Westway Studio | Fine Art Pet Portrait Photography
 
   
 
 
 
 

Category: Travel

Our Family Portraits | Jackson Hole, Wyoming

You know what photographers usually don’t have many pictures of? Themselves. I have so many photos of Roxy, but so few of them actually have us together in the same shot. Even fewer include my husband, too. I knew it was time to change that.

Over the past few years, Greg and I have made two trips to Jackson, WY. I always thought about how great it would be to have family portraits taken with the Teton Mountain Range in the background… but Roxy had never been with us. To me, family photos without Roxy would be like leaving a human kid out to a mom and dad… a family photo simply couldn’t happen without her.

When Greg and I planned our third road trip to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone and decided for sure that Roxy would be joining us, I knew this was what I’d been waiting for. There was no question about which photographer to call, either. It had to be the amazingly talented Katy Gray. I have followed Katy’s Facebook page for, well… as long as I can remember. I don’t know how I first came across her work but when I did, I knew that someday, somehow, she had to photograph my family.

I contacted Katy about setting up a session. We wanted the Tetons, barn-wood, and an aspen grove. Luckily, Katy knew just where to go for all of those things (and we got a dirt road as a bonus!)…

© 2013 Katy Gray Photography | used with permission

© 2013 Katy Gray Photography | used with permission

© 2013 Katy Gray Photography | used with permission

© 2013 Katy Gray Photography | used with permission

© 2013 Katy Gray Photography | used with permission

© 2013 Katy Gray Photography | used with permission

© 2013 Katy Gray Photography | used with permission

© 2013 Katy Gray Photography | used with permission

Our experience with Katy was great and the session was super laid-back. We hung out on a dirt road, played with Roxy, and adventured into an aspen grove for some really unique shots… laughing and sharing stories the whole time. Roxy was super excited about getting to sniff and run around someplace new…. I was super excited about getting family portraits in a place so special to us… and Greg was super excited to have a happy wife and puppy.

THANK YOU, KATY!!! You rock!
♥ Terran, Greg, & Roxy


Road Trip 2013 | Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, and Bozeman

WARNING: Long post with a lot of photos! :)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my heart lives in Wyoming (although, I’ve never visited in the dead of winter). Last year, my hubby Greg worked with my niece Sam to create a special video they played for me on Christmas morning. The video revealed my full Christmas gift: a road trip to two of my favorite places on earth, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone… but this time, Roxy was coming, too!

So, a few weeks ago, we set off…


I love driving the truck.

© 2013 Westway Studio


Roxy is a great traveler.

© 2013 Westway Studio


“Welcome to Wyoming” — my favorite words!

© 2013 Westway Studio


Our first few nights were spent in Jackson, WY at the Fireside Resort. Aren’t the cabins awesome?! They even come with a s’mores kit.

© 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio  © 2013 Westway Studio


On our first day there, Greg, Roxy, and I had our portraits taken down near Mormon Row (read about our family portrait session) and afterward, we hung around to take some more photos.

This is one of my favorite barns.

© 2013 Westway Studio


My love & The Grand Teton mountains. Does it get any better?

© 2013 Westway Studio


I just loved this horse out in the field.

© 2013 Westway Studio  © 2013 Westway Studio


A few days later, we headed up to Yellowstone. This is just one of the many gorgeous views along the way. Only in Wyoming have I seen skies like this.

© 2013 Westway Studio


Yay! Yellowstone!

© 2013 Westway Studio


On our way in to Canyon Lodge (located in the middle of the park on the eastern side), it started raining… and hailing… and sleeting… and snowing! We enjoyed watching the snow fall from our cabin…


After the snow stopped, we went out to take some photos near Hayden Valley.

Mr. Bison has a mouthful of grass.

© 2013 Westway Studio


The snowy Hayden Valley landscape was like a dream.

© 2013 Westway Studio


And the sunset was just magical.

© 2013 Westway Studio  © 2013 Westway Studio


We found a coyote hunting in a field… I realized when we got here that my tripod broke (of course!) so I used the hood of the truck until I could get a replacement. I’ve never seen a coyote hunt like a little fox before!

© 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio


Just listening…

© 2013 Westway Studio


And my favorite shot…

© 2013 Westway Studio


Speaking of that broken tripod… we had to make an emergency trip to F-11 Photographic in Bozeman, MT. I wanted to see Bozeman on this trip, anyway, so off we went. The salesman at the shop was extremely helpful and hooked me up with a brand new tripod and ball head that would work with the 600mm lens I rented from LensRentals.com. This lens requires the use of a tripod; it’s almost 18″ long and weighs just over 11 pounds… it’s not exactly a lens that can be hand-held (I dubbed it “THE BEAST” — yes, in all caps).

While we were there, I wanted to check out Hedvig’s Trail, a 37-acre — completely enclosed — trail system for dogs to enjoy off-leash. Here’s a shot of Roxy (well, her butt, at least) enjoying sniffing all the great smells.

© 2013 Westway Studio


On our way back, we came across this gorgeous bull elk.

© 2013 Westway Studio


Then he made my life complete by bugling. I was meant to live where the elk bugle.

© 2013 Westway Studio


The rut was definitely in full swing. Here are two bull bison fighting for the attention of the ladies!

© 2013 Westway Studio


Later that evening, the full moon rose over the mountainside. Greg flung the truck off the road so I could get this shot.

© 2013 Westway Studio


The next day, we came across a grizzly guarding an elk kill on far the side of Swan Lake. He stayed there for days, guarding his prize, only getting up to eat and chase away the birds.

© 2013 Westway Studio


On our travels, we came across so many pretty spots.

© 2013 Westway Studio  © 2013 Westway Studio


Oh, Mr. Fisherman, pay no mind to the GIANT BULL BISON crossing the river beside you.

© 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio


We stopped at Old Faithful for a show. Apparently, Roxy and I were more exciting than Old Faithful. HAH!!!

© 2013 Westway Studio


The quote of the day came from a little boy walking around with his parents. He saw Roxy and said, “that dog looks like a wolf!” Totally made my day. My little Yellowstone Wolf.

We also enjoyed some soft-serve. Yes, we shared some with Roxy, too.

© 2013 Westway Studio


A few days later, we moved up to Mammoth Hot Springs. We had never seen bighorn sheep before and it was on our wish-list for this trip. We knew they were around the Mammoth area and we got completely lucky one evening. We were driving by and — Oh! Hello! — a bighorn sheep right on the side of the road. We parked in the nearest pull-out and took a look up on the steep cliffs beside us…

© 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio


We also love seeing moose. This bull was enjoying the first rays of sun one morning. Don’t make fun of his small antlers; that wouldn’t be nice.

© 2013 Westway Studio


Look at his breath — it was chilly!

© 2013 Westway Studio


We also came across this gorgeous little pronghorn antelope near Slough Creek.

© 2013 Westway Studio


After our moose and pronghorn encounters, we continued into Lamar Valley for a little picnic.

© 2013 Westway Studio


Roxy put her paw right on top of a bison hoof-print when she went to take a drink! My wild little wolf!

© 2013 Westway Studio


Greg took a few photos of us. We are all so happy here!

© 2013 Westway Studio  © 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio


On our way back out of Lamar, headed toward Tower-Roosevelt, we came across two pronghorn right off the road. We stopped and I got out THE BEAST lens so I could get some up-close shots of these two. What transpired was a truly special sight to see!

First, we have our bachelor, Little Guy…

© 2013 Westway Studio


And the lovely Lady (oh, those eyelashes!)…

© 2013 Westway Studio


Well, the Big Guy pronghorn — up on the hill with his harem — also liked the lovely Lady. Little Guy said “pfft, she’s mine!” (Look at the tongue! Hah!)

© 2013 Westway Studio


Big Guy took offense at that, so he started chasing Little Guy. Run, Little Guy, run!

© 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio


After he chased Little Guy, he chased Lady.

© 2013 Westway Studio


This all went on for a while, but eventually Big Guy ushered Lady up the hill to the rest of his harem. We’re not sure if she was a part of it to begin with, but we felt pretty bad for her… she didn’t want anything to do with either of these guys… she just wanted to eat some grass!

© 2013 Westway Studio


After our pronghorn adventure, we stopped into a nearby lookout to see what we could find. There were lots of bison and elk roaming the hillside but the weather was rolling in so we decided to get back to the cabin…

© 2013 Westway Studio


There was so much more to this trip that I simply couldn’t get photos of. Sometimes, I just need to enjoy the moment. Some of these moments included: watching a mama bear and her two cubs far, far away on a hillside; spotting a little black bear just off the road one evening enjoying some dinner; and having picnic lunches in Slough Creek and watching Roxy sniff around all the new smells.

But, by far, my best memory of this trip was watching the Junction Butte wolf pack play on a hillside one morning. We met up with a group of wolf watchers and researches early that morning at a favorite lookout. The wolves were about five miles away (hence, no photos) but we were able to see them through the use of a spotting scope. I counted seven wolves, although others counted more. I could see this year’s puppies playing with each other, rolling around, then napping, then playing some more. We could see that some were gray and some were black. It was just so special to see the wild wolves of Yellowstone. As an added bonus, the bull elk in the canyon below were bugling the entire time!

This entire trip was an incredibly special one: we had great fun, saw a countless amount of wildlife, and now I can officially call Roxy my little Yellowstone wolf. Best Christmas present ever.

June 23, 2013 Supermoon | Skye Valley Ranch Nighttime Photography

You may have heard me mention Skye Valley Ranch in past posts. It’s my hubby’s family ranch which is located way out in the middle of nowhere in East County, San Diego. We spent the weekend there and I had my camera ready to capture the big June 23rd “supermoon” event.

We went out the night before to test out a few things. Roxy was a good helper.

© 2013 Westway Studio

The sunset that night was just beautiful!

© 2013 Westway Studio

Please notice the lack of any other houses or signs of civilization for as far as the eye can see. It is heaven.

© 2013 Westway Studio

The next night, we were ready for the supermoon. Armed with the camera and tripod, we ventured around the valley to find the perfect spot. Thanks to a star-location app, we knew exactly where the moon was going to rise.

© 2013 Westway Studio

The moon was so bright, it was incredible!

© 2013 Westway Studio

After I had taken my moonrise photos, Greg had a fun idea to take a self-portrait-type photo of our shadows from the moonlight. Don’t believe it’s nighttime? Look at the stars in the sky!

© 2013 Westway Studio

I have a thing for fences. I don’t know what it is, but I love photographing them. The clouds were wispy and gorgeous and the stars were just starting to shine.

© 2013 Westway Studio

After we were done in the valley, we decided to head down to the Lower Lake. We need to drive there, so we walked back to the ranch house and Greg went to get the truck while I walked down the lane to get a shot of the house in the moonlight.

© 2013 Westway Studio

We arrived at the Lower Lake and scouted out the best spots. I couldn’t resist this rowboat perfectly placed near the water.

© 2013 Westway Studio

I just love how much color is in these photos. It was about 10:00 at night, so there was no other light except the moon!

© 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio

After we finished with the rowboat, we ventured out on the dam. I have an intense fear of falling, so walking out there is not something I really enjoy doing. Anything for a great shot, though, right? I had my camera around my neck, a flashlight in one hand, and a death-grip on the railing with the other. I’m happy to report: I survived. Please note that the dam is not all wide and flat like the section you see below.

© 2013 Westway Studio

Still on the dam, I turned the camera and shot out over the lake. The stars, reflection in the water, and clouds really make me love this photo. I can’t get over how still the water is; this is a 30-second exposure!

© 2013 Westway Studio

Please be sure to leave a comment for me below! Do you have a favorite shot? Did you get to see the supermoon?

52 on Friday (Week 35): Personal Work

Oh, hi there. Did you think I forgot all about the 52 Project? I promise I didn’t! August has been action-packed… earlier this month I was doing lots of shooting here in San Diego, then a client flew me to Colorado to shoot some portraits, then I took two weeks to go on the most incredible trip. I’m finally back and I was lucky enough to be the one to pick this week’s 52 Project theme, “personal work.”

As artists, we all love what we shoot, but there is something very different about creating work for clients and creating work solely for ourselves… and when I shoot for me, I love to experiment with landscapes and wildlife.

For the past two weeks, I was in Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In case you didn’t know, my heart lives in Wyoming. The mountains. The wildlife. The wide open expanses of land under a huge blue sky. I have yet to find another place that calls to me quite as much as Wyoming does.

For the majority of our stay, we rented the most perfect cabin at the base of the Grand Teton mountain range. I’m saving photos of it for when I build a ranch house someday because, I’m telling you, it was exactly what I want my house to look like. Here’s a little peek at the front entry.

Cabin at the Base of the Grand Teton Mountain Range

Just down the road from cabin was an entrance to the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Shortly before we arrived, a few people had encountered aggressive bears, so the Forest Service closed the northern part of the road, significantly cutting down on traffic. This was really wonderful for us because the wildlife came out in droves. (I know you all think I’m nuts… “Did she just say she went where there were aggressive bears?!” Eh, not quite. We never crossed the road block, we had our bear spray handy, and we stayed in the truck. Sounds much less exciting now, doesn’t it?) We saw at least 100 elk, two red foxes, a few mule deer, and even — you guessed it — two black bears. But this trip was really all about moose… everywhere we looked, there they were!

Meet Mama, Baby, and Baby-Baby Moose (we think Baby was a yearling and Baby-Baby was just a few months)…

Three Moose

Here is just Mama and Baby (the yearling)…

Wyoming Moose

Here is just Baby (again, the yearling)…

Baby Moose © Westway Studio

We also saw a few bull moose. This guy was super handsome and very curious.

Bull Moose

“Come on, you said you saw bears!” OK, but they were so afraid of us that it was impossible to get a good, clear shot. They saw us and they took off. That being said, here’s my best bear shot of the trip. It’s not great, but darn it, it’s a BEAR!!!

Wyoming Black Bear © Westway Studio

I also love shooting landscapes but the weather wasn’t really cooperating with us; the fires in Idaho were blowing smoke right in front of the Tetons. I still couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph this beautiful barn along Mormon Row, though.

Barn along Mormon Row

Click the one below so you can see it larger… this is a favorite of mine!

Barn along Mormon Row

Now be sure to head on over to Victoria BC’s Unleashed! pet portraits by Melissa McCabe and see what she’s been working on this week!

Roxy’s Road Trip Part 2: Mammoth Lakes

Happy to be out of Death Valley, Roxy became even happier when she saw snow on the ground! Our next stop was Mammoth Lakes. We stayed in the cutest little cabin at the Tamarack Lodge.

Greg and Roxy in front of our cabin at Tamarack Lodge, Mammoth Lakes, CA © Westway Studio

I really loved it here and I can’t wait to go back. I’d classify the Tamarack as somewhere between “pet tolerant” and “pet friendly” — a little more-so on the “tolerant” side. Pets were not allowed inside the lobby and no pet amenities were provided. That being said, pets were allowed on all parts of the property. There were no “keep dogs off the grass” signs (maybe they were just covered by the snow). Plus, there was enough space where we could get away from people and let Roxy run free.

OK, I have to tell you about the snow here. THE SNOW! IN JUNE! It was insane! Mammoth Mountain was still open for skiing. In fact, they were planning to be open ’till July 4th. Can you even imagine?

Terran & Roxy around Tamarack Lodge, Mammoth Lakes, CA © Westway Studio

Greg and Roxy in front of A LOT of snow © Westway Studio

Ice in a nearby lake, in JUNE. Mammoth Lakes, CA © Westway Studio

One evening while we were out exploring, two bicyclists flagged us down. One had a flat tire and no way to repair it. We popped her bike in the back of the truck and gave her a ride home (her friend wanted to finish the ride on two wheels). Turns out, she’s also a dog lover and an outdoor enthusiast. We asked for recommendations on good biking or hiking trails and she said, “well, I’m taking the day off tomorrow and was planning to go on a hike. Would you like to join me?” I jumped at the chance to have a local show me around, so we made plans to meet the next morning. She invited another friend and each brought one of their dogs.

I was excited and surprised that the trail we hiked — Sherwin Lakes — didn’t have any leash laws. Roxy was in heaven, running and sniffing anywhere she could. Well, the trail was a few miles long with an elevation change of about 950 feet. The elevation was killer! The end of the trail brought us to the most beautiful, pristine lake sitting at roughly 8,700 feet above sea level. The dogs jumped right in (except Roxy, of course) and everyone had a great time.

Sherwin Lake, Mammoth Lakes, CA © Westway Studio

I also learned that Mammoth is bear country…

Bear Country © Westway Studio

… but that’s a story for another day…