Photograph Story

Expiring Flower | Photograph Story

Expiring Flower | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Flowers during late fall and winter months are always quite intriguing. As much as I love the surprise late and early blooms, the expiring, nearly colorless leftover flowers are my favorite.

While walking by a patch of dead grass and flower bed that had seen better days, this bloom grabbed all my attention. The brown colors, crisp petals and fine details are fantastic. And to be honest, I struggled to remember what this beauty looked like during prime time.

It's always easy to stay inside during cold months. Each year I challenge myself to throw on a jacket, boots and head outside to see what may be waiting. Brown and nearly expired beauty tends to be around every corner.

Fall Textures | Photograph Story

Fall Textures | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Fall regularly comes to a close before I am ready to embrace winter.

Walks outside become a common practice, craving breaks from my desk and the feeling of lovely temperatures. And, of course, the sight of colorful leaves.

Last year I popped into the backyard to see what the leaves were up to. This solo, tiny, yellow leaf was resting on a large tree stump. I was instantly attracted to all the textures and earth tones.

The combination of swirls on the tree trunk, faint lines on the leaf and mixture of browns with a pop of yellow was hard to resist.

I noticed the tiny leaf had moved on from the trunk when venturing out the next day. I learned long ago to always head outside. Fleeting beauty constantly awaits.

Pole Tree | Photograph Story

Pole Tree | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Photograph stories have returned :)

Thanksgiving leftovers last for days around here. Last year, the temperatures rose a bit, providing a beautiful afternoon and evening for a hometown stroll. My mom and I decided to stretch our legs and full bellies after festivities slowed down at the house.

This small tree, growing along a telephone pole, is a constant reminder of the changing seasons. Newly bare as fall began to shift to winter and the days became shorter, with sunsets kicking off in the afternoon hours.

The open fields with golden fall colors are always beautiful. Most evenings deer may be seen grazing or running after one another. And the hawks are always swooping down for a meal.

I trust we will grab our sneakers in the coming days and walk along this road, seeing the little pole tree looking bare and lovely, ready for winter to arrive.

Incoming Desert Snow | Photograph Story

Incoming Desert Snow | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Oh how I LOVE snow in the desert.

On the afternoon of New Year's Eve, my sister and I decided to drive up Mount Lemmon. Snow began to appear at the summit and the winding road was suggesting a retreat back to lower elevation :)

We made our way to Saguaro National Park and perfectly timed seeing the snow storm swiftly move across the mountains.

All the golden brown was covered with fresh white goodness. The saguaros had a thin layer of snow and ice. We danced a little in the big snowflakes. And then a rainbow appeared.

Such a special, fun and stunning moment in the desert. Sharing this rare occurrence with my sister made it all more exciting!

Pinehurst Fog | Photograph Story

Pinehurst Fog | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Once upon a time, I lived in Pinehurst, North Carolina. While living among the golf courses, I had the pleasure of meeting so many great people and still call many dear friends today.

After photographing a lifestyle session on a cool, foggy morning, I decided to switch lenses and capture a few landscape photographs.

I am *mildly* obsessed with fog and fall.

This morning was a lovely combination of both. The pops or orange and red in the trees with the misty fog moving between the branches was absolutely beautiful.

Having a photograph from an old home, with nature elements I love, makes my heart happy :)

Childhood Forest | Photograph Story

Childhood Forest | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography This childhood forest belongs to my mother. And I absolutely LOVED taking her back last year for a hike and reminiscing. She recalled the trees being a bit bigger when she was a girl :)

Cook Forest State Park was my pappy's choice for exploring with my mom and aunt when they were little girls. While walking through the forest, we decided my love of photography, nature and adventure comes from him. He was a great man and I love knowing we share so many passions, even if most of mine were realized after he was gone.

Capturing this photograph was relatively simple. It's a handheld shot from the hike we were enjoying toward the end of the day. My mom was looking up with a smile on her face and I was happy to be sharing the moment.

We are already chatting about a return visit this fall.

Frozen Leaves | Photograph Story

Frozen Leaves | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Sometimes, when it's below zero, I like to bundle up and venture into the brisk outdoors. Seeing what I may find, or what may find me.

Stepping outside onto the frozen grass filled the quiet yard with loud crunching noises. Each step reminded me of breaking glass beneath my boots.

I turned around the front corner of the house and saw frozen leaves suspended from a bush and began to smile. The entire branch and all the leaves were encased in ice. So beautiful.

After capturing a few photographs I continued on my backyard exploration. A few other sights caught my eye, but none were quite as intriguing as these lovely leaves.

Two winters in, after living in lovely Arizona, and people keep saying the upcoming winter is going to be even worse than the last. I may have more frozen leaves to photograph in the near future :)

Flower Bee | Photograph Story

Flower Bee | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography This photograph comes from one of my favorite places in Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was visited monthly, if not more often, while calling Arizona home. Saying I'm excited to stop by in October is an understatement :)

During my final visit, just two weeks before moving to Maryland, I came across these pastel, delicate flowers, humming with bees. A lovely photograph opportunity, if you ask me.

Bees require a bit of patience. They are swift and rarely interested in being models. Instead of chasing bees around the flowers, I decided to lock in on this particular bunch of goodness and waited for a bee to briefly stop by. One appeased me, for a few seconds, and I captured this photograph.

This was long before my macro lens joined the gear bag. Instead, a telephoto lens was used showing a bit more of the flower scene.

I quickly retreated to enjoy the rest of my stroll in the desert, and celebrated another non-bee sting moment surrounded by flowers.

White Horse | Photograph Story

White Horse | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography While living in Arizona, most errand trips resulted in me pulled over on the side of the road capturing photographs.

Old Spanish Trail was always my preferred road choice when driving back to Vail, from Tucson. Less traffic, close mountain views, guaranteed wildlife sightings, saguaro cactus goodness and a few ranches filled with horses were just a few of the highlights :)

This white horse always stood out in the desert landscape. Most days, the horses were far from the road trotting through the field. A beautiful and distant sight.

While cruising home one evening I noticed the horses were only about ten feet from the fence. And I was EXCITED.

After making a few u-turns, I made my way back to their location and parked my car. The horses came right to the fence and indulged me while capturing their portraits. Friendly and beautiful.

When I return to Arizona this fall, a drive down Old Spanish Trail is a must. I'm looking forward to the familiar views and seeing if these beauties are still roaming.

Sunlit Creosote | Photograph Story

Sunlit Creosote | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Oh how I LOVE light during the magic hours of the day. This capture comes from the end of the day in Saguaro National Park, Arizona.

So much goodness.

Evening drives have been part of my life since the age of seventeen. Well, with me behind the wheel :) I trust there were glorious drives sooner.

My heart and mind are always happy while out for a drive, whether cruising through open farm land with the windows down, along a coastal road or inside a national park.

Evening drives in Arizona happened almost nightly. I was so eager to explore and there was a national park just a handful of miles down the road.

The creosote bushes were just starting to bloom and this one caught my eye a little way down a dirt trail. The sun was just about done for the day, so I grabbed a headlamp for my walk back to the car.

Although the creosote was stunning the entire time I was on the trail, this moment was my favorite. The beams of light were softly pouring over the horizon line, giving the branches and blooms a gentle glow.

Looking at this photograph makes me want to be outside for the golden hours, every single day, taking in nature's goodness :)

Deck Squirrel | Photograph Story

Deck Squirrel | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography When I first moved back to Maryland, from Arizona, my heart was quite heavy. Arizona and the western side of the country was my happy place and I never planned to call my hometown home again.

Being close to family and the people who love me most in this great world trumped everything at the time. As I type this today, my heart and mind are in complete agreement, returning to Maryland for a few years was the best decision to make.

After moving in and setting up shop, the first noticeable difference on a daily basis was the view from my desk. There were no mountains. There were many more trees and the color green was vibrant. But I still missed the mountains.

And then one day this healthy squirrel came along. Playing on the deck, locking eyes with me from time to time, having a grand time in his simple play area. Another day rolled in and during the early afternoon my squirrel neighbor returned again. For months, he kept showing up providing a bit of entertainment each day.

It's been just over two years since moving to Maryland and my squirrel friend still stops by from time to time, placing a big smile on my face.

I still miss the mountains and definitely plan to return to the other side of the country. In the meantime, falling back in love with the first place I ever called home has been a lovely adventure.

Sunset Lookout | Photograph Story

Sunset Lookout | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography While living in Arizona, driving up Mount Lemmon for pie and sunsets was one of my favorite local trips. Perfect for a Sunday :)

This photograph was captured during one of my final Mount Lemmon trips, before moving across the country to Maryland.

Naturally, the day began with hiking and pie. While driving back down the mountain, I stopped at Windy Point Vista to take in sunset. Always a fantastic spot to watch the clouds roll in, changing stunning colors along the way.

Just as the sun made its final dip behind a large cloud, this hiker walked onto a large rock and paused to take in the view. His placement was perfect in the frame of my camera and I loved how his body was leaning with the clouds above.

Four more months and I will find myself on Mount Lemmon again. I trust it will be a wonderful reunion :)

Inside a Flower | Photograph Story

Inside a Flower | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Friends frequently ask for my list of favorites when it comes to photography subjects.

My answer is twofold.

One: Traveling is a HUGE passion and every landscape, animal, city and moment captured along the way is both special and exciting. All live at the top of my list.

Two: Sitting inside a flower with a macro lens is my go to goodness. The tiny details, magnified before my eyes, is a bit of a love affair for me. And where I spend most of my non travel days.

If flowers are in bloom, there's a good chance you will find me, my camera and a macro lens perched in the grass/garden/field/anywhere flowers exist :)

Oddly, my first macro lens was purchased in late 2014. A game changer, for sure, but one that took a bit of time to come along. Before the 105 mm lens entered my gear kit, most of my macro photography was accomplished using an Olloclip (photograph above) on my iPhone or through a zoom lens, trying to get as close as possible with steady hands.

This photograph, Inside a Flower, makes me giggle. When asked where I'm headed for the morning, when blooms are all around, my answer is usually "I'll be inside a flower today" :)

Piping Plover | Photograph Story

Piping Plover | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography These little birds make me laugh out loud. I have seen piping plovers on Long Island, Assateague Island and Plum Island. This photograph comes from the latter.

Here's a normal viewing moment of piping plovers at the beach:

| To start, these little guys would fit in the palm of your hand, for the most part. And the babies are even smaller. Bask in that cuteness for a moment :)

| Piping plover spots me and slowly runs away or around me, weaving all over and nearly tripping over items on the beach.

| A few moments later, they remember the ocean is crashing in every few seconds. They run dangerously close to the crashing waves, stand patiently and then run away like maniacs after nearly being swept out to sea.

| Repeat over and over again, until I leave the beach.

They are hysterical and beautiful little birds. I honestly can not get enough of them and may be stopping at Plum Island again this weekend :)

C&O Canal | Photograph Story

C&O Canal | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Let me start by saying how thankful I am to live so close to the C&O Canal. I need to spend more evenings and mornings walking along these waterways close to home.

After driving home from my annual family reunion in Pennsylvania, my mom and I were feeling the need to stretch our legs. We usually go for a 2.5 to 3 mile walk around town each evening. In an attempt to spice things up a bit, we made our way to the C&O Canal entrance at Great Falls, in Maryland.

The trail was relatively quiet for a Sunday evening. And the weather was quite delightful for late July. We strolled along for three to four miles, enjoying each great blue heron sighting along the way.

As the sun began to cast golden light, we came across this lock. I loved the way the sun lit the trees and cast shadows around the building. This capture comes from my handy iPhone 4s.

The more I look at this photograph, the more I crave an evening walk along the C&O Canal.