sunset

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556)

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography My apologies for falling off the travel blog post wagon. Life has been a bit hectic the last few weeks since arriving home. Happily settling back into normalcy :)

Grand Teton National Park is an area I am happy to explore again and again. My third visit was spectacular, filled with stunning light, bears popping up everywhere, elk crossing the Snake River, dramatic clouds, cool temperatures and endless landscape goodness.

My top list of places to explore remains the same. Stop by my first blog post for more details.

Here are my recent favorite captures from this beautiful corner of Wyoming.

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Grand Teton National Park | Travel (111/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Badlands National Park | Travel (99/556)

Badlands National Park | Travel (99/556) | Alaina Ann Photography Over a decade went by between visits to Badlands National Park. I knew my arrival would be greeted with wonder, fresh eyes and amazement. During my first evening and morning in the park, storms were rolling in and out. The dynamic blue sky served as a stunning contrast to the badlands and areas with green grass and vegetation.

There's no way I will wait another ten years before my next visit!

Badlands National Park | Travel (99/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. Badlands Loop Road - driving through the entire park on the loop road is a great way to see diverse badlands, stunning overlooks and enjoy short hikes.
  2. Big Badlands Overlook - my number one spot for sunrise.
  3. Castle Trail - a moderate, 10 mile hike passing through badlands formations.
  4. Saddle Pass - a short, strenuous quarter mile trail climbs up Badlands Wall offering a vantage point above the White River Valley.
  5. Yellow Mounds - the colors in this region are absolutely breathtaking.

Tell me all about your favorite hikes and places to explore, in the comments below!

Badlands National Park | Travel (99/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Badlands National Park | Travel (99/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Badlands National Park | Travel (99/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Badlands National Park | Travel (99/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Badlands National Park | Travel (99/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Badlands National Park | Travel (99/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Lowell National Historical Park | Travel (79/556)

Lowell National Historical Park | Travel (79/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6) While visiting my sister in Massachusetts, we went for an evening stroll through Lowell National Historical Park. The city was filled with character and industrial beauty while walking along the historic waterways and mills.

Certain areas of this city welcome the buddy system, as is the case in many cities as daylight begins to fade.

Lowell National Historical Park | Travel (79/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. Heritage Hike - this one mile hike takes you along the Western Canalway.
  2. Redevelopment Rove - this one mile loop explores the historic mills and canals.
  3. Riverwalk Ramble - a 1.6 mile walk along the Merrimack, with views from above the Great River Wall.
  4. Water Boat Tours - these seasonal 90 minute boat tours provide a closer look at the canal system.
  5. Waterpower Walk - this 1.2 mile walk gives you a close look at the Lowell water system, including lock chambers, gatehouses and dams.

What are some of your favorite spots in Lowell?

Lowell National Historical Park | Travel (79/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Lowell National Historical Park | Travel (79/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

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.

Sedona | Travel

Sedona | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography My visits to Sedona have always been filled with great weather, moody clouds, fantastic hikes and meeting fun people. February in Sedona offered the same goodness and some of the moody clouds were even purple :)

Sedona | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. Bell Rock-Courthouse Butte Slot Trail - a moderate 4.3 mile hike up a slot between Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. One of my personal favorites!
  2. Cathedral Rock Trail - rated as a hard 1.5 mile hike, this steep trek will take you to the saddle of Cathedral Rock.
  3. Chimney Rock Loop - a 2 mile moderate loop around the base of Chimney Rock.
  4. Red Rock Scenic Byway - this 7.5 mile stretch of State Route 179 is a National Scenic Byway, through Coconino National Forest and the beautiful red rocks.
  5. Tlaquepaque - an arts and crafts village in Sedona with numerous shops, places to eat, scenic outdoor spaces and beautiful buildings.

Would love to hear all about your favorite hikes and places to explore in and around Sedona, Arizona in the comments below!

Sedona | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography

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 :)

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 :)

Durango, Colorado | Travel

Durango, Colorado | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography Durango, Colorado is my favorite happy place. One day this mountain town will be called home and these amazing areas will be just outside my doorstep :)

Durango, Colorado | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography

I try to make my way through Durango each year while on my around the country road trip. As you will notice from the posts below, my arrival almost always coincides with peak fall foliage.

Durango, Colorado | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography

Favorite Hikes + Places to Explore
  • U.S. Route 550 - this curvy drive from Durango to Silverton, and even Ouray, is quite spectacular. Each turn offers a new perspective of mountain goodness. And the mountain towns are small yet grand.
  • Hiking - this website is great for finding hikes in and around Durango.
  • Historic Downtown - filled with restaurants, shops and great mountain views.
  • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad - this train ride is fun for all ages, taking you to areas only accessible by backpacking or from the windows of this train.

Durango, Colorado | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography

To take a trip down memory lane, here are links to other Durango blog posts.

Fall in Colorado Durango & Silverton Fall Photo Train Fenced Aspens Passing Train Moody Mountain iPhone Favorites Durango Fall Goodness Durango Ranch Tall Aspens

So... there are just a FEW mentions of Durango on this little website of mine!

What are you favorite hikes and places to explore in Durango, Colorado?

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.

White Sands National Monument | Travel (47/556)

White Sands National Monument | Travel (47/556) | Alaina Ann Photography Sand dunes have a way of taking my breath away. Every single time.

It begins in my car, when they first appear on the horizon. And then my heart begins to pound a bit, as I get closer and their grand size if revealed. Once I step on the sand and begin walking along the ridges, my heart soars. Simply put, sand dunes are incredible.

White Sands National Monument | Travel (47/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Why are they so intriguing?

Perhaps the endless view of goodness. The contrast between sand and mountains. How the sun makes the individual grains of sand glitter. Maybe the ripples, smooth spots and everything in between. Or, more likely, everything about them.

White Sands National Monument | Travel (47/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

White Sands National Monument, in New Mexico, was impressive, as expected. I met tarantulas, crazy looking bugs and enjoyed hours walking across the dunes, watching the sun disappear for the day while the moon rose.

White Sands National Monument | Travel (47/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

It's safe to say I will be going back. Soon.

White Sands National Monument | Travel (47/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Favorite Hikes + Places to Explore
  • Alkali Flat Trail - a 4.6 mile, round-trip, wilderness hike with little vegetation in sight. The trail leads to the Alkali Flat, the dried lakebed of Lake Otero.
  • Amphitheater - evening program area in the dunes.
  • Heart of the Sands - picnic area near the end of Dunes Drive.
  • Interdune Boardwalk - this quick, 650 yard walk takes you to a scenic view on top of a dune.
  • The Dunes Drive - drive eight miles from the visitor center into the heart of the dunes. Allow ample time for stopping to explore on foot.

Tell me all about your favorites spots at White Sands National Monument!

Vail Sunset | Photograph Story

Vail Sunset | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography It was a typical Friday night in Arizona. While chatting on the phone with my youngest sister, catching up on life, we both decided we needed gelato. This happens frequently :)

I set out for Target, the nearest place to get my favorite pint. While driving out of my neighborhood, I peeked in my rear view mirror and saw THIS!

Arizona sunsets are stunning. Hands down, my favorite state to watch the sun disappear each evening.

Naturally, I pulled over and found a safe place to leave my Jetta for a few moments. After capturing a handful of photographs, I went back to my car, sat on the rear bumper and smiled.

The colors kept changing, the clouds swirled around and I was happy to be taking in another beautiful moment.

The gelato was also quite delicious :)

Saguaro Ridge | Photograph Story

Saguaro Ridge | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography While living in Arizona, the sunrise was right in my backyard. Right outside my bedroom window, to be exact. It was lovely.

Sunsets required a little more effort :) Generally a little walk or short drive down the road offered a decent view.

Saguaro East had some great vantage points as well, with the sun dipping below the distant mountains.

One of the best views, however, was a solid 45 minute drive and a short hike on a mountain ridge, just outside Saguaro West. Some evenings I would hike a greater distance to clear the nearby ridge in this photograph, giving me a view of the entire valley below.

The saguaros turning into silhouettes before my eyes, as the sun dipped, was always my favorite view. This ridge and the saguaros that lined the entire mountain, from top to bottom, were always a pleasure to see.

And this sunset view was never lonely. People drove and made the short hike from all over the Tucson area.

Well worth the trip.

Sunset Clouds | Photograph Story

Sunset Clouds | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography There's no question I loved living in Arizona.

One of my favorite evening activities was walking to the edge of my neighborhood, watching the sun dip below the horizon. Some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen were taken in just steps from my front door.

Monsoon sunsets were, naturally, some of my favorites. One evening I stepped outside and saw a burst of orange clouds moving through after a monsoon. Between the huge, puffy clouds, there were wispy smaller clouds, dancing against the bright blue sky.

After photographing the big clouds, I focused on the smaller, whimsical clouds. I love this photograph because when I take a long look, the clouds seem to move a bit, taking me back to the edge of my neighborhood :)