Utah

I’ve tried to write this blog post several times. I feel like traveling gives me so much creative motivation. I’m pumped when I’m on the road photographing or testing myself (and my relationship with Aaron) hiking and camping. But I got home this time and am drawing a blank. I can’t even come with creative dialogue to go along with these photos. One thing that happens when I travel is I spend months processing what I’ve seen and experienced and I think that’s why I’m having a difficult time putting it into words. Utah was the state that solidified my wanting to move from Florida to the west. It’s difficult to explain, but the land makes you feel like you’re the only person on earth and in the same breath makes you feel very, very small. I wish everyone could experience this.

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Here’s a suggestion if you plan on taking a trip to Utah, camp. Camp as much as you can. You won’t miss that shower as much as you think. Yes, you can wear your clothes for multiple days in a row. Merino wool is your friend. Pack lots of water. I mean LOTS of water. Layer, wear sunscreen and don’t forget a big brimmed hat.

Suggested route if you’re planning a week in Utah….

Spend one or two nights in Valley of the Gods. Make sure to face your camp southwest so you can see the sun hit Monument Valley at sunrise. Key piece here.. always wake up before sunrise. It’s cold, but worth it. Also make sure to peek out of the tent or camper around midnight and look up. Nothing compares to the night sky in Utah. If you can, make sure you stop into Comb Ridge Eat and Drink in Bluff to grab a coffee or an early dinner (and a cookie, trust me).

Set out North towards the Moki Dugway. As I type this I’m hesitant to recommend taking the Moki Dugway as the 3 miles of switchbacks are not paved and recommended speed is 10 mph. The view going up is incredible and exposing. On a clear day you can see Colorado. When you’re on top you’ve made it to Cedar Mesa. Spend a night camping at Muley Point. The east section won’t be as crowded, but get there early to get a good camping spot. From there you can head north towards the Kane Gulch Ranger Station. There are so many great canyons featuring Anasazi dwellings, ruins, and pictographs, from day hikes to through hikes. Some of them require permits so make sure you check before you head out. Continue north and you’ll get a good view of the Bears Ears. I suggest going west towards Hanksville so you can then go on to Capitol Reef and also have the biggest (and best) milkshake of your life at Stan’s.

For this next part I would suggest traveling April or early May. It’s not often photographed or talked about in Utah, but Cathedral Valley is one place you cannot miss. The drive takes you by hills of bentonite and exposes the amazing waves of color Capitol Reef has to offer. The road to get to the Cathedral Valley camping spot is about 30 miles down a dirt road where speeds are under 25 mph. There will be a few small streams to cross, but you don’t need high clearance for them. Once you’re at the camping area you have a great view of the Henry Mountains. You’re tucked back into the cedars, but can easily step out to get a view of Cathedral Valley below. I would also recommend getting there early so you can get a good spot as there are only about 6. Another plus is there’s a composting toilet here. If you’ve camped out west, specifically Utah, you come to celebrate things like composting toilets! You can take the same route back to highway 24 or you can continue the loop, but be prepared to cross the Fremont River which is at the end of the route. We were able to cross in our 4x4 truck, but not certain when the snow starts to melt and the river is really flowing. Also it’s not a direct crossing. You actually have to drive UP the river about 30-40 feet to the crossing. It was a first for us.

From there head west on highway 24 towards the Capitol Reef sign and take the Notom Road Burr Trail south. This was the reason I wanted to return to Utah. This road. It’s partially paved, but being on dirt is the best part. The views are great and the switch backs are easy to navigate. The Burr Trail ends in Boulder, which is great because you need to stop in for a cup of coffee and a pastry at Burr Trail Outpost. From there head on highway 12 towards Escalante. Highway 12 is known as one of the best scenic roads in America. It’s also a great way to get to Bryce Canyon.. Surrounded by amazing slot canyons is the small town of Escalante. It’s a very popular anchor point for slot enthusiasts and hikers. You must stop in at Escalante Outfitters for pizza and a beer. Breakfast is just as yummy. In addition to food they sell gear and showers if you need one, just bring your own towel and soap. I feel like I could spend a week in Escalante hiking and eating at Escalante Outfitters. We only spent a couple nights and headed on to a place we’d never been.

On the way to Bryce Canyon there’s a turnoff for Cottonwood Wash Road. Here you can access Kodachrome Basin State Park. If you continue on this road you’ll be able to pull off and walk to Grosvenor Arch. It’s a very quick walk or you can see the arch from your vehicle. Cottonwood Wash Road takes you through the heart of the cockscomb. It difficult to describe, but it’s as though the earth broke apart and one side rose up straight in the air, like a cockscomb. The road dumps into highway 89 which will take you to Lake Powell and Page, Arizona.

We ended our trip in Sedona, Arizona with some much needed pampering. We stayed at the Creekside Inn Sedona. Compliments to Trevor and Yolanda for making a killer breakfast. Sedona was a little overwhelming, but I see us staying at the Creekside Inn again. Kudos to you if you stuck around this post till the very end. I tried to be short, but that can be difficult to do when you spend a week on the road.

Burrell Bunch Visits Buena Vista

Tarah and Jason have been dear friends of ours for several years. This was the first time the whole family ventured out to Colorado. My husband and I loaded up the truck and he found the perfect camping spot which turned into the perfect photo shoot spot. Tarah and Jason have the sweetest kiddos with lots of differing personalities. They were so much fun! Tarah, being a photographer herself, was in awe of beauty of Buena Vista area. Jason was excited to go fishing in the Arkansas River with my husband. It was a fun weekend with the Burrell Bunch and hopefully they come back to Colorado soon!

Allyson & Nelson Welcome a Baby Boy!

I had the joy of photographing Allyson and her husband Nelson on a warm spring day in Pueblo, Colorado. We took some intimate photos in their home and then ventured out to capture the last bit of daylight. Before they ever met their baby boy they were ready to be parents. You could it see it in the way Nelson cared for Allyson. When the time came for their newborn photos I could tell how in love they were and how in love they thought they were before he came. Babies change everything. Bringing a child into this world is the greatest connection a woman can have and becoming a parent is the deepest love one can have.

Fall Minis!

Fall Minis are now available to anyone in the Arkansas Valley and Southeast Colorado area for November 3rd from 3-5pm. A second date will likely be added. Minis are the perfect opportunity to get those holiday photos, senior photos or family photos you’ve been meaning to take for years now. Mini sessions will be limited to no more than 8 family members. If you are interested in booking a large family session please contact me. All mini sessions will be 30 minutes and include 15-20 photos as well as an online gallery which will allow you downloading capabilities. To reserve your spot please email angelaarmstrongphoto@gmail.com or simply reach out in the contact section of my website.

This is marriage.

I did a thing.  A beautiful, life-changing thing.  In October, I married my Aaron.  It was the most perfect October day. We were married in historic Santa Fe at the Estancia de la Peña.  A 200 year old estate nestled off of Canyon Road.  Ansel Adams' darkroom has been converted into an upstairs bathroom, but the developing tub still remains.  I can't write a blog post sufficient enough to explain how wonderful it was so I will let the photos do the work.  Thanks to Elizabeth Wells and her husband Scott for taking the most amazing photos.

Acelynn & Joshua 7.1.17

Acelynn and Joshua are the perfect example of young love.  Acelynn was stunning and gracious and Joshua was so caring of her the entire evening. He didn't hesitate to help carry her train or pull the goathead thorns out of her dress with his bare hands (it gets a little dicey shooting out in the prairie). They were married at the Elks Lodge in Lamar, Colorado. It was a warm and windy day, but as the weather often does, it cooperated and the clouds came over just in time for photos. I caught myself getting emotional during their ceremony thinking of my own wedding coming up in a few months. Though I'm not yet married the advice I would give these two young lovebirds is to love passionately and always give each other 110%. Love is full of compromise and sacrifice and the reward is having your best friend by your side every step of the way. Thanks for making me part of your special day Acelynn and Joshua!

 

 

On the other side of the camera

First thing I'll say about being a photographer and being photographed by another photographer is... it's awkward. Usually. But when you're friends with a sweet and funny photographer like Ashley it's actually pretty easy. It was always a dream of mine to have my engagement photos taken by Ashley. I look up to her and admire her ability to balance her business, social life and family life. I know she'd say otherwise, but she makes it look easy. Last month Aaron and I went to Florida to celebrate with my family and friends. While in Florida I arranged to have engagement photos taken at Rock Springs. The water was chilly, but the fact that you can even get in water without getting frost bite in January is a relief. We both had so much fun with Ashley. If you're in Florida please check her out!

(Credit: Photography: Ashley McCormick Photography; Makeup: Brittany Boscana; Dress: Lulus; Ring: Lauren Wolf)

http://www.ashleymccormickphotography.com/blog/

 

Ringing in the New Year.. literally

Well friends, it happened. The best moment of my life. 

Aaron and I took a trip to Santa Fe for the New Year holiday and to celebrate our 3 year anniversary. We enjoyed a margarita at the Secreto Lounge at the Hotel St. Francis before heading to dinner at Joseph's (order the duck and chocolate cake). After a bottle of wine we opted to hang out on the rooftop of our hotel to ring in the New Year. Aaron tried taking me to the Plaza after dinner, but it was lightly snowing and cold. About 20 minutes before midnight Aaron was being very sweet, discussing the lyrics of New Love Song by The Avett Brothers (... side note, we met because of The Avett Brothers...). He talked about how trusting someone can be "dangerous and safe" and how love is the same. A couple minutes later he went to reach for his phone in his coat pocket, but instead he pulled out a black box and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Something I anticipated, but never fully understood what it meant. What it meant to love someone and trust someone so much you're willing to give all of yourself to them. That you're willing to be vulnerable and accepting of the love they have and who they are at that very moment. Not who they might become or who they once were. It feel like an hour passed before I said yes. I actually had to ask him if I said yes because I was so emotional. I couldn't stop crying (thanks a lot wine) and hugging him. It was dark so I hadn't even seen the ring yet. I walked us over to the light to see the most unique and beautiful gray diamond ring. We were alone. From the moment he proposed to right before the stroke of midnight. No hidden photographers, no family or friends, no after party waiting to celebrate our engagement. Just me and Aaron. The moment was perfect. We spent the next day living in the moment. Living life as an engaged couple. It wasn't until the next day we told our parents, family and friends. I went a whole day without telling anyone. That's how you know you're growing patience in a relationship. Again, it was perfect. We drove up to Ski Santa Fe and hiked around. The mountains were coated in ice fog. It was magical. Now the wedding planning begins. The honeymoon planning begins (Aaron's favorite part). The start of our life together begins on a deeper and more meaningful level. I am the luckiest person in the world to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, adventure partner and life saver. I love you Aaron.

Baecation - Volume 1 - South Dakota, Montana & Yellowstone

In September, Aaron and I were lucky enough to take a road trip for his birthday. We spent our first night in Fort Collins, woke up the next day, had some birthday brunch at Lucille's (highly recommend this place) and headed to South Dakota. Our plans were to visit his best friend in Rapid City, head to Red Lodge, Montana and pray that the Bear Tooth Highway would be open. Things I learned along the way. Wyoming is windy. The drive from Cheyenne to Torrington looks a lot like home except far more antelope in Wyoming. Rapid City seems very Mid-western, but with a scenic view. Sturgis... drove right on by. Had no interest. Once we hit Montana I understood why so many people love it. Wide open spaces, blue sky and unique mountains. We spent the night at a motel in Red Lodge. Awoke the next morning to find out Bear Tooth Highway was closed at the Wyoming state line. We decided we would tough it out and drive as far as we could. Even though we still had Yellowstone planned for this trip, I was most excited about the Bear Tooth Highway. About 15 minutes out of Red Lodge you really start to go up in elevation. Every view around every corner was exponentially greater than the last. We drove and drove and finally realized we were in Wyoming. The pass was actually open, but the transportation website hadn't updated. The view from the top of the pass was incredible. A fresh snow, high alpine lakes, very little traffic. PERFECT! We headed down the pass with the goal of fishing. By that time it had grown chilly and windy (I repeat, Wyoming is windy) and a light snow started to fall. Sounds miserable, but it was beautiful. We winded the beautiful Wyoming side of the Bear Tooth Highway resisting the urge to be those people who stop after every curve because it's just so breath taking. We were in search of a place to camp and finally put good use to Aaron's new Softopper. The first spot we staked out had a beautiful view of Pilot Mountain, but as we were walking back to the truck I spotted Grizzly Bear paw prints. Perhaps a day old, but fresh enough to make us feel unwelcome. This forced us to find a new camping spot along the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River. The campsite was mostly vacant so we were able to snag a campsite close to the river. The greenish blue color of the water and dark green of the trees made it feel like we were in the Pacific Northwest. I didn't sleep a wink that night because, well, bears. Even though there were no bears around, this Florida chick will never get used to camping without the thought of being mauled by a bear. Very little sleep, but it didn't matter. We were finally headed to Yellowstone. We got up around 5am so we could get to the closest camping spot by 7. If you've ever camped in Yellowstone you know how strategic your camping game must be and if you've never camped in Yellowstone plan ahead. Way ahead. Perhaps a year ahead. We were lucky to snag a spot at Pebble Creek. Bison munching on grass; one brave enough to walk right through the campground before dinnertime. Nothing will make you feel small and insignificant like a 2000 pound creature pushing its way around. Yellowstone was mostly  as I expected. Lots of people, except in late fall there weren't as many, lots of bison, expansive land and very cold nights. We headed out to the Lamar Valley to do some fishing and try and spot some wolves. Later in the day we hiked up to Trout Lake to search for otters. Unfortunately, they were not around, but Aaron caught a beautiful 8-10" Cutthroat Trout. The first and only fish caught the whole trip. We only had 2 days in Yellowstone, but we knew we'd be back. Our next stop was the Grand Tetons.... from a distance. We were headed to Dubois so didn't get close, but they're still incredible from a distance. They were exactly how I imagined they'd be. Massive. As if someone cut out jagged mountain shapes and planted them on the earth. No foothills before them. A lake and then BAM mountains. I regret not spending more time, but it was for good reason. The whole trip I was worried about seeing a bear at our campsite or out on a hike. One from the truck, on the other hand, was welcome. We were in luck. The drive from Moran Junction to Dubois, about an hour in, we spotted two grizzly bears on the side of the highway, foraging. Our truck and a few other cars kept distance while a mother and cub had an afternoon snack. I could have sat in the truck forever watching them. I felt very fortunate to see them in such a controlled environment, but I was also saddened that they had to venture so close to the highway to find food. I will never forget that moment. That evening we stayed in the most adorable Airstream trailer we found on Airbnb. The hosts were great and the town of Dubois isn't much, but it's just enough. More stuffed and mounted jack-a-lopes in a square radius than anywhere else in the world. Delicious dinner from the Cowboy Cafe and some apple pie for dessert, which turned into breakfast. The last day on the road was tough. The drive from Dubois back to Denver was rough. It was very windy. Windiest day so far. The Wind River mountains were beautiful, but as most mountain ranges, the most beautiful places are never spotted from the highway. We think backpacking there would be incredible. The central/south central part of Wyoming is grungy. Dry, dusty and unwelcoming. After being there for several hours (longer than I would recommend) we were relieved to see the sign for Colorado. We did so much in 5 days, but didn't even scratch the surface. If you've made it this far in my blog post you have my sympathy. I am not a writer. I'm an over-writer. When you take a road trip so grand it's hard to summarize everything and every emotion into one photo and 20-30 words on something like Instagram. So thank you for sticking around. This trip reminded me how lucky I am to call the west home. How lucky I am to have the opportunity to travel with my best friend. I'm living the life I set out to live when left Florida. It's been greater than I ever imagined.

Jewels & Morgan - Red Rocks, Morrison, Colorado

But when the feeling's there
It can lift you up, take you anywhere
With the gravel beneath you and the limbs above
If anybody asks you where you're coming from
Say love, say for me love
Say love, say for me love  --The Avett Brothers

Love can be a magical thing, Red Rocks can be a magical place, and Jewels and Morgan are two people in love who made this wedding and this weekend with their favorite band, The Avett Brothers, a magical time. Graced by the beautiful weather and natural setting of Red Rocks, Colorado, this couple made their wedding photos shine with personality and sincerity. 

I first met Jewels and Morgan at an Avett Brothers show a year ago; our shared love for the band gave us a common bond and gave me a sense of style for how I wanted to portray their wedding. It had to be authentic, had to capture the beauty of this couple and the Red Rocks scenery, and that sense of community and friendship and love that defines The Avett Brothers and this couple.

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Spontaneous Camping Weekend - Salida, Colorado

Aaron thought it would be a good idea for us to escape our daily routine and try out the soft topper he bought for his truck. I'm still getting used to camping so every little noise wakes me. The soft topper was great. I felt safe from all the mice and deer (which are probably hundreds of feet away). I still think we're going to get a bear visitor, but luckily we haven. I can't wait to go camping with the soft topper in Yellowstone next month.

We were lucky to miss a storm that skirted Salida and we were even luckier with the sunset and some nice alpenglow at sunrise. We spent some time fishing the Arkansas River. He caught one, but I came up short. River fishing isn't easy so I spent most of my time soaking my feet in the refreshing 60 something degree waters leaving my camera behind. 

(If you can't tell, we love our new Patagonia hats!)

Welcome home.

For those who may not know me, my name is Angela Boggs, as if the website wasn't a dead giveaway.  I moved from Central Florida to Southeast Colorado in June 2015.  I loaded up my Subaru Forester, named Peppy, with as many essential items and a few sentimental ones and headed north.  My journey brought me to many familiar places in the southeast and midwest.  I spent 5 weeks with some great people who provided me with a bed, food, a hot shower and endless amounts of animal snuggles.  It made leaving behind my precious snuggle muffin a little easier to handle.  I also left behind my parents, family and my best friends.  It was the most difficult decision I will probably ever make, but so far it's paid off.  I am able to see my dude every day instead of every other month and I get to have a vacation home back in Florida.  This opportunity is truly a gift.  I had this vision 3 years ago after my first road trip to Colorado and then again when I spent a week in Utah 2 years ago.  I was certain that I had to move out west.  I am so grateful I made the move.  I am constantly inspired by the wildly different landscapes and the loneliness of the west.  It's a great place to get lost and find yourself.  I haven't been here very long, but I've already drawn a ton of inspiration from the prairie, which is where I call home, and the mountains which is my weekend playground.  I am truly lucky to call this place home.

 

Kashia - Manitou Springs, Colorado

A short story about how I came to know this beautiful woman.  I set out from Florida to Colorado in May of 2015.  Without a set plan, except knowing I wanted to move, I packed up my Subaru and drove across the country.  Friends and family opened up their homes to me along the way.  I'll go into more detail about that adventure another day.  When I arrived in Colorado a lovely family, strangers, opened up their home to me.  A beautiful home in Cascade, which is a few miles from Pike's Peak.  I was broke, lonely and hungry and they offered me food, shelter and a relaxing mountain retreat.  I only lived with them a few weeks, but their hospitality made this entire move and entire life change possible.

This week Kashia starts her Senior Year at Manitou Springs High School.  I was delighted to capture her senior photos in a slightly different style than most senior photos you see in the yearbook.  She is a sweet, funny and goofy (in the best of ways) girl who, as you can tell by the photos, is blossoming into a stunning young woman.  Good luck in your Senior Year Kashia girl!

Exciting News!!!

Hello friends! I wanted to take this opportunity to share some very exciting news. I will be moving to Colorado this Spring/Summer. Throughout my travels I will be hosting photo shoots in the following towns. Each session will be 45 minutes and will include 25-30 photographs.  Fee for the session is $250.  Returning clients will receive $50 off.

 

May 17th - Charlotte, NC

May 18th & 19th - Raleigh, NC

May 20th - Asheville, NC

May 21st & 22nd - Nashville, TN

May 24th - Indianapolis, IN

Chicago, Cedar Rapids, and Lincoln, NE dates are TBD.

 

As always, I appreciate you all, sincerely. I would not have the guts to make such a drastic change if it weren’t for your support and encouragement.