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Dark Skies, Warm Nights :: VT

13 Feb
Dark Skies, Warm Nights :: VT

Dark Skies, Warm Nights :: VT

 

It’s snowing and sleeting here today, so I spent my time daydreaming of warmer nights under the stars. ✨🌙❤

This was taken in lower VT, and is the first night sky photography trip that I brought the dogs along for. I wasn’t sure if they would be good, to be honest, but they surprised me by being patient and well mannered to whole night (which is quite an accomplishment for the younger dog).

The only time they started growling was after everyone else had left, and something big started moving in the woods behind us. It didn’t take long for whatever it was to move along.

Who’s a good dog? My dog! (Sometimes.) 🐶

For those of you looking to learn a bit more about star trails, you can check out my article in Light & Landscape (Issue 31), or wait for the upcoming book on night sky photography! 🙂  Want to know more about that?  Sign up for my newsletter, and follow me on social media for the latest updates.

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Triumphant :: Iceland

6 Feb

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Triumphant :: Iceland

“Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.” -Gaby Besora

Sometimes the best photos are made by being open to what presents itself. Melissa and I both researched a few things before the trip, but I tried not to have too many expectations about what shots I wanted to have. This is one of the photos I was able to create despite not having researched this peninsula ahead of time. Once you’re standing here, it’s an obvious subject to shoot, of course….but I’m certain that if I had seen other people’s shots ahead of time I would not have framed and balanced this shot the way that I did.

When we all start out as photographers, it’s normal to “comp stomp” (aka just copy someone else’s vision) but as you progress as a photographer and an artist it becomes more important to capture your own interpretation  of a scene and express your own vision.

The journey of a photographer is one of lifelong growth, and as you progress, you’ll go through stages. You’ll grow your technical skills, you’ll grow your creative skills, and ultimately, you’ll likely embrace your inner artist. You’ll find it’s more important to create images that speak to you, or of your experiences, or communicate a message. That’s is when you find your art is the most fulfilling, and suddenly, all of the hard work you’ve put into getting there seems more than worth it. 😊

Tree of Life :: Scotland

29 Jan

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” -MLK Jr

The idea of the tree of life, in all of its various manifestations, is that all forms of creation are connected. That’s such a powerful sentiment, and has always resonated strongly with me.

It is a reminder that we are all brothers and sisters, and each of us has the opportunity every day to make a positive impact on each other.

It is a reminder that the things we do to our natural world, both good and bad, have a far reaching ripple effect.

Ultimately, our thoughts and actions have a greater effect than we likely realize or intend. The tree of life is a reminder that we are not alone in our journey, and to bring our best selves every day, so that as a whole, we can continue to raise ourselves up. 😊

Now the nerdy stuff: this is two exposures, one for the foreground, one for the sky, with a sprinkle of fairy dust on top. 😉

Friður :: Iceland

23 Jan

_dsc5609_3smFriður :: Iceland
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“I don’t know what’s in the stars
Never heard it from above, the world isn’t ours
But I know what’s in my heart
If you ain’t mine I’ll be torn apart
I don’t know who’s gonna kiss you when I’m gone
So I’m gonna love you now, like it’s all I have
I know it’ll kill me when it’s over
I don’t wanna think about it, I want you to love me now…”
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Shoutout to David Pasillas for the second pair of eyes on this edit. Shoutout to Iceland for being so dang purty! 🇮🇸

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Taken with a Nikon d810, 14-24mm, one exposure/focus point for background, one for foreground with a Lee Big Stop filter, all hanging out on a Manfrotto Tripod. 😊

Best of 2017

27 Dec

 

This year, I chose my “best of” based on the memories I was lucky enough to have made.  It was a year of great trips (courtesy of some flight credits I had to use up before they expired) and I am beyond thankful I was able to see England, Northern Ireland and Ireland, Chincoteague ponies, Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, the many nights I spent under the stars with friends, the eclipse, the Adirondacks and Iceland (northern light, heeellllooo). I am grateful for these opportunities and for having good friends to make these memories with. ❤

2017 had its difficult parts, and I am definitely hoping 2018 shows improvement in some areas…but I am thankful.  Cheers to a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

Elysian :: TN

19 Dec
Elysian :: TN

Elysian :: TN

 

I saw something over the weekend that reminded me that your perception of the world has a lot to do with how happy you are.  The basic idea is that things happen – good, bad, mundane, extraordinary –  but the way you interpret and react to them determines how successful and happy you are.  It goes hand in hand with one of my favorite phrases, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” (Epictetus).

That’s a powerful sentiment, when you think about it.  There will be difficult things in your life.  There will be speed bumps, there will be days where your entire life plan goes off course.  But you have a choice.  Do you choose to rise above, and embrace the positives?  Or do you choose to be defeated by it?

In my own life, I try (and frequently fail, but then try again) to meet challenges, to accept that things are difficult and to either see the positives or to keep my head down and push through until the difficult season has passed.  Hell, this past year alone has challenged me in a lot of ways, with serious family health issues, with heartache, with changes within the circle of people I rely on for support, financial challenges….  But in the end, we have just a finite time on this earth and I try to choose, every day, to work towards my best possible self, to tell myself that this too shall pass, that there is joy around the corner, and in the meantime, to work towards leaving the world a bit better than I found it.

That can mean any number of things.

You can choose to see the best in a bad day – the beauty of a beautiful sky, the opportunity to learn from a mistake (even if you frequently wonder when your “lessons” will start paying off), having a grateful attitude for the blessings you do have…

You can choose to do something kind for another person (or living creature) – a smile or bad joke when needed, verbalizing something you appreciate so they understand their worth to you, all the way up to grander gestures like gifts, or volunteering for a cause, or giving blood, or adopting from a local shelter and advocating for spaying and neutering…

You can choose to use your voice – we are all complicit when we remain silent about things that matter.  The problem, these days, is that we have so many wrongs to right that it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start.  Politics is hairy.  Tax laws, health care, the national monument debate…where do you even begin? Global warming is a thing (that recent starving polar bear video from NatGeo just hurts to watch).  There is genocide going on in the world.  Sex trafficking.  Sexual harrassment.  Discrimination.  Religious aggressions.  Civil wars.  It can be overwhelming, but we all have a responsibility to, at the very least, have civil discussions.  We can’t improve any problem by ignoring it.  So find your causes, the ones that are near and dear to your heart, and have a difficult conversation.  Listen to the opposing views.  Find some common ground on which you can begin to build a bridge.

In the end, how you react to the things life throws at you will determine things like how much joy you feel, or how much hope you feel.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are going to be overwhelmingly sad, or angry moments.  But if you keep this idea in mind that you can get through it by being aware of how you perceive a situation, then you will get through the difficult times with grace and find your way back to happiness quickly.

This particular photo was taken at Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in TN.  So much thanks to Ed and Zach Heaton for showing us around to their favorite spots in the area!  They’re talented guys, make sure to check them out!

Also, big shoutout to David Pasillas (as always) for his patient feedback about my image edits.

Invasion :: Iceland

12 Dec
Invasion :: Iceland

Invasion :: Iceland

You know what’s incredible about Iceland?

Almost everything. Except the abundance of tourists. Particularly those who don’t respect the culture and beautiful spaces there.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Iceland and would go back in a heartbeat. But I saw so many dangerous, rude and disrespectful things, even among my fellow photographers, which made me quite embarrassed for the lot of us. As a landscape photographer, I take protecting our collective “office” (aka nature, and access to spaces) pretty seriously. I love the fact that we are lucky enough to see, capture and share the beauty in this world and a few bad tourists have the ability to ruin it for the rest of us.

Do I love that the world is more connected and more people have access to see these wild, gorgeous spaces? Absolutely. But I hope more people will take care to respect those spaces. For example, maybe don’t cross the ropes to hang off of the edge of an eroding cliff or canyon overhang. Or, say, get too close to a beach known for rogue waves that drags people out to sea. Or…well…any of the bad behaviors you read about. Do your research, respect the culture and spaces, and we all win.