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Updated: Dec 1, 2018

My last photo shoot was in the winter of 2016, so I've been overdue for a #new one for a while now.

Luckily for us all, I have a couple of amazing photographer friends. One of them just so happens to be the owner/operator of Big Iris Production (John Uibel). He's also the genius behind my most popular YouTube video, "Ashokan Farewell".

The original idea was to hit up the Salt Flats, but the weather was pretty bland that day. At the last minute, we decided to drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon, and man. I 'm glad we did! #Utah never disappoints.

We started off next to a nice little stream, which was just a short hop from the main road.

beautiful event violinist, Jessica McAllister plays by a river in Utah

But don't you worry. It didn't take long for the bloopers to start popping out.

funny violin pictures from Jessica McAllister

We bounced around from place to place, and got some amazing shots.

wedding violinist Jessica McAllister plays the violin in Utah

First String Violinist holds violin by a river in Utah

"Hey, Jessica. Go climb up that hill," John said.

"That one over there?"


"Okay, I will. And I'll make it look good."

". . . ."

funny violinist in Utah

"Okay, never mind. Just stop."

I'm teasing, of course. John is an old family friend and he's used to my craziness. I'm so thankful that he is capable of #photographing me in a flattering light.

Jessica McAllister performs violin in Utah mountains

I got to the top of the hill without too much trouble, but there were no fewer than 400 people up there. Okay, maybe not 400. But there were at least 5 couples shooting their #bridals. . . plus mothers and friends helping with the dress. . . plus the photographers. Oh, and don't forget the handful of folks doing their family #portraits. That might as well be 400 people.

It makes it kind of tricky to get a clean photo, ya know?

Jessica McAllister: wedding violinist in Utah

To give them all time to finish up (and move off the mountain so we could have a turn), we skittered across the road to lean against a friendly looking Quaking Aspen. Well, I did, anyway.

Jessica McAllister: violinist in Utah stands by tree in mountains

I felt a little silly when people drove by.

silly violinist in Utah mountains

I can just picture their conversation now:

"Honey, slow down. Do you hear #classical music?!"

"Babe, we're in the middle of the mountains. Where would classical #music be coming from? Oh, from the #violinist in the trees, of course. My bad."

After crawling out of the bushes, we moved into the middle of the road to get a few shots. I tried to look cool, but really, I just ended up looking melancholy.

sad violinist

John busted out a #panoramic to distract from my lack of "game face".

panoramic view of Jessica McAllister playing violin in Utah mountains

I was worried that the storm would break and soak us to the bone, but it held out. And, hello, it made for some amazing #photos.

beautiful violinist performs in Utah

On our way back to the car, however, we got a harebrained idea that WOULD soak me to the bone.

Solo violinist in Utah: Jessica McAllister plays violin while standing in a river

I won't lie. That water was freezing cold. The coldest water my wee little toes have ever felt in their life.

event musician in Utah stands in a cold river with violin

But it was all worth it in the end!

Thank you, John (and his wonderful wife, Michelle), for traipsing all over the canyon to help me get some #beautiful photos!

Don't forget to check out Big Iris Productions for your #drone and photo needs, and, hey, if you need a violinist for your #event, you know who to call.

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