It was time for Hike No. 2, right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near mile marker 401.
Park the Jeep, about to hop out and then we spot a black bear balanced on a very sturdy branch about 10 feet up a tree.
"Ok, we'll just get out and hike the other way."
At the tippy top of the tree was mama bear's cub. About the size of a stuffed animal you'd set on your bed as a kid.
In the photo above, you will see mama bear in the bottom right peeking at me from behind said tree.
This was our sign to steer clear.
After we got our excitement and video-ing out of the way, we drove down the back road to Pisgah National Forest/Davison Campground in Brevard.
Here we found a river made for wading and a secluded, steep hike called Art Loebe.
I highly recommend this area for a hot summer day.
Hike around then wade in and cool off.
Also, never bother mama bears with cubs. Precious cargo worth fighting for.
No. 3 is next.
Yes, being scared of heights doesn't pair well with flying or hiking. But I continue to do both. Repeatedly.
Why? A means to an end. The end, in this case, being the views, the fresh air and our 2015 Hiking Challenge.
This year, we're on a mission. Hike, hike and hike again.
We have decided to challenge ourselves this season (well, Spring through early Winter) to get out there and explore the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.
To get exercise by gradually increasing the difficulty of the hikes each month.
To get out of our comfort zone by trying a new hike each week.
Hike No. 1: Mount Mitchell, the highest peak this side of the Mississippi. The views speak for themselves.
Time your afternoon hike just right and catch the sunset as you drive back down the Blue Ridge Parkway.
A full summer ahead.
Lifestyle photo sessions can seem a bit... vague.
What do I wear? What do I bring? Is there a schedule to this?
First up, create your own goals for the day. Somewhere along the way, it was decided to bring a photographer out to document [fill in the blank]. What you're hoping to get out of the session, communicated with everyone involved, will answer all other questions.
Most people looking for Lifestyle Photography would agree with this:
"I'm looking for natural photos of our family interacting in a way that you forget a photographer is present."
If this is you then...
1. I'd suggest no matchy-match clothing. But do wear clothes that flatter and are well-kept. A cohesive look with a family works well too (aka all bright colors or all neutrals).
2. Bring items that play up personalities. Stuffed animals for little ones, an umbrella for rainy days, cocktails for the happy adults, etc.
3. And there is no schedule but some thought-out activity is ideal. Playing a game together, cooking a meal, taking a walk.
All of these suggestions create natural interaction and bring out a great side for portraits.
Your session is unique though, chat with your photographer about what details should be highlighted in your lifestyle session.