It’s the end of July and I think I’ve spent more days in my bathing suit than in regular clothes 🙂 So you know it was a great month – and my birthday month on top of that!
Over 4th of July Weekend we did our #AdventuresofAndyandEddie in the North Conway & Bartlett area of New Hampshire.
Follow along here @_steph_stevens for all the iPhone snaps and silly videos I didn’t get with my “nice camera”
This one above is probably my favorite picture of the trip. We were headed back to the car and on their own they veer into this wildflower field and start running around.
When I’m out with my kids I’m usually not trying to make it a “photoshoot”. I simply want to document pretty, funny, goofy, memories on a camera like any parent wants to. I just have better tools, a decent eye and good editing to preserve them better than most with more simple means.
I do not knock simple tools!! By far most of the adventures we head out on I’m just using the iPhone that’s tucked into my bra strap (is that just me?). But when it comes to certain special days I sling a DSLR on my shoulder and know that I can elevate my snapshots.
For this trip I only brought the one Canon 5D Mark IV and 50mm f1.2
And darn it, I realized that the 35mm f1.4 probably would have been better in some cases, but what I like is heading out the door with one option and a “make it work” attitude.
AND sometimes “making it work” is just the iPhone that goes everywhere with me.
New Hampshire Farm Museum / Potty Break
I didn’t intend to pull off the highway to run around with chickens, but when you need a bathroom – you find one QUICK. Right off of Rt 16 in Milton, NH all we needed was a place to pee. The Museum was closed but there was a port-a-potty we were welcomed to use. We got some time to stretch our legs, have a snack and I realized I should start snapping the first of our vacation photos.
The thing about having a pro camera on hand is I’m happiest photographing them running. I know I can freeze the moment, capture the energy without having to stop for a pose…..
That being said I routinely ask for it on the off chance I can effortlessly get four eye balls and two smiles going in the same direction. Like most parents – nope.
So I’d rather capture them moving, playing, interacting.
Air BnB at Attitash Mountain Resort
Day one wasn’t an ideal day to get typical “photoshoot” quality portraits. Sweaty heads, dirty faces, mismatched t-shirts, but good moments happen despite that.
Andy was very proud to climb this faux boulder at the playground.
My Mom reminded me that we should visit the outdoor play structure at the AMC Highland Center. With a quick drive down Rt 302 we got there with enough time to play before sunset.
Still sweaty and getting more drenched by the moment I took them to a place I haven’t been since before they were born. It’s a perfect jumping off spot for big Presidential Mountain Range hikes, but those will have to be another year for A&E.
We came for this big tree fort playground thing with a rope bridge.
And, yes, it’s open to those not staying at the lodge, but having stayed there before I can tell you it’s great and serves an awesome meal to hungry hikers.
I love observing them as they play. Of course, when I have my camera I’m snapping photos as I’m observing, but largely just letting them go where their playing takes them.
Between the two of them, I often hear “We gotta get to work”. Here they are building, always building.
Again we took a moment for a brother shot. In my opinion the one above, not looking at the camera is better than our quick attempts at looking at the camera.
Pro tip: I don’t say cheese. Just a personal choice. I call their name, ask them to look at me and snap whatever they give me. I will ask them to hug and sometimes they’ll do it on their own, but that’s always, always, always the better shot. I try to make the whole thing quick. I don’t want them to dislike the experience (that might happen though, right?).
OMG! The sweat!!
And a snickers treat for being so good and playing so hard.
We were definitely heading back to the car and they turned right into the wildflower field.
Why didn’t I think of that???
Good idea guys!
I wasn’t trying to treat them like I would a portrait client, but if they’re going to wander into pretty spaces, I’d be a fool not to snap a few photos.
Pro editing tip:
I purposely under exposed the shot above so I wouldn’t blow out the delicate sunset detail in the sky and knew that the RAW image file would have enough detail in the shadows to bring out the details in A&E, the field, flowers. So it’s just simple adjustments on the computer to create the finished photo below.
If you ask me what my favorite part of the trip was, it was THIS. But like most of the best things in life, when you’re having too much fun you forget to document it.
I brought along my DSLR but given the crowds, leaving my bag out of sight and not wanting to navigate wet rocks & wet kids with my nice camera I left it tucked away.
So in that case I got some quick snaps and video on my phone 🙂 >>>#AdventuresofAndyandEddie
The parking lot filled up quickly on a HOT HOT HOT July 3rd day but we got a spot in the main lot. $5 cash to park and it’s an easy .6 mile walk on a stroller friendly trail to the waterfalls and pools. Even on a busy day it still felt like there was a lot of space for everyone to spread out. Leave your bag by a tree and hop in. We brought some buckets to catch water with and swimmies for deeper pools. Snacks of course and stepped into the woods away from people for quick pee breaks.
The lone shot I got with my DSLR was at the end when we were fueling up with one last oreo before the .6 mile walk back (no stroller). I was nervous that they were just going to flop from exhaustion or a tantrum but they held up so great!
Of course we had to see Storyland!!! And the strategy is arriving in the afternoon one day and getting to come back the following day for the price of a single admission.
In just an hour we got in a couple rides, which of course included the train for Andy.
Fourth of July!! We went back to Storyland and me without my DSLR to save myself from carrying it. Sometimes I just know that my phone is the right tool for the job. You can see it here @_steph_stevens
Top on our vacation list was going on a train! But going on a train, on the 4th of July, on a SUPER HOT day apparently isn’t on other people’s list of things to do. We basically had the train to ourselves and got extra attention from the conductor for photo ops.
I continue to learn what I want as mom and what I want as a photographer when I photograph my boys. Sure, I’ll take the stop and look at the camera shot but it’s never my favorite.
I want these shots. Andy excited to watch out the window as we chug down the tracks. Talk to the people operating the train.
We took the Valley Train which is the best one for an hour train ride, ideal for children. We got the first class seats. They’re the wicker ones that give each person a window view. We got invited to sit on the back of the train too…. although it was a little loud with the train whistles.
North Conway Fireworks
The Train station is right in the center of town and that’s also where people gather for fireworks in North Conway. There’s a large playground and splash pad that we enjoyed for the hours we had to wait till the 9:30 fireworks. I packed lots of food, a blanket and a charged ipad with episodes of Paw Patrol. After sunset but before fireworks we made some friends that joined us to chill out and watch Paw Patrol. After such a long day, staying up so late, they needed a little space to relax.
Our new friends also shared their glow sticks!
I was so excited for them to see fireworks for the first time. I told them they could cover their ears if they wanted to and Andy thought he was suppose to cover his ears. So I snapped this selfie in the first minute of the show and it didn’t take long for them to love them but I’d put away my camera by then.
Headed back we made a necessary stop to see family friends and their house on Lake Winnipesaukee. We came there for the water but had a nice time playing with guinea pigs and who knew that they liked to swim?
Pro tip: when the interaction is down low, get down to eye level. This shot is more compelling because I’m at eye level with a guinea pig & Eddie.
….and No we will not be getting any additional pets 🙂
And then a boat ride. Andy LOVED it, but Eddie might be more of a land guy. Similar feelings about the tea cup ride at Storyland: Andy loved going fast and Eddie didn’t so much.
We’ll remember sunglasses next time, bud.
This was my first solo overnight trip with them and I learned that the three of us can do anything and go anywhere and we’ll have the best time.