Why Raleigh is the Perfect City

So just a heads up - this is gonna be a bit of a combo blog post but I think you'll love it :) 

aaand moving right along...

I could go on and on about why I love Raleigh, NC so much but this would probably turn into a book rather than one blog post. Raleigh itself is a great city with tons of hidden gems behind every corner. Wandering downtown last weekend I found some beautiful street art with an impactful message, a delicious Mexican restaurant with a warm atmosphere and some magnificent architecture that I couldn't help but stop and marvel at. 

This picture was taken at Gringo a Go Go - One of the best Mexican restaurants I've eaten at in Raleigh.  

But what I love more than anything abut this city is the fact that a short drive away you can find the mountains, the beach or find yourself in the middle of nowhere on a horse ranch with two of your best friends...

Two of my best friends have a herd of gorgeous horses that I offered to photograph last weekend. I also ended up riding a little myself. I love horses and it was only a short 15min car ride out to Wendell, NC

I loved the twisty winding roads that we followed to get to the ranch. The air seemed to clear and everything was blissfully quiet. 

When we arrived we were met with happy whinnies and the low rumble of hooves as the herd galloped towards us to greet us. Don't worry! I came armed with carrots so we were instant friends :) 

The intelligence of horses I think can be found when you look at them in their eyes. They analyze every move you make and know instantly how you're feeling. They are some of the most majestic creatures I have ever had the pleasure of spending my time with. 

I love witnessing the bond between horse and rider. They seemed to fly as they moved together across the track.  

The horses in the pasture groomed each other lovingly. This behavior strengthens relationships in the herd and is honestly just adorable to watch. 

There are no words that can accurately describe the bond between these two. You could feel that they truly felt love for one another and that his horse respected and cared for him - just like any other member of the herd. 

While we were spending time with my friend's horses their were some curious onlookers from the pasture next door. This big girl is a draft horse and she sweetly nuzzled and smelled my hair when I approached her. 

Overall, it was an absolutely adventurous weekend. Where else can you explore a concrete jungle one day and then run wild and free with horses the next? I feel so lucky to live in Raleigh where I can have the best of both worlds. 

Thank you so much for reading! I really appreciate it :) 
Leave a comment below and share a special relationship you have with an animal in your life. 

Carolina Beach On An Early Spring Day

Hello!

I am writing this on a Tuesday night and I can still feel the very slight sting from the sun on my skin. It's wonderful. I can close my eyes and still see the slow waves rolling in and the breeze wafting over the crests of the waves, flinging tiny bubbles of sea foam everywhere. 

There's just something about the ocean is't there? It seems to have magical powers. I went there with stresses and the sea air seemed to blow them all away. I came home from Carolina Beach feeling fresh and ready to start the week in Raleigh. 

Carolina Beach is a 2 hour and 30 min drive from Raleigh. The temp that day was resting at a delicious 75 degrees and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Parking was FREE. Which is unheard of at any beach. However, the parking was free because technically NC beaches are still in their off season. This is also great because there was a dramatic change in population and noise pollution. Just the sound of the waves lulling me into a deep calm.  

I captured the few photos I could between my bouts of pure sun kissed tanning bliss. I apologize for their being so few but I seriously needed the R&R. 

Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite beach in the world is :) I'd love to visit them all some day. 

The water was pretty frigid that day so mostly everyone stayed on the beach and enjoyed the warmth...

Except this brave soul with four paws. He immediately ran back to the beach when he realized he had made a terrible mistake. Burr! 

The waves seemed to perform their own ballet that day as they shimmered and rolled onto the beach in an uncountable amount of rhythmic patterns.

The gulls even seemed calm. As if pestering beach goers for their food scraps was just too daunting of a task on such a beautiful day. 

I watched the waves for what felt like hours. I let them hypnotize me. I thought about what stories they would tell if they could. I imagined they would regale me with tales of cut throat pirates, beautiful mermaids and frightening sea monsters. 

I left my footprints on Carolina Beach along with my worries. I said good bye to the waves and the sand but I'll be back soon. 

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment :) 

A New Year, New Hikes and New Art

Hello Again! 

It's nice to be back! I had to take a break for a little bit but now I'm back and this blog has a new rejuvenated purpose. 

I love hiking around North Carolina and through this blog I am going to start chronicling my adventures in Raleigh and beyond! So I hope you're ready to follow me on this journey. 

I'm going to showcase new and exciting places around the Raleigh area. So if you are new to the area, visiting or you're a local trying to find someplace outdoors to explore, you're in the right place!

Also, I will still be including many wildlife shots when the post calls for it. Not deviating that far from the original plan ;)

Okay, with that intro out of the way, let's start the first Look Around Blog post of 2017!

The North Carolina Museum of Art is a visual thrill ride. Offering up a cornucopia of visual delights. This was my first time experiencing their outdoor attractions and it did not disappoint. This was a light hike and the outdoor sculptures were truly something to marvel at.

 The sun was out but there was a chill in the air and it stung a bit. Because of this the park was mostly empty except for the sculptures that seemed to look almost as cold as I was. 

The emptiness in the park that day could be felt and their was something incredibly relaxing about it. Just me, my husband and the sculptures. 

It felt like walking in a different world. One that you could completely escape in. I could lay by this exhibit for hours and pretend that I was in a garden in Rome. 

The change in landscape from this beautiful water garden with sculptures and bamboo to the rolling hills with behemoth pieces of art jutting out from the expansiveness.   

Even just the park itself was a work of art and the sun seemed to glint through every tree we walked under. 

This building is called the Cloud Chamber and it is officially one of my favorite places in Raleigh. When you go inside let your eyes adjust to the darkness and you are surrounded by the treetops. It's magical and I'm not going to try to explain it more. Just go and experience it for yourself. 

There are also a few hidden pieces of art along the nature path. They are so detailed and depict different portraits of nature etched into metal. It would be a fun game to try and find them all. 

We had such a great time and I was happy that the chill in the air didn't stop us from getting outside. It was such a wonderful experience. Take someone you love and take it all in. 

Thanks for reading! See you next week! - LF 

The Highest and The Lowest

Apology: I know that I don't have that many readers but I apologize for being absent. 

Life has been crazy. But in a really good way. 

With that out of the way I would like to share a few of the best shots I've taken over the past few weeks. I have been traveling a lot around NC lately and what I absolutely love about this state is how you could feasibly visit the beach and the mountains in one weekend. Which is what a group of my friends and I did for my birthday. Its was wonderful. 

The first set of pictures are from Stone Mountain and the second set are from back home in Raleigh. Sorry, didn't get any of the beach. I was too busy getting a great view of the back of my eyelids as I relaxed to the sound of the waves (be jealous). 

The dove that met us at the top of Stone Mountain was just as unexpected as meeting a friend with no feet on a nature trail in Raleigh. I loved that everywhere I went over the past few weeks there has been unexpected wonderful surprises. Life is good. 

Visiting From Heaven

Someone told me recently that cardinals are family members or friends visiting from heaven. I had never heard this about cardinals before but there was something incredibly comforting about that thought. 

I've lost a few people in my life that I think about every day. One of those people is my grandmother who helped raise me. So every time I see a cardinal, even though it may be just a nice thought, I like to think it's her. 

Have you heard this about cardinals? Who do you think of? Leave their story in the comment section below or just tell me what you think of the pictures. Thanks! 

Also, side note, I apologize for the length between the previous post and this post. I was moving to a wonderful new apartment and unfortunately that's where all my time went. I'm back now though :) And will keep the posts coming to you in a steady beat, promise!

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Throwback Thursday: Back to the Beginning

When you dive head first into photography a few things happen: 

1. You start to spend more time with your camera than your friends. 

2. You spend way too much money on equipment that you probably really don't need.

3. Your computer gets so overloaded with pictures you have to transfer some to an external hard drive. Also, in that process, some great shots may get lost in the archives - never to be seen again. 

When I was going through the process of starting this blog I thought about #3 and decided to venture back in time, looking at some of my first wildlife shots. Back when I was a happy go lucky high school student with her first SLR. 

It was a nice trip down memory lane and I found some great shots that I had forgot about completely. These aren't some of my best shots, but I remember the excitement I felt when I first captured them and sometimes it's nice to take a look back. 

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Swimming in the Sky

I always try to see the magic in nature. When you start noticing the little details through a camera lens it can introduce you to a whole new world. 

These photos were also taken at Duke Gardens in Durham, NC. Although, unlike their feathery counterparts, these were the low key guests at the party. Silently swimming through the crowd of birds the turtles seemed to be doing their version of people watching. Some were so caught up in noticing the world around them that they even needed a little help getting around. 

Their heads were quite literally in the clouds. 

Same can be said for the koi fish except they were the glamorous ones. As they floated effortlessly around their pool I wondered if they realized all eyes were on them. 

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Birds of a Feather Hang Out Together

The last week had been an unusually difficult one for me and I find that whenever I am going through a rough patch the best medicine is to get lost in nature. It's spring time and one of the most beautiful places to explore in the Triangle Area during spring time is Duke Gardens in Durham, NC. 

As I walked through the serenity of the gardens I stumbled upon a bird hang out. There were over 20 birds of different species just chill'en, enjoying some good eats, and the great weather.

Which was exactly what I was there to do. 

So I joined their swaray and snapped some great shots while I was at it. Some of these birds were total divas and would only let me take pictures of their good side and others wouldn't even sign a photo release! Pfft. Snobs.  

Enjoy and please leave a comment in the comment section below! 

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