Tag Archives: trail

The Outbound

6 Apr
Crystal Cascade :: New Hampshire

Crystal Cascade :: New Hampshire

Spring is finally springing, and I am so happy to be back outside, filling my life with adventure.  So often, I get asked about where shots were taken and what the journey to get there was like….  Well, as of this week, it just became a lot easier to find those answers.

I have started posting my trips up on The Outbound Collective, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.  It’s an online adventure resource goldmine.  If you want more information about the practical aspects of making a trip up a particular mountain, or trekking a desert, or kayaking a river…they probably have it.  In particular, they are filled to the brim with info about the west coast…but I intend to beef up their page with plenty of east coast adventures in the coming weeks.  All you have to do is follow and save any trips you like, and when you’re ready for a vacation….viola!  Instant trip guide!

So, if you want the details on how grueling a hike was to get to the peak of that mountain to take that pretty picture…well…go read about it on my Adventure page.  Then you will be a little more prepared for when you make your own trek into the great….where ever. lol

The above shot was from last year, when I took a trip up Mt. Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine Trail.  Read more about it (and see more pretty, some previously unpublished photos) here!

 

The Natural Metaphor

25 Jun
Our Rain Song

Our Rain Song

This is the springtime of my loving – the second season I am to know
You are the sunlight in my growing – so little warmth I’ve felt before.

I recently read an interesting article about appreciating your life’s journey.  Attaining a goal is great… the accolades, the rewards, the what-have-yous…are all a nice way to recognize your efforts, but ultimately, it’s the experiences that led us to that goal that we remember.  It is the struggles and the obstacles that shape us.  The meaning of life is found on the path, not at the destination.

As I edited and titled…or rather, tried to title this and ultimately asked Sean for help (an homage to Zepplin, for those of you wondering)…this image, I thought about the day that it was captured.

This beautiful pond is 2.2 miles up a mountain trail in Vermont.  The hike is moderately difficult, with enough sweating and straining to make me tired at the end of it.  As if the terrain wasn’t enough of a challenge, we also faced some bad weather…about 0.1 miles from the pond, the sky opened up on us.  It was a strange mixture of rain and hail, and it sent most of my hiking group scrambling for cover.

As we stood there in the rain/hail, I pulled out my camera and tried to make the most of the moment photographically.  There were some great foreground elements, and a beautiful scene before me…but the light was flat, the clouds all boiled into one undefined mass and my lens was covered in magical, un-wipe-off-able water drops. haha  Even as the rain/hail passed, I couldn’t seem to get a good shot.  The compositions seemed off, the light still wasn’t dynamic and my group wanted to finish the last little bit of the hike to the summit…  In short, a lot of struggle for not much payoff.

I packed in my camera and followed the group, trying not to let myself worry too much about the photos I hadn’t taken.  After all, it wasn’t about the images.  It was about spending the day with Sean and my friends, about conquering the trail, getting in shape, enjoying my time in nature and relaxing.

By the time we finished enjoying the view at the top, I felt better.  I had let go the photo-anxiety of a missed shot and let myself live in the moment.

As we made our way back down the mountain, I realized I had dropped my hiking stick (a must with my knees) when I originally stopped at the shore, so I took the short side trail back to the pond to recover it.  As I came around the curve of the trail, I felt it.  That serendipitous moment.  The sky, the light, the reflection on the pool of water in front of the pond…  Everything was perfect.  I knew this photo would be something special.

We struggle, we cope, we mature emotionally, we learn to appreciate the journey… and in that moment… everything comes together for us.  Quite the metaphor for life.

Well done, Mama Nature…well done.

The Cabin in the Woods

20 Feb
The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods

Looks like a nice little place to go warm your toes, huh? 🙂  These last few weeks have been snow, snow and more snow.  I still can’t say I love the cold, but it sure does make for some nice photos!

This was taken in upper CT, along a quiet cross-country ski trail by a frozen lake in the winter woods.  It is just one of the many hidden gems to be found out on the east coast.  What we Nutmeggers (yeah…that’s what they call people from Connecticut…I know, I know…) lack in broad sweeping vistas and notable landmarks, we often make up for in scenes like this.  Living here really encourages us to explore…because you never know what you’ll find if you’re willing to go just a little further off the beaten path.  Or in this case, down the ski-path!

A few years back I found a necklace in a small shop on the Cape. It’s a charm with a picture of a compass, and inscribed on it are the words, “Explore. Create. Believe.”  The words stuck with me as both a motto for what I want my life to be, and encouragement to push my photo work just a little further and have faith in the results.  The necklace is a daily reminder that you never know what incredible things are waiting for you up around the bend…you just have to get there.

Thanks for the continued support!! You are all a source of inspiration to me. 🙂

Shannon

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland

26 Dec
Snowy Path - CT

Snowy Path – CT

This image always reminds me of my favorite holiday carol (I’m so politically correct, dang!), though I seriously doubt there were sleigh bells ringing and children rarely listen to anything I have to say. 😉

This photo was taken on a snowy day here in CT, on a lunch break from work. It was just one of those days where the snow looked so darn purty I needed to go explore for a bit. This happens to be a historic trail one town over from the town I work in, so I had enough time to stretch my legs and take a few shots before heading back to the ol’ cubicle.

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season, friends! Stay safe, give your loved ones a squeeze, eat too many cookies, and surround yourself with peace and joy…tis’ the season, after all!

Best Wishes,
XOXO
Shannon

Catching Up

21 Oct

So…in the month of October I have:

A) Gotten food poisoning and landed in the emergency clinic in another country. Still trying to recover from that.

B) Hosted my good friend David Pasillas, a west coast photog, and found ourselves on a three day New England leaf-peeping adventure.  I still have to download those shots. haha

C) Worked hard to finish 3 photo projects, one of which will be a collaborative series of blogs with the aforementioned David, my friend Will and his better half Britta (sorry Will. ;-D)  I’m pretty pumped about!  (So..uh…stay tuned)  One of the other projects is a magazine submission which is making me hold off a bit on posting all of my Peru photos just yet.  But trust me, they’re awesome and when the time comes, you’ll love them.

D) Had knee surgery, and am currently on crutches.  I’ll be headed to my post-op appointment in about an hour, as a matter of fact.  You know what is difficult to do on crutches?  Everything. haha

E) Shot a couples session for one of my best friends (on crutches!) and was overwhelmingly happy when the guy surprised us all by turning it into an engagement shoot!

And the month isn’t done yet!

For today, I figured I’d share an oldie-but-goodie fall foliage photo.  Tis the season, afterall. 🙂

Autumn in New England

Autumn in New England

New photos coming shortly, I promise!

Finding Our Way

1 Jul
Smugglers Notch Trail

Smugglers Notch Trail

I wondered, just now, how people come up with titles for their images and posts and such.  I mean, occasionally, I dream up a title to something that just feels right.  Same way with the rare poem that comes to mind, or the every-now-and-again piece of writing I turn out.  Those words are easy.  They just flow from my brain to my pen (or in this case, keyboard) without effort, already formed into a cohesive and succinct thought.  In those cases, I dare say, they were just born eloquent.  No struggling, no writer’s block, no searching for hidden meanings or words that do an image justice…  Just an outpouring of creativity.

Those are wonderful moments in any creative’s life.  You have an itch.  A desire.  A need to produce…something.  And it happens, until you’ve satisfied your craving (may I use the word obssession?  Because it seems accurate.) and can move on to the next thing in your day.

But then there is the rest of the time.  You feel an urge to create, but it is more of a vague, somewhat frustrating itch that you can neither reach nor scratch.  You know you WANT to draw from the well of your imagination, but for whatever reason, it eludes you.

I had one of those moments the other day, when I was posting this photo on 500px.  I believe the title I came up with (after 3 tries) was “Mountain Path”.  That’s like naming your black and white cat Oreo (no offense to all of the Oreo’s out there!  And as a side note, while I’ve dropped my filters and let my fingers run wild on the keyboard…what about naming a black and white cat “Monochrome”?  Huh, photo-fans?  Super-genius, right?)

Where was I?  Oh…yeah…Mountain Path.  Definitely does not do the photo any justice, however true the words may be.  My inner poet was sleeping that day, to be sure.  Something inside of me wanted to give it a name that was inspiring, and transferred the sense of peace I felt in the woods that day to the viewer.

“The Path to Enlightenment”? Nah.  It was the path to a very cold, beautiful pond at the top of a New England mountain…but enlightenment would be over-stating.

“A Walk in the Woods”? True…but not very inspiring.  A title is like Twitter…only so many characters available to convey our feelings.

“Dang, 4 Miles of Hiking Is Tiring”? As honest as it gets…but an obvious latch ditch effort. haha

So, I thought a bit more about the day, the hike, my life and what the memories meant to me.  2013 has been, simply put, the year of change for me.  I’m not the sort to generally spill a whole lot of personal details about my life, but suffice it to say, there has been a lot of self-reflection, a lot of accepting things I cannot change and resolving to improve the things I can.  One of those changes involved transitioning out of a 13 year relationship where we were both unhappy towards the end.

Since growing enough courage to make an amicable break, and finding a place of peace about the decision, I have been blessed with a fresh start.  I’ve promised myself that in this new relationship, I will try not to make the same mistakes, and to hold tight to the lessons I’ve learned.  I’m more honest, a better communicator, and more inclined to put my energy into something positive, less inclined to bury my head in the sand.

(A good course of action not just for our interactions with others, but for life in general, no?)

This day…this photo…was a great hike I took with the new guy, a day full of smiles and laughs.  It was easy, and full of promise.  To me, this photo was representative of my journey, of me finding my own way through life.  Sure, its full of twists and turns, its full of steps that made my ruined knee ache (ohh…I mean some pain) but it’s life and as long as I stay on the (blue marker) trail, I know I’ll make it.  My journey, my path, my life with all of its mistakes and lessons.  My photo.

Hey…guess I found that creative well after all.  This image is called “Finding Our Way”.

A quick technical note:  This is a pano stitch taken with my nifty-50 lens for a project being hosted by my friend Will.  This scene was suggested as a photo by the new guy, Sean.  Gotta give credit where credit is due. 🙂