Snowy Salt Lake City

I think it’s almost safe to say that spring has arrived, but before we get too comfortable with it, I want to remember a snowy morning in January (now that I’m all done blogging about EuroAdventure 2012). I was feeling some cabin fever from being cooped up sick all week. Even though because it had snowed the entire night, I knew there’d be some pretty pictures, so I bundled up tight and headed downtown. It was quite blustery still, and at first I wasn’t sure it would be worth it. But then I warmed up from brisk walking and started to see the beauty around me.

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And since no one else was out and about, I had plenty of time to observe all the fine details and cute shops along Main Street.

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Then I walked a block over to State Street because I wanted photos of the Eagle Gate. I’ve been a little obsessed with it lately. I just find it so stunning. This gate was erected in 1963, but an eagle gate has existed for over 150 years, ever since the pioneers first came to the Salt Lake Valley. It’s been widened and moved a few times, and the original eagle on top (perched on a beehive, the state symbol) was replaced with copper (the original is in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum). But because it’s right int he middle of a buys intersection, it’s always been really hard to photograph (also, I just hate those traffic lights right in the way!). But on a snowy day when few people are out, it’s easy to quickly pause in the middle of the road for a snapshot.

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And then there are the Beehive House and the Lion House, where Brigham Young and several other prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once lived. I have always loved them. (You probably know that since I often post pictures of them.)

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And from there, it was a snowy walk to Temple Square.

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The only other people I saw were sister missionaries, one small group of tourists, and other photographers. That seemed about right. It started snowing again, though, and I was ready to head back to my warm house, so I walked back up Main Street.

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I almost didn’t make it out of my parking spot, though, because the roads were so slick. Eventually, with some smooth maneuvering, I was able to back up. I have to say that even though I kind of like those snowy mornings, I am so happy it’s almost spring.

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Twinkly Christmas Lights

Merry Christmas! I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday. I actually celebrated Christmas last night with my family, so today has felt like a pretty typical day, except that I didn’t have to work. Hooray! Being single with no kids makes Christmas kind of anti-climactic. There’s nothing exciting to wake up to, but it is rather exciting to just be able to sleep in.

It’s a good thing that Christmas isn’t really just about one day or it would be totally disappointing. I really love the build up to Christmas — all of the gift hunting and little activities. One of which is visiting the lights at Temple Square. Even though I go every year, it is always magical. I even went twice this year. Once on accident. I just happened to be downtown on the day after Thanksgiving when the lights came on. Since I already had my camera with me, I decided to walk through on my own. Even though I had to squeeze through lots of crowds, it was really nice to be alone and just enjoy the atmosphere. I walked past the Nativity and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was piped through the speakers singing The First Noel. I’ve never even liked that song (too repetitive), but my heart was just swelling with Christmas spirit.

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The following week, Matt and Izzy invited me to see the lights with them. We also stopped by Macy’s at City Creek to see the candy window displays. They used to create these candy window displays when I was little, but they stopped for several years. It was so fun to take Claire and Liam to see them again. The displays this year were huge ornaments all made from candy. They were incredible! I wish I had gotten better photos of them.

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When Claire saw this fountain, she immediately jumped on the ledge and gave me her “sexy pose.” First of all, when did Claire get old enough to call anything her sexy pose? It was so hilarious and kind of sad at the same time. I both love and hate how quickly she is growing up.

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We were going to get some hot chocolate at the Nauvoo Cafe, but the line was super long. We decided to stop somewhere after instead, but going inside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building gave us a chance to see the beautiful Christmas tree they have.

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Liam loved it!

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I wish peace and joy for all of you. Happy holidays!

Brigham Young’s Grave

I recently wrote about how I saw the graves of many past prophets at the Salt Lake City Cemetery, but the grave of a significant figure in Utah’s history is not there. Brigham Young is actually buried closer to the city in a small little park. I decided to visit last week just so I could complete the experience. Brigham Young’s grave is located on First Avenue. I haven’t spent much time in the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake. (side note: I realized the other day that even though I’ve always claimed Salt Lake City as home, I really have only lived here for a combined two years out of the past twelve. I’m realizing just how much there is to this city that I’m actually not familiar with.) So when I was headed west on First Avenue, I was taken by surprise and a little awed by the spires I saw rising in front of me.

I decided to park further back and enjoy the evening with a little walk. I ended up parking right behind another set of beautiful spires.

These belonged to the Cathedral of the Madelaine.

I also walked past this cute little market.

All the while the temple grew larger in front of me.

Brigham Young’s grave is kind of nestled in between some apartment buildings. You wouldn’t even notice it unless you were looking for it. There’s a more general pioneer memorial in the front, and then the graves of Brigham Young and some wives in a more private area.

There’s a sculpture of Brigham Young reading to some kids.

And there is some beautiful bleeding hearts, snowballs, and little buds that look like transparent pine cones.

And there was the grave.

Did you know that I love lamp posts? I don’t know what it is, but there’s something magical about them. Maybe it’s because of Narnia. Maybe it’s their pale glow. Maybe it’s because they so often incorporate beautiful design. It’s probably all of those combined. I just love them.

After milling about for a bit, I walked back to the car and headed home. Do you ever take photos while driving? Or at least, while stopped at the light? I can’t help it sometimes.

Just Married

I had the privilege of attending Jaime’s wedding on Saturday. It was the perfect day for a wedding. I was a little nervous because it had snowed on Friday, but Saturday was all sunny blue skies. It’s amazing how the grounds of the temple have changed over the last two weeks. The pink blossoms I photographed so recently have already disappeared. But don’t worry… there are lots of tulips.

I didn’t attend the ceremony at the temple, but I showed up to greet them as they emerged, newly married. I realized the morning of the wedding that I had actually never met anyone in Jaime’s family, nor had I ever met her fiance. Their courtship started after I left New Orleans. I honestly had no idea who to look for at the temple. I tried looking at photos of Jaime’s family on facebook, but it didn’t help. I ended up wrongly assuming that one group (where the bridesmaids wore grey skirts and yellow heels) were part of her family. Of course the easy thing to do would be to ask, but my shyness always gets the better of me in these situations. I did finally see her photographer, Amee Sorensen. I had met her briefly once in New Orleans when she was there visiting. I talked myself into talking to her and found out that the grey skirts and yellow heels were not Jaime’s family. Most of her family was waiting inside because even though it was sunny, it was a little chilly, especially in the shade. When they came out, we knew we’d see the bride and groom soon. And here they are:

They seem pretty happy, yeah? Like I said, I have never met Jerry, but from what I’ve heard and what I saw that day, they seem perfectly suited to each other. They couldn’t really keep their eyes off each other.

We waited around a bit until it was our turn for the traditional photo of the wedding party on the temple steps.

Then we split up while Jaime and Jerry got their photos taken. I walked around City Creek Mall for a bit (how long do you think until it stops being unbearably crowded?) and then met up with everyone at Cucina Toscana for an incredible meal! It was a small and intimate dinner. Since Jaime and Jerry are both from out of town (I heard they chose Salt Lake so Jaime’s grandma could attend), it was mostly family. I was honored to be a part of it and to get to know some of them better over a lengthy two-hour, four-course meal interspersed with toasts in the bride and groom’s honor (with sparkling cider, of course).

Afterward, we lit the way with sparklers and watched them try to make their rental car, wrapped and decorated by some teen cousins, drivable.

You know, it had been a while since I attended a wedding. I think the last one was my friend Jenn’s four years ago. It was really wonderful to share the night with them and remember how magical the whole thing is. Seriously, two people finding love like that is a little miracle.

Mobile Monday 40

I was downtown a lot this past week for one reason or another. First, I was scouting out photo locations. I ate lunch at the Nauvoo Cafe, which is located in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Also in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, a beautiful chandelier and stained glass ceiling.

I stopped by the new City Creek Center, too, to check it out. It was opening weekend, though, and way too crowded for my liking.

I returned to Temple Square on Tuesday evening to attend the temple. I love the temple grounds at night when all is quiet and I love the way the blossoms look against the blue sky. Regretfully I didn’t bring “the real camera” but the iphone did a fine job.

And then tonight, I stopped by downtown again. I was supposed to attend a church activity at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, but I couldn’t find any parking, so I decided to drive up to the Capitol and check out the cherry blossoms.

And then, of course, there are a few photos from every day life…

I’ve been sharing some more disposable hipstamatic cameras. Here are some photos from a roll shared with my friend, Taryn. First, she took some in Hawaii (lucky!) and took some gorgeous photos. (Is it possible to take a bad photo in Hawaii?)

And here’s her adorable dog, the Cheat. (Along with a taco dinner I enjoyed.)

Apparently all my photos for Taryn were food-related, especially yummy holiday food.

Kylie and I decided to incorporate a theme with our last roll, so we took photos of the primary colors. Unfortunately, they didn’t turn out as bright as I was hoping because of the camera we chose (there are a few different ones you can select with different effects), but I was still happy with some of them.

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My dear friend, Jaime, is getting married next week right here in Salt Lake. You might remember Jaime from our trip to Savannah almost two years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!). Or from a little jaunt down to Grande Isle or any number of other little adventures when I lived in New Orleans. Right now she’s living in Chicago and will only be in SLC for her wedding. I can only imagine how difficult it is to plan a wedding from so far away, so I offered to help in any way possible. She asked if I could do a little scouting for photo locations near Salt Lake Temple since her photographer is also from out of town. Here’s the thing about the Salt Lake Temple grounds – it’s basically all just one beautiful setting for wedding photos. There are lots of weddings there on any given day. In fact, I saw three sets of brides and grooms there last Tuesday evening. You don’t have to go very far to find picture-perfect scenes. But I wanted to help out, so I decided to sacrifice my Saturday afternoon walking around downtown in perfect 70-degree weather taking photographs. It’s not something I would normally do, right? I tried to find some perhaps more unique locations near the temple for photos. You know, other than the typical temple steps, the reflecting pond, and the pedestal near the church office building. (Those are just given photos. They are on the must-have list of any wedding at the Salt Lake Temple, I believe.) I haven’t looked at a lot of wedding photos, so I may be wrong about this, but here are a few locations within walking distance of the Salt Lake Temple that I personally feel are underutilized.

First up, the Conference Center. It was built in 2000, so it’s a little more of a modern backdrop. But I love the lamp posts, the granite walls, the trees on the roof, and the copper doors that have turned a beautiful oxidized green.

My favorite building on Temple Square is the Assembly Hall. I adore the white Gothic spires and the stained glass windows. It also features some beautifully carved wooden doors.

And then there’s the Church Administration Building with its Greek columns and classical facade.

(To be fair, I do often see wedding pictures taken there, but I am in love with that bright yellow forsythia and just wanted to post the photo.)

My favorite hide-away near Temple Square isn’t always very secluded. It depends on the day, really, but I often find that I’m the only one there. It’s the patio behind the Lion House. I love the wrought iron tables and chairs, the tulip and daffodil beds, the gabled windows, the pink stucco walls, the stone fence and wooden gate. It’s just absolutely lovely.

I walked a few blocks into the city, which was extremely crowded because of the City Creek Center grand opening that weekend, but I didn’t find anything else really worth the effort. Of course, there’s also Memory Grove (not too far away, though perhaps not walking distance) and City Creek Park, but both of those are already commonly used areas for bridals and portraits. In fact, Memory Grove is where we went when I pretended to be a professional photographer with my nieces and nephew last summer. I also noticed a lot of beautiful rock walls on State Street as you head up to the Capitol that would make a lovely backdrop and I love the idea of getting some of the city behind. That’s the nice thing about the Capitol being on a steep hill.

I just love Salt Lake. I still often miss New Orleans (quite a lot!), but I do love my little city.

I’m linking up today with Miss Kris’s Busy Nothings Photography Club. I’m supposed to choose my favorite photo from the month, but I always have an impossible time choosing. I figure that one of these will do. Any ideas which one I should choose?

The Lights at Temple Square

Last week, Matt, Izzy, the kids, Mikey, and I all went to see the lights at Temple Square. We decided to ride Trax to avoid finding parking, so we bundled up and waited at the Trax station for the next train.

We took a break from the cold by checking out the model of the temple inside the visitor center.

After more wandering, we needed another break from the cold, so we stepped inside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for some hot chocolate.

And then we were ready for more lights and nativity scenes from around the world. My favorite is the one from Japan.

We paused to take some photos at the pedestal.

And then it was time to head back on Trax, exhausted, cold, but happy. Even if the lights are the same each year (and I end up taking the same photos year after year), I still love seeing the lights.