Category Archives: National Park

I was determined!

Momma Bear

Bear Cub


Happy 4th of July! What a great nation we live in!

My adventure today took me to Yellowstone National Park. This morning before even we left I knew I would see a bear today. The entire time in the park I was looking for a bear.

I didn’t tell anyone I was with that I was going to see a bear on this trip to the park (I didn’t want to jinx myself). But I believed totally it would happen for me . . . . and it did. And, not only did I see one grizzly bear but I also got to see her cub (last year’s cub). How exciting!! It makes me think how much more could I accomplish in life if I woke up every morning determined to see or get what I want! That’s pretty powerful right there.

(I took many photos and will share more soon!)

~ melissa michelle

Great Falls National Park, VA USA

Great Falls, VA


Last weekend I visited Great Falls National Park in Virginia. It was raining on the way there; however, upon arriving the rain stopped and I was able to get the camera out for a little while. It was an awesome shoot with the great blue herons. I almost forgot I was there to photograph the waterfalls!

Here’s one of the photos I took. I hope to get to more later and post them soon. I still haven’t processed all the photos from Cabo yet . . . I’ll get there.

Today I spent time hiking with a friend of mine. But before the hike and the rain, I took some more photos. I make time for what’s important. Do you?

~ melissa michelle

Better in 2016!

Just a quick note for you . . . . . I read an email from a photography website where I post photos for contests and critiques. It said I ranked in the top 20% of the most popular photographers on the site! I’m pretty stoked about that! But I want to be better than the top 20% – my goal this year is top 5% . . . . I know I can do it!

Yesterday I purchased a new filter to help with taking long exposure photos (like the ones of water falls). Photography is not a cheap hobby but it is a lot of fun, especially when I get to share great photos with you.

I will share some new photos with you next week! I’m pretty excited. But for now, here are my two most popular photos from last year:

Coyote mid-jump, second attempt to pounce on prey

Coyote mid-jump, second attempt to pounce on prey – photographed in Yellowstone National Park

Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls

Enjoy the weekend. Have some fun. Live life to the fullest!

~ melissa michelle


It’s a favorite!

Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls


I love this photo! And I love it even more since I learned it was picked as a judges favorite in a photo contest I entered. I didn’t win the contest because voting is based on peers and judges; however, it’s very exciting to receive the recognition!

It is curious though – when I originally posted the photo on my Facebook Page (Photo Life Journal), it was viewed a total of 131 times. Yesterday I posted the same photo with my very special news and in just a few hours it was viewed 143 times. I’ll look again tonight to see how many more views it receives.

While I enjoy looking at the numbers and sharing the photos with all of you, the most important thing to me is that I loved taking this photo! It was using one of my favorite techniques that I’m good at doing – slowing down the shutter speed to blur the motion of the water yet getting the lighting right and keeping the camera still on the tripod.

This year I’ve had so much fun and have learned so much. Here are two examples of how much I’ve learned. For one, I now know I need a new tripod. The one I have cannot hold the weight of my newer lens and it does not allow me the freedom of movement that the more higher end ones allow. I also know that I want one that weighs less and folds up shorter to fit better in my backpack. A year ago I didn’t know these things and figured I knew enough to get by with what I have. Not anymore! I asked Santa to give me one for Christmas.

The other example is that I’m ready for a new camera, only after a year of having my current camera that I thought was the greatest gift for Christmas last year. I now know enough about settings and the technical parts that I don’t need a camera with pre-sets. Using shutter, aperture, or manual priority modes means something to me now. And this is an awesome thing! However, I’ll continue to use this camera as the next step up is very expensive!

So there you have it. While I was having fun, I learned a ton of stuff. The main thing is that I tried and I kept going out after the shots I wanted. I still have a ways to go . . . . . but I’m certainly on my way!

~ melissa michelle


Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls


Can you believe it’s November? For the most part this year has gone by very quickly. Sometimes I feel like I need to push on the brakes to slow things down and catch my breath.

When I visit parks and nature, this is my chance to stop the world, to stop all the craziness and demands, and just take in what’s around me. I guess that’s why I like to escape to nature, not just to take photos but to breathe.

I was thankful for a break to see this beautiful place, Cuyahoga Valley National Park. If you are in the area stop by; you won’t be disappointed.

~ melissa michelle