I am never in our vacation photos.
Mostly because I am the one carrying the camera. I take so many photos no one else feels the need. And because the circumstances are never quite "right" for a family picture. I have a bad outfit on. My hair isn't brushed. There's no one around to ask. Etc etc.
However - as much as I dislike having my photo taken, I really WANT to be in our vacation pictures. I want my kids to have images that show me being an active part of our adventures.
I was there too!
So this trip I resolved to take one family photo a day.
I used my iPhone 7plus with a timer app, my Canon DSLR (a 5D Mark iii) with a tripod and remote, my (DJI Mavic) drone, the kindness of strangers and I even ended up purchasing a few images (You'll see why in a minute.)
There are a handful of photos that aren't flattering - perhaps you could label them as not social media "worthy." Some are blurry. Some are grainy. Some are way too close-up for my comfort zone.
Nevertheless I must confess that I love each and every one of them.
So - here are my favorites!
Day One: The Enchanted Highway, North Dakota. A stretch of rural highway lined with giant sculptures. Rolling farmland for miles. Big sky country. Americana at its best.
Day Two: The drive from Red Lodge, Montana to Driggs, Idaho. We will never forget driving on the beautiful Beartooth Highway. Officially an "All American" rated highway - and a bit of a white-knuckler. Arlo said during the stunning drive "this just feels SO good" and we all knew and felt what he meant. 😂
Then we continued to follow the road through Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming where we saw black bear, big horned sheep, buffalo and the Earth's active crust steaming and bubbling away.
Day Three: ahhh.. We made it to our rented home in Idaho and went up to the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival. Saw old friends. Danced. Sat on a blanket, stared at the mountains and listened to great music. Utopia!
Day Three continued: Grand Targhee, Wyoming. While at the Bluegrass Festival we took the chairlift up to the top of the mountain and hiked the three miles back down. Kids did great! Arlo hiked the entire way in a superhero cape.
Day Five: Family portrait plus a few strangers (purchased photo.) Rafting through whitewater rapids in the Snake River, Wyoming. Truly a high adrenaline adventure. Exhilerating and freezing. Numb fingers and toes. The best.
Day Six: Jackson, Wyoming. Teaching our kids important life lessons before school starts. (Purchased photo.)
Day Six: Quick photo (tripod, remote) at sunset right outside our rented home in Driggs, Idaho. Beautiful view of the Tetons! Fun fact: Wally the dog is somewhere in this photo #tooshort 😆
Day Seven: A kind stranger obliges to take our photo at Mesa Falls, Idaho. A majestic waterfall with lots of rainbows! We all stayed up too late the night before and paid for it that day... Did a moderate hike down to the river. Arlo had a major meltdown about a lost rock. Luckily dada came to the rescue with a replacement rock😅 Wally the pup is in this picture somewhere at our feet too.
Day Seven: Mama rocks her drone over amber waves of grain near Ashton, Idaho.
Day Ten: Doing the SoDak thing! Custer State Park, Wildlife Loop, Needles Highway, dinner in the cute town of Custer and a drive through Wind Cave National Park. Spotted buffalo, pronghorns, prairie dogs, mule deer, wild donkeys, coyote, eagles and more! I love this place.
Day Ten continued: Squeaked in our family photo just before the sun went down at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. Used my Canon, tripod and remote to catch us getting our freak on where the buffalo roam.
Day 11: Hot Springs, South Dakota. 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Spent the day swimming in natural mineral springs. First at Evan's plunge and then in a stream in a nearby canyon. Dinner at Woolly's Restaurant - right next door to the Woolly Mammoth dig site!
Day 12: Farmer field near Agate, Nebraska. Eclipse Day! Drove down to experience "totality" and it was incredible. Minds. Blown. 🖖🏼
Day 13: Yankton, South Dakota. Heading home. Spent two nights in Yankton while Patrick (my husband) worked. (He visits Yankton often for work.) Took the drone out after dinner. Can you see us on the bridge?👋🏼🐜🐜🐜🐜
The End 👋🏼👨🏻👩🏼👦🏼👦🏻🐶 👋🏼
And that's a wrap. We are home now.
School is about to start and because I am feeling like a big sentimental sap... I am SO glad I took these pictures.
They're souvenirs of summer adventures -
we had together - because - heck yeah -
I was there too!