This title should be my Misadventures at Paint Canyon, and I’ll get into the details of why after I set the scene for you. When you live in Minnesota and endure what feels like six months of winter, you take advantage of the opportunity to shoot a session outdoors when you travel to a warmer climate for spring break. This sounds reasonable, right? Not when you involve your own kids, and they have very different opinions about what to do on vacation from their photographer mom.

So that was misadventure number one, not negotiating with my kids ahead of time that the canyon hike was going to be a fun photo session. Note to self, vacation to my kids also means vacation away from mom’s photo sessions, unless I’m willing to provide incentives. Waiting till the hike, and realizing how much they really don’t want to make the hike about a session, is really not the time to negotiate. I’d like to think a lot of eye rolling and yelling, and a threat to leave one kid behind, could have been avoided had I been more prepared. Not one of my finer parenting moments, but adds to our adventure I like to think.

Misadventure number two was mis-communicating with my husband and showing up at the wrong canyon. Apparently, I was unaware that there are numerous canyons, all part of Indian Canyons (note the pluralized Canyon-I didn’t while perusing the pretty hiking brochure I was given), and what I thought was Palm Canyon, was actually Painted Canyon. So instead of the lush palm forest and creek bed, we ended up in a dry winding canyon with numerous ladders to navigate on the hike. Showing up in pressed clothes and styled hair, while everyone else had hiking boots and camel packs, was another indication of what we were in for. After squeezing through a windy cavern and wiggling our way through a hole three feet in diameter, I decided to ask my husband how much longer to the the palm forest. He looked at me like I was suffering from a hallucination caused by dehydration. He handed me some water and informed me we were at Painted Canyon, that this was it, no palm forest, only more ladders and boulders to climb.

Needless to say, my family was pretty exasperated with me, so I wisely chose the next photo worthy backdrop to do our session. As you can see, your session may not go as planned, the┬ábackdrop isn’t always the most important, nor are the clothes, hair or pose. But using what you have and making the most of it is what’s most important. The laughter and genuine smiles I got out of my kids may have been at my expense, once we realized I had the wrong canyon, but capturing the laughter and fun that came from it was worth it.

To those who love these gorgeous backgrounds in the photos, you should totally plan a hike in Painted Canyon, just be aware there are no palm forests or windy creek beds. Take lots of water and your patience, as there are a lot of ladders to climb and rocky terrain to navigate. Just be sure to take the time to enjoy the experience and snap a few photos!


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