Tag Archives: sunset

Wanderlust :: CO

11 Jul
Wanderlust :: CO

Wanderlust :: CO

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” -Wallace Stegner

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is a spectacular place. ❤

Although the idea of our national parks is deeply rooted in American culture, there was a time when preserving wild spaces was just the merest wisp of an idea.  It was an idea, however, that resonated deeply with people like John Muir, whose prolific writings stressed that these natural spaces were necessary for the soul.  His advocacy later became the driving force behind the creation of several national parks.

In response to growing pressure, Yosemite was placed under the protection of the state of California by Abraham Lincoln.  In 1872, Ulysses S. Grant made Yellowstone the world’s first national park.  In 1916, the National Park Service was created to oversee the growing network of national parks, refuges, forests, etc with a mandate to protect the parks “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations,” and to promote their use by all people.

So where does that leave us now?

Just like anything else, not everyone agrees with the idea of protecting and preserving the land and animals that live within the land set aside by the government.  In particular, designated National Monuments – which come into being through the executive branch, under the Antiquities Act, for the purpose of preserving sites on federal lands with significant natural, cultural, or scientific features – have come under fire recently.  The Antiquities Act, however, was specifically created to protect these spaces from OURSELVES.  At the time, precious native american historic sites were defiled and artifacts were being stolen from the lands by treasure hunters to be placed into the hands of private collectors.

The arguments against many of the designated monument lands generally boil down to resources and money.  It costs money to maintain the lands.  The local towns are more and more overwhelmed and their resources are stretched thin to accommodate visitors.  There are natural resources within those lands that someone wants to consume more of – lumber, grazing lands, fossil fuels, etc.  Most recently, the American people have been “loving places to death” and there isn’t enough man-power to stop them….  The list goes on.

But in the end, there is only one argument needed to convince me that these lands need protection though…. Humans.

Now, let me clarify by saying that not all humans are short-sighted or greedy.  And often times environmental damage is done because of limited choices, lack of options, the need to survive.

That being said, it can’t be denied that we only have one planet, and we haven’t always been good stewards.  There are billions of pounds of garbage in the worlds oceans.  We poison and acidify our drinking and recreational waters.  We pollute our air, and then cry foul when our populations develop higher incidences of cancer, asthma and copd. We create environmental dead zones, with our waste killing off millions of birds and animals.  We deforest huge swaths of land without re-planting trees, who are major players in the “you need oxygen to breathe” game.  Most importantly, and humans ignore the fact that we live in a web, where every single thing on this planet is connected to the others.  Food chains are delicate and small changes to environmental conditions can have far-reaching consequences which will likely affect your children.

So while I personally believe there is almost always room for compromise, I also strongly believe that our nationally designated spaces serve an important, long-term, survival-as-a-species function.  They are pockets of hope for future generations.  I hope with my whole heart that we continue to appreciate our wild spaces, and they function they serve not only as a safe haven for our weary souls, but as a space where the other important strands in the web of life can thrive.  I hope we continue to think about the big picture, which is keeping this planet hospitable to our species for as long as possible.

Or at least until we figure out terra-forming and light speed.  We comin’ atcha, Earth 2!

 

Epiphany :: NY

17 May
Epiphany :: NY

Epiphany :: NY

 

I know, I know….it’s a weird crop. But this is art dangit, and I do what I want. Also, I didn’t think cropping this one down did it justice.

Anyway, this is sunset over “Connery Pond” in the Adirondacks ….when you read it, your inside voice needs to have a Scottish accent, and add “Sean Connery” somewhere into the mix. Then you need to google the old Celebrity Jeopardy episodes of SNL and laugh uproariously. Look, I don’t make the rules, eh? (Oh, yeah, I do. 😂)

Nerdy stuff: This is three exposures blended together as a focus stacked vertical panorama.

Footsteps of Giants :: U.K.

14 Feb
Footsteps of Giants :: England

Footsteps of Giants :: U.K.

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

There are a lot of stumbling blocks in our lives, reasons we feel fear, or sadness, or anger…but it is also within our power to choose life.  We can choose to moderate our fears with reason.  We can choose to accept the sadness, and move past it.  We can quench most anger with discussion, compromise and forgiveness.  We can choose to embrace the good.

While these things start as choices, embraced by both heart and mind, they are more than just an adopted philosophy.  To truly live fully, your thoughts must be reflected in your actions.  Say yes to adventure.  Create memories.  Vocalize your love for the people you care about.  Open your heart to the people you have just met. Be willing to listen to another person’s story, and try to understand their perspective.  Choose empathy – there is only one race, and we are all in this together. Have an enthusiasm for life that shows in every aspect of your world.

For me, choosing to live and seeking adventure started years ago with deciding that I was worthy, I was good enough, and damnit, if other people could find a way to bring their dreams to life, well, “Why not me?”  Since that moment, when I opened my heart to possibilities, I have been lucky enough to see the beauty in both the countries and cultures of the world (like Northern Ireland, above), to face intimidating challenges head-on and to meet some truly incredible individuals who have reinforced my belief that most people are fundamentally good.  My life has been immeasurably enriched by my willingness to live.

Nerdy Stuff: This image was taken at Giant’s Causeway.  It is two blended images, for exposure and focus. 🙂  Want more info about classes with us?  Contact us at info at seeingspotsphoto dot com.

 

 

Best Of 2016

28 Dec

 

2016 was a year of photographic growth for me.  I set several technical goals for myself as a way of pushing myself to be consistently better at my craft, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made.  I’ll admit, it was often a mix of trial and error (a lot of error), persistence, and supportive people around me but I feel like I made a noticeable difference in the quality of my images.

This year, I made a consistent effort to focus stack where appropriate, to really keep an eye on my histogram so that I wasn’t shooting 12 frames when I really needed 1 or 2, and I tried improving both my night sky/milky way techniques and lightning images.  Those in-the-field efforts are represented in this “Best of…” gallery.

 

I’ve also grown in the editing arena, an area we can always work on, no matter how accomplished we are.  I feel like my ability to *see* the weak areas of a raw image, and my ability to enhance the light in a positive way with my edits has grown immeasurably.  Again, this was a matter of practice, feedback and support from my peers.  I’m particularly proud of my Opal Creek wilderness forest shot, as it involved some creative shaping of the light.

 

The winter image in the gallery was a conscious attempt to force myself out of hibernation.  Apparently, I need to do that more often – turns out winter light is lovely! Lol

And finally, the biggest reason I chose all of these images was the LIFE they represent.

I suspect it’s human nature to take things for granted – we developed our ability to tune things out as part of our survival mechanisms (because how could our ancestors focus on important things like hunting and gathering if they were constantly distracted by…oh, the wind!  Oh, shiny rock! Oh, noise!  Oh, a bird!  What was I doing again??).  Therefore, it takes a conscious effort to remember to appreciate the blessings in our life.

 

Write that life lesson down, folks.  It’s particularly important in the relationships you hold dear.

So where am I going with this?  Well, I’m an American woman.  Currently, that means the law considers me to be a person with inherent rights, one of which is the ability to obtain resources and pursue my life aspirations.  On the whims of fate, I was born here.  I am not viewed as property, or less than human.  I have the stability provided by a nation dedicated to protecting our freedoms.  I am educated.  Compared to so many places in the world, I grew up like a queen – I had food, clean water, health care, and never had the threat of war, unrest and violence looming on my doorstep every day.  Although America isn’t perfect, I am GRATEFUL every day for the progressive ideas that surrounds me.  As a country we can always improve.  We are but a nation of flawed humans afterall, and will always have room to be better versions of ourselves…. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t already holding the human rights bar pretty high and I desperately hope we continue to do so abundantly, and equally across the country.

Because I was blessed be born in a place that respects my rights and raised to believe in pursuing my dream (so much thanks to my family for always inspiring and encouraging me), I have seen and experienced SO MUCH JOY all in pursuit of a photograph.  I have traveled to places that have stolen my breath.  I have met some incredibly interesting, funny and supportive people who are a constant source of light in my life.  I have taken chances that have fed my soul.

 

In 2016, I was able to see the forest and seascapes (and….uh…wildlife) of Oregon and Northern California, the towering waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge, try out the delightful food trucks in Portland and have my heart swell at the beauty of the Steens Mountains and the Alvord desert.  I soaked in a hot spring, while smiling with strangers.  I sat under the stars with friends, and pretended to play a violin under the Milky Way.  I explored NY and much of New England.  I was assaulted by a frog near the Adirondacks, got to see bald eagles in Acadia, the wild ponies on Assateague and black bears in Shenandoah.

I have taught photography students and built friendships around the world through Light & Landscape (thanks for that opportunity Matt!), I wrote another photography book with my business-partner-in-not-crime David, I was blessed to photograph weddings for some amazing couples with my other business-partner-in-not-crime Melissa, worked with one of this year’s 40 under 40 winners (you rock, Fitz!), refined my inner photo-journalist with freelance assignments through the newspaper (shout out to Jared and the staff at the paper for the feedback and encouragement), and saw AMAZING shows / met some wonderful musicians during my nights as a concert photographer (so much thanks to the venue, Kathy, Pat and Angelo).

 

In short, I have the freedom to LIVE THE LIFE I WANT and these photos represent the landscape side of that.  They are a reminder to be THANKFUL EVERY DAY.

Remember to count your blessings often, and appreciate the people and things that enrich your lives.  Dwell on the positive, and embrace GRATITUDE instead of criticism. Open your heart to the people that care and the endless possibilities in front of you.  Take chances, even knowing you may fail….failure can generally be overcome, but you’ll never get back the time you waste on “What ifs”.  Travel as often as you are able to responsibly do so, so that you can learn about the magical places in the world….how else will you learn to cherish and protect them?  As you travel near or far, make sure to appreciate that you have the ability to do so.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2017!

Ships Passing :: CT

20 Sep
Ships Passing :: CT

Ships Passing :: CT

Sometimes, to make a photo outing work with the conditions you’re given, you have to think outside of the box a bit.  I hit the road thinking I’d create a wide-angle landscape shot and ended up striking gold with this intimate landscape instead.

Last month our students focused on minimalism, so the idea of simplifying has been on my mind. This particular sunset, the sky was sort’ve “blah” but the reflecting color was so damn purty. ❤

Settings: 75 mm, f/8, 30 sec, ISO 100

Bask in the Glow :: OR

2 Aug
Bask in the Glow :: OR

Bask in the Glow :: OR

There is something pretty special about a field full of wildflowers at sunset. 🙂  This was taken at the Tom McCall Preserve in the Columbia River Gorge last April.  I have to say, Oregon really lives up to the hype.  It’s a lovely state!

Salt and Light

24 Feb
Salt and Light :: CA

Salt and Light :: CA

Not snow.  Salt!  (But honestly, our New England brains had a hard time with the concept.  We kept expecting to fall through a frozen lake the whole time….except it wasn’t water beneath our feet.)

This image was taken at Badwater Basin in Death Valley last December.  There had been some flooding in October, which affected the traditional salt patterns.  We did end up finding some famous hexagons, but not in time to catch this awesome sunset. (booooo!) Guess it’s a reason to go back someday. 🙂

For those of you who like the camera settings: f/9 0.8 sec, 10 mm, ISO 100

Also, as a reminder, there is a crazy awesome deal going on for those of you looking to improve your photography experience with lessons at your own pace, feedback to help you improve your images, and a supportive community environment.  The 40% deal that the Light and Landscape Magazine is offering ends tomorrow though, so seriously, don’t wait! You can see more about it here: http://www.lightandlandscape.co/learn-with-light-and-landscape