Arizona Sunsets

arizona, arizona nature, sunsets

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.

-John Ruskin

During my last year in Arizona, I had an inkling to get back out on the mountain trails and had the perfect hiking buddy (my Kelpie Mix pup Raven) to join me. I am so glad I made that decision, not knowing this would be one of my last times to experience and capture the beauty in this state. Phoenix may be a desert valley that gets hotter than an oven in the summer, but one of its best features are the beautiful sunsets. And the perfect place to view them? On the mountains, of course! One of my favorite spots to go that was close to home. South Mountain Park and Preserve consists of over 16,000 acres, making it one of the largest municipal parks in the country. There are more than 51 miles of trails, many of which lead to spectacular views. Most of the sunsets featured here were captured from this expansive place. The colors some days were unbelievable and there’s nothing like the feeling of standing beneath an open sky that transforms into so many colors, literally like a painting unfolding and ever-changing on the world’s biggest canvas. It’s been noted to be one of the best places in Phoenix to watch the sunset and there’s a reason why! Please enjoy these favorites of mine and if you are in, or planning to visit Arizona in the future, check out the website/info at the bottom of my post for more info on South Mountain and places to watch the sun in its glory moment!

May Flowers


“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.”


Take a moment to close your eyes and reflect. What words, images, or memories come to mind when you hear the world flower? The possibilities may be endless. Now, can you close your eyes again and imagine a world without flowers? A world without bright blossoms that paint a colorful canvas across an otherwise monotone field or desert? A world without the harmonious scents that spread into the air? A world without all of the foods that are produced through the miracle that is a flower?

Flowers have been around for over 100 million years and without them, it seems unlikely we would be here ourselves. Flowering plant species are vast and outnumber the other types of plants that exist on this earth (National Geographic, Michael Klesius). Flowers can bring a smile to most anyone’s face and have surround us for centuries in our celebrations of both life and death. We give flowers to bring comfort, encouragement and support. Flowers symbolize happiness and love. According to Edward Currin, “Flowers are the music of the ground. From earth’s lips spoken without sound.”

Reflecting on the history of flowers, their vital function to life as we know it, and their beauty, it’s no wonder why myself and many others become enamored by them. Fascinated by their uniqueness, their fragility yet enormous strength to thrive and emerge from adversity. Captivated by their splendid colors that bring so much vibrance to the world.

So as I continue to explore the world through a lens, attempting to encapsulate these little miracles within a photograph has been a continued pleasure of mine. I find myself in awe time and time again as I stumble across them everywhere I go. Sure I have some favorites, but I really love them all!

And because April Showers Bring May Flowers, and May is a month of many celebrations for me and my family, it seemed like the perfect time to share some of my favorite flower moments with you!

Here are my top 10 flower moments that I’ve captured in the last few years. Feel free to leave a comment below- I’d love to hear which one is your favorite (or if you have a personal favorite flower moment you’d like to share)!


The beautiful Iris from Ann Morrison park taken May 2020 is like a beautiful dancer with its delicate, flowing petals. It’s vibrant purple is my favorite color and it reminds me of my recent explorations of beautiful Boise.


Tree blossoms at Veterans park in Chandler Arizona in 2018. I love the beautiful vibrance and contrast of the pink against a brilliant blue sky and these beauties remind me of the many walks I took here and many other parks in Arizona with my parents


Cactus flower on one of the many hikes I took in 2018-2019 season on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. I love the contrast of the harsh cacti needles that surround soft, fragile flowers that magically blossom and bring color and brightness to the desert each spring. These hikes were one of my favorite pastimes in my old home. Just me, my camera, my hiking partner Raven (dog), and the beautiful desert mountain landscape!


This image of poppies on South Mountain in Phoenix Arizona from a hike with my parents in 2018 is still one of my favorite flower photos because of the way the blooms look as it they are lit up inside from the sun. And it reminds me again of the beauty that comes in a desert in spring.


The name of this flower is unknown to me, but I refer to it as the flower in the tree. This was taken in 2018 in the Allerton Gardens in the tropical paradise that is the Island of Kauai. We were on a guided tour of this wonderland of plant life when I looked up and saw this beautiful flower sprouting atop a tree branch at least 15 feet in the air. Nature never ceases to amaze and this image is one that hangs on my wall as a reminder of one of the most unimaginably beautiful places on earth


While not the most captivating photograph, this image is of the first flower to bloom at my new home in Boise, the beautiful tulip. I never realized how wide they can open and how glossy and shiny their petals can be. These blooms came just in time for Easter and added a spectacular splash of color to our backyard. This image reminds of both my new home and my childhood home of Ohio where we had tulips in our front yard.


Lilies at the Chicago Botanical Gardens in 2018 during a trip to spend time with my in-laws. They took my to this amazing paradise of flowers, a photographer and nature lover’s heaven. I loved that these flowers grow sprout in the water and the contrast of bright purple and green delighted me!


Flowers on lava rock in the Volcano National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Volcano National Park is a place where you can really see how flowers come from adversity. One of the first things to sprout from the hardened lava are little pink flowers. This image reminds me of that mystical place where life emerges from death in such a breathtaking way.


The bleeding heart (Dicentra) plant is my favorite flower, tied with the Orchid (see below). It is such a unique flower and how can you now love a heart-shaped flower?? I have not had the opportunity to capture many of these beauties, but I recently planted one on my backyard so hoping there are some for me to capture soon! This one was from the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, AZ that I explored with my mother a couple of years ago. There were just two struggling plants by the entrance but I still had to try to capture them. I’ve been obsessed with them since my childhood when we had one plant in our backyard. I found them on our honeymoon in Whistler, Canada and when I saw them growing here in Boise I was ecstatic!


Orchid Flower in at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii. This is one of my favorite flower photographs that I’ve taken of one my favorite flowers, in one of my favorite places. These flowers grow in beautiful tropical places and have been gifted to me many times. They come in so many unique sizes and shapes (there’s a whole garden of them on the Big Island of Hawaii just outside of the Volcano National Park!) but this classic pink beauty is one of the best.

Thank you for taking the time to relive these flower moments with me and to celebrate one of Earth’s greatest creations! If you’d like to see more flowers and plants that I’ve captured just click on the button below!

It’s About the Journey – Idaho Highway 21


As a new resident of Boise, Idaho, a high desert, I was excited to be venturing away from the low valley (beautiful, but much hotter, less seasonal) desert of Phoenix where I’d resided for 16 years to plant some new roots. Of course, we all know how life goes- two weeks after I moved and I started my new business, the world as we know it came to a frightening halt. And while this this seemed like VERY poor timing, I decided there must be a silver lining. What could I do while we have to be so socially distant? As my anxiety levels began to rise, I forced myself to slow down with the world and to find my inner peace and rediscover my other passions. In other words, for this brief period of time, I had this unexpected opportunity to grow in areas that I used to spend too little time. While yoga keeps me centered and stretched, photography has been the area that I’ve found myself eager to further develop my skills. And what better way to do that than to hike and explore this beautiful state in which I had just landed? A state that has more vast areas of wilderness and recreation areas and countless places to explore. Boise itself supposedly has at least one park within a square mile of every house in the city and I don’t doubt it! It’s also one of the most dog friendly places to live. There are more dogs per capita and more dog parks per capita than most cities in the USA. And I just happened to have two that love to explore with me. And where did we decide to reside? Right next to the Oregon Trail and State Highway 21 in Southeast Boise. Now that I’m here, I could not imagine a better place to be socially quarantined. And for those of you that are not nearby but may want to explore this area someday, I felt that part of my role as a photographer is to share the places of the world with you that I explore and hopefully inspire you to take that journey yourself. And if that experience is not in the cards you were dealt, then at least you can get a glimpse of these beautiful places through my lens. There’s no better way to turn this upside down world right side up than with getting out there (virtually or in real life) and exploring the great outdoors!

Idaho State Highway 21 is the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, a winding highway from Boise to Stanley. And it sure lives up to its name as a scenic highway. If you want to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, this is a road worth taking, and I promise it’s way faster and less crowded than Maui’s famous Road to Hana! I was headed for a destination, a hike near Idaho city, but what I found along the was the truth behind the age-old saying that it’s about the journey, not the destination. Exploring and discovering new places like this also reminds me of the kind of life for which we should all strive. A life in which we enjoy the journey. Stop and take a breath. Stop and look around. Stop and soak in the beauty that surrounds us. The previous moments that we miss if we are in a race to get where we’re going. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of our daily lives. Being able to slow down during these hard times with which we are currently faced has allowed me, and hopefully many of you, to do some self-reflection, and to slow down and think about what life is really all about. So for me, this Highway is a great reminder of how breathtakingly beautiful the journey can be, if we only take time to become aware and be in the moment.

These photos were taken on the stretch of the highway between Southeast Boise and Idaho City, a curvy journey that takes you past the Lucky Peak State Park which includes many lake areas and beautiful hiking spots. There are pullover areas so you can safely stop and snap a photo, or just soak in the gorgeous views. My favorite spot was just north of the lakes, where this little plateau sits proud almost like an island, spotted with houses that travel up into the foothills, perched on cliffs and mountainside along side the pine trees. I recently heard from someone who lives in this area and has the pleasure of taking route as her daily drive and she stated that its even more beautiful after a few more rains. I can barely imagine it being anymore vibrant and green, but as I am also lucky to live right next to this highway in Boise, it won’t be long until I journey here again in hopes that she is right!

And of course, while the journey was definitely the highlight of this day trip, the whole reason I ended up on this drive was to get to my destination, Charcoal Gulch, a hiking trail on the outskirts of Idaho City. This was one of the most peaceful hikes I’ve been on to date, and a nice change of scenery. Pine trees lofted overhead while spring flowers blossomed at my feet. Moss covered so many branches, adding another beautiful and fascinating layer of green. Not too many people nor too many bugs on a Sunday afternoon with lots of shade made for an enjoyable, gradual climb and descent through the forest.

Useful Resources:

Visit Idaho and Idaho Parks and Recreation are both great resources if you are interested in traveling here or already living here like me and want ideas on where to take your next adventure, which may take you on a beautiful ride along the 21. They shared a video post about this Scenic Highway that worth viewing if you’d like to get a glimpse of where you could be taking your next scenic drive.

All Trails app has been my go-to for find new hikes! It’s a free app and can be used anywhere, at least in the USA, and it’s really helpful for exploring new trails because fellow hikers that leave reviews give tips on parking, how busy it was, what the weather was like, closure notices, etc.

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