There’s nothing like a happy toddler chasing the family dog along national forest trails. Or swimming in the cool mountain lakes of the Pacific Northwest.

In these days of ipads, cell phones, and other pervasive electronic gadgets, our family has made a conscious effort to give our toddler an abundance of outdoor time — while limiting time spent in front of a screen. Family hikes and camping vacations are one way we make this happen. It’s a great opportunity to make lasting memories and capture some beautiful family portraits too.

On this family trip, we ventured to Clear Lake on the south side of Mount Hood. We camped at the developed campground and took advantage of the many of hiking trails and seemingly abandoned logging roads surrounding the lake.

After we had our fill of hiking, it was time for a swim. The water levels in clear lake were low and there was a fair amount of algae on the surface. So we jumped over to nearby Trillium Lake with its crystal clear water and full frontal view of Mount Hood. I had been photographing my daughter and dog in natural light throughout the weekend. But at Trillium I decided to break out the small studio strobe I had with me and create a more dramatic image. The off-camera light allowed me to light both my daughter and simultaneously hold detail int he background, giving me this “epic” shot:

Are you interested in on-location portraits for your children or family? Click here to learn more about my family portrait sessions.