A JOYFUL JOURNEY

That has become my mantra in the last few years no matter what I do or attempt to do. I used to be all about the end result and very strategic about how I got there. I was always more interested in "getting it done." That may have been a result of working hard and being very goal oriented. I am still goal oriented but have taken a different approach. I now wait for inspiration and know that there are opportunities at every turn if I am willing to look. I have found time to meditate each morning, swim 5 days a week, and be more mindful of each moment. I find that I now have changed my mindset to make sure that no matter what I'm doing, or who I'm doing it with, my goal is to have fun and look for joy in every moment. The great thing is that through this process, I catch myself much earlier for signs of stress and take care of that quickly.  Photography has helped me in that pursuit as well. I look forward to going out on the trails or back roads and just seeing what there is to see. I now breathe and take in the scene around me, looking at all that's there, knowing that if I relax and have done the preparation both mentally and physically all will be well and beautiful scenes unfold before me. Staying relaxed and really noticing my surroundings and letting myself "be" in nature or the scene helps me stay grounded.  A book that I have found helpful in staying inspired is "The Practice of Contemplative Photography" by Andy Karr and Michael Wood. I hope you pursue whatever you find interesting or exciting with a playful joyful attitude. Enjoy the journey!

FOLLOW THE EARLY MORNING LIGHT

In photography, light is everything and can make or break a photo. Some of the best lighting happens at sunrise and sunset. This is called the "golden hour," the hour after sunrise and before sunset. Getting up early has never been a problem for me. I love being out with my coffee and gear just before sunrise in order to scope out and create the perfect composition. Especially in the mountains when that first light hits the top of a peak and creates that Alpine Glow, it can be spectacular! That's when you get those first shots in, then wait as the light begins to make everything glow golden and pink. If there are clouds that is the "Pièce de résistance."

Over the last few years I have been developing my eye to notice the lighting of an area. When I am out scouting locations to shoot, I first look for subjects that I enjoy, but the next thought on my mind is; which direction will the sun be at sunrise and or sunset and will it enhance the subject? Notice the two photos below. These are Great Blue Herons building and protecting their nests. The first one is at sunrise, while the second is later in the day when it became more overcast.

Early morning light that enhances the subjects

Early morning light that enhances the subjects

Strong subject but poor lighting

Strong subject but poor lighting