Snowshoeing at Frog Lake | Mt Hood National Forest01/29/2016

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I don’t think a lot of words are needed here. It was a beautiful day, a good workout, and exactly what my winter heart needed.

Happy weekend friends!

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Heartbeat.01/06/2016

You know those difficult conversations? The tearful kind with Texas-size lumps that form slowly and painfully in your chest? I had one of those the other day. It was a good talk, just difficult to begin or articulate. I was having a day when everything was making me cry. Blame it on hormones or that inevitable new year evaluative state that we all find ourselves in right about now, but regardless, I felt a huge shift swelling deep inside of me. The shift had taken the form of opportunity, like I’d been trying not to drown for a year, staying barely afloat, and for once someone was reaching out a hand to pull me out of the water. The opportunity was to grab the hand and trust it, but I felt scared and unsure. I felt like the opportunity was 2016 and the hand was my own. Everything inside of me had been moving quickly forward with ideas, excitement, goals, and momentum, but everything on the outside appeared to be floating at a standstill. My whole life appeared to be floating actually and it has for years. It took me a couple of days to realize that this stagnancy was the source of my grief. So I cried and Scott and I had a conversation.

The beautiful thing about love, and the conclusion we came to that day, is that regardless of how lifeless everything around us seems, there will always be a quiet beating heart pulsing through the two of us. We are the heartbeat. We are the pulse that keeps this life afloat and the only breathing, living thing that can reach in and pull us to shore when we need it most. I’m just so glad I’ve had someone like Scott to doggy paddle with the last three years and that we seem to be swimming in the same direction.

He doesn’t know this, but for the last nine months when I think about how much Scott loves me, I think about cherry coke. There was an unseasonably warm day on the Oregon coast in March where we sat on a blanket for hours working up a quenching thirst for something cold and refreshing. We collected all the change we could find and between my wallet and Scott’s pockets we came up with the exact amount we needed to get one can of soda from a vending machine. I wanted cherry coke. He wanted original. After some grumbling and then passively giving in, I agreed to let him get the one he wanted. Back on the blanket the sun had started to set. We settled in comfortably and he reached into our bag for the coke, opening the can and offering it to me for the first sip. It was cherry. He smiled at me with this larger-than-life look in his eyes that spoke loudly to the quiet ways in which two people are in love. The quiet ways in which the heart beats. Thump Thump.

Happy Birthday Scott. You are the love of my life.

Oregon Coast | Hailey King Photography | Portland Oregon lifestyle photographer | haileyking.com

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one whole year12/01/2015

Moving to Portland, OR. | Hailey King Photography | Portland Oregon lifestyle photographer | haileyking.com

I don’t think time always flies just when you’re having fun. Today marks the one year anniversary of Scott and I driving away from SW Colorado in a Uhaul and starting a new life in Portland, OR. I can’t believe it’s been a year. One whole YEAR. I don’t like being negative, but I’m a firm believer in being real, so if we’re being real I’m just going to say it: this year was shitty. And yet somehow, it flew by.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this moment because in a way, my “new year” starts today and just like all new years it’s a time to reflect. It’s a time to clean my desk, make to-do lists, write down goals, take a bath, pour a drink, be grateful for what this year has taught me, and say goodbye to 2015. Of course, I haven’t done any of those things and it’s late afternoon on a Tuesday, but hey the night is still young. I just felt the need to say something to mark this moment. It’s not that I’ve achieved anything big. In fact, I’ve been quite lost and have been a bit lazy. This is rather a chance for me to say, “Hey look – I did it. I survived.” When life gets rough sometimes all we need is to acknowledge we came out okay on the other end, a bit bruised but still looking forward.

Moving to Portland, OR. | Hailey King Photography | Portland Oregon lifestyle photographer | haileyking.com Moving to Portland, OR. | Hailey King Photography | Portland Oregon lifestyle photographer | haileyking.com Moving to Portland, OR. | Hailey King Photography | Portland Oregon lifestyle photographer | haileyking.com Moving to Portland, OR. | Hailey King Photography | Portland Oregon lifestyle photographer | haileyking.com

Let’s backup a few steps and recognize some positive things before saying our proper goodbyes to 2015. (aka shoving it out the door like a rude house guest.) First of all, I love Portland. Like, love, love, love it. I love Scott too. I love him more now that we’ve moved across the country together (a large feet for any couple) and very ungracefully found our way. There have been some incredibly fun moments this year mostly involving food and nature and for this I am so grateful for moving here and for having Scott to explore (and eat) with.  I also love that miraculously I have managed to survive an entire 365 days as a full time photographer in an expensive city where I started out knowing no one. (Albeit a part-time, dog-walking, struggling artist type of photographer, but still.) Can I get a high five? I also want to say that I absolutely love exactly who I am in this moment, which is ironic because I couldn’t be farther away from the person I want to be. But slowly over the course of the last 6 months I have learned to be at peace with my weaknesses, my flaws, my mistakes, and through this I have learned to love myself and nurture and take care of me. I have learned to love the process, not the end result. This sounds so cheesy. I just think it’s so easy to talk about, but so, so incredibly hard for anyone to actually do. And, equally, it is so important for this to be recognized if it’s achieved.

I don’t blog much anymore. It probably has something to do with that bit I said about feeling lost and being lazy. As an artist, I think I have always felt a bit lost but don’t we all? I find so much comfort in learning that other people – dead, famous, or alive – were and are also very lost. It took me until now to realize most people are just faking it. No one really knows what they’re doing and this brings me so much comfort. That puts this whole last year into a different perspective. Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I have just been getting by the same as everyone else I just wasn’t blogging or using instagram to falsely portray the struggle. Instead I just got quiet. I’d love to share this new year with you though, if you’re game. High fives to a fresh start. High fives to Portland, Scott, and a clean slate!

Moving to Portland, OR. | Hailey King Photography | Portland Oregon lifestyle photographer | haileyking.com Moving to Portland, OR. | Hailey King Photography | Portland Oregon lifestyle photographer | haileyking.com Moving to Portland, OR. | Hailey King Photography | Portland Oregon lifestyle photographer | haileyking.com
All of these images were taken along our two-day road trip from Durango to Portland. Our soundtrack was the Serial podcast, our fuel was coffee, and I was most amazed at the snowy, rolling landscape that is eastern Oregon. Portland doesn’t feel like home yet, but damn, Oregon is a pretty place and I’m in awe that I get to live here.

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A Summer Farewell08/31/2015

For me, the best word to sum up August has always been bittersweet. In some ways, it’s a beautiful month. Both of my sisters have birthdays in August, as well as my best friend. The produce at the farmers market begins to flourish. Tomatoes are at their peak and pumpkins and gourds start to slowly make an appearance. It’s still warm, which means the sundress is still an option. (My favorite option!) But in August summer feels like a hot, lingering aftertaste of a fading new romance. August still has all the qualities of summer, but you can feel it’s newness wearing off. The “bitter” part of the “sweet” starts to chime in with the start of school. (Something that when I was a kid I found absolutely dreadful.) The days begin to shorten and although autumn, my favorite season, is just around the corner, I always, without-a-doubt, start to feel sad that summer is coming to a close. The excitement of finally turning my oven on to bake zucchini bread and roast root vegetables is muffled by an inner voice that screams “Nooooo! Eat more bruschetta!” (Another favorite option, particularly while picnicking on a blanket and wearing the aforementioned sundress.) The excitement of wearing a cozy sweater is dampened by Scott telling me that during fall in Portland the air never gets “crisp.” WTF Portland? This news alone is enough to make me hold onto dear August as long as I can.

I’m having a particularly difficult time letting go of summer this year because it’s been a good one. I didn’t go on a vacation or get much of a sun tan, but I did do very “summer” things that felt carefree, wholesome, and fulfilling; the kind of things I used to do as a child or dream about doing when I became an adult. I did some of those. It was simple and everything I wanted it to be without the expectation that it had to be anything. It was perfect. Below are a few very random snapshots of the rare times I used my camera this summer. Like I said before, there has been more doing lately and less documenting. Happy end-of-summer-beginning-of-fall to you all! Enjoy!

Portland lifestyle photographer-006 summer drive with a blue sky | Portland, Oregon Wedding, Food, and Lifestyle photographer summer sunset reflection | Portland, Oregon Wedding, Food, and Lifestyle photographer cooking at home | Portland, Oregon Wedding, Food, and Lifestyle photographer summer grilling | Portland, Oregon Wedding, Food, and Lifestyle photographer summer grilling | Portland, Oregon Wedding, Food, and Lifestyle photographer Trillium Lake Mt. Hood Oregon| Portland, Oregon Wedding, Food, and Lifestyle photographer summer window light | Portland, Oregon Wedding, Food, and Lifestyle photographer making spring rolls at home | Portland, Oregon Wedding, Food, and Lifestyle photographer

2) Fried green tomatoes. Shall I say more? (Recipe for this fried green tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and homemade pesto can be found here.)

3) Blue skies: something I am going to miss once summer is gone. Also, Oregon farmland south of Portland is beautiful.

4) We (aka Scott) moved our dining table outside a lot this summer. We were too cheap to buy patio furniture. On this particular evening I looked up from my plate only to see the reflection of what had to be a killer sunset that was just out of our view due to tall buildings. #citylife

5) Making baba ganoush for the first time in attempt to give eggplant one last chance before I kick it to the curb. The verdict: I definitely do not like eggplants and I officially give up on trying. Thank you baba ganoush.

6) We cook nearly every evening meal outside in the summer. This cute grill was $20 on Craigslist and had never been used. On this particular night we ate grilled cabbage wedges, one of the best potato salads I’ve ever had, and a healthy sampling of crazy-flavored sausages from Sheridan Fruit Co.

7) I literally can’t remember the last time I swam in a lake, if ever. This beautiful spot was near the base of Mt. Hood. The water was cool but refreshing and although I was very afraid of creepy crawlies on the lake bottom, I thoroughly enjoyed the view, the book reading and blanket sitting on the shore, and the picnic food we brought, which included bright yellow Mt. Rainier cherries.

8) The view from my desk: our upstairs landing on laundry day. The carpet was freshly vacuumed and the cheap mini blinds that came with the house had just broke, leaving behind a beautiful stream of summer sunshine. It’s the little things, right?

9) More no-heat cooking because Portland has been crazy, crazy hot. These rainbow spring rolls were way too beautiful not to photograph. I substituted mango for peach and can I just take this moment to say that if there’s one word to describe why I’m sad about the end of summer it’s “peaches.” No need to explain.

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Picking up where we left off.08/07/2015

When you stop blogging, life keeps moving. For me this blog was like a conversation that stopped and I didn’t know where to pick it up again. I realized the other day that there is no right or wrong way to contact an old friend or start talking to someone that hasn’t heard from you in a while. You just open your mouth and push the words out. One sentence at a time you will get back on the same page. I have a lot to say. I have a lot inside of me that I feel deserves to be heard, whether you or I either one are ready for it to come out. Are you with me?

blanket sitting | iphone photo | Portland, Oregon Wedding, Food, and Lifestyle photographer

blanket sitting via iphone photo: the theme of the summer

I have lived in Portland 9 months already. I still feel like I just arrived. The last 9 months have been some of the hardest days of my life for reasons that I haven’t even explained to my closest friends and family. I have struggled an internal battle that I thought would be the end of my photography career, the end of my relationship with Scott, and the end of my life. With all details aside, lets just say that somewhere between a few sobbing meltdowns in May and a month-long road trip to Colorado where I had a handful of hard conversations with myself, I found my voice again. Something shifted inside of me and I started to feel the anger, confusion, doubt, and depression melting off of me slowly. (Very, very slowly.)

Here are a few of those shifts:
I stopped (at least for now) using instagram, my favorite form or social media, and have taken huge steps away from technology in general. I started listening to my body, my mind, and my gut. I stopped putting pressure on myself. I’m reading a lot more. I’m taking pictures for no one but myself. I left my DSLR at home, turned my iphone off, and photographed an entire Oregon coast camping trip with nothing but a single roll of film on a Holga, only to find out that I loaded the film wrong. And I’m okay with this because this summer has been about the experience, not the documentation. It’s been about getting to the bottom of an existential crisis and being okay with not having all of the answers because we never ever will. It’s been about surviving the heat. It’s been about asking for what I want. It’s been about being thankful. It’s been a lot of blanket sitting and hand-written snail mail. It’s been about words like choice and momentum. It’s been about baking my first fruit pie, camping alone for the first time, and using nothing but my camera to earn a living. It’s been about only giving my energy to the people and things that serve me. It’s about laughing instead of complaining. It’s been about the magic that is OREGON. It’s been about a lot of things that are easier said than done and I hope to share all of them with you soon on this blog because I think it’s about time a conversation be started about the struggles, the parts of life that don’t look that pretty, and the one thing we all have in common: every day life.  So please keep me accountable! Leave a comment, subscribe to this blog for updates, and stay tuned! Let’s pick up where we left off.

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