Tag Archives: travel

Steadfast :: Iceland

14 Nov
Steadfast :: Iceland

Steadfast :: Iceland

“Some days I look down
Afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice, oh
Oh, come and then go, come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so” -Patty Griffin/Up to the Mountain (based on an MLK speech)

 

This incredible peak had an equally incredible glacier field attached to it, and I felt blessed to see it. A photo-friend, Dani, talked about a project she is doing where she goes back yearly to a glacier field and it has noticeably receded in just the short time she’s been capturing it. It makes me wonder how long we have before these beautiful spaces are gone completely. And more importantly, I wonder what can WE HUMANS (the biggest contributors to the problem according to the newest climate report released in the US) can do to combat the problems we face?

If there are any stragglers for the print sale to benefit little Liam, let me know!  I’m ordering from the print house tomorrow!  And for all of you that have reached out already, thank you!  You’re amazing!

Shannon

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Revelator :: Iceland

8 Nov
Revelator :: Iceland

Revelator :: Iceland

 

It’s moments like these that remind you how incredibly beautiful our world can be, and to appreciate the important things in life. ❤️ .

On that note, I’m having a print sale to raise money for a 4 yr old just diagnosed with stage IV cancer. If you’ve ever thought you might want some of my art on your walls, now would be a great time to do it.  🙂

Feminine :: TN

26 Sep
Feminine :: TN

Feminine :: TN

(Alternate working title: Taken by a WOMAN with a NIKON)

This past week there has been a huge backlash against Nikon for a promotion-gone-wrong regarding their new d850 release. In short, the Nikon-Asia created a team of 32 professional photographers to be the face of their new camera. All male.

For those of you to whom I’ve casually mentioned the challenges of landscape photography’s boys club to… this is very visible example of what I meant. Time and again, I’ve come across gender bias in the genre of landscape photography, and in the cross-genre work I’ve done. The stats on things like brand ambassadors, speakers at conferences, juries at shows, etc simply aren’t reflective of the actual percentages of women working every day in the industry. I personally have been overlooked or lost opportunities because I was female. Women I am close with have been harassed and belittled, their skills as a photographer dismissed or questioned because they are female. Marketing, book sales and travel all come with an asterisk – a need to proceed cautiously because I’m female. Hopefully, our genre of photography continues to evolve, but the first step is education. One of the best things about our species is our capacity for critical thought, for introspection, and conscious evolution. I know WE CAN DO BETTER.

Nikon has since said they will strive to be better in the future. Hopefully more major brands follow their lead. There is an incredibly talented community of female photographers out there (I have a list of at least 270+ in landscape photography alone) who’s work is diverse, interesting and impactful. Isn’t it time you discovered some new artists? 😊

Big thanks to all of those supportive men already in the photography community. I’m blessed to call a lot of you friends, and you give me hope things will keep moving in the right direction.

In reality, gender bias is not the only issue we flawed humans face and in my mind, denying that these problems exist is illogical, especially when you can see tons of examples around the world of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.  Much like this particular issue with Nikon, I believe humans as a whole have opportunities every single day to do better, to be better, to grow and have empathy and understanding.  After all, our variety IS our strength.  The human race is a beautiful tapestry made up of vastly different experiences, cultures, sexes, nationalities, religions and ways of expressing love.  To insulate yourself with only a small segment of the population is like reading just the first page of your favorite novel.  You’ll never see the richness and depth around you. Choose love. ❤

Ok, hopping off the soapbox now.  If you read this far, this is a quiet spot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  A huge thank you to Ed and Zach Heaton for showing us around their stomping grounds while we were visiting.  They’re great guys, and if you are looking for workshops in that area, I urge you to check them out! Here’s a little bonus shot of Zach, who is shooting a year of film, using his large format rig during this stop. 🙂

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!

Stubborn Beauty :: OR

25 Jul
Stubborn Beauty :: OR

Stubborn Beauty :: OR

On my visit to Oregon last year, we (obviously) explored the Columbia River Gorge to see some waterfalls. This intimate scene was tucked away in the rocks at Wahclella falls. I loved the tenacity of this little flower, and the way the light fell (because light is everything!)

I tried, and failed, to figure out what type of flower it is…but ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Like all plants, it serves an important function as a rest stop for native pollinators. ….. If you just asked what the heck that means, the short version is that native pollinators such as bees, moths, ants, beetles, butterflies, birds, bats, etc all help plant species thrive and without their help we would have a food shortage of critical proportions. Over the last 10 years or so, pollinators have faced significant challenges in the form of mites and fungus, habitat loss, pesticides, etc all contributing to a massive population decline. Want to help? Consider keeping a garden with a variety of native plants that bloom for as much of the year as possible.

Also…Yes, I named this photo after a brewery in CT. Lol

Guide Us Home :: RI

18 Jul
Guide Us Home :: RI

Guide Us Home :: RI

In Connecticut, dark sky areas are almost non-existent, due to our dense population and the light pollution that comes with it.  That makes capturing the Milky Way very difficult.  To truly have a sky that is dark enough to see detail in the Milky Way core, I need to either drive to Rhode Island (where the is a tiny oasis of dark sky along our shared border) or north and/or northwest towards Massachusetts, Vermont or upstate New York.

So besides the inconvenience of needing to travel, why is light pollution a problem?  Because it isn’t just light.  It’s light that affects everything.

There is evidence that too much night-light will effect trees’ seasonal clocks.  It’s shown that the bright lights of human cities can disrupt migration patterns of birds, the ability of newly hatched sea turtles to find the safety of the water, the hunting and territory patterns of opportunistic animals…. and researchers are beginning to think that the disruption to our – humans – natural circadian cycles is a risk factor for higher incidences of cancer.

“The health effects of light pollution have not been as well defined for humans as for wildlife, although a compelling amount of epidemiologic evidence points to a consistent association between exposure to indoor artificial nighttime light and health problems such as breast cancer, says George Brainard, a professor of neurology at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.” (here)

So about those pockets of darkness near Connecticut?  Well, Beavertail Light in Rhode Island is along the edge of one.  When my friend Tony Curado, who is working on a Galactic 50 project (capturing the Milky Way in all 50 states!), suggested he wanted to chase stars in my neighborhood, I knew exactly what location to try.

The night finally arrived, and as I sat there under the stars with Tony and Kyle (another local photographer), I felt grateful. There I was, watching the universe do its thing, the sounds of the waves kissing the land, and good friends to share it with.

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!