San Luis Obispo Wedding Photographer

At Sea Level


These past few months have been big for us. This past week was even bigger. I know many of you have seen some of the behind the scenes of our lil family doing life. We haven’t shared a whole lot of the whys lately… and we are thinking it’s about time. We are in the process of moving to California. Now, before you begin to ask the basic questions – Did you get a new job? Do you have a place to live? –  you should know this isn’t a normal move. Nor do we have an answer to either of those questions.

Colorado has been having more active weather than normal. Throughout the winter season and into spring, Emery had repetitive days of headaches, vomiting, off balance and other neuro symptoms. Honestly, this is something that has been happening throughout her whole life; she is just now old enough to tell us more about it. In April we made an appointment with her neurosurgeon and had an MRI scheduled. As we discussed Emery’s issues and how we are watching the worst days happen just before storms arrive. Her doctor looked at us and said, “I hate to say this. But Emery would do better living at sea level.” This was something we always wondered. But I didn’t realized how realistic and true that statement would be.

Every time we visit my folks in California, Emery hits new milestones. The last visit we made Emery started running (she was 4.5 years old). We always blamed it on new stimulation. We come to realize it’s because she doesn’t have a constant headache. We suspect Emery deals with a low pain headache everyday. As she begins to becomes irrational and irritated with basic aspects activities of her day, we stop and ask her if something is wrong. She will touch her head and say it hurts.

As this spring weather has started, we see a pattern. After our appointment with her neurosurgeon, we now can see her headaches coming. Any low or high pressure shifts in the atmosphere affects her along with changing elevation (we are not able to drive up to the mountains without her vomiting and having an intense headache). Brian and I felt like someone just shined a light into an area we had desperately been searching to see. Our world exploded though.

Colorado happens to be one of the worst places to live for those who are sensitive to pressure shifts. Not because we have lots of weather (however, this year..), but because we are a mile high. Pressure shifts are much more drastic and because of the uncertain changes over the mountains, storms will build and pressure will change without much warning.

The top three states in regards to limited pressure shifts are Florida, Hawaii and California. On average, Hawaii has zero days out of the year where the pressure changes more than 20%. LA has 7 days on average. Colorado has 110 – most of which we have already met because of this crazy weather. With each pressure shift, Emery deals with intense pain. And every moment she is in pain kills Brian and I.

With all this said, we are desperately doing everything possible to move to California. We’ve started the long tasks of finishing all the projects on the house I started but never completed (oy. That list is so very long). We are hoping to put our house on the market within the next two weeks. Depending on the buyer and closing will determine how the next couple months will play out. We know this is all über crazy. Like… you don’t need to tell us that (we are fully aware). We take some hope in the fact that this isn’t the first time we moved cross country without jobs or a place to live (Alaska in 2008), but this time it is different. We have two lil kids who’s world will also be shifted, but most importantly and ultimately why we are doing this… to help Emery. We need to make this move. This isn’t because of a new adventure (as much as it will be one), it’s because of love and protection. It’s because we will do anything possible to help our children. Even if it means to move over 1000 miles without security or a safety net.

When I remove all the fear of the situation, I am really excited to see how our lives play out. To live a more simpler life, to live in a smaller house, to have a family (each of us) who is healthy and able to be active, to see Emery thrive – these are all things I have been dreaming and desiring for a long time. I’m excited to see our family as a family who is fully capable to love, give, travel and explore, without the constantly being tethered to medical concerns. We know we won’t be separated from them… but to limit them? Oh my. The fact that is an option for us… we are so thankful.

What does this mean for Austyn Elizabeth Photography? It means I will be photographing in more amazing and beautiful places. As I begin to serve California’s Central Coast, I will still be returning to photograph beautiful souls in Colorado.



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