Starting Fresh

The year after the shutdown… we weren’t sure what to expect. Elopement weddings have been a priority for me for the past 5+ years – but this year even more so. I love my small weddings, intimate ceremonies, and the time with the couples that it affords me. Getting to know them and having more time to photograph with just the couple or a small amount of family and friends. Nothing fancy… just LOVE.

Mindfulness for relaxation

“Consciously aware in the present moment without judgment.”

Self-care is an essential step to overall wellness.  Being consciously aware in the present moment without judging your experience is something that we overlook when we are continuously preparing or reacting.  Our busy lives have conditioned us always to think ahead or be hyper-prepared for action instead of relaxing and just taking in a moment.

Let’s filter out the forecasting and start being mindful of the details that are happening here and now.  Reconnecting with life, by seeking out simplicity and awareness – finding our peace within. Over-thinking it will have you missing the point, as you don’t need to be religious or on a spiritual journey to practice mindfulness.  It’s just focusing on the present, leaving worry about the future or “what ifs” and accepting that there is no right or wrong way to be mindful.

How is mindfulness relaxing?

When you tune out worries and live in the present moment, you are taking out the static and allowing your mind to rest.  It’s not going to fix your anxiety, or change your negative feelings altogether, what it will do is give you a moment to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and happenings of what is happening one moment in time. The continuous bombardment with media and everyday distractions can be debilitating at times, it’s those distractions that can stop you from experiencing very simple joys in life.

Meditation or mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a form of meditation.  The most significant difference is mindfulness is taking a moment and redirecting your focus to what is happening right now.  It’s not fighting what is happening, or trying to change the way we feel; instead, it is acceptance of a moment without judgment.  Human nature is we want to change things – mindfulness is allowing you to let things be as they are and accepting that moment.


Once you find that you can practice mindfulness, you will feel liberated and empowered.  It’s not something you master, instead, it’s something you practice. Making mindfulness a habit can be a form of self-care and helps us take control over what we are feeling and how we react.

It’s easier than you think.

Most anyone can develop the skill of mindfulness and find an inner sense of calm. Making a habit of this can increase confidence, self-esteem and even contribute to compassion for people around us – and for ourselves.  We are so often worried about tomorrow, or dwelling on the past. Practicing mindfulness can make us more aware of others and how they feel – fostering empathy and empowering us to help those around us.

Where to start?

Find a quiet place and close your eyes.   Try starting by grounding yourself; this helps when you need to calm yourself and relax.

  1. 5 things you can see
  2. 4 things you can feel
  3. 3 things that you can hear
  4. 2 things you can smell
  5. 1 thing you can taste

The easiest way to follow through is to put it on your schedule and make it a habit.  Take a few minutes each day to ground yourself to a calm and relaxed baseline.





Laufskálavarða is a lava ridge, surrounded by stone cairns, between the Hólmsá and Skálmá Rivers, close to the road north of Álftaver. Travelers crossing the desert of Mýrdalssandur for the first time would pile stones up to make a cairn, which was supposed to bring them good fortune on their journey through this dangerous area.

Over time there were less stones available for travelers, so now the Icelandic Road Administration sees that there is always a good supply of rocks so that first time travelers can build their own small cairn for luck.  A word of advice though…. you may see other cairns along your travels; however,  Laufskálavarða is THE ONLY place where it is allowed to create a stone pile –  it is forbidden to create stone piles in all other places in Iceland.

You’ll find information on a sign there and what makes the area so dangerous when Katla erupts!

Wedding WOW me please.

Here ya go. I’ve been photographing weddings professionally since 1989… yeah – that’s right – 27 years. Yes… I am that old… and yes I started with medium and large format cameras (the stone age). So… after 900+ weddings – I can pretty much say I’ve seen it all. I’ve photographed in 40 states and 6 countries… from weddings with 500+ attending, to a Grateful Dead wedding a mile back in the woods in a field… goth weddings… balloon weddings… I don’t even know where to start.
I NEED SOMETHING CRAZY FUN. It can be an elopement or big wedding. I’m offering 50% off any one of my packages to the first wedding couple that can WOW me with the wedding they have planned.  Please e-mail my right hand Jenny at and I need a theme, a plan, your wedding date, your wedding location, how you met or your story, and why your wedding is going to be something I’ve never seen before. 
ENTRIES must be received before November 1st, 2016.  I MUST have your wedding date available to qualify.Jeanine Thurston_RR3

Forever seeking to be heard.

For a brief time that I remember – my mother truly escaped herself & the confines of her mind and the limitations that it imposed on her being – this was many years ago. It’s when that freedom ended again that I had decided that I needed to explore and to be free and never be trapped by my own mind and the fear of all the limitations that life, other peoples opinions, and this false set of rules that age builds like a massive wall – like a prison.

My mother struggled with depression and anxiety, and the drugs that she was told kept her feelings normal.  When she died of cancer this past year – I haven’t wanted to really talk about it – because cancer wasn’t the thing that I felt killed her.  I went to one of her oncology appointments after she was diagnosed.   The day before this appointment we had a very long talk about what she wanted… she had already been through some chemo at this point with no results.  Yet we sat there with the doctor to discuss her options going forward.  As the doctor was talking, her eyes glassed over as I could see her giving up and going back into whatever everyone else wants.  The Doctor stopped talking and my mother clearly said she did NOT want any more chemo.   See – the chemo that they were trying was not proven in any way to help my mom’s type of cancer but the Doctor said we should still try it.  But as she spoke those words I do NOT want any more chemo… nobody in that room heard her except for me.  They may have heard her words, but they quickly dismissed them as un-true or not valid.  The Doctor immediately pipped up saying that by not continuing to at least try with chemo it was like she was committing suicide.

MY HEART STOPPED WHEN I HEARD THOSE WORDS OUT OF THE DOCTORS MOUTH…. and I was screaming the top of my lungs from the inside that he had no right to say that and this was NOT anything like suicide… all that I muttered out was “I don’t agree with that statement at all” and then I squeezed my mom’s hand and told her “that isn’t true, and you make your own choice”.  It was the most unprofessional thing I have ever heard and I will hear his voice ringing in my head for the rest of my life.  He played the bully.  He did not know her, and did not understand that she did have an opinion and a reason for her opinion – and that everyone has a right to choose for themselves.  He pushed off her feelings of not wanting to continue with chemo as her depression talking.  I don’t care how many cancer patients he has been through – he not ONCE asked her why she felt that way or tried to consider her feelings or understand that what she wanted actually had thought and purpose behind them.  He boasted that “if it worked” instead of 3-6 months to live she could live 6 months -5 years longer.

STOP. But at what cost?  Why wasn’t this part of the conversation? Why was everyone pushing off her feelings as invalid? Because she suffered from depression?

My mother describing her cancer to me is one of the most grueling horror stories I’ve ever seen.  But… it wasn’t much different than what I pictured when she talked about her depression.  She spoke to me about this dark hand that was reaching up from inside her and crushing all of her organs so much so that she couldn’t speak and nobody could see this or hear her screaming for relief.  Her voice didn’t matter – all that mattered is she needed to make as many people happy as possible.  Her pain didn’t matter.  Her voice didn’t matter.  Her thoughts didn’t matter.

She talked about her death like this all my life – she even had told me how old she was going to be when she died – and she was right.  The last two months of her life were miserable, she wasn’t eating well, she wasn’t sleeping well… and all she said was I do NOT want any more chemo.  She continued with the chemo because her Doctor and others said she had to at least try once more.  She died 2 months after our meeting with her Doctor (with the additional chemo treatment).

I know this will be very disturbing to people and will be upsetting to others.  My point in sharing is we need to become better listeners… and not just to a persons choice or reply – but to understand what is bringing another person to their choices.  Not just for major things like  life and death decisions – but LIVING decisions.  We don’t all have to agree, and we don’t all have the answers – but listening to understand means that you value that person.  Valuing their methods or madness to any decision affords that person value in themselves.

My mom was a strong woman that had many hard life situations to deal with from a very young age.  MY MOM WAS AN ARTIST, A THOUGHT FILLED WOMAN, A SURVIVOR, A LISTENER…. she was just finally broken because she had to be strong for too long.  She has given me strength to make life decisions that are best for me, and the strength to know that falling down means nothing if you get back up.  I will forever be a  seeker – and spend my time enjoying the journey instead of focusing on an end.   ~love you mom


Artist: Sandra Cragin                                                                   Title: Listening



Who would ever want a wedding here?

Seriously… your wedding day is suppose to be a fairytale.

Why in the world would you ever choose a location that would have no cover for you and your guest.  Where is it likely to be 95 degrees and sweltering heat on rocks, a torrential downpour of rain, or gusting winds. After all… you spent so much time picking a dress and fixing your hair and makeup – it seems silly to risk it all for your wedding day.

Then… you see this.

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And this…

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Suck it up cinderella and bring umbrellas, bring sunblock, sunglasses, put on hiking boots or at least sandals that can trek on rocks – and let go of what you might have been thinking for the perfect wedding day, because this my friends is as close to perfection as you’ll ever get for a wedding view.  When you and your guests stop for a moment and see this for the first time it simply takes your breath away.  Be grateful – because not everyone can pause and look around on a wedding day and think – holy %##! this is amazing… on top of being happy for the wedding couple.

Happiest of marriages to Haley & George – they waited out the storm for an idyllic setting for their vows.  With an intimate wedding with their family & closest friends surrounded by geological upheaval that dates to at least 1330 BC at best records when people first visited.  Garden of the Gods  (GOG) is one of the most beautiful places on this planet… so it is worth every possible inconvenience to have a marriage start here!


“May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently thorugh the world and know it’s beauty all the days of your life.”

― Apache Blessing




Planner: Custom Weddings of Colorado

Officiant: Edwin Ward (720)300-4492

Dinner: Briarhurst Manor contact – Janice Montoya

Florist: Pink Posey Design

Baker: La Patisserie Francaise

Overnight Accommodations: The Mining Exchange (719)323-2000


Fall Family Days

Are you thinking about Fall yet? How could you be, after all just yesterday was….


Well we are thinking about Fall! Specifically Fall Family Days!! There will only be 8 sessions available this year so act fast! Sessions will be 45 minutes for $75.00. You will also have the availability to purchase the digital file package at 50% off within 30 days of your portrait album going live for viewing.

Here are the dates!

Fall Family Day Chautauqua Park will be held on October 15th

Fall Family Day Cheesemen Park will be held on November 6th

Please email Jenny at to check availability and reserve a session.

We look forward to seeing you this Fall!



Moving Outdoors…

As you may have read reacently we are going to be moving out of our studio! So you may be wondering where we plan on hosting portrait sessions….

Here are just a few…

The Denver Botanical Gardens


Chatfield Gardens



Daniel’s Park

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McKay Lake


Central Park (in Broomfield… not New York City!)

Evergreen Lake

Rocky Mountain National Park

Waneka Lake


The Woods!!!!

 Where is your favorite outdoor spot? We love to hear about it, see it and photograph you there!  Please share with us where you like to get back to nature; we are always scouting for new locations!We are so excited to get outside with you in our beautiful Colorado!

Please contact us at to get your portrait session scheduled.


Andrea & Devan – RMNP Wedding


Rocky Mountain National Park is fast becoming my favorite location for a rogue wedding.  Elopement with just a few of your closest friends and family by your side – it is picture perfect – and I was so happy that the skies opened up for us this weekend.  The day prior was blistery cold and raining – I woke up to snow falling in Estes Park – and yet we had beautiful clouds with patches of blue sky for the ceremony time!

We followed the ceremony with dinner atNicky’s Steakhouse!  Thanks to Custom Weddings of Colorado for orchestrating everything to go perfectly as planned! Pink Posey – Buffy is AMAZING with the wedding bouquets!!!