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We’re moving! Well, sort of.

For weeks and weeks, perhaps even months, I have been alluding to some upcoming changes. Has this vagueness annoyed you? Do you forget me dropping these hints? Is this the first you’re hearing of my allusions? Did you navigate to this site accidentally and you have no idea who I am?

In that case: Welcome! It’s so nice to have you here. Have a cup of coffee and introduce yourself.

For those of you who know who I am and what you’re doing here, today at last I’m ready to announce the changes. Officially. There may even be a ribbon cutting. (But it’s desk-sized, so don’t get too excited.)

I have been writing of my photographic exploits, life experiences, and other adventures here on anyaelisephotography.com for going on six years. Six years in August, to be precise. I started this site just as my photography career was kicking off. Dan and I were photographing weddings and I was freelancing here and there. I was still spending most of my working hours at a desk in the Denver Post newsroom with my editorial assistant hat perched at a jaunty angle upon my head, fielding phone calls from subscribers and providing general aid to the reporters and editors around me. (There wasn’t really a hat, but maybe there should have been. I’ll have my people talk to some other people and see if we can retroactively get that going.) I was grateful to be in a newsroom, but longed to have a creative outlet of my own. So I started a blog. And then I launched this site. And over the past six years I have crammed photo-related thoughts into blog posts, as well as a lot of silliness and moments of thoughtful reflection. My photo life, my personal life, I shared it all right on these pages.

Then, three-and-a-half years ago, I left my position as an EA, and ventured into the world as a full-time photojournalist. I started shooting 8-12 photo assignments every week, thus fulfilling that earlier desire to have an outlet for my creations. I climbed slowly up the very steep learning curve that was full-time photojournalism, and eventually settled at a comfortable, though rather hectic, status quo. I continued to share photos from work on these pages, and also (mostly) kept up with the more personal looks at life. Tales of travel, stories about my new role as a wife, narratives concerning my siblings and our beloved Colorado.

But, over the past year or so, as work at the Post has continued alongside a ramping up of our A&D Photography business, I have begun to feel that this site needs a refocusing. And that my dynamic, developing creative outlet needs to be widened. So, today, after this very long preamble which I swear does in fact have a point, I am excited to announce that I have started a second blog.

signed anya elise

Signed, anya elise will package up all those personal, not-photography-specific writings that I have previously included here, and give them a new home with lots of breathing space to really grow and play and take on a life of their own. I have often felt constricted here when my posts haven’t centered on photography, and at times questioned whether I should even write about topics that didn’t concern photos in some form. And though we are barreling right along and growing ever more in our photography business, I knew that there was more in me and more about life that I wanted to also devote some attention.

Therefore, moving forward, if you want to keep up with the photographic work I’m producing at the Denver Post and with A&D Photography, behind-the-scenes looks at shoots, philosophical thoughts about prime versus zoom lenses, et cetera and then some, then this is your place.

But! If you’re looking for that more personal touch — galleries of photos and silly videos from world travels, essays on all manners of topics, writings on my favorite books, haikus devoted to my love of coffee…you get the idea — then please click on through and take a look around signedanyaelise.com. You’ll find there a few posts I migrated over from these parts, posts that I felt were more appropriate for signed, anya elise, so don’t be alarmed if you get an intense sense of déjà vu while exploring around. You aren’t in the Matrix.

It isn’t all vintage content though. In the past weeks I have written a few new posts as well. So if you want a recap (in photo and video form) of our April trip to San Francisco, or to read about my belief in showing up for each other in light of recent national and world tragedies, or to view a video documenting our recent sibling-only vacation to Disneyland, then zip on over. I’ll meet you there.

Wherever you end up, here or there or elsewhere, know that you all mean the world to me. These past six years have seen a lot of growth and discovery and I’m looking forward to branching out in new directions with this endeavor. You are all very much appreciated. Much love to you.

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Weekending in Minneapolis, Minnesota

It’s a good thing to tour a new city. It’s a better thing to tour a new city with a good friend who knows where all the cool kids hang out.

Last weekend we spent a couple of days getting to know Minneapolis, Minnesota. The land of 10,000 lakes, if the state license plate is to be believed. Both of us have actually been to Minneapolis before, Dan for business and me on a family road trip many moons ago (I just crunched the numbers and “many moons” in this instance equals approximately 240 moons; now that’s a wowza for you). So for this trip we built in a few days to explore the metropolis and see what’s what in the fair city.

Minneapolis Minnesota

Minneapolis Minnesota

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I went to IKEA for a bookshelf and instead bought a cactus

My inability to keep plant life living has been fairly well documented. It’s a bleak history, and though they say history is written by the winners I’m going to keep it real here today. I am horrible at nurturing plants. They all die. It may take a whole month a little while, but inevitably I kill them off. Dead as a doornail.

So that’s why, on a recent visit to IKEA to track down a bookshelf, I instead walked out with a cactus.

And a throw pillow. As one does.

I attempt to keep a cactus alive. (Photo by Anya Semenoff)

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Southwest/USA || a road trip essay

At the beginning of December I promised a look back at a couple of stories and photos I failed to get up here earlier in the year. Before we say farewell to 2015 and kick off shiny new 2016, here is one of those posts.


southwest usa road trip

The last time we road tripped together, the windshield wipers provided a tempo to our travel. This time around, we mostly stewed in the hot desert sun longing for some rain. When the rain did eventually start — 1,097 miles into our trip as we drove north toward home — we cheered it along. Perhaps it would loosen some of the bug residue built up on the windshield that sheltered us.

southwest usa road trip

A good chunk of my life has been spent driving across desert terrain. I grew up in Colorado, but my large extended family resided west in California. Being one of four, it usually made most sense to drive to visit them, my parents loading us into our old red Ford Aerostar van named Ruby and crossing Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and the northern slice of California to arrive in the Bay Area. We weren’t the rambling sort, instead opting to drive all of the nearly 1,300-­mile journey in one stretch. Only a 17­-hour trip if you really believe in yourself. At least once a year during the course of our childhood we would make this drive, waving to the likes of Cheyenne and Salt Lake City, reeling past Reno, and feeling our excitement grow as we crossed into the Sierra Nevadas for our final approach into San Francisco. We stopped only for gas, to use remote and sometimes alarming rest areas, and to eat 50­-cent ice cream cones at Little America.

I believe this somewhat maniacal family habit still inspires our adult travel adventures. Which is why my sister and I found ourselves at the beginning of May attempting a tour of the southwestern part of the United States with only three­ days dedicated to the feat. Three days to leave Denver, jaunt through Moab, Arches National Park, the Grand Canyon, walk the avenues of Williams and Flagstaff, Ariz., and then tour the southern corner of Colorado. Three days. No problem.

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The difficulty of carousels

It’s December. De-cem-ber. (Side note: Colorado is bringing the brrr to the month so far. Have you all collectively rolled your eyes and abandoned ship? I understand. Carry on.)

December is a fancy sort of mishmash month. Everyone is getting hyped up for the holidays, donning their sweaters and hanging up wreathes. Scratching out complex equations to deduce just how many strands of lights can be plugged into a set of outlets before the circuits blow. And then we are also getting ready to say so-long to the near-finished year. We become introspective and contemplative about the past 11 months; we imagine what the world holds for us in the new year.

Much like December, I’m a bit of a mash myself right now. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve accomplished this year, and the things to which I didn’t give enough attention. One such matter: There have been a number of stories and travels and photos I never quite got around to posting on this ol’ blog of mine. So before we say our final farewells to 2015, I’ll be getting those organized and up here. Stay tuned in the coming days for the deluge.

But, before then….here are some photos of a carousel. On Sunday night we went to the annual Denver Zoo Lights festivities. We did our best to spot the zoo animals, but they were much smarter than us homo sapiens and stayed indoors. The lights were pretty and there were snacks. But the best part was the carousel.

Here’s a thing about carousels however. They can be tricky to photograph with a fancy phone, while on a zebra that is jumping up and down and going in circles. At night.

Denver Zoo Carousel

Denver Zoo Carousel

Nailed it.

Happy December, friends! Talk soon.