7.14junpI like my iPhone. I do. It is quick, easy, and takes really great shot with the right light. While we were driving we randomly ended up in the Ashley National Forest. When I saw the headquarters sign, Chris made a quick U-turn (with a trailer) and snapped a shot for me.

After that shot, I thought it would be fun to create a series on instagram of me/us jumping at national parks and forests. You can create your own hashtag on Instagram to compile pictures you want to see as a collection. Hashtags aren’t private, so anyone can add to your collection. I try using personal hashtags to make it a little awkward for people to use them on their own pictures. Good online etiquette is to not add your photos to someone else’s hashtag if it is obviously a personal one. For my jumping shots I used the hashtag #campbell7parkforesthappyjump If you do a hashtag search on Instagram for that hashtag you will see my jumping shots. The fun thing is I will be able to continue to add to those photos as we travel in the future.

When I posted the pictures on IG, I got several questions asking “how?” I took the shots with an iPhone, so I thought I would share that here today.

Yellowstone National Park: We were driving in Lamar Valley in the evening and no one was around. The sun was low on the horizon and the clouds were dramatic. Phones need lots of light to capture action. Since I had a lot of light, I knew we could freeze the jumping action. We parked in a pull-out and I looked for the angle I wanted. I decided I wanted low on the ground near the yellow lines. Next I asked my 8 year old to hop out of the car. I took an example shot and then explained to him where to hold the phone and what I was hoping he would capture. He nailed it. If I wanted a silhouette shot I would have had him stand facing the sun instead of the sun behind him.7.14jump-2

Glacier National Park: It was our last night in Glacier and the sun was setting so I knew we didn’t have much time. I scoped a location that had a glacier in the background and ‘empty’ space for us to jump in. Jumping shots work best when you don’t have a distracting background behind you. For this shot, I showed my 8 year old what I wanted again. Then Chris and I jumped off that ledge you see…this gave us extra height so the mountains weren’t behind us.7.14jump-3

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest: For this shot, I convinced my sister to jump with me. We found two stumps that were somewhat close together that we could jump off. She chose the lower, level stump leaving me with one that was hard to stand on, but was higher. We had tons of bright light so I knew the jumping would be ‘frozen’. I took an example shot for Chris of what I wanted and then he snapped this photo for us. I find if I take example shots first it is much easier for Chris (and my kids) to really see what I am wanting them to capture.7.14jump-4

Mount Rushmore: I knew before I took this shot that it would be blurry and grainy because the sun was already setting and the light was not very bright. For this shot, I just counted and asked the kids to jump at the same time.7.14jump-5

Now just a few example shots related to jumping shots with your iPhone:

In Glacier, we arrived at a beautiful lake after sunset. I thought we would attempt a jumping shot just to see if it might work. It didn’t. Without bright light, an iPhone just can’t freeze action. You can see the difference in quality between the action shot and the one of Chris standing still. You need light for action shots, especially with a phone.


When I find a place I think might work for a jumping shot, I usually do a test shot first. Chris jumped in a lot of places before I found the ones I liked best. The second shot is Lesley doing my test shot where we took our photo together. Isn’t she cute?7.14jump-9

The next two shots are not related to jumping, but are fun things you can do with your iPhone. Most phone cameras keep the majority of your shot in focus, so you can really do some unique things with them really easily.

We were at Glacier and my 8 year old laid down on the ground near the lake. He asked me to take a picture that looked like he was sandwiched between the mountains and the ground. He is so stinkin’ creative! I just adjusted my angle until I could fit him between the two. Then I coached him on keeping his hands flat. I love this shot because it was totally his idea! He also had me take about 20 pictures of him ‘eating’ random wildlife while we were in Yellowstone.7.14jump-10

So random. This was my attempt to make it look like Chris was drinking my lemonade/tea. It is how I entertained myself while driving. He is such a good sport.7.14jump-11

If you are interested in learning more about photography from the view that your phone is your main camera, you can read more about my SnapShop: Phone online photography course on the course website. Registration is open for the August course and there will be one more in the fall.


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  • Connie - I love this because you give really great examples. I’m already signed up for your course in August and am so very excited!!!!!

  • Caroline R - I loved the phoneography snapshop, and this post was such a great preview of it. I took it before I got my dslr because I was so eager to learn how to take better pictures. So glad I did because it really helped to have learned the basics of lighting and composition while I tried to learn how to operate the dslr. So, fun to see the creative ideas you and your family come up with, the holding up the lake/mountains pose was so clever!

  • Tiffany - Thank you! I love your photography tips, and yes, your son is so creative! That shot is great! I also love the reflection of the road in your glasses in the last shot!

  • Carrie Campbell - You are fun! Jumping shots in national forests! :)

  • Taylor - These pictures are awesome! I love the one of your boy “holding up” the mountains!


  • Addie - These are all so great and fun!

  • Ceri - Love this! So excited for the Snap Shop next month!!! :)

  • Mandy - You’re awesome; I just love these!

  • Michelle - I have been reading your blog for a few years now and have finally signed on to take the Snap Shop Phone Photography course! Your photos are always so inspiring . . . I can’t wait!!!

  • Christina - So much inspiration for our next road trip! I love the test shot suggestion. I have never thought to do that, I usually just try to explain or pass the camera, but now i’ll show my 6 year old what I want first before passing it off to him. :)

  • Diana - Jumping shots definitely take some work/practice but you seem to have it down (as expected). =)

  • happy jumps {phone photography tips} » ashleyannphotography.com - […] happy jumps phone photography tips » ashleyannphotography.com […]

  • Katie M - Wow…taking an example shot for the person who will be pressing the shutter is a brilliant idea! I always get frustrated with those types of shots, because I can never quite explain what I have in mind and the photo never includes the elements I want in the way I want them. Thanks for such a simple but great tip! =)

  • Angela - I love these photos! I love your creative kids! I love that YOU were in some of the shots, and that you shared those shots with us! Have a wonderful Monday!

  • Ashley - My name is also Ashley Ann.. with a Murphy at the end though! I had no idea there was a national park named Ashley and I will be traveling towards there next year and will be sure to make a stop! I have been reading your blog all day and cannot express enough how much of an inspiration you are! Your home is gorgeous, your crafts are so much fun and they are beautiful, you have a great family and I wish you all the best for your future.

  • Ingrid - your boy’s photo idea is genius!! love it :)

For a homebody like me, this summer is full of all kinds of surprising travel. This morning I leave for Ghana. Yep, you read that right. I’m headed to Africa for 10 days!

I can’t even wrap my mind around it. I’ve dreamed of setting foot on that continent since I was 17 and now the time has come. I’ve literally been waiting half of my life for this day. And all the sudden it is here. Though I am so very excited, this day is also bittersweet. My sister was supposed to join me on this trip. An epic sister trip…one we’d talk about when we are gray and our grandkids are running around our feet. Lesley shared on her blog yesterday why she is now unable to join me. I could never do justice to her story, you can click here to read her words.

So what am I doing in Ghana and how did this come about? It is a long story, but I really have to finish packing so I will fill you in on all the details when I get back. I’ll be there with a few friends and making so many more I hope. We’ll be at a home for women rescued from trafficking and I’ll see first hand what it is like when a community receives safe, clean water for the first time from a well. I’ve been warned that I might get asked to dance at church. That is possibly my biggest fear in going…that someone is going to make me dance. I can do the sprinkler and the running man. Scary.

Several of you have asked questions about our RV trip…about the trailer, hiking, our itinerary, etc. I’ve written posts answering all those questions and have them scheduled to post while I am gone. So, there will still be posts happening here, but I’ll be on another continent! EEEEKKKKK!

As excited as I am for this trip, it is always so hard to be away from my family. I’m trying not to be anxious about that part; their dad will make it the best week ever. I’ll sure miss them though!
Leaving on a jet plane….

These pictures have nothing to do with this post. They are just random shots of my niece from this week and they make me happy…



I told her I couldn’t see her eyes and that I really wanted a picture of her eyes….7.14leaving-2

She’s super awesome. Just like her mom. And her Nana.

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  • Jenn - I am so excited for you. I know you will have a great time and bless everyone where. I have a feeling you will be blessed while there too. I am broken hearted for your sister but have a sneaky suspicion that she will be cheering for you from back home. have a great trip

  • Sprite - God is going to do such amazing things on your trip! I’m so excited for you – what a wonderful opportunity!
    My heart breaks for your sweet sister. Praying that the Lord would draw near to her and give her more peace than ever before during this time.

  • Kimberly Oyler - ahhhhhh!!! so excited for you! also really excited for all the scheduled posts. haha. so proud of you and can’t wait to hear all about it!!

  • Monique - Ha ha – the dancing… I have a feeling that once you are surrounded by those people with such genuine faith and joy in the Lord that you won’t be able to help yourself from dancing :)

  • Sue - Praying that God will bless this time away and for safe travel. I am also praying for your sister. That has to be hard for both of you. You bless my life with your words and photos and I hope that God will continue to bless yours!

  • Natalie - Safe travels! Love the pictures of your niece. My heart goes out to her and her momma.

  • Paige - I’m warning you, you WILL fall in love with the Ghanaian people. They are amazing people but their dancing is more like stomping and swinging arms so you should be safe! Prayers for you!

  • Megan - Best of luck for a safe trip and safe travels! I clicked over to your sister’s blog — incredible writing, incredible sadness, incredible faith. Praying for your family.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh sweet friend! I’m so happy for you. I hope you dance!

  • kelleyn - Hope you have a safe journey!

  • heather - i am so excited to see the pictures of your trip!!

    i have never read your sisters blog or posted so didn’t feel right offering my support to her directly, but i cry for her loss and yours too…it broke my heart to read her words…sending positive energy and healing thoughts her way and the rest of your families way

  • Theresa - Have an amazing time in Ghana. My fiancé started a school in a refugee camp for Liberian refugees. The school has closed because the Liberians in the camp finally got to return home. He will be in Liberia in the fall doing research for his phd. I look forward to hearing about your journey and sharing you experiences with him. Africa has a special place in our hearts.

  • Amy Rendziak - I am so excited for you to be going on this trip (and praying for your sister). My church, Parkview Christian in Orland Park, IL, just had two groups of people on missions trips there and I believe two more are planned. They go every year and we all sponsor children through CMF International. Praying for safe travels!

  • Ellen Tillery - Can’t wait to read all about your trip! The instagram pics are so great to see.

I didn’t want our trip to end, which is surprising because I am such a homebody. I think the biggest difference this time is we kind of took our house with us. Having the trailer felt like home in a lot of ways. We weren’t going in and out of hotels or dealing with the temporary situation of a tent. We arrived home to sunflowers that are more like trees and three of our hens are now very much roosters. Anyone local want a rooster? The ones on the right and left need a new home. I really want to keep the black one, but my 8 year old really wants to keep his…the one in the center.

7.14home-7I planted Mammoth Sunflower seeds about 5 years ago. They grew to be nearly 3 feet tall. Evidently, I should have left for a month and let someone else make sure they got watered. We came home to sunflower trees. They make me giddy every time I look out the window or step outside. I knew we weren’t going to be around to take care of a garden this summer, so I just planted flowers. It was a very good decision.


We also got home just in time for FireCracker to celebrate her 5th birthday with family. Both girls got to blow out candles and be spoiled by grandparents they haven’t seen in a while. Family and friends is what will keep me rooted…though I’m already planning our next RV trip.


Whew…it has been a whirlwind since we walked in the door. And it is only getting whirlier…that is totally a word, right?

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  • Amy Espinosa - Welcome Home Y’all!

  • the inadvertent farmer - Welcome home! Next year how about a sunflower house now that you have the hang of it? I know someone that could help you with that! Kim

  • Lisa | Winter Heights - Wow, those sunflowers are amazing! Welcome home!

  • Billie - I sure enjoyed following your family trip. Glad you are home safe. Thank you for taking us all along.

  • Jessica - Those sunflowers are amazing! We planted some this year and I love watching them grow…literally by the day. I am enchanted with them.

  • Mek - All 3 hens looks gorgeous… you can’t keep more than one hen in same place?

    Love the sunflower trees! and Little One’s eyeing the cake so cute!

  • Sandra - Are you doing something different with the photos in your posts? For some reason most of them won’t load in my reader anymore. I don’t want to miss out on your lovely photography or family.

  • Erica Baker - Those sunflowers!! Your yard is looking magical. Welcome home!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - My favorite part of coming home is checking in on the garden. I swear it is always twice as big as I left it (even when I’m just gone for the weekend!). And your thoughts on RV life. They mirror my own. Homebody that loves to travel. We are like snails, you and I. Have our homes on our “backs” and anywhere is possible! I loved all of your travel pictures and cannot wait for the day that we can do the same. Welcome home! Just in time for Africa!!!

  • Randi - those sunflowers!! love your garden – you guys have done wonders with it!

  • Kristin C. - Happy birthday, Firecracker! I am so glad y’all got the opportunity to take such an awesome trip and see such amazing sights =)

  • Debbie H - Ha! It didn’t take the little one long to learn about cake, candles and frosting. hahaha The look on her face here is sure different than with the cupcake on her own birthday celebration. Such a HUGE step in a few days. Thanks so much for sharing! Fun when you can “see” their wheels turning! And I 100% agree about Mt Rushmore. Mind boggling place if you think about the engineering,work and craftsmanship required back when they created it. A National Treasure for sure. So glad your boys “got it”.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Totally a word. And excellent choice with the flowers. Excellent.

  • Janine - Thank you so much for sharing all this with us! It’s so sad there are only few people in Germany really living their faith, for our faith is the thing that carries us through everything . and LOVE and HOPE of course! I really enjoy reading all this and regarding your photos of real family life that GOD has given us. I have a wonderful husband and a little daughter (5 months) and I LOVE the idea of sharing my time with them, and watching my family grow (my biological one and the one we have in Jesus Christ).

    I live in Germany, in a small town in north Bavaria, so sorry if my English is a bit incorrect.

    I would like to share the things with you I write about in my blog but I’m afraid you cannot read it unless you speak German. It’s just at its beginning, maybe one day I will translate it.

    Be blessed by HIM, I wish you and your family all the best,

  • Maureen - Welcome home! I love Little One’s face in the last picture. She knows cake now! Cannot believe Firecracker is 5, oh, my!

  • AshleyAnn - Mek – they are all roosters and it is best not to keep 3 in a small flock!

  • Friday Favorites | Cupcakes and Commentary - […] plan idea for next year’s garden at my […]