Category Archives: Photography

Family Pictures: Emigration Canyon, Utah

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I had a vision of having our family pictures taken on the top of a snowy mountain so we drove up Emigration¬†Canyon in Salt Lake City, Utah to take these pictures. I think they turned out OK for being impromptu! ūüôā

Why is it called Emigration Canyon? Wikipedia says:

Emigration Canyon was declared a¬†National Historic Landmark¬†in 1961. It is significant in¬†Utah¬†history as the original route used by pioneers entering Utah. It was part of the¬†Hastings Cutoff¬†route used by the¬†Donner Party¬†in 1846, and where the¬†Mormon pioneers¬†entered the¬†Salt Lake Valley¬†in 1847. As¬†Brigham Young¬†looked over the canyon, he declared, “This is the right place. Drive on.” These words have become famous in Utah history. The event is commemorated with¬†This Is The Place Heritage Park¬†at the mouth of the canyon. Throughout Emigration Canyon, there are several historic markers designating camps, trail markers and milestone where the Mormon Pioneers passed while on their way to the Salt Lake Valley. One example of these milestones is called Lost Creek Camp.

We used my brother’s Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras.

Wide angle lens are great for landscape shots.

We took these with a tripod so that’s why my kids don’t always look at the camera. I’m going to create a device one day that will capture my kids attention while my camera is self timer on a tripod… lol!

Enjoy!

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Taking a Break During Finals Week

I graduated almost 1 year ago. Why in the world am I writing about finals week? Probably because I still feel so busy during finals week even though I no longer have school. I feel like haven’t had time to sit down this whole week. Winter semester always seems the most busiest because finals week ends up around the holidays. My husband is in graduate school and my brother is also college so “school” is still on my mind all the time. Dallin and I stayed up all night yesterday trying to get his paper done. I’m exhausted today… all I can get myself to do today is sit at the computer during my kid’s naps. I’ve also been making Christmas treats all week and today I just want to take a break!

Most of the time, sitting at the computer is relaxing for me. I love going through my computer and organizing my pictures. I have taken so many pictures since the baby! I am way behind sorting my pictures but all I do is take more pictures. During the Christmas devotional¬†last week, President Monson said, “Christmas is a glorious season of the year. It is also a busy time for most of us. It is my hope and prayer that we may not become so caught up in the pressures of the season that we place our emphasis on the wrong things and miss the simple joys of commemorating the birth of the Holy One of Bethlehem.”

So I’m going to take it easy today and let myself sit down at the computer to do something relaxing for me. I recently discovered totally awesome natural lighting in my apartment… it’s almost like studio lighting. We have east facing windows and white curtains. During the morning when the sun is out, the white curtains provides almost perfect diffused lighting for indoor picture taking.

Thank you God for providing free lighting in my apartment shining strait onto our kitchen table! I was able to get a few pictures edited today but now my kids are awake.

What kind of things do you do when you take a break?

Ireland Miracle #3

Sorry I realize that I never finished my Ireland miracles. I’ll just schedule these stories in once in a while. Better late than never right?

For the first month in Ireland, we solely relied on public transportation which was mainly double decker busses and the Dart which is a fast train. Dallin studied at the University College Dublin and we lived in Dun Laoghaire. It was about 45 minutes by bus but only a 15 minute drive. The bus system was fantastic and there really wasn’t much to complain about except for the fact that Dallin took 1.5 to 2 hours or more commuting everyday depending on traffic.

We felt like the Spirit was telling us we should buy a car. We researched it out and miraculously found an old Nissan Almera (aka Nissan Centra in the USA) for 1000 euros. We registered it and bought insurance from Liberty Mutual Insurance which was the cheapest insurance we found. Buying a car was easier than we thought it would be and it eventually ended up saving us money even though the gas tax in Ireland is like 50%.

Driving in Dublin, Ireland is super fun… well kinda. So you drive on the left hand side of the road and the roads are very narrow. Parking is pretty much just parallel parking. You have to get really good at parallel parking. You can use your native driver license for one year before you need to get an Irish license.

We took this old cheap car to every shore of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We drove this car from Dublin to Giants Cosway in Northern Ireland. Then to Cork, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle and the Ring of Kerry. Fortunately the only problem we had with the car was the windshield wipers and a mechanic in Cork fixed it for 10 euro.

On one of our last adventures in Ireland, we were driving to the Blarney Castle in Cork. A local guy rear ended our car and made a dent in the back bumper. The insurance company said that the car was totaled. They let us keep the dented car and gave us 1000 Euro. So in essence we got this car for free.¬†This is what the bumper looked like and if you look around on the streets of Ireland…everyone has the same dent in their car because the roads are so narrow!

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We thought purchasing this car was a tender mercy of the Lord. We drove this car everywhere. We drove it to church and drove the Dublin area¬†missionaries to their visits. Dallin used this car to go home teaching and we used this car to drive to the hospital when we had the baby. We ended up giving the car away to a friend and then he was able to use the car for a few weeks while his car was broken. After that he ended up selling it for 200 euro. We thought we got our money’s worth out of that car. What a blessing!

Writing about Ireland again brings tears to my eyes because I miss Ireland so much!

Star Effect Photography on Religious Architecture

Alright, I’m going to continue our virtual temple tour with the St. George Utah LDS Temple. There wasn’t very good lighting that day because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! So here’s a photography tip, to get good LDS Temple pictures you need diffused lighting which is either: a cloudy day, sunrise, sunset, or twilight. ¬†Well, because I didn’t have any of those, I decided to just play around with the “star effect” also known as the “starburst effect“.

To get the star effect you need to point your camera right into a light source. So an obvious light source is the sun. Other light sources could be head lights on a car or a lamp post.

Next, you need to crank up your F number on your camera to create a small aperture. Aperture is measure by F/# so the bigger the F number the smaller the aperture. You can do this by being in the Av mode which is the aperture priority mode on your digital SLR camera. You don’t need a nice lens or anything you can just use the lens that comes with the camera.

These two pictures below were taken at F/22.

If you can get a small light source you can use a smaller F number. This picture was taking at F/8.

On a side note, we believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormon¬†or LDS) that these temples are “Beacon[s] to the World.” A beacon as define in Merriam-Webster online dictionary is:¬†“a strong light that can be seen from far away and that is used to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.” If you have every seen one of these LDS Temples at night, you would know that these temples glow. You can see these temples from far away. We believe that temples are beacons because temples draw people nearer to God and Jesus Christ.

Anyways… if you want to learn more about LDS Temples please visit my other posts about temples!

BTW you don’t have to be a member of our church to take pictures of our temples. So, please come take pictures of our temples! Have you ever taken pictures of LDS Temples? Please share!

San Diego Temple dubbed “Mormon Disneyland”

My husband had to go to San Diego, California recently for a conference trip. He never likes leaving the family at home so we all went with him.¬†While we were planning the trip, the question came up: “Should we go to Disneyland?” We went back and forth on the decision but we finally decided that we didn’t want to take our kids to Disneyland yet because they are too young (2 years, 3 months). We had planned on driving from Salt Lake City to San Diego; so as an alternative to Disneyland, we decided to stop at every temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints¬†(LDS Church) along the way.

Micah, our two year old, loved our temple trip! He said “TEMPLE! TEMPLE!” every time we arrived at one. Traveling with kids can be very stressful, especially when they get restless and start crying. Stopping at the temples was the perfect rest stop because we could feel the Spirit instantly as we stepped foot on the temple grounds. When we got to the temples, we strolled around and took pictures of each temple.

I decided I’m going to blog about the San Diego La Jolla Temple first because it is by far the most unique temple I have ever been too and I’ve been to quite a few. As you drive south towards downtown San Diego on the freeway I-5, you suddenly see this magnificent castle on the left hand side of the road. ¬†This temple gets random visitors, who get off the freeway, just to see what kind of building it is. I love all temples but the San Diego temple is exceptionally beautiful!¬†We heard multiple times on the trip that the San Diego temple is nicknamed “Mormon Disneyland.” Even customer reviews on Google say stuff like “I’m not Mormon, but it’s a spectacular view from the freeway, reminds me of Disneyland.”

While some people spend lots of money getting married in the Disneyland castle. There are far greater sacrifices to get married in a LDS Temple. First, we have to be a member of the LDS Church and have a testimony of the Godhead, atonement, and restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, we have to be worthy to enter the temple by obeying all the commandments of God the best we can. Some of these commandments include tithing, law of chastity, the 10 commandments, and word of wisdom. Finally, we have to witness to our bishop that we believe we are worthy to attend the temple during a temple recommend interview. I know what you’re thinking “Nobody is perfect enough to go to the temple!” Well, because we are imperfect people, we can repent to become worthy to go to the temple. When we repent, we are cleansed through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Now you’re probably thinking ¬†“Holy cow! That’s a lot of work!”¬†Getting married in a LDS Temple is worth all the sacrifice because marriages¬†in the temple¬†are sealed up for time and all eternity and not just “till death due us part.”¬†These temples are literally “the happiest place[s] on earth.” ¬†But not only that, Temples are where we can go to learn more about God’s plan for us. Members of the LDS Church, whether single or married, starting at the age of 12, can attend and re-attend the temples regularly to pray and learn more about the Plan of Happiness.¬†If you’re already married, you and your current spouse can prepare yourselves to go to the temple to get sealed. We don’t have to be perfect people to attend the temple but constantly attending the temple will help us become perfect.

I can’t express in words how happy, wonderful and peaceful I feel to be inside a temple. It doesn’t matter how many problems I have that day, if I can make it to the temple, I will feel peace. My problems don’t go away but I receive strength and comfort from God when I attend the temple. I can also more easily gather my thoughts when I’m at the temple, especially when I am confused about something in my life.

I invite everyone to attend or prepare themselves to attend the temple so you can witness for yourself the peace and serenity of being inside the House of the Lord. I invite you to the temple to receive eternal blessings of salvation and eternal families. I invite you to visit one of our temples even if you can’t go in. They are spectacular and you may even be greeted with a free tour guide. Some of the LDS Temples have visitor centers where you can learn more about what we do inside a temple. To find you local temple please visit the LDS Temple website.

What is your favorite LDS Temple?

Eternal Families

I recently took pictures of this family. They have three cute little girls. We believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in families and that we can belong to an eternal family.¬†“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” –The Family Proclamation to the World

Of course in our imperfect world, we face hard things. “Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.” God does not expect us to go through these hard things by ourselves, this why we have The Church. This is why church has¬†home teaching and visiting teaching. Everything we do in our church is to help each other to be happy even during the toughest parts of life. We invite everyone to come to our church meetings to learn more about eternal families! We invite you even if you don’t have a family of your own and we want you to meet your ward family.

Family Pictures Wearing Handmade Clothes

My neighbor and friend, Heather has a sewing blog and I took her family pictures while they wore clothes that she made herself. How cool is that? Isn’t it such a unique idea?¬†Here‘s the link to her post about making her clothes for the photo shoot. Also, don’t you think the cool big leaves they brought really added to the picture?

On a side note, I’ve taken pictures of a lot of little kids. Little kids are definitely my favorite to take pictures of. Here are some tips for taking family pictures with little kids.

First, use the first 10 minutes wisely because that is probably all the time you’ll have to get your little kids to pose for the picture. My best pictures always come from the beginning of the photo shoot such as the picture posted on the top. ¬†Also, before the shoot, make sure your camera is set to continuous shooting mode so you can snap pictures fast.

Second, go the direction the kid is looking at instead of making them turn to you.

Third, poses while holding the child is best if they won’t stand still for you.

Fourth, after the child/children get restless, just capture the moment as you and the parents play with the children. Bring something that will capture their attention like a whistle or toy. Tell the parents it’s ok if their kid doesn’t want to pose. Little kids gets really upset when they are forced to do something they don’t want to and that doesn’t make a happy family picture.

Fifth, don’t drag out the photo shoot. Once the kid is done the photo shoot is over! ūüôā

What are your tips while photographing little children?

General Conference Recap

Every six months (in April and October) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a worldwide church meeting called general conference. The meeting last for 10 hours over the course of two days. During general conference, we receive counsel from our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, his apostles, and other church leaders. General conference is broadcast on TV, the radio, and online. The talks are then available afterwards on lds.org to read and study. We believe that if we follow the counsel given in the sermons at general conference that our lives will be blessed. As we listen to general conference, we believe that God can speak to our hearts through the Holy Ghost. Everyone can receive their own personalized counsel during general conference.

After pondering and reading over my notes from conference, two things stuck out to me:

1) Be a Mom

2) Be a Missionary

…. Be a Mother Missionary.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a talk about the influence of a good women. He talked about his grandma and how she “never learned how to drive a car, but she knew how to help boys become priesthood men.” He also posed the question from Neal A. Maxwell “Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congress?”

Also during the conference, our prophet announced that our church has reached 15 million members and have currently have over 80,000 full-time missionaries.

President Monson said that “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together to work together to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto him.” He also quoted a past prophet, President McKay saying, “Every member a missionary.”

A couple days before general conference, I got a few of my friends in our ward together for a temple trip. We dressed up our 2 year-old sons as little missionaries and took pictures of them. Aren’t they cute?

I learned during conference being a mother is being a missionary. Mothers in the church are teaching their kids to be future missionaries. Our homes should be like the MTC. Even at this young age, we teach our kids about God and His Son Jesus Christ. We also teach them that they are children of God and that God loves them very much. We teach our kids how to pray to God and how to receive answers to their prayers. We teach them good morals such as sharing their cookies and serving others.

We teach them the reason why they are on earth is to be happy and in order to be truly happy we have to follow of the commandments of God the best we can. We, as mothers, prepare our kids to choose to be baptized when they are eight year old. We teach them that we make mistakes but because of Jesus Christ’s atonement we can change and be a better person.

We prepare our sons to receive the priesthood when they turn twelve and go on missions when they turn eighteen.

We teach our children that the temple is the house of God and we go there to make promises to God to be the best person we can be. We teach them that the temple is where families can be sealed together forever. We are teaching our children to be future missionaries but most importantly we are teaching them to become good husbands/fathers and wives/mothers.

I felt like Heavenly Father was telling me “Don’t worry if your kids take up all your time… it’s what you’re suppose to be doing. Taking care of your kids is the most important form of missionary work!”

So then I asked myself the question “Why do I do missionary work?” For me it is because I know that God lives and Jesus Christ lives. I know that by obeying God’s commandments and following His prophets we are truly happy. Throughout the years my faith has been tested but I still know this day that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church. I know that the fullness of the gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I love my kids and I want to share with them everything I know to be true.

Why do you do missionary work? What did you learn during conference? Please share with me what you learned! Feel free to share, pin, Facebook these images.

Missionaries loves cookies! It was the only way we got them to sit still and special thanks for all the moms for letting me use their kids. ūüôā

Can’t forget my newest little future missionary:

Here are some fun graphics I made:

Here’s a behind the scenes picture of the moms. It’s so hard to get five 2 year-old to sit still! ūüôā