Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Velasco’

Exploring Lapland: Dogsledding in Kivalot, Finland


The view from my dog sled

One of the highlights of my recent Arctic Adventure with Photo Enrichment Adventures was the afternoon we spent dog sledding in Finnish Lapland.


Huskies are ready to roll

We drove about an hour from our cottages in Kukolankoski to the hilly area of Kivalot where we were greeted by the howls and whimpers of thirty Siberian huskies ready to roll. There we met Ulla and Paula, a mother/daughter team of mushers with over 30 years of dog sledding experience. Ulla is a serious competitive dog sledder, but her B-team of dogs is at the ready to entertain tourists with scenic dog sled tours.


Off duty dogs

Huskies have a human like howl that made it a bit difficult to hear the instructions of how to drive the dog sleds, which are crafted by hand by Ulla. We split into teams and had an awesome chance to take in some of the local scenery by sled (or sledge, as they call it in Lapland).



Left: Paula and Sitka, the puppy Right: Paula with one of her prize huskies

While the person riding in the sled had an awesome perspective to take photographs and video, this experience was about much more than photos. The howling huskies became quiet the second they hit the trail. It was a really fun way to explore the countryside.

Dog sledding video shot on my iPhone 6s

The sounds of the paws against the snow, the cushy ride afforded by the fluffy layer of snow. The sensation is a bit like cross-country skiing, but more fun because of the six wagging tails in front of you.


The view from the dog sledge

Dog sledding was a great way to experience the beauty of the Lapland wilderness and bond with nature.


Sam and a brown and blue-eyed Siberian beauty

Dog sleds are driven by fully manual transmission, and there were a few memorable mishaps. I got flipped in the sled while riding around a corner. But it only added to the experience, and the snow guaranteed a soft landing.


Sitka the future sled dog hopeful.

I’m not sure which I preferred– riding in the sled or driving it. Both were fantastic. We even had a touch of snow to add to the winter wonderland atmosphere. Everyone on the trip thought this was an absolute highlight and was a bit bummed when our ride ended.

Ulla and Paula invited us into a tipi-like tent for some coffee and introduced us to Sitka, a five-week old husky puppy who is a future competitive sled dog hopeful.

It’s experiences like dog sledding in Lapland that made me glad I took a tour. Our group loved discussing this experience and having it together made it all the better. Much thanks to Ralph Velasco and Alessandro Maccari of Photo Enrichment Adventures for putting together this amazing trip.

Photo Enrichment Adventures

1643 North Alpine Road, #190
Rockford, IL 61107




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Honored to Be Included in TripAdvisor’s list of 20 Travel Photography Bloggers Give a Daily Dose of Wanderlust (and Tips)


Me not being lazy while photographing Mountain gorillas in Rwanda

I am honored to be included in the TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals blog’s list of 20 Travel Photography Bloggers Give a Daily Dose of Wanderlust (and Tips).

Processed with VSCOcam with 6 preset

Audrey working her rain boots hiking Snoqualmie River middle fork trail 

It’s always nice when My Life’s a Trip is recognized for the quality of photos featured on the blog. I’m in great company with my friends and fellow photographers Ralph Velasco, Ken Kaminesky, and Gary Arndt. Ralph has convinced me to go on his photo tour of Lapland in the spring, where I hope to not be lazy and go dog sledding and night shooting to capture the Northern Lights.

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My Non-Bucket List of 10 Places to See (and Photograph) Before You Die

Over water bungalows at the St. Regis Bora Bora, French Polynesia

I’ve never done a bucket list post, but when my friends over at EyeEm headquarters in Berlin asked me write a piece for the EyeEm blog about 10 Places to See (and Photograph) Before You Die, I agreed.

Hipstamatic French Polynesia (now I’d shoot this using Hipstamatic’s Oggl app)

It isn’t a bucket list exactly, I looked at as a list of 10 really amazing places that I’ve traveled to that were totally worth the effort. It was also really hard to limit the list to 10 (Japan and Rajasthan came very close). For my blog readers, I wanted to share some additional photos of the places that made the list, some of which were shot before EyeEm existed.

Left: Positano is perfection at night Right: Daytime view from Le Sirenuse

I visited Italy’s Amalfi Coast for the first time this past May with my friend (and hair colorist), Justin Anderson. It’s all incredibly beautiful, and Positano is perfection.

The red sand dunes of Namibia’s Sossusvlei desert are unforgettable

In 2010, my husband I went to Nambia with & Beyond Safaris. We were absolutely blown away by the red sand dunes of the Sossusvlei desert. I want to go back and see more of this incredible country.

Sydney, Australia on New Year’s Eve is fantastic

As far as pretty cities on the water, my top three are Cape Town, South Africa, San Francisco, and Sydney. Having spent New Year’s Eve in Sydney, where December 31st is in the middle of the Australian summer, I had to give Sydney the win.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

You know how when you see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre for the first time and think, “wow, it’s a lot smaller than I imagined”? Your first glimpse of  The Great Pyramid of Giza is the total opposite of that.

It’s hard for me to read the headlines during this post-Morsi coup/revolution, and even harder seeing the images of bloodshed. Egypt is so special, and has so many ancient treasures, I hope that the current political unrest resolves as peacefully and quickly as possible. When Egypt is no longer on the US State Department list of travel warnings, I hope to return and see more of this amazing country.

Havana Cuba is a photographer’s dream

My friend, photographer, Ralph Velasco leads photo tours to Cuba and across the globe. He’s a great teacher and fun traveling companion.

Gorgeous scenery at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana

I love Montana. So much so I’m headed back to there at the end of this month. There is a lot of Montana goodness on this blog.

New York City. I love that town

Argentina’s Iguazu Falls

I shot these images of Angkor Wat in Cambodia with a plastic Diana camera

Do you know of someplace I need to see (and photograph) before I die? Please let me know in the comments section.

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My Street Photography from Alexandria, Egypt featured in EyeEm’s Weekly Mission Post

Smoked Chicken

I’m incredibly honored to have my mobile photography image, Smoked Chicken , featured in EyeEm’s Weekly Mission Recap: Going To Market selected by the team at COLORS Magazine.

The day I shot this picture in Alexandria, Egypt was a big turning point for me as a photographer. I was touring Alexandria, Egypt with some fellow travel bloggers and fellow photographer, Ralph Velasco, requested we take some time out to go street shooting. I got some fantastic images that day, and I really embraced how much I enjoy street photography. Markets are always fascinating places to visit and an interesting slice of everyday life. I also found that I drew less attention shooting with my iPhone than I did with my larger cameras. Here are some of my favorite mobile photography images from that day, in a photo essay called Shop Like an Egyptian.

Shop Like an Egyptian

Real Housewives Of Egypt

Welcome To Egypt

Cool for Cats, Alexandria

Stay tuned for future photo street photography photo essays, including  posts of the Chinatown Market in Yangon, Myanmar.

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My Travels in Full Colour: The Capture the Colour PhotoBlogging Travel Competition Contest

I was honored and a bit surprised when Dave Bouskill of The Planet D nominated me for The Capture the Colour PhotoBlogging Travel Competition presented by

After looking into the online photo contest, I found I respected the work of all the judges. The prizes are legit, multiple and substantial. £ 2000 for travel is the Grand Prize (that’s $3,118.23 US by today’s XE conversion rate), and the winner of each of the main color categories wins an iPad 3.

The travel competition requires me to publish a blog post that features photo images that feature each of the 5 colours: Blue, Green, Yellow, White, and Red.

*Yes! I’m spelling “colours” the British way because that is how this contest rolls. Feel free to read this post with a fake British accent a la Madonna. Or in cockney rhyming slang.

Here are the images I chose to enter. I hope you like them.

Blue: The Pool at the hotel Santorini, Greece

Santorini Hockney Pool Blue

I shot this image on a bright but cold October day at resort in Santorini, Greece.  It was at the tail end of the tourist season and last weekend this particular hotel was open before it closed down for winter. It was one of those romantic, honeymoon type resorts and I was traveling with my BFF, Zan. I had tried to get into the pool myself but the water temp was far too bracing for my taste.  I remember lying on a chaise lounge next to Zan, soaking up the sun. When a man dove in, I picked up my camera and took a picture and told her it looked like a David Hockney painting. She agreed. We went back to eating delightful Greek food.

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