Flagstaff, Arizona

Nothing gets me out of bed quicker than a spontaneous road trip. Friday, July 7 Valerie Loo (@valeriedabomb) posted an invite on her Instagram for any photographer to join her on a trip to Flagstaff the following Sunday. I immediately responded, thinking surely someone else had already landed the adventure buddy spot. Luckily, she responded shortly after saying how glad she was I messaged her and from there we were booking our Airbnb and planning what time to leave.

We found an amazing Airbnb right next to Humphrey's Peak and it is actually also the oldest recording studio in Flagstaff that is still up and running. The house was in an amazing location and the hosts were as nice as could be, giving us great tips on shooting locations. Here's a link to book if you're interested in a cool getaway (not sponsored just want to help my fellow adventurers.) Below are a few photos we took inside. The vintage interior was the icing on the cake!

I picked Valerie up Sunday around 3pm, and with Hot Cheetos and an uncontrollable excitement to be in a temperature below 100 degrees, we were off on our mini adventure. Neither of us had been to Flagstaff during the Summer, so we were anxious to run around in fields of wild flowers and be outside without melting (we both live in Phoenix, AZ.)

And thats exactly what we did. As soon as we arrived, we ran out and frolicked in a forest of pine trees before even going inside the Airbnb. Next, we made sure to shoot in the field outside of our home for the night, which had glorious views of the mountains that grace Flagstaff. 

When it got dark, we ventured to downtown (which was absolutely ADORABLE btw) and got dinner at a quaint ramen place called SoSoba with some friends Valerie knew. We ended the night with some frozen yogurt and Jenga and went back to our cozy Flagstaff home. 

Since we live in Phoenix, it had been a while since we had seen a thunderstorm, so no, we were not sad or disappointed when a storm started to roll in, in fact we sat our happy asses out on the front porch and watched the lightening roll in.  

After battling the choice to wake up to shoot the sunrise the next morning and eating a well balanced breakfast of Hot Cheetos, we were rewarded with cotton candy skies and a full rainbow that spanned completely over our red barn of an Airbnb. Lesson learned, never say no to a sunrise shoot.

Finally, we headed out to the Snowbowl to do what we came to Flagstaff to do: frolic in flowers Sound of Music style surrounded by beautiful blue mountains. There I got some of my favorite portrait shots thus far, and officially found my new "where does your brain go when you want to relax" spot. I ended the day with two full 64 GB memory cards (AKA over 4,000 photos) and a full heart of memories with a new friend. 

Moral of the story: Never say no to a spontaneous adventure, always wake up for sunrise shoots and ALWAYS bring Hot Cheetos on a road trip (again, not an ad, just think Hot Cheetos rule.)

Alyssa SmithComment