Hi There!

I figured it was time to show my cheesy face...yes, that’s my face and yes, I’m eating cheese on one of my favorite hikes in Alaska. Most of the time I have no idea what kind of face MY face is making, but I thought I’d show it on here for once and introduce myself! So…👋🏼I’m Tara, and I’m a full-time outdoor lifestyle and portrait photographer based in the heart of the Midwest! 

A FEW THINGS I LOVE

I love coffee, (wow that was first on the list) going on adventures, cuddling my HUGE dog Bella, traveling to new places with my Hubs, trying new outdoor activities, (rock climbing is my new fav) and working on my side gig @thewildcreatives

Above Photo:  MollyCPhotography

Above Photo: MollyCPhotography

AS FOR MY WORK

My photography style evolves constantly, but over the years I have discovered one of my favorite aspects of being behind a camera was the ability to connect with total strangers...to feel like I was sharing in their story even for a second felt like such a privilege. 

An elderly woman's home in Cebu City, Philippines. 

An elderly woman's home in Cebu City, Philippines. 

Ok, I think that’s enough about me, I really just wanted to introduce myself so this could start to feel a little more personal. I’ve decided if I’m going to spend my time on social media or blogging I would like for it all to feel a little more meaningful. I want us to either learn something from each other, connect on a more personal level or just bring some positivity in SOME way into each other's day! 

So, let me know if there is anything you’d like to learn or hear more about and until next time - let’s all eat cheese sticks and climb mountains and if you’re lactose intolerant...I hear soy cheese is pretty good too!

Make sure to follow along on my Instagram: @tarashupe

-Tara

Radiate the Love

Take a second to feel small in this ginormous universe and remember that positivity and love go beyond every corner. We are given the opportunity each and every day to radiate love over hate to friends, family, strangers, enemies, furry animals, not furry animals, our environment and the whole freaking planet!!  

It's really pretty amazing when you think about how AWESOME of a gift that really is! So let's practice turning off the hate and turning up the love. Feel small for a minute, but NEVER forget how BIG of a change you can make in this world with the power of love.

-Tara

Talkeetna Alaska

Wow, blogging is HARD!

It's been over a year since I've touched my blogging and I'm not sure I'm too sorry, but I just feel like I've missed sharing so many great places this last year. This might all seem somewhat out of order, but if I start with Alaska I feel like I have to start at the beginning of the trip which started with Talkeetna, Alaska! 

This past August I convinced my family, (minus one brother and sister-in-law) to visit my older brother in Alaska after his summer of being stationed there and one by one we started booking flights. (Something to beware of when inviting one of us!)

My family hadn't been on an adventure like this for ten years! After a super long day of traveling, we all made it! We then all hailed a cab a mile down the street to the RV Rental where they were kind enough to let up sleep in our camper FREE in the lot instead of paying for a hotel. (Keep posted for my pdf downloads with trip tips, company suggestions and coupons and other fun tips - will be released in the next 6 weeks!) 

The next morning when we woke up we knew we were going to head North towards Denali National Park, but there wasn't a set plan. I was also given some bear spray from a man at the RV place when I told him we might head to Talkeetna, he said there was a bear just yesterday that hung out in the bushes while they fished...if you know me I have a serious fear of bears and I snatched the spray and it never left my side the whole trip. (Which I'd been planning on buying anyway, but this worked out perfect!) 

TaraShupe_Talkeetna_Alaska_Adventure_Photography_004.jpg

The RV was finally ready to go and our first take off was hilarious as we quickly learned you can't just take off without...yah know...securing a few things. We soon had developed a countdown for take off before the trip was over. Before heading out of Anchorage I suggest getting any groceries or last minute items at the Fred Meyers in town, not only an awesome grocery store, but a mix of a Dick's Sporting Goods and Target - SERIOUSLY! 

After a few hours we were on the road! I was already dying over the misting skies and mountains in the distance, I couldn't believe I was FINALLY in Alaska! 

Without much of a plan we drove North and my brother had a hike in mind that we knew nothing about, I have to admit it was my least favorite hike of our entire trip. It didn't have mountain views, only a few fun rivers and creeks where we did see some huge salmon pushing up stream and a beaver. I wouldn't exactly suggest it as a must hike, we even hit a point where the trail didn't seem to go much further so we all stopped on the beaver dam and just watched the salmon hard at work. 

GEAR // OUTFIT

This was our one of our few blue sky days and my Bixton Ranger Hat was perfect for keeping out of the sun. Lowepro Sport is my favorite lightweight adventure backpack option. Pants and jacket are also quick drying hiking options that wick moisture and let you dance your pants off without losing any flexibility! Can't forget your bear spray...hooked on perfectly to my waist strap of my Lowepro bag. 

Our first couple days we keep forgetting we were on the Alaskan Summer time clock where the sun is up from 5:30-10:30pm, allowing for long adventurous days. So the first day even after several hours of hiking we still had time to explore the fun little downtown of Talkeetna where we all bought our fishing licenses, had homemade ice cream and listened to some bluegrass music. 

After exploring the little downtown Talkeetna town we headed back to where we had stopped at a campsite earlier that day to see if they had sites available. (No, we did not plan this stuff ahead of time...like ever.)

On our way back to the campsite we stopped at the top of a hill with a park bench and were lucky to see Mount Denali through the clouds - a rare thing to see when it's usually too cloudy. It's so tall for a second I couldn't tell I was seeing the top because it was covered in snow and blended with the clouds.

Okay, back to the campsite. Did I mention we were driving around a 30' RV trailer? We were able to park our RV right along the Talkeetna River where we set up a simple camp and used a bunch of wood that had been left there. We then fly fished till dark (which was past 11pm before it was fully dark). 

Now when I said we fly fished...this was my very first attempt at trying to cast and I was horrible! After a while though I felt like a champ and later in the trip I caught a whopper salmon and a beautiful Dollie Trout. I don't think I will ever want to switch back to your basic Midwest fishing skills after this, which includes drink in one hand and pole chillin' in the other.

Overall, Talkeetna was unique and full of good fishing, but after exploring more of what the Southern Kenai Peninsula had to offer it wasn't at the top of my list! It was still a great start to Alaska - a long day, but a wonderful one. 

My Mom after the sun went down around 10:45pm. 

My Mom after the sun went down around 10:45pm. 

My brothers and sister-in-law slept outside that night in their hammocks and I had an entire bed to myself in the RV, (the only time the entire trip.) The river sounds right by my bed and my window open - it was perfect. 

Next up...Hatchers Pass! 

-Tara