Tag Archives: EXPLORE

Firestarter :: Iceland

12 Apr
Firestarter :: Iceland

Firestarter :: Iceland

 

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Pure Serenity :: Iceland

5 Apr
Pure Serenity :: Iceland

Pure Serenity :: Iceland

The Land of Fire and Ice

8 Mar
Fire and Ice :: Iceland

Fire and Ice :: Iceland

On this most recent trip to Iceland, I learned that Icelanders have a phrase that roughly translates to “It’ll all work out” because the weather is so unpredictable and makes keeping plans difficult. That flexible, positive attitude is one of the many things I’ve come to appreciate during my visits there. It’s also pretty spot on for how Landscape photography goes. Haha

While trying to take this series of shots, I got soaked by a big wave because passing tourists asked me to take a photo of them which distracted me, I got crowded by 103733672829 other tripods when they saw what I was on to, I was distracted again by some photographer forcibly moving a boulder sized chunk of glacier to a spot more to his liking which was at the edge of my original composition (ummmm? thanks dude?) and my battery died. But in the end, it all worked out. 😊

Big thanks to David Pasillas for his input on this edit!  This shot is three blended exposures, some luck and a little bit of magic pixie dust.

A Sliver of Hope :: Iceland

27 Feb
A Sliver of Hope :: Iceland

A Sliver of Hope :: Iceland

 

When we start out as landscape photographers, most of us probably don’t go into it realizing the weight of the responsibilities that come with it. You see, these days, every like, and double tap and +1 you get represents a responsibility to be a leader.

Part of that means being a good steward and protecting our collective “office”, the planet. There is a lot of debate about what exactly that means, but it benefits all of us -photographers and non- to embrace things like Leave No Trace, and to actively work to conserve our wild spaces.

The second part of this is to be a role model. Whether you like it or not, what you do and say makes an impact, and by choosing to break rules or ignore courtesy, you’re green-lighting that behavior for others. This shot is a particularly memorable example of how one person’s sense of entitlement/elitism, can ruin an experience. Last October Melissa and I decided to detour to see this beautiful canyon despite the rain. It involved a moderate, if somewhat slippery hike up to the first lookout. I had just set my tripod up and begun focusing my camera when a…let’s call him “gentleman”…. walked up and demanded I move so he could take a cell phone snap. I explained I had just set up my composition, and would be just a moment. Rather than wait politely, he put his arm directly into my frame, then crowded me on a slippery cliff-edge, to intimidate me into moving. If you know my friend Melissa, you know she doesn’t put up with rudeness and used it as a teachable moment to remind the gentleman of his manners. Lol

The outdoors are for everyone to enjoy and simple consideration and courtesy can go a long way towards helping everyone fall in love with (and subsequently see the value in protecting) nature.

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.