Grand Canyon | Antelope Canyon | Trip to Arizona with my Dad

I eloped. It’s not something I advertise since my job is to photograph weddings. But the most expensive part of my wedding was my photographer—even in Jackson, Wyoming. Eleven years ago, 2 hours of photography with Swopes Mountain Photography cost me $800. I didn’t flinch at the cost. Yet, at the time, I still didn’t realize how much I loved photography but looking back–that should have been significant. We invited 3 friends to accompany us out west to witness getting married. Though I don’t have too many regrets, I will always miss the family photographs and one other major part of the day. The father-daughter dance I never had. Always thought my dad hung the moon and am still always amazed at the new things I learn about him when we are together. There’s no going back to the missed opportunity to share the moment of walking down the aisle with him. And when you see me getting choked up at weddings during that dance–it’s a combination of myself as an emotional sap and my own choices in the past. And one day in January I was stalking one of my favorite photographers (Jon Mold Photography) and saw some of his photographs taken in Arizona. I emailed Jon and we went back and forth over details of his trip and my husband said “you should go.” Texted my dad and asked if he wanted to without ever imagining he’d reply “yes.” and 2 weeks later we were on an airplane.

We drove 4 hours from Phoenix to Grand Canyon and stayed the night at El Tovar. Woke up before the sun and 5 feet away from our hotel room was the Grand Canyon. It was really nice. Looked like rain but turned to snow. The GC is so large, though, parts were being snowed upon and others had rays of sun. It was my second time there but something I knew my dad would appreciate. And he did. From Grand Canyon we headed to Page and stayed along Lake Powell. Dad knew more about the man-made lake than I did–I was there for Antelope Canyon. We made an attempt at finding Monument Valley but wound up in Utah. Things (road signs) work a lot differently out there. And GPS isn’t always an option. The next day we toured the canyon, I met other talented photographers from around the world, and after that we headed to Horseshoe Bend. I won’t pretend I didn’t fear for my life–no railings and 1000-ft drop (no idea if that’s the right number–but it was insane). I didn’t even get near the edge. Jon’s photos are amazing and I have a new respect for the length he takes to get things right.

We headed back to Phoenix. I’d like to thank Expedia for allowing us to stay in such a fancy shmancy place for so little. We were told Nancy and Ronald honeymooned at our hotel and I felt a little out of place in hiking boots and jeans, but we survived. Headed home on day 4.

I’m so glad Dad said yes to the trip. Hopefully we get another chance to see some northern lights some day… or a volcano. My next trip is to Big Sur to photograph a wedding and I’m beyond excited.

Hope your 2014 has gotten off to a great start too!