Rattlesnake Ridge. North Bend, WA

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Have you ever waited oh so eagerly and patiently for something only to have your own scatterbrained mess of a brain mess it all up?

Well, I finally got all my new camera gear in. My new Fujifilm XM-1 mirrorless camera body looks spectacular. The lens? The vintage Canon FD 50mm 1.8 from my Canon AE-1 Program film camera. The missing piece? The FD to X mount adapter that I had been waiting ages for. Previously I had ordered it over a month ago hoping it would arrive in Seattle before I did but for whatever reason it didn't, so I had to re-order it. But when it came! I was itching to take it out for a test drive and see what my new setup could do.

I needed this hike to have all the elements I was looking for: a moderate hike to get me back in the game (hey, it's been awhile!), a good view, some form of water preferred, and to get me back out into the forest (goes without saying, right?).

Rattlesnake Ridge has been on my radar for quite some time now after seeing a handful of beautiful engagement shots there. I knew I had to go.

So off we went!

Luckily it wasn't too far off at only roughly a 30 to 40 minute drive away from our new home in Seattle. Jay and I eagerly set out for our weekend adventure (working weekday mornings has turned us into Weekend Warriors, whodathunk?) to North Bend.

Once we got there I eagerly broke out the camera, took a quick snap, when my heart dropped.

"Oh, no!"
"What happened?"
I looked up and I'm pretty sure I was pouting ridiculously at this point.
"I didn't charge the battery last night!" 
Typical. Jay just chuckled good-naturedly as he does. What could I do!? Keep going, obviously and break out the iPhone when I was really dying to take a shot.

The thing is, I was consistently in awe by this scenery. The hour, the lighting, the weather... it was perfect.

Nothing compares to forest lighting.

The baseball player stance on this one, I swear.

we kyute

Fog! Mountains! Golden Hour!

Sometimes you just have to accept that the camera isn't going to compare to the actual experience of being in the wilderness. 


In Defense of Solitude

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Whenever I tell someone about my recent solo camping trip I usually get a response back in regards to how gutsy or courageous I am and how they could never do something like that on their own.

But they could. Traveling alone can be scary for a lot of people but it’s also a healthy and important part of getting to know yourself. Two years ago if you’d told me that I’d be living in another state and going camping by myself on the reg, I never would have believed you. Luckily, somewhere along the way I realized I needed to experience new things.

And so,

I’d like to empower you to do the same. 

It doesn't necessarily have to be a solo camping expedition or anything like that. Tailor it to your experiences. The idea is to step outside of your comfort zone, and I’ll give you a few reasons why:

//Widen your horizons

When you spend so much time in any one given location, you start falling into a routine and a certain sense of comfort. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, eventually you stop growing. Going somewhere new can and oftentimes is a life-altering event. You see new places and inadvertently learn new things.

// Take your time

As much as I love traveling with friends and family, sometimes you just gotta go it alone. As a photographer and avid nature enthusiast, I like to take my time to enjoy the sights, read the signs, learn something new. Sometimes people tend to have a schedule of their own or are in a rush to reach a certain destination. That’s just fine, but I like to stop and smell the roses, as they say, and the best method is sometimes to go it alone.

//  Be independent

I know for me personally one of the greatest comforts of home was that no matter the situation or what problem I had, someone had a solution. That's just fine and dandy, but eventually you have to figure out how to solve problems on your own. When there's no one else around and you're facing a difficult situation, you can surprise yourself in the best way to find you're more than capable than you previously imagined.

// Meet new people

When you don't have anyone else beside you, you're much more inclined to strike up a conversation with a kind stranger. You'd be surprised the sorts of conversations and connections that can arise from a simple "Hello!" and a friendly smile. 

// Find yourself

If there's no one else to listen to or distract you, you eventually have to listen to yourself. Traveling alone is a great way to become better acquainted with yourself.

Nearly a year ago I drove up along the California coast and the Pacific Coast Highway by myself, and that was the most rejuvenating experience of my life. If the wilderness and long road trips aren’t exactly your cup of tea, you can always try visiting a new part of a city or a new coffee shop.  

Whatever the experience, you never know what you'll encounter. That's the exciting part! 

So tell me, where will you go?

Thunderstorm Campouts and Summer Colds

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I always try to look on the bright side and keep a positive outlook in every aspect of my life. Yeah, it's nice to be jolly but sometimes if things are rough you need to indulge and wallow, just for a little bit. Everyone can't be happy all of the time, right?

Last week was tough for me for some reason. I don't know if I've just been holding my composure for long enough that finally it just cracked or if last week was really just that much more difficult. For whatever reason I needed to just say enough.

So on my day off, I packed up my camping gear in my car without any real destination and ended up at Trillium Lake and Mt. Hood National Forest. It was a fairly hot day in Portland and it was incredibly nice to run away into the mountains to escape the heat. It was overcast and chilly, just how I like it. I walked the perimeter of Trillium Lake, breathing in the brisk air and instantly feeling at peace.

Afterwards I drove around until I found a campsite and set up my tent. It rained all night and thunder reverberated through my bones for a few hours until it finally settled into the constant downpour. I read beneath the light of my headlamp until sleep finally took over. 

Maybe camping out in a thunderstorm wasn't my best idea as now I have a summer cold and everyone's going around calling me 'Sniffles,' but I knew I needed to get away and do what helps me get centered best: be out in nature. A little cold seems a small price to pay for the experience.

Mt. Hoffman

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I am a sentimental old fool that cannot help looking through old photos and smiling at the memories. Moreso when it pertains to last summer and the people that I encountered in Yosemite. I am completely enthralled by people and their stories.

But what I loved the most about my summer spent in Yosemite was the sheer sense of camaraderie and kinship between people throughout the park that worked there. As it is, there's hundreds of young folk within the park that have essentially cut off communication with their friends and family and there is no other means but to completely immerse yourself with what and who is around you. I still think that it takes a certain kind of person to drop everything and spend a summer in the wilderness, it's kind of like an adult summer camp but much much better.

The shot above was taken my last week in the park on my favorite trek up to the top of Mt. Hoffman. Mt. Hoffman is found in the Tuolumne Meadow region of the park, one of the most underrated and breathtaking locations I have ever encountered. It is also considered the geological center of the park, so I was more than excited to witness the view from it's peak.

On the hike to the top we encountered only two people. The first, showed above, worked at Crane Flats in the park. We exchanged smiles as we divulged where in the park we worked and he gave us advice about which was the best route to the top. 

The other gentlemen we met once we reached the top.  He hadn't been back to Yosemite in 20 years but without the use of the map that I had was able to point out the peaks in the distance and share a short story about his hike to the tops and name off each in succession. 

These are the stories that warm my heart and I seek to collect. We are all stories in the end. We might as well make it a good one.

Oneonta Gorge

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sometimes life can get you down. It can get hectic and you find yourself too exhausted to do the things you love.

This too shall pass.

Remember the good. Remember that the days you wont forget aren't the ones killing your feet over a dead end job with no future. That it isn't about the degree that's been gathering dust at your parents house back in the city you were born and raised in. It's not about the dwindling of your checkings and the snail pace at which your savings account grows.

The days I remember most are jam packed with good things and good people. I cut it close and cut into my sleep, tired and exhausted with heavy bags under my eyes but my muscles are sore, my skin is bronzed, hair is wild, eyes are bright and my grin is wide.

These are the days worth remembering that makes life worth living.

Last Thursday I met up with a great group of people for a hearty breakfast that we later hiked off through a 4 mile loop hike through the Triple Falls. We followed that hike with another hike through the Oneonta Gorge in which the river acts as the trail to your destination at the waterfall. It was a pretty spectacular sight to behold, not gonna lie.


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