A Week-In-The-Life of Anne McKinnell: Photographing North America by RV

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Last year, feeling unfulfilled and in search of an exceptional life full of passion and adventure, Anne McKinnell sold her house in British Columbia Canada, closed her business, and got rid of her belongings. She bought an RV and hit the road for a new life as a nomadic photographer. In the past 11 months she has followed the sun by meandering clockwise around North America. Please enjoy this week-in-the-life of Anne and her husband in Arizona!

This post was originally published in 2012 . It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.

Day 1 – Monday

I had a relaxing day today at our RV park in Cottonwood, Arizona, which is just a short drive from Sedona. The rest was needed after a stressful day trip to Phoenix yesterday to take my dog to visit the veterinarian. Thankfully it all turned out okay. I spent some time catching up on social media before an afternoon swim at the pool.

My evening photo shoot was at Red Rock Crossing where I photographed Cathedral Rock. On the drive there it looked like a storm was coming but it didn’t look very big. When I pulled into the parking lot that big black cloud that was following me along finally caught up and it started to pour. It made me smile. I sat in the truck and watched as all the people came running out to their cars and left the park. One person who ran out was also a photographer and he didn’t leave the park. It was just him and me waiting in our cars for the storm to pass.

As the last raindrops fell we both got out and hustled our way into the park. It was my first visit so I didn’t really know where I was going. Right away there was a gorgeous rainbow going right into Cathedral Rock. I stopped in my tracks to photograph it right where I was in case it didn’t last.

My fellow photographer was having troubles. “Why can’t I see the rainbow through my camera?” he said.

“Do you have your polarizing filter on?” I replied.

“Oh yeah! Thanks!” he said.

He was very appreciative of the help and mentioned he had found a great spot to photograph on the river and invited me along to share his spot. Thanks to that encounter I was able to photograph the rainbow, the rock, and the river before the rainbow went away.

After the photo shoot I returned to the RV where I processed some images and wrote tomorrow’s blog post.

Day 2 – Tuesday

That little dog woke me up AGAIN. I wanted to yell at it’s owner but he was still sleeping in bed beside me. I’m not sure which one is worse, the dog that wakes me up every morning, or the dog that made us drive all the way to Phoenix so he could have an ultrasound. Sometimes it’s not easy travelling with dogs.

I dragged myself out of bed. I’m not a morning person. I really should be, as a photographer, but I’m just not. Today’s blog post was pre-scheduled to publish this morning, and I pre-scheduled my tweets too, so all I had to do was post links on my social media networks.

My husband discovered that a couple who produce a podcast we follow, “Living the RV Dream,” were staying in the same RV park as us so we rode our bikes around the park to find them. It was great to meet fellow travellers right in our backyard. We shared stories and travel tips and had an all around good time for a couple of hours.

Our truck had a cracked exhaust manifold so we had to take it in for repairs. It’s times like this; we are glad we have a fifth wheel so our whole home does not have to go to the mechanic.

Afterwards it was time to hit the pool! It was a hot day today and since we no longer had a truck there would be no sunset photo shoot. I did a few laps in the pool, chatted with some other travellers, soaked in the hot tub, and then sat in the shade to do some reading. Right now I am reading “Fast Track Photographer,” by Dane Sanders, about creating a business plan for a photography business.

In the evening I walked the dogs, enjoyed happy hour, had some dinner, and finally did some photo processing and wrote tomorrow’s blog post.

Day 3 – Wednesday

I had a terrible night. I woke up at 2am and couldn’t get back to sleep until 5:30. I hate that. My day was doomed. I had breakfast and coffee while catching up on social media and blog reading.

The day was an absolute scorcher. Since the truck wouldn’t be back until late in the day I decided to have a “do nothing” day. I spent the afternoon at the pool swimming, hot tubbing, socializing with other travellers, and reading.

redrocks, photo by Anne McKinnell

Day 4 – Thursday

With our newly repaired truck back, my husband and I headed out in the morning while it was still relatively cool for a hike to Boynton Canyon. I read that it is the most beautiful of all the canyons in Sedona.

It was an enjoyable hike, but not what I was expecting at all. I thought it would be a red rock canyon with interesting rock formations. It was really more of a valley full of scrubby shrubs. I guess maybe people like that hike because it is shady with the small trees but I wasn’t all that impressed.

After the hike we enjoyed a rare lunch out. To save money, we usually eat in as much as possible. Then we did some shopping to re-stock our supply of groceries, pet food, propane and fuel.

In the afternoon it was time to hit the pool again. I try to make the most of the pools in the times when we are lucky enough to stay at an RV park that has one.

After dinner, I spent the evening writing and processing images.

Day 5 – Friday

Today we moved to a new RV park located right in Sedona where we would stay for a couple of nights to be closer to the photo locations. Once we got there it was time to give the RV a good cleaning. It was a hot hot afternoon again so I stayed in to write blog posts.

When the soft light and cooler temperatures of evening came I explored the red rocks and made some images.

redrocks in Sedona Arizona

Day 6 – Saturday

Today we walked into town and looked around at all the art galleries and gift shops. I was inspired by all of the photography and paintings of the surrounding area.

Much to my surprise I found some much needed hiking boots to replace my pair that hurt my feet. Downtown Sedona was about the last place I expected to find a good deal on hiking boots.

It was too hot to be out in the afternoon again so I caught up on my social networking and processed some images.

After dinner I went out for another evening photo shoot in the red rocks.

Day 7 – Sunday

Today was a travel day as we went from Sedona, Arizona, to the Coral Pink Sands State Park in Utah. It was about a five hour drive, but it seemed much longer for some reason. I really needed that afternoon nap I had when we arrived.

Before sunset I quickly got my photography gear together and headed out to photograph the dunes in the evening light.

We had no internet access here so I spent the evening writing before an early night to bed.

coral sands, photo by Anne McKinnell

Anne has just arrived back to British Columbia where she’s visiting with family and exploring Vancouver Island in-depth for about four months. Her big focus now is to have a “location independent” business she can run from anywhere in the world.

Anne recently released her 2nd photography ebook called “Before The Shutter” which helps photographers get the most out of photo excursions by planning and preparing for the trip. This, along with her 1st ebook “8 Type of Natural Light That Will Add Drama To Your Photographs”, are available for free on Anne’s website at AnneMcKinnell.

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