Lake Michigan in the distance.

    We also ate our way through the city, with our first stop at Osteria Via Stato. It was quite scrumptious. 

    Parker and I really love water. We made it a priority to spend a day getting away from the city and relaxing at Lake Michigan. With the seagulls. 

    The air was freezing and the wind was blowing, but the water was warm. My shoes are still full of sand. I'd do it again. 

    And here's what my I captured with my iPhone.

    Hope you see you again soon, Chicago. 

  • 2 August, 2012: Elliot and Chelsea

    Meet Elliot and Chelsea. Or you could call them Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Butay.  

    I met Elliot when I was in high school.

    We both worked as high school journalists for the Tulsa World. He was a writer, I was a photographer.

    Satellite, the section of the paper for high school students, was a defining part of my life. It's the reason I came to Mizzou to study photojournalism (thanks to many people, including Adam Wisneski for the Mizzou j-school peptalk when I was just a wee high schooler), and I got to meet so many great people because of the Tulsa World.

    Elliot and I worked on stories together throughout the year, and we also collaborated on Battle of the Bands (huge deal back then, y'all).

    Elliot was (still is) a rockstar, and like all of the friends I had made through the World, I was sad to say goodbye when it came time to move away to college in Missouri.

    It was not until a few months ago that I heard from Elliot again. He was getting married! Of course I wanted to document it. I could reconnect with Tulsa friends, meet new ones, and travel to Birmingham, Alabama to do it all! 

    Bonus: I shoot weddings with my boyfriend and best friend, Parker Miles Blohm, so we made a road trip out of it. We stopped in Nashville to visit with my lovely Grandmother, did some sightseeing in Nashville — including a trip to Third Man Records, Jack White's record label and store — and then we were off to Alabama.

    Meet Chelsea. If you're reading this, you may know her — but maybe you don't.

    We met her 24 hours before the wedding, but we feel like we've known her much longer after spending the wedding day by her side. 

    Chelsea is kind. She's beautiful. Generous. Elegant. Selfless. 

    She carries those things with her in her walk, in her smile, in her conversations with both the people she loves and the people she just met. 

    The wedding was as full of hugs as it was of tears. Happy tears, that is. Behind the viewfinder, I had tears, too. 

    Parker and I still talk about how unbelievably smooth and flawless the whole day was.

    No one was stressed out.

    No one was upset.

     Everyone was there for Elliot and for Chelsea, and the energy and vibe of the day was so calm, happy, peaceful and pretty. 

    Meet Elliot. 

    He's compassionate, softspoken, easy-going and studly. 

    He's a musician. A writer. A knockout when you combine the two. 

    With some people, you can tell a lot about them by their hands. I think Elliot's got that. You can just tell he's going to be a good, kindhearted guy.

    So, Chelsea and Elliot are pretty great. We've established that fact. 

    They also come with great support. Their friends and family are so tightly connected to their lives. It was evident in so many ways. Meeting their friends and family sealed the deal for us. We feel so lucky to have met so many strong and kind people. 

    Chelsea's mother was one of my favorite people to photograph that day. Seeing her look at Chelsea for the first time in her wedding dress was so beautiful. She said she wouldn't cry. But it was hard not to.

    Hugs from her bridesmaids before the wedding. 

    "What the heck," Chelsea said before she walked out. She couldn't believe this was actually happening. 

    I kept an eye on Elliot when she walked up the aisle. They didn't do a "first look," so this was his first time to see her. 

    A lot of photographers encourage the bride and groom to do a first look, but I can honestly say I much preferred the first look to be genuine in the church — at least with Elliot and Chelsea. It was perfect. 

    Chelsea's brother, Jacob, walked her up the aisle. The look on her mom and stepdad's face when she was being given away to Elliot still give me goosebumps. 

    Let's talk about the church. 

    Whoa. 

    I really don't have to describe it, because I'm showing it to you. It speaks for itself.

    The First United Methodist Church is located outside of Birmingham in a town called Jasper. 

    The church was absolutely gorgeous. The huge stained glass ceiling was just the icing on the cake to a beautiful venue with absolutely beautiful light. 

    A full house! 

    Chelsea hugs her brother after the ceremony.

    Check them out! 

    Another reason why Elliot and Chelsea deserve a gold medal: Jasper, Alabama was 108 degrees on their wedding day — and that's without the heat index. If you know some secret to looking absolutely stunning in a wedding dress during an outdoor reception when it's in the triple digits, please call me up and tell me. 

    The reception was hosted at a beautiful and picturesque ranch in the Alabama countryside. Narrow Gate Ranch was the perfect place to sit back, have a nice Southern meal, and have a donut. (You'll see why coming up.)

    We loved shooting portraits at the ranch. The fence and siding of the cabin were warm, rich browns, so it really glowed. And the reception was during the golden hour! If you're a photographer, you know why this is absolutely ideal. 

    The groom's cake was absolutely perfect. Donuts for everyone!

    The dance floor was far beyond my expectations. Set in the woods at the ranch, a small and intimate dance floor was set with greenery and a hanging chandelier. 

    I love this. 

    Haden, one of the groomsmen, was the party. It was contagious. 

    Megan and her fiancé Joshua will be married in December! 

    At the end of the night, the guests lit sparklers to lead the way to Elliot and Chelsea's getaway. Needless to say, it was absolutely beautiful. Appropriate for the heat, the sparklers were red and pink and lit up the woods. 

    I know I'm not alone when I say that I wish we could relive this day all over again. 

    So, we mailed off a whole 401 pictures to Elliot and Chelsea just a few days ago. They are married now. They're also New York City's newest residents. Chelsea will be attending New York University this fall to complete her Master of Social Work.

    Her relatives and friends will miss them dearly, but they're doing great things in this big, bad world. And hey, now I have more reason to go visit NYC! Do I see a post-marriage NYC photoshoot in the future? I do. 

    Thank you, Elliot and Chelsea. Thank you for inviting us to be there with you. We hope these pictures serve as beautiful preservation to what was a beautiful day in your lives together. We hope you'll flip back to these pictures when you're feeling overwhelmed or homesick or just want a good feeling. 

    Thank you to the Butays, Deans and Farris'. You were so hospitable and so generous. We hope this isn't the last time we see you. 

    Thank you to all of the guests, the friends, the family, the coordinators, florists, cake decorators, chandelier hangers, food servers, and cleanerupers. Every little bit made this day perfect. 

    Love,

    Rachel and Parker

    P.S.: Share these pictures. Share this post with your friends and your family. Send it to your long lost pre-school buddies and show it to your cat. Pictures are meant to be seen :)

    And connect with me on my Facebook Photo Page! You can interact and comment on these weddings pictures there, too! :)


    All buckled up and ready for the roadtrip to Alabama!

    For photographers, or techy people who are curious:

    Several people have asked us what gear we used on the wedding day.

    Here's some specs. 

    We shot the whole wedding almost exclusively with two prime lenses: 35mm 1.4 & 50mm 1.2.

    But those lenses can't do everything, so here's our gear list:

    5D Mark ii

    5D Mark iii

    24-70mm 2.8L

    70-200mm 2.8L

    50mm 1.2L

    35mm 1.4L

    Lots of CF cards. Lots.

    42" gold/silver reflector

    42" diffuser

    72" gold/silver reflector

    72" diffuser



  • saturday in rocheport

    rocheport, missouri is a cute little town just a few minutes outside of columbia. it's one of my favorite places to go if i need to escape the stresses that my little college town holds. it's full of bed and breakfasts, cute antique stores and restaurants, and the katy trail runs right through it. you can rent bikes and ride around all day. it's pretty cool.

    i went to rocheport on saturday evening and took some photos. 


    i love this photo parker miles blohm took in rocheport when we noticed a bunch of smoke coming from someone's house.

    another parker shot from a trail in rocheport