The Season of Gratitude

The color, warmth and peace of fall was abundant this year. Perhaps I just paid closer attention. I’m grateful for the beauty that surrounds me everyday. Enjoy a slideshow of the season through my eyes, all taken around our home here in Minnesota!

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bwcamy - Thanks Mom <3

Mom - Beautiful…as always!

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Viewpoints | Montana Skies

When we weren’t in national parks on our summer road trip (see Part I here), we were driving hundreds of miles under the big sky Montana is known for. I love being under this sky. It’s wide and deep and welcoming. It feels like mother nature opens her arms and invites you in… to adventure, fresh air, and peace. The light rays seem to reach a little farther, storm clouds move like gentle waves often passing near but not overhead, and at sunset it feels like the last light of day is pulling you toward the horizon until it’s gone. I love this place for its skies and so, so much more.

Here are a few of those moments I captured in the middle of our trip as we visited, rested and regrouped with family outside of Bozeman before packing up again and heading North to Glacier.

Viewpoints a collaborative blog circle with some fellow landscape and nature photographers. Follow along, my sweet friend Lori McLellan is up next!

Kathy - Such a big, beautiful place Montana is Amy! <3 I'm envious of the wide open spaces.

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Viewpoints | Summer Road Trip, Part I

We’ve made a tradition of traveling as a family each summer. Without any discussion, it has evolved into a bit of a National Parks checklist (complete with me making the boys take a photo by every entrance sign! haha… They’re starting to get used to it! ;-) Over the last few summers we visited Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain. This year was one of the parks on my travel bucket list. Glacier. When our trip morphed into a driving trip, we realized we could visit Teddy Roosevelt National Park too, since one portion of the park is right along the Interstate as we near the Montana border.

The spectacular landscape of Teddy Roosevelt is quite a treat after driving 6 hours across North Dakota. It changes abruptly and dramatically. We spent just a couple hours that first evening on the road exploring the area, driving part of the loop in the park, giggling at the zillions of prairie dogs running around, spotting wild horses, buffalo and a lone antelope. We found some great scrambles with amazing views and a great trail and overlook to watch the sun set.

It was a peaceful end to a good, long, first day of driving. From here we continued West another hour in the dark, crossing the border into Montana and crashing for the night. This place had surprised us and left us in awe, and it was just the beginning…

Viewpoints a collaborative blog circle with some wonderful friends of mine who also passionately shoot landscapes and the natural beauty of our world. Follow the circle to see the incredible scenes captured by Kristen during her summer travels by clicking here.

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bwcamy - Thank you friend! For sure! What is the nearest “big” city to you for traveling?

Kathy - I’m in love with your adventures this summer! Such beauty out west! Remember there’s a national park next door to me, so be sure you come visit that one too!

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Coming Home

On the last Saturday night of summer, we all slipped outside. The boys went fishing. I took our new pup and our old pup for a walk. The lake was calm, the sky dark with scattered clouds, each holding rain. I thought about the good summer wrapping up and the new school year beginning. I’m thankful for each day that we go out and adventure, and the many ways that is defined, and for the comforting feeling each night as we all come home.

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Viewpoints | A Stormy Summer Night at Home

In this month’s Viewpoints, I’m sharing a frequent view from home this time of year which is a late day summer storm. Hot, humid days repeatedly give birth to thunderstorms that build and move from NW to SE across the state, often passing through our area in the late afternoon and evening hours. The sky was pretty fascinating to watch on this recent night as a strong cell passed just to the North right at sunset. While the color and light in the sky changed rapidly, a light breeze kept the mosquitos away and some loons calling gave a song to this oh-so-typical Minnesota summer lake scene.

Follow the circle to see more beautiful views that my friends are capturing this summer, next up is Nadeen!

bwcamy - Thank you Kathy! I love summer storms!

Kathy - Wow! What beautiful stormy skies… and capture!

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Viewpoints | Northern Lights from Mille Lacs

Once you’re hooked on aurora “hunting,” it’s almost instinct to check up on space weather like you do the local weather. I was tuned in to the chance of the Northern Lights showing when we headed North to Mille Lacs Lake with family for our annual Memorial Weekend gathering. However, the forecast for clear skies was pretty poor and it quickly slipped my mind as pop-up thunderstorms moved over much of the day. We grilled, fished and played a lot of cards. Mille Bournes anyone? Well, when the last of us standing long after dark started to shut things down, I quick checked the skies and my favorite FB “Aurora” group for any news… and the message was “get outside NOW!”

My only view North was from the end of the dock, looking back over the shore. So I grabbed my gear, ran to the end, carefully got set-up and this was one of my first shots…

Ahhhh! Hellooooo aurora borealis… I’ve missed you!

It was easily visible to the naked eye, and stretching far overhead.

I fought the movement of the dock and the wind. This was not the best conditions for shooting. But none of that takes away from a night under a sky like this. I loved that my sister-in-law and husband home from Colorado were still up and able to see this insanely beautiful natural wonder.

I turned out over the lake and even found the Milky Way…

What a surprise this show was, and I was so relieved that I hadn’t missed it. <3

I love this monthly circle and sharing the work of my wonderful friends across the country. Please follow along to see Kathy’s Viewpoint of the Blue Ridge Parkway at sunset…

Nadeen - These are just magical! I would love to see the Northern Lights one day.

Kristen R - My word, Amy! These are absolutely STUNNING!!! I want to come visit and shoot the Northern Lights with you!

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Viewpoints | My Favorite Island

Viewpoints is back after a little hiatus, and for this post I’m back where I left off in February, on my favorite island… Sanibel! I was fortunate to land my feet here for a second, longer trip in March (after this quick stay in February) for our Spring Break from school. It was the most beautiful week of weather. It wasn’t quiet in the house with my sisters and families all there (although 7 kids under 11 is really so much fun!), but that’s what I love about shooting landscapes… I can grab my camera and go.

There is such joy and peace in shooting the ocean, I will take every chance I get. The warm, salty air. The breeze. The sand in my toes. I find myself photographing unique flowers and plants I come across, vegetation that is nothing like Minnesota’s, the osprey who are often nearby, and other wildlife I find, but I’m most drawn to the water. Here are some of the moments and things I found while seeking to capture the beauty of this time and place.

Viewpoints a collaborative blog circle with friends across the US and Canada who also passionately shoot landscapes and the beauty of our world. Follow the circle to see where my friend Nadeen has landed this month by clicking here!

bwcamy - Nadeen… thank you! <3 The color of the water this winter was so beautifully clear and a deep teal, much like the Caribbean!

bwcamy - Thanks Kathy! I have no doubt you would love Sanibel!

bwcamy - Thanks so much Kristen! <3

bwcamy - Thank you Iris! It is so wonderful to be near the sea!

Iris - Goodness, Amy; these are amazing images. I can see why this is your favorite place to be and shoot landscapes.

Kristen R - These are absolutely gorgeous, Amy and make me want to go NOW!!

Kathy - I have heard so much about this island and seeing your captures makes me want to go! I need to look into this place. Beautiful!!

Nadeen - Your comps are perfection, and the colors are out of this world! Stunning work, Amy!

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Wicked Skies

I left the house seeking what I thought might be a nice sunset. A strong thunderstorm was just moving past, and sunset was still a half hour away. I went further down the shoreline than usual to gain a better view of the sunset. I didn’t know the system would continue to build behind it, almost stalling over the lake, where it swirled and churned. I ended up shooting lightening and some seriously ominous clouds for over an hour, watching downpours in the distance without a drop on my head. The last light of day lit up the showers falling on the horizon, then the sky changed from purple to blue and black. By the time I got home, and just in time, it was pouring again.

Capturing lightening isn’t easy. My first 45 minutes of effort went without a single capture. After a handful of huge strikes lit up the sky BETWEEN my shutter closing on one exposure and opening up for another, I figured luck just wasn’t going to fall my way on this night. I stuck it out a little while longer anyway. It was ridiculously frustrating, addictive and ultimately… rewarding. In the end, I had a few to take home.

bwcamy - It was a wonderful storm to watch pass, without getting rained on! A fun night for sure :-)

Kristen Ryan - Amy – These are absolutely incredible! I’m obsessed with dramatic skies and you captured these so perfectly!

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