Like paint…

off the end of a brush.

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Energy and motion made visible-memories arrested in space.

Jackson Pollock

Sometimes it’s her office; other times her place of sanctuary. As we glided across the smooth surface it wasn’t the scenery enveloping this beautiful lake that caught my eye, it was the swirling of imagery through the water. There one moment and erased the next by a single sweep of the paddle.

Paint flowing off of the end of a brush onto a blue canvas.

I like to capture something different in a landscape. I look for those things that are fleeting and not repeatable, often imagining how many times a landscape has been photographed exactly the same way: same light, same settings, same perspective.

It’s almost always about the water…

A taste of…

 

the wild.

P BR BearI have drunken deep of joy, and I will taste no other wine tonight.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Bear in the Area was the sign that we saw posted everywhere upon our arrival at a primitive campground in Waterton National Park. You know you’re deep into bear country when there are steel food lockers at every camp site. I’ll admit it, not comfortable around bears, too unpredictable for me but the scenery was breath-taking so we pitched our camp for the night and listened to the stories swirl about bear sightings.

We’re early risers: traveling with dogs does tend to encourage that and the pups were eager to get going that morning.

Leashing them up we started out only to be brought up short by a large bear strolling along the river, pausing occasionally to take a look at us.

I quickly took some shots then was drawn to the behavior of one of my Staffords. He’s never been in the presence of bears before and watching him savor the taste of the wild was fascinating to me. Head thrown back, eyes squeezed shut, he drank it in, blowing out scent and carefully drawing it back in.

I got the shots of the bear but I’ll always treasure the ones that for me truly capture the experience.

The ones where my dog tasted true wild for the first time.

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BR Bear

Note: Thank you Rich and Brenda for the assistance and the chats, it was a pleasure meeting you both and Steve, thanks for all that you do so that we can continue to enjoy the wilderness experiences.

 

If you’re lucky enough…

to still have your Dad

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My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.

Clarence Budington Kelland

I was thinking about fathers this morning and reflecting on what makes a man a “good father”.

There are the easy ones like my Dad where no matter what I did or said that I wanted to do, he was always incredibly supportive and never failed to make me feel that I would succeed. 

My father passed away far too soon and often seeing interactions between fathers and their children makes me feel envious and I think to myself I hope they know how lucky they are.

My father worked a lot when we were young but looking back on childhood memories, we always had the best family excursions. We didn’t do the Disney trips or Maui holidays, we camped, canoed, fished, and sailed. I’m sure that’s where my passion for photography began.

Looking at the men in my life who are fathers I see men who take time for their children and ones who make personal sacrifices for their children. I’m not sure that’s always recognized.

I hope that I let my father know often enough just how much he meant to me and I hope that if you’re among the lucky ones who still have a Dad, that you’ll take the time to let them know too.

Happy Father’s day!

 

In the darkness..

try to shed a little light.

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When you start hiding things away, that’s when the darkness creeps up. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Steve Kazee

This week’s events hit a little too close to home for me.

 While I certainly had no immediate connection to either Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade other than reading his books or carrying her handbag, their suicides did get me thinking about my own brother who many years ago, chose the same path.

Starting today, there is never a better time to start listening to people.

When you ask how are you…really listen to the response.

If someone bites your head off and it doesn’t exactly connect with the situation…look a little deeper.

A little compassion goes a long way and as one of those people who can lock up internal struggles very well, just know that your actions can make a difference.

Happy birthday, Trevor. 

I hope that you know how much you are loved and missed.

Today’s a great day…

to take a few stairs.

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The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps-we must step up the stairs.

Vance Havner

One of the things that I’ve been working on is living in the moment. For me that means appreciating what’s good in my life and not dwelling on those things that could be better.

Those things will resolve over time and as is life, others will no doubt come in their place.

I’m trying to remember that I have a choice to make each day. I can be happy and content or I can dwell in those things that are beyond my control.

Today looks like a great day to take a few stairs…

Moving forward…

while purging the past.

We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire.

George Sand

A note about the post that follows:

It’s not my intention to give the impression that the last 37 years of my life didn’t matter and that they were filled with bad memories. That simply wouldn’t be accurate, there were good times and we become the person that we are by the sum of the parts. I doubt that this story is unique, I’m fairly certain that there are others just like me out there; putting on a brave face and acting like their life is oh so normal. It’s easy to see now that the choices I made in my late teens were motivated by emotion and not a lot of practicality. I wonder if at some point in the future I will regret being so transparent about my divorce. The flip side of that is if my words could stop someone from making the same mistakes that I did, wouldn’t that be worth it? If I could share one piece of advice with another young person it would be to choose your partner wisely: it is one of the most important decisions that you can make. Don’t make a decision based on potential and never make excuses for behavior that you don’t like. Those behaviors are likely to never change and are more likely to get worse over time. The  people in this story weren’t fundamentally bad, they just didn’t belong together and if you’re reading this and it hits too close to home, know that you can change the course of the rest of your life. Understand that, no matter how badly you want to change or help someone, some things are not fixable. I used to take pride not in the quality of my marriage, but in its length. Ending a long marriage is an invasive, unpredictable, expensive, and highly stressful event. Know that getting out will be one of the hardest things that you do but that it will be so worth it.

Fire has long been a method of purification and for me there is something deeply satisfying about watching flames dance and reduce an object to ash. As a photographer it’s important for me to have visual images: it’s how I process things.
Stepping back a few decades, I would never have envisioned that object would be my wedding gown.
Looking at my wedding photos I find it difficult connecting with the girl in that gown with the monstrous train. It’s not me and even as I try to reconcile myself with my wedding day it still feels like an event that I got caught up in.
The dress looked like something that could be replicated to top a wedding cake. The bridesmaid’s dresses were not the color that I wanted for my December wedding. The song sung by the groom’s sister at my wedding was not one that I had chosen. I spent the afternoon ignoring the voice that said  you broke up five years into this relationship for a reason and marriage won’t change what hasn’t changed after getting back together. You know that right?

What occurs to me as I look at my wedding pictures now is that I don’t see the moments that I would capture today as a photographer who specializes in moments.

I write this not from the viewpoint of that young girl in the photos but from the viewpoint of a woman who finally got the courage to leave a dysfunctional marriage. That girl believed that with enough nurture the nature would change.
That girl had no idea that without the sacrifice of her own values and principles her marriage could never be a true partnership. That girl would never have imagined that she would one day read words that would chill her to the bone. Words describing how she would die because she dared to choose to move forward and live a life of love, honesty,  and simplicity.

This girl after 31 years of marriage finally walked away and on a dark, snowy, December night, set fire to the dress that lingered at the bottom of her closet.
As the flames moved up the dress I exhaled and felt the beginning of closure.
There are many things that should be recycled and passed forward for someone else to make use of but for me it was important that the symbols of my marriage be laid to rest alongside my marriage.

A good friend once said to let go and that the universe will provide.  Turns out it will and it has and today finds me in a relationship based on an old friendship and shared values and that has been the biggest surprise of all!

If there’s a young person in your life that may be struggling with a relationship or if you know someone who thinks that there is no way out…please share this post.

Working on …

a comeback.

DSC_5401-Edit-Edit-2The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.

Vince Lombardi

On a personal note… I am so proud of this man.

Portraits are not my first love but when there is an amazing story attached, one that inspires and gives you faith in the human spirit, it’s a treat to be behind the lens!

Don’t pass up an opportunity to photograph anything that you connect with even if it’s outside your comfort zone.