photographer

Joshua and Aubrey - Hatcher Pass Engagement and Wedding Portraits

Traveling the Denali Highway - Anchorage Family Photographer

Sometimes we forget what a beautiful place we live in, and that we need to get out and explore Alaska. So, this week we decided to pack up, drive to Denali, and then camp and drive home along the gravel Denali Hwy. This July has been a wet one, but we lucked out and only had a few rain showers. The mosquitoes are everywhere we go, and at times the kids didn’t want to get out of the car because of the hoard of mosquitoes surrounding us.

Before we left on the trip I decided I didn’t want to take anything that created dishes to wash. We ate instant oatmeal, freeze dried food, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was the most low stress camping trip I’ve ever had, and I think it’s because of this.

We didn’t get to bed until midnight most nights, because we wanted to watch the beautiful sunset. We were hoping to see some bears, but found lots of rabbits, ptarmigan, moose, and pica.

We searched for an abandoned gold mine, but just ended up driving 8 miles into the middle of nowhere. There was fun to be had gold panning, hiking, off roading, rock-hounding, lots of driving, and just had a blast.

We were warned that the Denali Hwy was really rough. But, I have to say that it’s a really well maintained gravel road with amazing views. We plan on heading back this fall.

In Home Lifestyle Photography - Anchorage, Palmer, Newborn Photographer

I loved photographing this family and their beautiful little daughters! An in home session is perfect for families with small children, they are more comfortable in their own surroundings. If they get hungry, there is food right there, and they never get bored. Next time you are considering a session, consider your home!

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Megan + Peter Wedding - Anchorage, Wasilla, Palmer Wedding Photographer

Here are the images of their wedding that took place in Wasilla, Alaska! It was a rainy day, but it created some absolutely gorgeous images. I love couples that aren’t afraid to get out in the rain!

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Spring Senior Portraits - Palmer, Anchorage, Wasilla Senior Photography

Time is coming up to schedule your spring senior portraits! If you love flowers like I do, you don’t want to let this chance go. Every year I get seniors in December or January who are scrambling to get their pictures done before the due date. Let me tell you what I want every parent and senior out there to know….don’t put it off for winter. I kid you not when I say I shot a session at 4 degrees! It’s too cold. The photos were still beautiful, but it is hard for the senior, and for me to take the photos. The clothing they can wear is so much cuter in the spring, summer, or fall.

Here is one of my favorite senior sessions! Look at those flowers, they don’t last long in Alaska.

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Moms Rock! - Palmer, Wasilla, Anchorage Lifestyle Photographer

Mothers do so much for their families! It needs to be celebrated and documented for them. Mothers day is coming up, so don’t put off putting mom first and scheduling a session for her. The longer I take photos, the more I realize that having images and prints of your family is priceless. We’re only getting older, so don’t let this time get away! These sessions can take place in your home, on location with a beautiful Alaska backdrop, and for smaller families in my home studio.

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Summer in Alaska - Palmer + Anchorage Family Photography

I live for summer in Alaska! Minus the mosquitoes! It’s warm, but not so warm that you don’t want to go outside. I love how temperamental the weather here in Palmer is. One minute it’s sunny and beautiful, the next you are having a rain shower. The clouds here have to be one of my favorite things ever. I wouldn’t change living here in the summer for anything, the winters are a different story!

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Why I Love This Photo | Anchorage Family Photography

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When you stand on the glacier the blue extends for miles. As you walk you feel the crackling of the ice under your feet, and the cold air brush against your face. Suddenly you’re hit with a sense of how small you really are. But even though you realize how small you are, you also realize the love that this mother and daughter have for each other is more than words can describe.

Why I Love This Day In The Life Image | Palmer, Alaska Family Photography

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You can just feel how close the Reindeer have come, can almost feel their breath on your face as they nuzzle close for food. For some people, this might be uncomfortable, but for this mother and daughter, this is magic.

Choose Your Own Adventure...Palmer, Anchorage, Alaska Family Photography

When you were a child did you ever read those “Choose your own Adventure” books? I did, and I loved them. I would even read the books a couple of times, just because I wanted to see what different endings, or stories I would get. I love to relate these books to my photography. I offer two types of sessions for families. Portrait sessions, and In The Life…Home Sweet Chaos Sessions. Let me break down the differences for you, so that you can choose your own adventure.

First off, let me be clear that I enjoy both types of sessions. I find them both equally important, but they both serve different purposes for families.

Portrait Sessions: are you and your family at your best. This is an opportunity to capture emotions you feel for your family. Such as joy, affection, connection. You are proud to show off your family, and the images. They are beautiful, and are often something you hang on your wall, have printed in an album, and send out as Christmas cards. During portrait sessions you are directed to the best light, and given direction on posing for the most beautiful images. If you have more questions about my portrait sessions visit my F.A.Q.

Jakeman Family During their Portrait Session

Jakeman Family During their Portrait Session

But that is really half of the picture. It’s a small slide of who you are as a family. That is why I also offer and recommend In The Life…Home Sweet Chaos Sessions.

In The Life…Home Sweet Chaos Sessions: show a wide range of emotions. Everything from happiness when your toddler runs through the sprinkler, tenderness when you touch your baby’s face. Sadness when your child is throwing a tantrum, humor and what your toddler is doing, and exhaustion from parenting all day. During these sessions I document rather than direct. I capture the activities that your family enjoys doing together. Little things such as making breakfast, washing the baby, going for a walk, spending the day at the fair. The little things that families do every day to grow closer together. 30 years down the road it is these images and moments that you will want to remember…because they are real, natural, organic, unposed moments. They are who you really are as a family. When you are a parent it is important to have images of you with your children. It’s impossible to photograph these moments yourself. Your job is to be in the moment. My job is to make sure you remember every breath. If you want to learn more about these sessions visit my F.A.Q.

Jakeman Family During their Home Sweet Chaos Session

Jakeman Family During their Home Sweet Chaos Session

Why I Love This Storytelling Image | Palmer, Alaska Family Photographer

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Parenting can be exhausting. We can spend the whole day thinking we didn’t experience anything but mundane everyday activities. What you don’t see is that they are really beautiful twinkles of love that are sprinkled throughout your day.

Alaska Peony Farmers - Anchorage, Palmer, Alaska Commercial Photographer

I had the opportunity to photograph these hardworking, Alaskan business owners! We originally photographed them this spring because they needed an image for marketing, but they really wanted to have an image with the flowers that they are farming. This is a 4 generation photo which makes it even more priceless. Alaska Peonies are the best! So get out there and buy some while they are available. Not only will your day be brightened, but you will be supporting local Alaskan business owners. 

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Lilacs in Bloom - Anchorage, Alaska Child Photographer

Lilac season in Anchorage and Alaska doesn't last long! So I try to take advantage of them when they are blooming. I offer portrait sessions for children, tweens, senior portraits, and women of all ages. I provide my clients with high quality, fine art prints, albums, and wall art. Don't miss out! Email me at info@christalhoughtelling.com or call 907-982-5409 to set up a session. 

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Sophia - Palmer and Anchorage, Alaska Fine Art Child Photographer

As a fine art child photographer in Anchorage and Palmer I have a lot of options to include flowers in the summer time. I have wildflowers, Lilacs, Lupine, Fireweed, Dandilions, Wild Roses. Including floral crowns into a portrait really makes my heart sing. They bring a touch of femininity to an image that I really love. So if you love flowers as well, please contact me about a floral portrait session. I photograph women of all ages, you are never too young or too old! 

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Selena Hatchers Pass Senior Portraits - Palmer, Anchorage, Senior Photography

I love photographing and creating senior portraits in Hatchers Pass. Every summer when it warms up, and opens I take my family up there to explore. The raw, natural beauty takes my breath away. I love combining the natural beauty around my subjects along with the natural beauty of my clients. Being able to photograph children, tweens, and senior girls in a natural beautiful way that isn't too posed is something that I love to do. When I get to hand my clients the actual prints printed on fine art, archival paper, I know my job is done. They have a fine art piece that they can hang on their wall and show their children years from now. 

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With teens and social media, they are often craving the "likes". But I remind them that this images isn't just for "likes" it's an heirloom. So 30 years from now they will see their image and realize what a beautiful person they were, and are. I strongly believe that women should have professional images done their whole life. Take a look at Selena's images, and feel free to contact me at info@christalhoughtelling.com to schedule a session.

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Tips on how to Photograph the Northern Lights - Anchorage, Alaska Family Photographer

On Christmas night I stood next to my car in -40 degree temperatures outside of Denali National Park trying to capture the perfect photo of the Northern Lights.

Why?

Because photographing the northern lights is addictive, magical, and so much fun. It was also on my bucket list, and it’s probably on yours as well. The dancing lights can be fleeting, so I want to give you some tips on how to get it right the first time.

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Protecting your camera:

Taking your camera in and out of the cold can cause condensation, and so it is very important to properly protect your camera. I place my camera into an extra large airtight ziplock bag. I then place the camera into the camera bag that I have also had out in the cold. The condensation will form on the bag and not on my camera. The reason I place the plastic bag into a cold camera bag is to allow the camera to adjust slowly to temperature changes. Just be sure to let your camera warm up slowly, it can take quite a while.

 

Protecting yourself:

Be prepared for the weather! I live in Alaska and -20 or colder at night is normal. I wear thermal underwear, long sleeved shirts, a heavy winter coat, snow pants, snow boots, gloves, large mittens over my gloves, hat and a face mask. I also use hand warmers in my gloves, and my boots. I like to be warm! Obviously this might be overkill for where you live, so prepare yourself accordingly. DO NOT touch your tripod without gloves in very cold weather. It can be very painful, I know from experience!

 

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Recommended Gear for photographing the Northern Lights

  • Tripod: You will need a tripod for the long exposures that are required.

  • Shutter release: Although this isn’t a requirement, I find that using one helps keep the photo sharp, and free from camera shake.

  • Wide angle lens with a wide aperture: I use a wide angle lens exclusively for my northern light photos.

  • Extra Battery: You will be taking lots of long exposures, and the cold reduces battery life! Be sure to keep an extra battery on hand. I keep mine inside my coat to keep it warm.

Recommended Camera Settings

Your camera settings will vary depending on the brightness of the Aurora, but here are some good starting points.

  • Aperture: Keep your f-stop around 1.4-2.8, or the widest your lens will open up.

  • ISO: Start with an ISO around 1000, and increase or decrease as needed.

  • Shutter Speed: Shutter speeds will also need to vary depending on your desired effect. If the lights are dim try shooting around 1/15-1/25th of a second. If the lights are bright and really dancing, increase your shutter speed to 1/10 of a second or faster to catch the movements.

  • Focus: I set my camera on manual focus, and focus to “infinity”. Then I check and adjust as needed.

The northern lights can be unpredictable, and can change in intensity. You will need to adjust your settings as needed throughout the shoot.

Don’t let the dark winters keep you indoors and away from shooting. Yes, it can be hard to drag yourself out of your cozy bed, but it is worth it! Just don’t forget to stop for a moment and really enjoy what you are seeing. Now get out there and capture some magic!