Oh! MG Photo vists the Grand Canyon in Arizona | Ahwatukee, AZ Portrait, Children’s & Lifestyle Photographer 2014

Ever been completely captivated by something so large that your mind is sort of confused and refuses to process the reality that’s presented before you?

Our family is good at taking mini-cations. We decided that for my birthday we would visit Williams, AZ and take the Grand Canyon Railway to the Grand Canyon.

First off, yay. I’m 27. But secondly — how am I suppose to take this all in at once? Its a huge gaping hole. A majestic canyon; the first of seven wonders of the world.

Lets start by talking about the train ride, taking off around 9:00am.

 TRAIN RIDE42 TRAIN RIDE44_1 Ride the Grand Canyon Railway

We said goodbye to Williams and Hi to Kathy with a K who was more than upbeat, she was awesome. Last thing you need on a 2 hr 15 minute ride is a mean old lady.

You end up going through just miles and miles of plains and herds of cattle.


we got to the Grand Canyon and we had 3 hours to see it.  Well three hours is NOTHING at the Grand Canyon. I could have stayed there for 12 more hours to watch the sunset, watch it rise, document the wildlife, take a freaking break from walking once in a blue moon & hydrate.

We had 3 hours to see something that probably should take a few days to visit. GRANDCANYON_0005_1 GRANDCANYON_0001_1 GRANDCANYON_0013 GRANDCANYON_0033 Pano1_1


It was HOT. it was like 90 degrees out. and 30% chance of rain so there was humidity.  Between my daughter who didn’t want to walk anymore, and the horrible decision to wear all black – the day was going very rocky but the beauty of where we were had to make up for that. See that bird?  That’s a Calfornia Condor. He nearly went extinct!

California Condor02

Heres CaliCon # 30. They’re all tagged because they really nearly went extinct.  Click the link if you’d like to read more on the bird with a nearly 9 foot wingspan!

So we went on this walk, a trail. It was suppose to take way less time than it did, but our awesome daughter with short legs just wasn’t having it. I don’t blame her; it was hot, it was a rather long trail in open sun… but we had no choice but to finish it and take a bus back to the station.

Now when you take the Grand Canyon Railway, you NEED to make it to the station on time or you will be left behind. They don’t do a head count, they don’t really care if you’re left behind because really there are people that don’t return on the train every day.

We had to take a 2 mile trail, to a bus stop, to get to another bus transfer, then take that one to the station. The bus left at 3:30 and we got there at 3:15.

Needless to say I was literally thinking of worst case scenarios: taking a $140 cab ride back to Williams, getting a hotel room for $160+. Just. Stress.

We get back to the train and we just MELT. We are relieved, stress is lifted, yadda. My husband will say he wasn’t stressed nor worried but I on the other hand just saw dollar signs occur in the worst case scenario plan and didn’t like it one bit.

We get some wine and some beer from the food car, and enjoyed the scenery and extra cows on the way home. Oh, and we got robbed.


My daughter was not a fan of them. She was seriously afraid of all the actors  robbers but yet this kid LOVES Chuck E Cheese.

I digress.

We get robbed,

my daughter clings to daddy–

you get the deal.


Saw plenty of elk too.

Elk along the ride
Elk along the ride

We got back to the station and decided that we would try and take the chance of going out to eat in the adorable town of Williams despite our child testing every limit ever laid before her.

We ate – and we headed back to Phoenix. What was so awesome about that was the lightening storms we got to watch literally the whole way home.


Let me break down what we would have done, or will do the next time, had we known how everything would go down.

(realistically) you don’t have enough time (3hrs) to hang out at the GC (Grand Canyon.)

I AM NOT DISSING THE GRAND CANYON RAILWAY. But when you have a really antsy 4-year-old who is afraid of fake cowboys – you set yourself up for failure and frustration by taking the train.

If you plan on taking the train – take it with well obedient children or plan on staying up there for a while and stay at the lodging that’s immediately at the canyon itself.  You don’t have to return the day you ride up there, and vice versa.

Be prepared for crazy prices, yolo. When in rome, do as the romans do.

Don’t go during hot months, and if you do, know you’ll regret wearing black.  There is minimal shade.  MINIMAL.

It’s illegal to throw rocks, coins and feed animals at the canyon. Like: fine-you-illegal.  Don’t feed anyone but your family.

When we go next, we plan to drive all the way to the south rim and bring bikes. we plan on lodging at the rim and being able to spend more than 3 hours there.

We may even hike down the canyon, it can take like all day – but I think one day when Hailey’s old enough to stay behind Tim and I might do that.

So, below you’ll see a slideshow of some of the pictures. They all start looking the same, really. I mean it was an amazing experience but the rate at which you can walk is nothing compared to the size of the canyon. Your view doesn’t really change much even walking around it for a few miles.

We have seen the first wonder of the world. We can rest our heads easy on our pillows at night. But if we had to do again we’d do it differently!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

#PureMichigan: a personal Oh! MG family vacation – Ahwatukee, AZ Family Photographer

I was born in , raised in, and still visit Grand Rapids, MI. It’s where my parents bought a tiny red brick house and made it their home. It’s where the kids left the nest from. It’s my mother’s resting place.  It’s where my daughter loves to visit Papa.


It’s where I met my husband, it’s where my husband’s family lives. it’s where I see my in-laws, its where my husband sees his parents and family. It’s where my daughter loves to see GiGi and Grandpa Joe.


Regardless, it’s a place full of memories. It will always remain a place of memories.

I mock the hashtag and saying #PureMI or #PureMichigan because of the semi-famous “Pure Michigan”  (click that for commercial) travel ad campaign that started in 2007 and still runs to this day. I have friends here in Phoenix, AZ that they always see the ads, I saw them when we lived in CA and people worldwide probably have the same testimonial.

She’s never seen a whirly-bird before. (helicopter, whatever you call them.) Her shirt? says it all. MI7__25

This trip revolved around my brother getting married to his amazing fiance. I may be a bit bias, but she’s awesome.  I didn’t photograph their wedding, thank gosh, because I had enough fun in the party to convince me to never shoot a wedding I’m invited to,  ever. The amazing Peach Moon Photography based out of Grand Haven, MI  shot their engagement photos and wedding photos and were great people to work with. I’m the tall blonde in the family image on the alter with the PRECIOUS flower girl that is my daughter,  and the tall bald ravishingly handsome man that I’m married to.  Thats my “cleans up well” dad next to me, and then of course her family on her side.

Peach Moon Photography, Tim + Erin Wedding
Copyright Peach Moon Photography, Tim + Erin Wedding

There are plenty of other #thelillis wedding insta-pictures on my IG Feed but you gotta go back a little ways. You can’t miss ’em!

Besides being there for their wedding, we were there for personal vacation as well. We saw plenty of family, scenery, and I took so many nature/still life shots it will make your eyes numb.

We went to the Grand Rapids Arts Festival downtown Grand Rapids, MI.

MI7__40 MI7__41 MI7__50 MI7__56 MI7__36 MI7__38 MI7__62 MI7__60

We visited  Grand Haven State Beach  both as a family and as a couples date to just get away.

060814_0304 060814_0312 060814_0311 060814_0296 060814_0317 060814_0315 060814_0319 060814_0320


MI5__21 MI5__19 MI5__26 MI5__12

We went to Traverse City (TC), MI which is known for their berries, and cherries.  We went because our daughter had never been there, and I haven’t either.  There’s this place called the Sleeping Bear Dunes  which is like, arguably one of the prettiest places to visit in the lower peninsula of Michigan. WE LITERALLY SAW A BEAR CUB CROSS THE ROAD. <– caps necessary.

060814_0384 060814_0386 060814_0391MI15__12 Known for their berries and cherries, so naturally I had to have a very berry filled pie at Grand Traverse Pie Co. MI15__25 Some lighthouse that wanted $4.00 to walk upstairs in it. No thanks!060814_0348 060814_0373We visited family for Father’s Day. The best part was that my dad came along with us to my husbands side of the family’s gathering. It’s so nice to have them integrated!

MI10__29 MI10__12 MI10__14 MI10__11 MI10__2 MI10__7 MI10__9 MI10__10 MI10__18

My husband and I respectfully saw friends I see once a year (when we visit.) Nothings more refreshing, more awesome, and more rewarding than maintaining friendships over years and years. We pick up where we left off the last time we saw each other — it’s how I’m able to have friends nation and world wide.   Friends are the flowers in the garden of life!

MI5__7 marshmallws Making S’mores with out friends Lisa and Conor whom will be getting married this year. MI5_

childhood best friends grow up, and have kids, who hang out with each other — i’d say that’s more like family.

The literally awesome part of the friends that I visit is they continue to grow up, prosper, and I get to see them from afar on facebook them actually meet their kids they’ve had or the ones they’re about to have! (a friend announced she was pregnant on fathers day!)

I saw old high school friends, old family friends. Family.

Oh, and I continued to shoot barns for no good reason at all.




Visiting the gorgeous scenery of Lake Roosevelt, AZ – Oh! MG Photography 2014


May 24th we took a trip.

My husband wouldn’t tell me where we were going but he was like, “get ready we are leaving.”

So 1) I knew we were leaving far away, and 2) I know he understands my appreciation and love for the scenic Arizona so I was pretty sure I’d like what I see where we ended up.

After some windy roads that gained elevation, then lost some, then gained again, we passed through scenes unlike ones I’ve seen in Phoenix, AZ.

Mind you, these were shot from the passenger side of our car, window down .. me saying, “sorry really just one more.. ” each time.

lakeRoosevelt_0003 lakeRoosevelt_0008 Ahwatukee Photog takes a road trip

I gave my camera a rest and those awesome clouds you see sort of just lurked around. Finally we arrived somewhere between the 188 and 288.

Lake Roosevelt Visitor Center National Park

We stopped into the National Park up there and there’s a visitor center in Lake Roosevelt, AZ right across from Roosevelt Lake Marina.

Without spending money on any park passes or parking passes for recreational areas, we made an afternoon of just seeing the sights.

Below is Roosevelt Dam.


A pretty awesome view of the iconic bridge they have there (and an all natural sky, that stuff isn’t made up!)


Then there’s my scared-of-ants photographer-4-year-old daughter.

We taught her the ipad takes good pictures, so she walked around taking umptillion shots of EVERYTHING. (that was fun to delete later.. )


And an Oh! MG family trip wouldn’t be a trip if we didn’t take a family picture. We do this almost everywhere we go.

There was literally three cement pedestals there likely for this purpose, to be tripods.


Lake Roosevelt had much more for us to see. Here’s some that really stood out from our day-trip:

Distance View from visitor center Roosevelt Lake, AZ Another View from visitor center Roosevelt Lake, AZ View from visitor center Roosevelt Lake, AZ Roosevelt Lake Marina, AZ Roosevelt Lake, AZ bridge

Nerd alert: I got new glass! (that means lenses in non-nerd speak) – Oh! MG Photography, Phoenix AZ

I got two new lenses recently (a belated mother’s day gift from my husband) and I’m sort of, really completely, totally and utterly am obsessed with my new Sigma 105mm 2.8f AF lens.

I was so obsessed with my olloclip and I still love it but this brings my macro TO LIFE! Everything can easily be gorgeous now with this amazing lens.

I do have a complaint against it when working in low light situations, that’s when I’d go with a fast acting 35 or 50mm. My 50 has never steered me wrong in low light!

Soooo I made a gallery because of the nerdliness.

This lens is going to make a newborn shoot much more interesting! I get to shoot baby “B” on the 24th, and I am counting down the seconds until I get to use this lens in a real shoot :)

Welcome to the world, baby “B”! – 1st 48 hr hospital visit | Oh! MG Photography, Phoenix, AZ

I was ecstatic when I got the text that said “baby is here! here’s our room number, when will you be by?”

I LOVE visiting these itty bitties in the hospital, so fresh and so new and so amazing.  All they know is mom, the sound of her; the smell & what she offers for them.

thumb sucker, Oh! MG Photography  Phoenix, AZ

mommy baby love, Oh! MG Photography, Phoenix, AZ

baby foot, Oh! MG Photography, Phoenix, AZ

to view the whole album, visit my portfolio page link at the top, or click here!

I am honored to be onboard with this family for a year for Newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months & 1-year shoots. Although I’ve done numerous (and I mean NUMEROUS) shoots of different ages of different children I can’t say that i’ve been around for all 5 of those awesome milestone ages for too many people that weren’t my direct friends. Needless to say, I’m super excited!

Thank you, Em & Cait. <3

Today was a small little escape from reality for me and the little one. Daddy headed off on work and we sorta just did random nothings for a while.

We stopped at a consignment shop and I found a metal baby-doll bed that will be PERFECT for a newborn, and then, when I got home, I found something from Ebay.com in my mailbox.

I thought it was my phone case I ordered that looks like an old camera. It wasn’t.

I had QUICKLY received my Em and Cait. Halo’s headband. AAAAAHHHmazing.

Where do I start? It’s shiny. It instantly won me over when I saw it was super duper shiny. Admit it you stare at shiny things, too.

When I received the package it was a white box, wrapped with a bow and a marketing tag. That bow there, is hand tied. HAND TIED. Dedication much?

bling bling! I tried it on my daughters head even though I ordered the newborn size :) (whattttt, i was excited!)

This is what it looks like SOOC. (or straight out of the box.)

Em and Cait.

And this is its potential:

amazeballs. crazysauce. you tell me what.


Em & Cait. 

Caitlin Trantham (of Oh Penelope Photography) wanted to find a side job to keep her intertwined & integrated with the photography realm as she carries her third child and yet can still be mommy to the two she already has. She found this amazing talent hiding inside her to create and produce these for sale in their etsy.com shop. and BAM. SUCCESS.

Gorgeous product, made with love and TLC.

do me a fav? Check them out. Check out their shop, check out Cait’s facebook. do it.

& thank you Em & Cait. <3

Now everyone: go check them out. go.

Where ever I am, no matter where i go I see flowers and I want to take pictures of them. There’s something about natural occurring color in nature that makes me excited and eager to capture it.
These flowers range from San Diego native to Desert Native… these are 43 flowers I’ve encountered in March- April.