I spent the summer of 2014 and 2016 working in Sitka, Alaska, and went camping last summer in Denali. Alaska is one of my favorite places. It is a place of healing and happiness. I was bummed I wouldn't be able to go back to Sitka this year, but I was so excited to go to Alaska even for a week to visit one of my favorite people, Gavin. I was fortunate to have guest passes from Alaska Airlines, so I was able to travel for cheap instead of what would have been a very expensive ticket. Although the savings were great, meticulously checking my flight status and waiting until departure to find out if I would end up being on the flight tested the limits of my anxiety. By some miracle, I made it onto my flights! I was greeted by Gavin and his wonderful family, which was a huge relief from the plane anxiety. It was an incredibly relaxing trip, and I was so happy to be back in Alaska. The beauty of the mountains somehow always manages to relieve all of my stress. Highlights include visiting Hatcher Pass, Beluga Point, driving the Turnagain Arm (said to be one of the country's most scenic drives), checkers at a bar/restaurant in Girdwood, a strange lift operator with questionable choice in music, a stay in a beautiful dry cabin, a bad decision to drive a Lexus into a tight wooded area, s'mores, a wood hot tub and sauna, a glacier tour in Seward, seeing my first moose (from very far away), meeting Mitchell, my pen-pal of three years, for the first time (Mitchell is a friend of a friend...I'm not even really sure how the pen-pal thing started), and hearing childhood stories from Gavin's grandfather in Kenai. I have only been back in Arizona for a few days, but I can't wait to plan my next (hopefully longer) trip to this beautiful state.
Hatcher Pass/Independence Mine State Historic Park
The park closed at 6pm, and at that time the gates would lock, you would not be able to drive your car out, and you would be stuck in the park until morning when it reopened. We started hiking Gold Cord Lake trail, but turned around when a bullhorn announcement advised all hikers to turn back in order to make the closing time. The two dots in the above photo are two boys running back to the parking lot to reach their parents with the car.
The sky around 9:30-10pm. I love the Alaska summer midnight sun.
The view from the sauna. Another example of the beautiful light at 11pm.
Gavin being a hero and getting the fire going for the sauna. I was clueless on the whole process.
The view from the porch.
When you use this hot tub, you literally have to stir the water while sitting in it, in order to move the warm water around. I felt like I was cooking myself in a big cauldron of soup in a fairytale.
The journal in our cabin, the Yakutat, where guests leave kind words about their experiences.
S'mores and my favorite book. Doesn't get much better than that.
On our way to glacier viewing in Seward.
Gavin snapped this photo of me. I got very sleepy on the boat.
The catches of the day! Halibut can get huge.
Gavin in the apartment his grandfather built.
Gavin's grandfather, Keith. He and his wife, Florence, were incredibly generous. They took us out to eat, and Keith gave us a tour around town. Keith had many entertaining stories about living, working, and boating in Kenai.
A rest stop on the scenic Turnagain Arm. For almost the entire trip, we had beautiful sunny days, but clouds and fog rolled in on the last day.
This past weekend, I attended a housewarming for one of my best friends. She lives with two other beautiful ladies who are so kind in spirit, and focused on strength, women empowerment, and wellness. The housewarming was a reflection of these good vibes that will surely permeate their new home. A house show of sorts, women gathered in the quaint space to share their stories, music, and dance. I loved hearing about the personal struggles and triumphs of each of these women, and found that their stories and self-expression gave me strength as well. Despite dark, tricky lighting, I was happy to capture a few moments from this creative gathering.
On the cusp of a monsoon, Arizona blessed the gathering with a beautiful sunset, a sight common in stormy July weather.
So much delicious food!
I'm a little late in posting this, as Sonya's session was at the end of May, but better late than never! We didn't have much time (we'd been trying for weeks to get together!) so scurried up to Papago Park, amidst so many students taking prom photos. One of my favorite things to do during a session is to make my subject laugh. For this session, that entailed me demonstrating how to "gentle tousle your hair" and "make flirty eyes" to an imaginary attractive person just off in the distance. The photos below of Sonya cracking up are either evidence of a job well done or that I really don't know how to flirt.
I was Sonya's Resident Assistant her freshman year of college, and I am so happy our relationship blossomed into a great friendship. I have known Sonya throughout her entire college career (we even traveled to Japan together!), and I am so proud of what she has accomplished. She is a very talented artist, impressive Japanese-speaker, and a kind friend. I was honored to take her senior photos.
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by! I'm Bethany Brown, and I am a portrait and headshot photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. I love bright, classic images, and am always open to collaborations! Check back here frequently for my most recent work.