Tag Archives: hiking

Weekly Musings

Some days, making the move to live a creative life is a challenge.

Other days, it feels like the most exciting thing imaginable. I get huge bursts of energy and also moments of total freak-out.

Today I feel on top of the world.

Though, if I’m being honest, the past week or so has felt very stressful. I’ve spent too much time worrying about the future and not enough time taking the steps needed to build this tiny empire.

It ebbs and flows really. 

I try to remind myself these ebbs and flows are natural.

Everything in life has ups and downs. This part of my life is new, and that’s the only reason it feels a bit awkward when I’m on the roller coaster.

Like with my yoga practice.

I practice five days a week, Monday through Friday. But of course there are weeks that schedule doesn’t work.

Sometimes a total lack of sleep has me pressing the snooze button one too many times. Sometimes I get sick. Sometimes I get distracted by other random crap in the morning, and then my practice doesn’t happen that day. But do I get discouraged and throw in the towel? Say eff it all, and never practice again? Of course not. I just skip that day and start again the next day, Monday through Friday, as I always do.

And so that’s how I’m trying to look at starting my art business.

Some days it will all feel perfect and easy. Those days are awesome, and with a little luck and intention, I’ll cherish them. Other days, I feel stuck in the mud and can’t get myself to do the work because it all feels hopeless. Those days straight up suck. But I’m working to just let the day pass and start again the next day. No beating myself up about it.

No added stress. Just allowing what will be…to be.


Heather Rae

p.s. The weather in Vegas has been stunning the past week! Last weekend we headed out to the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Juniper is a water dog through and through. There’s no keeping that girl out of the water! She loved every minute of soaking up the sunshine. And Charlotte ran through every bush she possibly could. The girl is a hunter, no doubt about it. Always looking for little creatures in the bushes. She never actually gets them. But for her, it’s all about the chase. ūüėČ

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Weekly Musings

My mind has been in a beautiful space this week. Over the long weekend, I got outside, and I SO needed that! It’s funny how I can have a million things to do, but when I go hiking, everything stops. I stop caring there are things pressing on my mind. I stop worrying and being concerned. I simply breathe the fresh air and enjoy my surroundings. I took the girls to First Creek on Sunday, and we ran back and forth across the creek, Juniper chasing water and Charlotte chasing the smells in¬†the bushes at the creekside. The air was still, the kind of still that makes you notice. And the creek was full with water. Because this is a desert, the water at Red Rock is very seasonal. Normally in January, I avoid Red Rock because of the cold. Even though our winters in Las Vegas are pretty mild, I still don’t enjoy them. So I skip the hiking until late February or early March when it starts to warm up just a bit. But this year I have the girls to entertain, and they get me out, even when the wind is blowing. You have no idea how happy this makes me. I’ll go out, planning to keep it short, but then I’ll get taken away by the breeze, and we’ll end up staying for a few hours. That’s what happened on Sunday. The creek was full from rain and snowmelt, fuller than I’ve ever seen it. And we took advantage of the opportunity to simply enjoy. We even headed there again on Monday!

This reminds me, I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. About how I need to look at my life through the lens of what I love. There are times I forget to do that, and I find my mind souring. But when I stop to look around, and I take in all that I have created for myself, I feel so damn good. The last few weeks have felt this way. I’ve taken note of the good things, and it has made such a difference.

One thing I keep noticing is my home. I adore my house. I really do. I’ll be up in the morning, eating at the breakfast bar, then walk into the yoga room for my morning practice, and it just makes me smile. I mean, seriously, there was a time I thought I would never be able to afford a home on my own. And now I marvel at the fact I made it happen. It’s a small house, but it’s also perfect. It likely won’t be my last house, as I think I’ll be heading out of Vegas in the next few years. But while it is my house, I’m going to cherish it. I mean, I have enough space to have a separate art room and a separate yoga room. How freaking awesome is that?! And both rooms are exactly as I want. The furniture, the colors, everything. And I did that. I made it happen. It’s kind of awesome. I’m feeling really grateful.

On that note, I’ll leave you for today. My wish is that this week brings your mind to a beautiful space too.



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Creativity Sparks | Three Loves: Photography, Yoga, and Painting


(photo taken on a recent trip to Zion National Park)

I mentioned a few weeks back that in my other life I’m a high school science teacher. Yesterday was the first day back to work after summer break, and I’ve got to tell you, it was haaaard. Mostly because my school-year life is so drastically different from my non-school-year life. And what I mean by that is…I get up at 4:30am. Yuck. Yes, let’s just say that together — YUCK.

I wake up that early for a couple of reasons, but let’s be honest, one of the biggest reasons is because I’m a slow poke. I like to eat breakfast while checking emails and scanning Facebook. I like to clean up the house in the morning. And I always work out in the morning. You see, I have to get my yoga in or I’ll be a sad sack all day. And no one wants a sad sack at work.

The beginning of the school year always makes me start to think of the future and my plans. My plans for teaching and my plans for my photography business. How does it all fit together? How long will it all fit together? What do I want to accomplish this year in my photography business? What to I want to change or adjust?

Some people ask themselves these questions at the end of a fiscal year or at the end of the calendar year. But I can’t help it. I think in school years. My year begins and ends in August.

Anyhow, I’ve been toying around with these questions, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you. You see, my vision for my photography business has drastically changed in the past year or so. My focus used to be on private clients — portraits. I wanted to focus the majority of my work on portraits. Because I do love portraits. And styled sessions. And senior sessions. And headshots. I’ve had a lovely time doing this work.

But I’ve noticed something — my teaching side is calling me. I love to share my experiences. I love to show people what I know and help them get to where they want to be. I really get a kick out of seeing another person’s work transform because of something I’ve helped them learn or inspired them to do. It’s an awesome feeling.

And so I’m playing around with the idea of incorporating teaching into my photography work.

I don’t know exactly what my business model will look like yet. I’m working on that. The ideas are too big and too broad at this point to say for sure. But here are some of my ideas.

First, diversify. I’m a bit of a renaissance woman. I like to do a little bit of everything. And when I do just one thing for too long, I get bored. So why force myself to do just one thing? Instead, do different things. Who says you can’t do several things and do several things well? I say you can. So why not? I’m looking into selling select travel prints. I’m checking out¬†what it would take to develop an online course. I’m considering the possibility of teaching in-person workshops and hosting creative retreats. I’m learning about licensing. I learning about self-publishing e-books and traditional publishing. I’m brainstorming and outlining and creating. And I’ve got to tell you, I’m stoked!

Second, incorporate yoga. As you know, I started adding yoga to the website a couple months back. Yoga drives me. It keeps me sane. It sparks my creativity and gets me in the zone. It quiets my mind and enhances my thought process. It does so much for my life, my creativity, and my photography. I want to share that with you and help you start your own yoga practice. I believe in this so much, I’ve decided to get certified as a yoga teacher. I’m looking into yoga teacher trainings, and I’m planning to join a training probably this coming winter or spring. In part, I’m doing this because I simply want to deepen my understanding of yoga and deepen my own yoga practice. It’s part selfish. But it’s also about feeling more confident in sharing that love of yoga with you.

Third, share my paintings.¬†This is totally new. Few of you likely know my love of painting. Some years I paint very little, and other years, I paint a lot. But I’ve learned something — the more creative work I do, regardless of the type of work, the more creative my photography becomes. It’s a bit of a snowball effect. I once received a great piece of advice: when I’m in a creative rut with my photography I should step away from it for a bit and do something creative that is totally different. Paint, draw, write, whatever inspires me at that moment. This advice has been crucial to my growth and confidence as a photographer. Stepping away from my camera and into my paint world refuels me. It helps me see the world differently, see colors differently. And before you know it, I’m off with my camera, working on a totally new, inspired project.¬†It started as a self-care ritual and has become a crucial way to avoid burnout. And I want to share that part of my life with you. Perhaps it would spark something in you that helps you avoid burnout too.

So that’s what I’m thinking about. Those are some of the ideas I’m tossing around. I’m excited! And I’m particularly excited to share this part of the journey with you. I don’t know exactly where it’s going to lead. But I do know it’s going to be somewhere awesome!


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Creativity Sparks | Mt. Charleston Phot Walk | The Camera You Have


We’ve all heard the cliche: the best camera is the one you have with you.¬†And there’s usually a reason something becomes cliche — because, at least to some extent, it’s true.

In this case? Totally 100% TRUE.

Here’s the perfect example. That photo above? Taken with an iPhone 5c. I went on a photo walk yesterday. I thought I’d drive myself up to Mt. Charleston and take a hike I hadn’t been on — Mary Jane Falls. I wanted to capture a few nice shots. Maybe do a few yoga poses. Have a nice afternoon strolling about the mountain.

I got about ¬†a quarter mile into my hike and saw a tree stump that I thought would be great to sit on for a creative self-portrait. I walked over and scoped out the scene. I found the perfect angle to set up my tripod. I checked for the best light and best background. I started setting up my camera equipment — put the camera on the tripod, adjusted the angle and height of the tripod, checked the ISO of my camera. And then. Yeah…then. Then I noticed an error code reading on my camera screen. Well, crap. I left my memory cards at home!!

At that precise moment, I looked up and saw how perfectly the light was hitting my tree stump. I slumped over a bit. I was thoroughly disappointed. What a great picture that would have been!

After a momentary moping session I decided I wasn’t going to skip my photo. I had a back up camera. Sort of. I had my iPhone!

I literally repeated that mantra in my head: the best camera is the one you have with you.

So the iPhone is my best camera. So what? Take your picture. Capture your moment. Don’t let the memory pass simply because you don’t have the fanciest camera to work with.

I still wasn’t sure how to take this picture. I didn’t have my phone tripod with me. How would I even prop the phone up? I almost gave up and settled for a handheld selfie. But then I noticed a spot on my regular tripod in which I might be able to wedge my phone. I didn’t know if it would hold or if that spot was even the right size/width. But I stuck the phone in there, and the darn thing stayed (honestly, I think it was quite a brilliant idea — I may just use that ridiculously large tripod to hold my little phone in the future¬†for things like this).

I’m sure a person or two noticed my little turquoise-cased phone being held by a rather large tripod. But so what? Let them think it looks silly. It does.

But I captured my moment, a moment that would be otherwise gone.

So if you’re just getting into photography, and you’re feeling intimidated by all the professional photographers with big, expensive, fancy cameras — don’t be. If the only camera you have is a point and shoot, use it. If the only camera you have is on your phone, use it. If you have an old, clunky, first-generation DSLR, use it. It doesn’t matter what you have. Use the camera you have. Get to know it. Get to know light and shadow and the settings you can change. Find out what makes for the best pictures on your camera and what makes for the worst.

I’ve seen people with state-of-the-art cameras take poor pictures. And I’ve seen people with mediocre cameras take stellar pictures.

Do what you can with what you have, and forget the rest.¬†Enjoy the creative process, and don’t look back!

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