off the grid + with the family

yesterday (sunday) was my dad’s 70th birthday, so my brother, lina + i decided that to celebrate his big day we’d head out to the woods to do a little family camping. of course, everyone else + their mother decided that it would be the perfect weekend for camping as well. why, you ask? this little thing called “leaf season”. up here, in the north carolina mountains, the leaves are just beginning to hit their peak beauty. needless to say, the campground we chose to visit was paaaa-acked! but, it was also beautiful.

on friday afternoon, lina + i packed up our car with food, a tent, sleeping bags, blankets, and cozy clothes. we headed just northwest of asheville, about 45 minutes, to the fabulous little town called hot springs – more on hot springs another day. my parents had already beaten us to the campground and had pulled their rv into their site by the time we arrived, so we went to our space and scouted out the best spot for our tent. we were not within sight distance of my parents’ site, but it was an easy 2 minute walk we went over to say hi to them and invited them over to our site (which is where we all hung out the entire weekend actually). then, we got to work setting up camp. let the coziness commence!

the weekend consisted of pure, quality family time. and food. yummy camp food. of course we sat by the fire practically the whole time (thanks to my brother’s mad fire-making skills + lina’s mad maintaining-the-fire skills). i read some + did a little walking. i took lots and lots of photos. and we all chatted and generally just spent time together. we were totally off the grid, so the only thing we focused on was each other. sadly, my brother had to travel back + forth to asheville a few times, but he slept in his tent at our campsite as well.

the whole weekend was just amazing. something that i will not soon forget, and will cherish in my heart for the rest of my life i am sure. it was an extremely special weekend for me – just the opportunity to be in the middle of nature, outside the whole entire weekend, living simply, being wild, and focusing on the things that are really important. the things that are the most important to me in my life.

day one:

lina me camping

all packed up!

hot springs camping

entering into hot springs campground. woo hoo!

hot springs camping

a few campsites were right on the river (lucky dogs). however, ours ended up being just across from it, and it was pretty much perfect.

hot springs camping

scouting out the best spot for the tent.

hot springs camping tent

our tent!! soooo cozy + perfect – a birthday present to me from my love last year. 

lina me beer pbr

a celebratory pbr (beer) ‘cuts we got the tent all set up!

hot springs camping

the fire is lit! and it stayed lit literally the entire weekend. soon awesome.

hot springs camping bread

darkness fell, and it was time to make some traditional campfire food – both swedish + american, of course. here, lina is baking bread on a stick over the fire. i devoured some s’mores.

hot springs camping campfire

dad warmed his hands by the fire for hours. clearly something silly was happening at this point too. 

hot springs camping campfire

the family is all gathered. xoxo

day two:hot springs camping morning tent

laying in my tent, early in the morning. just gazing the trees + listening to the silence. so peaceful.

hot springs camping lina morning

ready for the day!

hot springs camping morning me tent

mornin’!

hot springs camping nick coffee

first things first: hot camp coffee from a percolator. (that’s my brother!)

hot springs camping

hot springs camping

the morning fire is all lit.

hot springs camping

a little morning dog walking. these two are just the cutest. 

hot springs camping family

breakfast preparations are underway. can’t wait!

hot springs camping pancakes

hot springs camping coffee

hot springs camping gunny

hot springs camping camp food

hot springs camping me

hot springs camping lina pancake

trees hot springs camping

hot springs camping reading

passing time by doing a little reading after a little walk into town. (those photos coming up tomorrow!)

hot springs camping trees

the sun is setting…

hot springs camping campfire

evening arrives again. this one will be a special one.

hot springs camping dad

happy birthday to my dad! 

hot springs camping campfire

my last little peek out from the tent as i tucked myself in.

hot springs camping campfire morning

when i woke in the morning and unzipped my tent, this is what i saw. sooooo cozy.

hot springs camping

i climbed out of my tent early and walked over to the river for a few moments of solitude. amazing.

hot springs camping campfire me

camp liz!

hot springs camping coffee

more camp coffee to get the morning started!

hot springs camping

hot springs camping campfire me nick cooking

brother-sister breakfast cooking team. eggs + bacon… coming up!

hot springs camping

our cozy home for the weekend.

hot springs camping campfire family

family time ♥

hope you had a good weekend, too, dear friends. check back over the next few days and i’ll share with you some photos of hot springs, the french broad river, + a little walking on the appalachian trail!

love + light. xx

the magic of a camp wedding

camp pinnacle

well, friends, i did it. i had my first real ( = paid!) photography gig today. and it was totally amazing.

i spent my day shooting the wedding of a former co-worker, who hired me just after i posted my photos from ulrika and micke’s wedding in sweden this summer. today’s wedding was also outside, but it was at a camp – camp pinnacle in hendersonville, north carolina. about 45 minutes from asheville.

the setting was gorgeous. the festivities were festive. and the whole thing was relaxing, fun, and real. the bride and groom had rented out the camp for the entire weekend, so all of their friends and family could stay at the camp – in cabins or in tents – if they wanted. what a fabulous idea.

so, as i walked around, ran around, hunted photos, and took the traditional, expected wedding photos, all i could think about was how lucky i was. how lucky i am. and i was honored, totally honored, to be a part of this day – to witness two people share their love and commit their lives to each other with their friends & family.

i thought back to the days when i worked as a minister, and how i had the incredible privilege of being a part of very intimate, special moments in peoples’ lives: births, weddings, deaths, major life changes and decisions. it was humbling work.

today, i felt that exact same feeling. as i walked around, shooting the couple as they wiped the tears falling from their eyes and reciting their vows, i knew that i was witnessing a very special moment. and that is something i don’t take for granted. and to have the amazing honor to get to capture those moments with my camera, a front row seat (though i wasn’t sitting at all, of course) to the biggest day of their life, and a sneak peek into their families and the love that they share… i was truly humbled. down to my soul. magical.

the other thing that i felt today, as i wandered around the camp, taking candid shots and nature shots, preserving memories of their venue, was that i realized that i was born to do this. i should have been dong this forever. it felt soooooo right. i was somewhere back in the woods, among the trees, alone alone for a few minutes while i took some shots of the bonfire area (where the ceremony would be). in those moments in the woods – just me and my camera, i felt such deep peace, that i knew i was exactly where i was supposed to be. and this was exactly what i was supposed to be doing in that moment.

so, on the eve of the week of my 40th birthday, i cannot imagine any greater gift than feeling such deep peace as i felt today, a true sense of knowing who i am, and the opportunity to chase and follow and make my dreams come true. to spend this day photographing happiness and love… it was perfection.

and now, my friends, i am tired. exhausted. but, in an beautiful, wonderful way. so, i’ll bid you goodnight. and i’ll keep you posted on when the photos from lain a and jason’s wedding today will be up on my photography website. for now, here are a few sneak peeks from my iPhone today:

camp pinnacle adventure IMG_7600 camp pinnacle camp pinnacle camp pinnacle camp pinnacle swimming

camp pinnacle camp pinnacle camp pinnacle wedding bonfire IMG_7569 camp pinnacle camp pinnacle IMG_7562 cabins camp pinnacle wedding reception wedding prep wedding reception sunset camp pinnacle wedding

eeeeee!! i am so happy and excited! peace + love, my dears.

tough to get to. tougher to explain. but, once you get there, you get it.

teepee_marfa

i have to go to marfa, texas.

you see, my love is in the process of sketching a tent for one of her graphic design classes, and that got me thinking about a place that i ran across on the internet some time ago. a “hotel”, or more like a place to stay, in texas. marfa, texas to be exact. i remembered that i was intrigued by it and thought it’d be awesome to visit there one day. so, since i hadn’t thought about this place in a year or so, i decided to look it up again.

just outside marfa, a tiny little town located in the middle of nowhere in west texas, lies el cosmico. that’s right. it’s a little mexican and a little cosmic = southwestern hippy heaven. at least in my book. among the dirt fields and the tumbleweeds, where the sky meets the ground, and the sun beats down on the dry earth, el cosmico appears to be a little relaxing paradise for those who want to do things a little differently. it’s a place that i am certain lends itself to beauty, funky-ness, and amazing vibes. you see, el cosmico is a “hotel/camping” place of sorts. but. instead of rooms decorated in southwestern and mexican themes, you get the real thing: tee pees, yurts, and rvs. that’s right. just make a reservation, drive your car out into the middle of nowhere, and stay in one of these amazing, classic, funky places – and soak up the atmosphere. crazy amazing, huh?

upon “rediscovering” marfa and el cosmico on the internet, i decided that i simply must go there. like, i will go there. it feels like the perfect road trip for me and my love to experience together – we’ve never been to west texas, we’ve never slept in a tee pee. and we loooove the hippy, community, relaxed vibes of anyplace that deems itself a little bit alternative and off the grid.

so, i’m going. i don’t know when… but sooner, rather than later. and here are photos i’ve found scattered all over the internet demonstrating exactly why this place is on my bucket list…
IMG_9173

b285187d9896a1ff211ae8e2c3ac0e2e El-Cosmico-Trailer-Marfa-TX marfa-eric-anderson-main ElCosmico1 Brent-El-Cosmico-Marfa-TX post_display_open-uri20121220-12878-1bu8a0q

7d2ce48275c0d24e59f6aa1be31abb40 one_part_gypsy_365_til_30_american_roadtrip_marfa_texas_el_cosmico_teepee1 El_Cosmico_Marfa_Texas_8 El-Cosmico-Teepee-Marfa marfa7 4877302596_5a74d1efb1_b EL-COSMICO-NIGHT-TENT900x5001

you can find links to all of the photos’ original websites in my pinterest board called “wanderlust.” just click here. don’t you just think this is the most wonderful place?!

“marfa: tough to get to. tougher to explain. but, once you get here, you get it.” - from visitmarfa.com

peace and love. xx