Thompson Family

I love getting to know couples and families. Everyone has different stories and backgrounds. For example, Bria is from Maui and has a dance studio in Coeur d’Alene where she not only teaches the standards ballet, tap, etc., but also hula.

I spent a morning with Bria and her family on Tubbs Hill. They recently adopted a puppy and wanted some family photos to send to family at Christmas with their two sweet fur babies.

M+D July 2017 | A Wedding on the River

To describe Megan and Dylan’s wedding in one word, it would be personal. Everything about their wedding day, or weekend rather, was sentimental and intentional. Over 100 of their closest friends and relatives gathered for a weekend to campout along the banks of the Lochsa River in central Idaho.

It was the hottest weekend of the year and there was little respite from the heat. Despite the 100+ degrees, everyone enjoyed spending time together and celebrating an amazing couple.

G+K 2017 | A Greek Elopement

I love being at the age we’re currently at. All our friends are getting married, starting families, and it’s so fun to be a part of. We were fortunate enough to be invited to document one of our best friend’s wedding in Greece and the memories from that trip will last us a lifetime. I was so honored to be a part of such an incredible experience.

An intimate wedding atop a villa rooftop on a Greek island. It was very Mamma Mia.

McVey Family 2018

Nothing beats spring wildflowers, a great view, and a wonderful family. It’s been so fun to watch Brad and Danielle grow their family after moving here several years ago. They are beautiful people inside and out, and their daughter is just adorable. Being able to document a family’s story as they grow and change together is the best.

Leave No Trace in the Digital Age | Cd'A Press


We’ve all been there. That point when you finally reach a gorgeous vantage after a long hike or bike ride. You stop for some water, snap a photo of the view, maybe even a selfie with your friends, and post it to Instagram to share with the world. That’s the world we live in now, and it’s this exact behavior that may be hurting the beautiful places we visit. 

Since the early days of social media, several outdoor enthusiasts and organizations have raised concerns regarding the online tagging and promotion of various trails, parks and other recreation areas. Their reason being, to protect fragile ecosystems from overuse and those that may visit without land conservation in mind. 

In February of this year, the National Park Service released highlights from 2017 stating 61 national parks reported new visitation records, with total park visitation reaching well over 330 million people. That’s a lot of boots on the ground. 

“Locally, we’ve definitely seen an uptick in land use in the last decade,” Suzanne Endsley, Bureau of Land Managementpublic affairs officer, said. “We attribute some of it to the decline in the economy around 2008, free or cheap recreation became more appealing, but we’ve continued to see an increase in popularity, especially at places like Mineral Ridge that are just outside of town.” 

Two major issues Endley noted, is the increase in trash left on or around trails, including drug paraphernalia, and users walking off trail. Shoshana Cooper, public affairs officer for Idaho Panhandle National Forests, cited similar issues. 

“While most visitors to the national forests are LNT consciousness, our urban interface trail systems like Canfield Mountain and the Hayden Creek area unfortunately receive a lot of misuse,” Cooper said. “This includes natural resource damage like shooting live trees, mud bogging, and traveling off designated routes to dumping trash.”

To help combat an increase in land use and any possible impact from social media, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics recently posted some general guidelines for sharing outdoor spaces online. 

The organization stated in a blog post, “[Leave No Trace is] a framework for making good decisions about enjoying the outdoors responsibly, regardless of how one chooses to do so. If outdoor enthusiasts stop and think about the potential impacts and associated consequences of a particular action, it can go a long way towards ensuring protection of our shared outdoor spaces.”

With areas like Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, and Vance Creek Bridge in Seattle skyrocketing in popularity due to a few viral photos, it’s no wonder avid hikers and outdoors enthusiasts are now taking pause to reconsider if tagging locations is the right thing to do.

Chris Celentano, a local landscape photographer and avid outdoorsman, spends his time hiking the trails of northern Idaho, scoping out isolated locations for his work

“I have seen a huge increase in traffic at many of our most incredible places,” he said. “On one hand it’s great because other people are out enjoying it too. On the other, it is extremely disappointing to see a general lack of concern and respect for these unique places that are often right in our own backyards.”

In searching popular hiking spots on Instagram, like Mineral Ridge for example, you can see #mineralridge has been used over 3,000 times, and although the actual numbers are not included, after minutes of scrolling through the geotag feed, it seems there are possibly thousands more. 

Endsley cited Mineral Ridge as an example of when walking off trail and overuse can cause damage. In addition to walking on delicate greenery, the worn paths and shortcuts formed by hikers can create a funnel for future erosion, damaging the hillside and trail, and possibly leading to water contamination. 

“I think that social media has had an overall positive impact on our society from an outdoor perspective,” Celentano said. “It has inspired more people to get up off the couch and get outside to explore this incredible world we live in. Unfortunately, our world hasn’t fared as well. Social media has resulted in many untouched places being utterly destroyed due to people and their lack of concern.”

In addition to the seven existing principles of Leave No Trace (which you should read up on at, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics issued the following social media guidelines for consideration: 

  • Tag thoughtfully – avoid tagging (or geotagging) specific locations. Instead, tag a general location such as a state or region, if any at all. While tagging can seem innocent, it can also lead to significant impacts to particular places.

  • Be mindful of what your images portray – give some thought to what your images may encourage others to do. Images that demonstrate good Leave No Trace practices and stewardship are always in style.

  • Give back to places you love – invest your own sweat equity into the outdoor spaces and places you care about. Learn about volunteer stewardship opportunities and get involved in the protection of our shared lands.

  • Encourage and inspire Leave No Trace in social media posts – given the millions of social media users in the world, think of the incredible potential that social media has to educate outdoor enthusiasts – first timers to seasoned adventurers – about enjoying our wild lands responsibly.

Fortunately, there are several local agencies that provide support to popular trail systems, educational opportunities, and ways to volunteer to help maintain and clean up our local trails. If you want to learn more about local opportunities to become a better land user, check out the Kootenai Environmental AllianceFriends of Scotchman PeaksIdaho Conservation LeagueLake City Trail Alliance, or the Spokane Mountaineers

As someone who frequents our local trails, and often writes about them for my blog, I know I’ll be thinking twice before tagging a location or posting something that may demonstrate less than ideal trail etiquette. But please, don’t stop posting beautiful images online, I know I won’t. Just post responsibly.

S+E December 21 2018

Elopements are officially my new favorite thing. Close, intimate, and extremely romantic. Shanna and Eric invited me up to Sandpoint to document their wedding day. I had worked with Shanna before when I photographed their fur babies, Jack and Moose, last fall. We hit it off and asked if I’d come up again for their wedding.

I love being a part of these special moments, and being able to preserve them for my clients. It truly is a gift.

Derek | Class of 2019

I had such a blast working with Derek. We picked a perfect, sunny day to go hang out in the woods. Idahoan born and raised, Derek felt at home on the trails and shore of Blue Creek Bay. While he of course loves having a good time, Derek has a strong, reserved demeanor and we wanted to make sure that carried over in his senior portraits.

Thanks for the great day, Derek!

D+M, July 7 2018

Drew and Mara’s wedding was the perfect blend of fun, tradition and eclectic. I was so thrilled to work with these beautiful humans. I’ve known Drew and Mara via some mutual friends for several years. They are two kind, caring individuals and some of the most unique people I know. Their wedding showed this perfectly.

Also, Mara’s dress was mind-blowingly beautiful.

Surviving Mountain Biking - NSpire Magazine

My calves are cramping, quads burning and the sweat that had been pooling up in my helmet is now descending down my bangs and into my eyes. Through each breath I manage to mutter the word “push” as if it could actually make my legs work harder. I take a mental pause to ask myself, “What in the world are you doing?” Mountain biking. For the first time.

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Mystical Waterfalls

This story originally ran in NSpire Magazine. You can read the full story here

There is a marker after taking the Kingston exit off I-90 that is better than all the others. It isn’t a mile marker, per se; it isn’t even visible to the naked eye. I couldn’t tell you exactly where it is, but my cell phone never misses it. I travel by this spot occasionally, and when my cell phone signal dies, the most beautiful words flash at the top of my screen: NO SERVICE

I realize this marker may not be the same for everyone. For some, this marker may live at the edge of their driveway or at their final destination. For some it may be an action, like clocking out of the office on a Friday afternoon. For me, on this particularly sunny day in March, as we drove about a mile-and-a-half past the Kingston exit, it marked the beginning of another adventure.

The day felt more like late May than mid-March. Not a cloud in the sky, the sun shone through the trees creating steam that rose from the damp road in front of us, dancing in the slight breeze. I rolled down my window, the spring air breaking up the solar heat that warmed the inside of our car.

As we traveled up the road, I went through my mental checklist one final time—not that it would help at this point. Snacks, water, camera, hiking boots, and sweatshirt were all accounted for. Moving my pack aside, I removed each of my flip-flops and began prepping for our hike ahead. Unfolding my white athletic socks, I glanced occasionally at the map I’d printed at home, making sure we didn’t miss our next turn. I reached for my hiking boots in the back seat and began loosening the laces.

I don’t know if my boots are not properly broken in, or if all hiking boots are this laborious to don, but each time is a struggle. I frequently end up in a light sweat as I simultaneously pull on the boots with my hands, and push my foot with as much body weight as I can muster. Pushing my foot against the dash of the car, I grunt and wiggle my foot around, hoping it will help. With one final push, my foot pops into the boot;

I tighten the laces, making sure that each is double knotted.

By the time my battle of the boots had ended, we’d made the turn that would take us a few miles up a dirt road, leading away from the river and into the heavily forested hillside. Several tree limbs from the surrounding pines covered the road, leftover from the winter. As we climbed higher, the trees opened up to display a vast valley of pines lit by the early afternoon sun.

Reaching our destination, we stopped the car and emerged into the light, admiring the valley and hillside spread before us. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath of the unspoiled mountain air, then turned to see Kyle appreciating the view, as well.

“Beautiful” I said.

Kyle said nothing. I could see the depth of the valley in the reflection of his sunglasses.

Miles away from city limits, the air seemed fresh and new filtered and reborn by the trees and plants.

The sun instantly broke any slight chill as it warmed my dark hair, creating a thermal blanket over my head and shoulders. Small buds were forming on the black cottonwood trees scattered throughout the firs, pines and hemlocks. I’ve always found it hard to look up or ahead anytime I’m on a trail. The unsteady rocks and roots, perforating through the dirt, steal my attention; my gaze almost always fixates on the ground directly in front of me to avoid an unwanted stumble. As gravel from the old road crunched under our boots on our way to the trailhead, I couldn’t help but notice the earth was alive with the bustling of ants and centipedes scurrying under our feet, evidence of a mild winter.

As I watched stone-by-stone pass beneath me, the sound of moving water grabbed my attention. I redirected my gaze to find a creek cavorting along the trail, dancing around the trees and rocks in its path. The water was perfectly clear, allowing the rainbow of river rock to sparkle along the bed. Kneeling down, I dipped my hand into the water to enjoy the bite of the chilly spring runoff.

I looked around at my surroundings; giant granite deposits marked the mountainside with cliffs and massive boulders. Moss and ferns sprouted in the cracks and crevices like vertical gardens lining the trail. Running my hand along the coarse rock wall, the thick green moss felt damp and springy. Tiny white flowers poked their faces out, reaching for some sunlight beyond their protected crevasses. Along the creek, many of the ferns were just waking up from the short winter. Among older plants already established and thriving, those new sprouts, only partially uncurled, awaited longer days before they would fully fill their space.

We didn’t talk much as we walked with our packs along the creek, our little trail leading us deeper into the woods. I used this quiet time to think; I thought about life, family, friends, and work. I spent time appreciating my surroundings and, although I may have seemed misplaced to the observer with my camera, phone-with-no-service and fancy hiking boots, I could not help but feel a sense of belonging. It is only once I removed myself from the excess of things and people that real life came to light.

I was no longer expected to look a certain way, behave according to awkward social norms, feign “liking” photos on Facebook, or plan my week according to someone else’s schedule.

Instead, I was with one of the few people that holds no judgment toward me, walking in the woods with the sole purpose of just existing. Life is simpler with no cell service.

Shaking me from my Thoreauvian moment, the physicality of the trail hit me in the form of a large root and an instantly throbbing toe. I focused my attention back to the trail in order to prevent any future tripping.

Having hiked moderately over the past couple years, I recognized a new strength in my legs that wasn’t there before. Beyond that newfound strength, I noticed many things had improved since taking up hiking and running. My clothing choices were smarter, having ditched my old cotton t-shirts for moisture-wicking layers, and trading my lightweight tennis shoes for strong, supportive hiking boots.

I adjusted my pack and stretched my neck a bit, again letting my mind wander, as I looked straight up to see some light clouds pass overhead. My backpack is small, designed to carry only my camera, a couple lenses and a water bottle. I had been reading a lot about thru-hiking, about people going on long journeys carrying everything they’d need for months in their pack. Some of these packs weigh well over 50 pounds – putting my 5-10 pound day hike pack into perspective.

Feeling grateful for my light load, I again looked around to take note of where we were. In the distance, I spotted a small bridge crossing what appears to be another, smaller creek joining the one we had been following. Within feet of the bridge, a misty chill filled the otherwise warm air and the familiar roar of waterfalls slowly took over.

The bridge was damp with the waterfall’s mist. Small pockets of moss clung to the joints of the railings and trusses. The falls themselves were small, but not underwhelming. The water cascaded in a delicate veil, landing softly on the rock bed below before picking up speed and joining the creek.

Kyle hiked down to a closer vantage point. He turned and yelled back to me, his voice drowned by the noise of the falls.

“I can’t hear you!” I shouted, not knowing if I was at all audible.

He motioned for me to join him.

I admire his adventurous spirit. I’d like to think we’re the yin and yang of exploration. I have a healthy respect for rules, and tend to err on the side of caution. Kyle lives for an adrenaline rush and is willing to bend the rules if he deems the reward worthy of the risk. Somewhere in between we find balance – I’m pushed to try new things and he has to minimize the number of risky situations we end up in.

So, I carefully picked my way down toward the falls. Finding a suitable rock, I stood and watched droplets of mist collect on my arms for a few seconds before retrieving my camera from my backpack. Adjusting my exposure, I knelt down to snap a few photos of the falls before climbing back up to the bridge. Kyle continued to explore the fairytale-like grove surrounding the waterfall, slipping here and there as he navigated through the creek. He walked behind the falls and, as I imagined how wet he must be from the splashes and mist, a chill ran up my spine remembering how cold the creek felt earlier. When he’d finished exploring, he came back to the bridge and hopped back over the railing with a slight bounce in his landing, and a cheeky grin.

“Ready to head back?” he asked, taking my hand in his. The late afternoon light flickered through the trees and danced on his face.

My stomach growled, longing for food. “Yeah, I’m ready for a meal,” I said.

The hike back passed quickly, my mind empty and tired. The sights seemed less notable the second time around; the creek, ferns and boulders fast-forwarded by. My attention shifted to the car, no longer the journey.

The sun barely peeked above the hills by the time we reached the car, painting the valley and the hills with a beautiful golden light. I closed my eyes to soak in its warmth one more time before leaving for home. Kyle wrapped his arms around me, his embrace warmer than the rays that were slowly retreating to the west. Again, I was consumed by a sense of belonging.

As we drove back down the dirt road, I rolled down my window, allowing the cool evening air to fill the car. Driving along the river, about two miles away from the onramp heading west back to Coeur d’Alene,

my phone lit up in the cup holder next to me, buzzing and dinging with notifications from the day: FULL SERVICE

O'brien Family Session

I’ve known Caitlyn and Aaron for several years now, and have loved watching them grow as a family. Knowing their love of the outdoors, I decided to take them to one of my favorite hiking trails.

For me, one of the most important things about working with families, is creating and capturing memories. When Caitlyn and Aaron look at these images 10-plu years from now, I hope they remember how great their little girl did, and how much fun they had walking around and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Cruising into Summer - Cd'A Magazine

This story originally ran in Cd'A Magazine. You can see the full story here

Summer evenings in Coeur d’Alene are magic. When the heat of the day still radiates from the streets, and the air begins to chill ever so slightly, people flock from their air conditioned homes and the beaches to the streets downtown to visit their favorite restaurants and pubs. Live music fills the air as locals cruise down to Sherman to meet up with friends and soak up every second of summer.

It is during this time you might find a new group cruising the Centennial Trail and downtown streets, a new group of bikers who are as passionate about the community as they are about riding.

“Ironman was a bug that infected us all when it started here. We all went out and bought road bikes, spandex and went for it,” John Kelly, founder of BikeCDA, said. “But there’s been a demographic that was being neglected for many years, and that’s our cruiser riders.”

Last summer Cd’A Cruiser Rides began a Tuesday night tradition of family-friendly rides from Bardenay in Riverstone, to Java on Sherman. These rides quickly escalated to full moon rides, bike to Art Walk rides and pub crawls. BikeCDA, Cd’A Cruiser Rides and several local businesses, including Java, Seasons, Taphouse Unchained, and the Blackwell Hotel, partnered to offer special deals to those riding in these special events.

“It’s a great way for families to get out together and to include those that love to cycle for fun,” Kelly said. “It’s more than just bicycling, it’s a way to bring us together as a community and encourage businesses to connect with the bike community.”

Get Involved

Join the BikeCDA Facebook group to stay up-to-date on all biking events and group rides in the Coeur d’Alene area. If you or someone you know needs assistance, BikeCDA offers free bicycles to those in need. To donate or find assistance, visit

The Woman Behind the Wine - Cd'A Press

This story originally ran in the Coeur d'Alene Press. You can see the original story here

Most college students show up for a party with their favorite, cheap beer, ready to share. But not Shelly, she often appeared at gatherings with a bottle of wine in hand, almost always a red, often a pinot noir.

“Pinot noir has been a favorite of mine for years,” she said. “I love a good cab too, but I always seem to come back to the pinot.”

Shelly Crawford and her husband, Scott, are the proud owners of Coeur d’Alene’s newest winery, Castaway Cellars, located in the Resort Plaza Shops. Inspired by their love of the outdoors, Castaway Cellars is a product of many years of experimentation, hard work, and some of the best grapes from the region.

“We’ve shared a passion for wine for a very long time, although Scott started out as more of a beer guy,” Crawford said. “We started making wine from home as a hobby. I didn’t decide to pursue it as a career until my kids were in school full time.”

The 43-year-old mother of three originally worked in information technology in western Washington, and met her now husband, originally from Pennsylvania, as a fluke while visiting her hometown of Missoula, Montana. They hit it off after sitting down at the same table in a local pub and have been together ever since. The couple relocated to Coeur d’Alene in 2006 when Scott opened his own chiropractic office in Post Falls. As all three children entered elementary school, Crawford found herself wanting to continue her education and get back to her career in IT, but her love for winemaking pulled her in another direction.

“In comparing the time and costs for the IT program I was interested in, and the viticulture and enology program at Washington State University, I realized they’d take me about the same amount of time,” Crawford said. “I decided to follow my passion, something I would have fun doing everyday.”

While completing the program, Crawford continued to make wine from her home, and eventually graduated into more space with the help of Steve Meyer, the owner of Pend d’Oreille Winery in Sandpoint, and then to their current location at Smasne Cellars in Prosser, Washington.

“It has been so great to work with both Steve and now Robert Smasne as we get Castaway off the ground,” Crawford said. “Robert is one of the top winemakers in Washington state, and has been a great mentor during this process.”

Balancing family life, the wine bar, and harvest season is a new challenge for Crawford, having to be away for two to three days each week throughout the fall. As harvest season comes to a close, Crawford is looking forward to winter, and some new releases to their collection.

“We’re really excited to release our merlot later this month, just in time for Thanksgiving,” she said. “We also have a great seasonal menu that features locally sourced greens, breads, chocolates, as well as some new dinner specials.”

Crawford is excited about the growth of their winery and is looking forward to the day Castaway Cellars has it’s very own location. In the meantime, Crawford is enjoying the small downtown space and the energy that surrounds it.

“It’s fun to participate in the downtown events. It’s been a great experience here so far,” she said. “Of course we want to offer exceptional wines to our customers, but we also want to provide a warm, inviting experience. It’s a local, family-owned business, so we want that to translate into the experience.”

Castaway Cellars is located at 210 Sherman Ave., suite 161. You can also find their wines at Pilgrim’s Market, Flame and Cork, Paragon Brewery, Rustic, and Hay J. Bistro.