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Posts tagged ‘hiking’

Updates from New Landscapes

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I can’t believe my last post here was in September. I haven’t been kidnapped, I promise! On the contrary, I have been writing weekly still for Widows Voice about all the goings on since my move… but I’ve neglected to share what creative things have been going on here.  Probably because its been a time of wandering and less direction… which is always when I seem to write less here. Somehow today felt like a good day to dig back in though. I suppose I should start with an update on just what has been going on creatively since my big move from Texas to Ohio.

Firstly, it is COLD in Ohio. And this has been an unseasonably warm winter for Ohio I am told. Despite that information, below freezing for 2 weeks in a row is something I have not previously experienced. That sort of cold only lasts like a day and a half in Texas before it goes back up to the 60’s. Sigh. I miss my flip flops.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 2.25.32 PMOkay, I am not really in love with the cold. So just what am I loving about this new place? The landscape. It is foreign. And fresh to my eyes. The trees are much taller. There are rolling hills, steep valleys and beautiful gorges. And all the water features, oh! Waterfalls and creeks and rivers and ponds and lakes everywhere…. ones that magically do NOT dry up 2 days after it rains, like in Texas. No, they actually exist all year, only changing in winter when freezing solid. Speaking of that, icicles galooore! Some of them 20 feet tall! Talk about magical. I may hate the cold, but winter here certainly leaves a lot of room for your childlike wonder to roam.

I have spent the past few months trying to get settled in. It’s been chaotic, and a challenge to make room for creativity. There haven’t been any big conceptual photo shoots. No climbing around in frozen landscapes in front of my camera to capture new self portraits. I’ve been a little bothered by this. I always feel, if I stop doing the portraits for too long, that I am missing opportunities to tell stories that are happening right here in the now. I’ve had to let go of that a little, and realize that I am telling those stories in different ways perhaps.

Mike and I have hiked nearly every weekend the past 2 months now. I’ve gotten in the habit of taking my camera along and shooting along the way. I never really hiked much in Texas, so this has been a great adventure. Everything has become less about my internal emotional world lately, and more about what is going on all around me. I suppose I am starting to put down the self portraits for a while… and lean into exploring what else there is to capture. What stories are told when I don’t have a figure in the image? How are they told? How does this change my own relationship to nature and to the images? There’s been plenty to explore for sure.  As I embrace this direction more, I can feel my creativity loosening up. I am experimenting with color images more, or adding tints and filters to my black and whites to give them a sheen of color. I’m even going back to old images and reprocessing them in completely new ways lately.

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A few of my older shots getting a face lift with some color tints!

After several years of hard emotional work, and using photography mostly as a means to do serious healing, I am enjoying the play. I’ll admit, I did start to feel stuck within the portrait series after a year of commitment to it. Slowly, it is beginning to feel good to let loose and just explore where things are going – both personally and creatively. I’m also looking toward some new ventures now that will include others within my creative process, something very new for me. More on that soon. Cheers everyone! I hope your new year is off to an inspired start!

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Mike out hiking around Gorge Metro Park

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Sandstone detail in Gorge Metro Park

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Blue Hen Falls – Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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Prairie at Springfield Bog

Inspiration: Walking Into A New Year

It’s amazing how we take so many simple things in our lives for granted. Like walking. Being free to meander down forest paths or stroll down city sidewalks, soaking in all the life around you. How often do you take walks or go explore the world on foot? I know for me, it’s certainly not nearly as often as I’d like.. maybe once a month or even less. There is someone I know who has been walking a lot lately though. Someone who has inspired me to really embrace this simple gift of two good legs and a strong back to carry me wherever I want to go…

My brother has been battling back pain for over 10 years now, ever since he injured himself working as an inventory manager at a cabinet factory. Fortunately, not long after the injury he completed his degree and was able to move on to teaching – but the injury has limited his ability to do even something as simple as go for a long stroll or go hiking in a state park… things he dearly loved. That all changed late last year. In November, he began to realize – out of nowhere – that his back wasn’t hurting like it used to. He’d had no procedures or surgeries or new therapy. Nothing. And just like that, the pain was going away with no explanation for why. I’m so wonderfully perplexed by this.

And so, after over a decade of being restricted to only small trips to the store and straight home, my brother took his new found freedom and began to walk. He walked and he walked, for hours. For days. He bought a pedometer to track all his walking. By the end of January he had walked 45 hours and 42 miles! I’m so inspired by this walking journey of his. It made me think about what it would be like if I couldn’t just go out for a long walk or spend the day hiking at the lake… or the other physical things I enjoy, like rock climbing or kayaking. All the little things that can be so easy to take for granted, his story has helped to remind me to be very grateful that I have a healthy body that allows me to experience this journey of life in as many ways as I can imagine.

It has also inspired me to think of small ways to embrace the simple things in life. Today for example, has been an unseasonably warm and beautiful day in Dallas. With a cool breeze and temperatures in the 70’s (in February!), I decided to go home for lunch. I rode the whole way with all the windows rolled down and it was glorious. It wasn’t a 7 hour walk – but it was some small way to just stop from the hustle and bustle of life and soak in the beauty that is all around.

Thank you Mike. =)

To read more of Mike’s journey and other random awesome stuff he posts – visit his blog here!


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