Tag Archives: sunset

Reach for the Light :: WA

5 Mar
Reach for the Light :: WA

Reach for the Light :: WA

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Months ago, I booked a trip to Olympic National Park. The highlights (I thought) would be the Hoh Rainforest, Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc falls, and the beaches. Then the shutdown happened.

The day before I left, I scoured the web looking for updates to see what roads and trails were open, and how bad things were. Obviously the government website was no help… it had been shut down since December.

In the end, we flew out with two real plans. First, be prepared to hike pretty far in from the roads, bringing trash bags and gloves. We wouldn’t contribute to the problems facing the National parks, but we sure as hell were gonna help where we could.

The second part of the plan was hope. We rearranged our itinerary based on 5 day old trip reports from strangers on the internet. There was no telling what we would actually find at any given place. But I held out hope that we would still be able to enjoy our time there.

In the end, we did pick up trash, hike pretty far to get to things, missed out on most of the spots I was planning to see, but the peninsula is spectacular. Even with limited access, it was an inspiring trip.

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Firestarter :: Iceland

12 Apr
Firestarter :: Iceland

Firestarter :: Iceland

 

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. 😊

Crescendo :: NY

19 Sep
Crescendo :: NY

Crescendo :: NY

Between the destruction of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, and the wildfires raging out west, most recently in the Columbia River Gorge, I’ve been doing a little reflecting. Our natural spaces are so important, yet so fragile. One little event, change, or bad decision can upset an ecosystem for decades.

Would Harvey have been quite as damaging if the natural flood planes and wetlands around Houston had remained intact? Would the Gorge be flush with greenery still if one kid decided fireworks in a dry season was a bad idea?

Hindsight is 20/20, and so it’s easy to say what should have been done differently in those cases…. but what about the decisions that are being made now, that will devastate something in our future? Those little moments of putting money, or Instagram fame, or some other selfish priority over the need (yes, *need*) to maintain these green spaces? Every day we have the opportunity to make good, healthy, environmentally sustainable choices and it’s so easy to be selfish, to take the easy path, to say “someone else will do it.” But in the end, it’s not someone else’s responsibility to guarantee you and your children and your grandchildren a safe future. It’s yours. It’s all of ours. If each of us does our part, in the end, we all win.

 

This is a shot from North-South Lake in the Catskills of NY.  Sunset was dang purty!

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.