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The temperature was perfect and the smell of pine was intoxicating. For me, this photograph captures the quintessential essence of all that I love in the mountains; a flowing river, a towering peak, a rich green forest, and dancing clouds. When I close my eyes and think of being in surrounded by nature, this is the place I picture. I was working in a youth detention center in a nearby city when I decided to take a week and venture into the wild. Usually it takes grueling hikes to get to such a place, but believe it or not, the beautiful campground where I was staying is tucked only a few hundred yards away. The perfect shot was hiding in plain sight and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
For many years I worked as a server or manager at restaurants, mostly through the night. So getting up early is always a painful experience for me. Without coffee, it is all but hopeless. So this is a rare sunrise shot. I debated, “would it be worth it?”, “Would there be any color?”, “Would I be awake enough to find the ‘on’ button on my camera?” But it paid off when the sky turned to gold as the beautiful sun slowly climbed over the oceanic horizon. The bliss of the morning was unrivaled. The delicate waves rolled in on this soft Florida coast as I had just landed from a long trip overseas in a very third-world part of Brazil. The peace and solace of the moment were surreal. I felt privileged to have captured it.
In my humble opinion, this is the most beautiful place on earth. Banff, Canada is like a paradise for adventurers. The beauty is hard to put into words, so I did my best to put it into a photograph. When I reached the summit a freezing snow was pounding down with high winds. I thought there would be no way to shoot. A little patience paid off when suddenly the clouds broke, the sun came through, and the storm disappeared. The warm sunshine helped me to feel my fingers again, which was nice. It was a good analogy for life; when your hopes are blocked by a giant storm, when the snow is cold and the winds are harsh, be patient, be ready, the sun will come and its warmth break through and show you a view with no boundaries.
There is a funny story behind this photo. I had been hiking a lot photographing in Jasper and got really bad blisters on my boots. So on the morning of this hike I had to wear my Nike tennis shoes. I figured that I have done enough dumber stuff before and I should be able to handle this. I got to the trailhead and it was pouring rain. It was late autumn and would be freezing at the top. Hmmmm. I got out a roll of duct tape and complete “waterproofed” my shoes. I have to admit, it was pretty genius. The whole idea fell apart when I got near the summit and a heavy snow began to fall. Soon after the rocky trail was covered and I couldn’t take a step without sliding three backward. I engaged my genius again and pulled out my camera tripod that has metal pegs on the bottom. I stabbed into the snow and pulled myself up step by step. It was a bit dangerous, very dumb, and kind of funny but I made it to the summit and the storm passed. The views were the best I had ever seen in my life. I faced the elements and came out victorious. The way down was not as easy but, let’s just say I lived to tell the story.
The focus on this image is not where some would expect. It is on the smallest amount of pavement up close to the camera. For me, this symbolizes something very important. Every adventure on which one would embark in life starts with small details. The road is long and many adventures lie ahead, but first, we must focus on the first step, the smallest of steps, and the details that are right in front of us. If we do that and keep doing that, it will lead us on a beautiful journey down adventure road.
After a long trip overseas working in third-world favelas I was happy to land in Florida and stay near the ocean. I got up for the sunrise (which wasn’t so easy), but a sunrise on the ocean is hard to resist. I was treated by friendly seagulls, gentle waves, and a warm sun. The seagulls had a busy schedule to keep but were kind enough to pose for me a few times, and on the last time, I got this shot. It embodies all that I love about the ocean.
I had hiked all day from six a.m. I was exhausted. At the last minute, I realized it was my only chance for a star shot while in Jasper because of the moon cycles. So I kicked it out, and drove to a nearby bridge that gave me a great view of the night sky and stayed up all night shooting. The moon started to rise about 4 a.m. and cast a light on the coming clouds. I was thrilled when I finally got all my settings right to capture the magic of the moment and clicked this shot. I knew I had something special.
The autumn season is my favorite and any time of year I love to be reminded of the pleasant change that comes each season during this year. It’s a few weeks of a very special time that I love to look forward to. I imagine pushing one of those canoes out onto the lake and just forgetting the world for a while with the smell of crisp leaves on the air.
This shot was, you could say, began my journey into photography. It has become my best seller because it captures a moment of serenity that we all long for. I was racing the light after the sunset, at a lake in Michigan, when there was a beautiful burst of reds, pinks, and orange. It was thrilling. The geese flew right into the shot I had set up and the resident swans didn’t seem to mind being a subtle star in this scene.
When I take a photo I want to create a shot that is inspiring and takes to a place you want to always “mentally escape” into. A shot that you can be “in” and feel and smell. I think this shot really encapsulates that well. The wooden dock has that earthy sense to it and the lights guide you along the way. You know the sound your footsteps make, and the excitement of walking towards a beautiful sunset on the ocean. The moment is magical and you just walked into it.
Is there anything more therapeutic than a sunrise on the ocean with a long sandy beach and soft rolling waves? There may be but I doubt it. It’s rare when the sky lights up with vivid colors but those are the moments I wait and watch for. It’s very exciting when it happens. I took probably about 300-500 shots to capture this one. It was tricky because waves are, well, unpredictable. I was thrilled to see that it came out and was undoubtedly was worth the wait.
One of my top personal favorite photos. I’ve had this on my wall for a long time and each time I look at I can escape into and sit on that rock there. The temperature was perfect, the pine was so thick it was intoxicating, there is a river nearby, but it’s quiet and peaceful. It will forever by my secret hideaway.