I am writing this from the passenger seat of our Prius V while we drive home from an amazing vacation in Arizona. There are so many things for me to be thankful for in this moment. Kevin mentioned to one of his personal training clients that we were looking for a nice vacation spot and his client offered up his extraordinary vacation home in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was initially looking for an all inclusive resort somewhere on the beach but I am so happy that this opportunity presented itself to us. Arizona was never on my radar but after looking up pictures and learning more about this beautiful desert location, I realized that as a photographer/videographer it is one of the places you MUST visit someday.
We left for Arizona in perfect timing as Ontario was about to get a wicked ice storm the same day we started travelling. On our first day driving we got to stay at a friend’s house in Ohio followed by hotels the next few nights. Driving into Arizona we were in awe of it’s beauty – so many cactuses and other desert plants. I completely understand why it’s the perfect place for photographers. When we pulled up to the house in Scottsdale we were not prepared for how nice the house was. This was the nicest house I have ever stayed in, complete with a pool/waterfall combo in the backyard.
We spent many days relaxing by the pool but we also got to drive to Sedona (totally worth the drive) and we also spent a few days visiting downtown Scottsdale. Sedona is an amazing hiking location with giant red rock formations resembling mountains. We managed to get a few family photos there despite the kids not being very cooperative. Although we were staying in Scottsdale, we were quite a drive away from the downtown core – luckily we all don’t mind driving. Downtown Scottsdale is so beautiful. In one section there is a bunch of modern and urban restaurants and shopping and a large bridge over water where you can walk around and enjoy the view. The other section is traditional shops with souvenirs, art and other very Arizonan home decor items. The amount of animal skulls made into art made me super happy (I love skulls). The most affordable skull for us was a tiny plastic magnet for our fridge. I also bought cactus jelly to bring home for my Nana.
A day or two before we left, I received a message from photographer Trisha Rose. I had messaged her prior asking her if there were any opportunities for me to do some video while I was in Arizona. She messaged me back letting me know about an event at the Marriott where she was staying for her 5 year anniversary. A bunch of photographers were planning on meeting up to take photos together with Trisha and her husband being the subjects. Unfortunately this was happening after we were supposed to be leaving but we called Kevin’s client and he said we could stay as long as we needed to.
I met the photographers in the hotel lobby, and let me tell you, this was the nicest hotel I have ever seen. The hotel was built on the side of a rock formation and was incorporated into the main lobby. Behind the desk was rock, cactus and other desert botanicals growing out of the floor. When I stopping gawking at the scenery around me, I noticed a group of 10-15 photographers sitting together talking. They noticed I had a camera and started introducing theirselves to me. After the introductions were made the photographers decided to go take pictures in a forested area of a cemetery on the property. The location reminded me of a few of the nicer parks back in Ontario. As it was approaching golden hour, we decided to head to a much more deserty location. I was excited to film in such a cool location and I was super happy when some of the photographers offered to take pictures of me working and surrounded by cactuses. We finished the day off in a part of the hotel called the ‘Sky Walk’. It was a huge bridge that connected two different areas of the hotel. Looking down over the bridge you could see one of the nicest pools and hot tubs I have ever witnessed (remind me to stay here someday).
I am so thankful that Trisha invited me to this event. I highly believe in community over competition and this is a prime example of why. The photographers were learning from each other about their equipment, cueing the models, different angles and way more. It gave everyone the opportunity to add to their portfolio as well as get some behind the scenes action shots of themselves. I am definitely going to start doing this with my photography friends back home.
Although it’s been a great vacation, I am definitely ready to go home. Today is our third day driving and we will arrive back in Ontario tomorrow. We almost stopped at a Six Flags today but with our luck it was closed. While we were turning around to get back onto the highway we passed a bunch of deer and I was able to snag some pictures. Deers for me are the most majestic animals – I love to come across them. During our drive we have been strategizing about work/life balance and we plan to put some new strategies into place when we get home. I will let you all know soon what we are doing to spend more time together as a family, be more productive, and get more sleep. In the meantime I’m going to sit back and enjoy my chocolate peanut butter milkshake from Steak and Shake.