Category Archives: nature

Spring Up


     While taking a break from working on some video, I thought I’d share a few photos from a recent lunchtime walk around the Farmer’s Market. Mid 70’s temps with a stiff breeze and quiet enough to move around as slow as I wanted. I like it like that. I went there during the week so the halls were pretty empty, but a few shops were getting their inventory ready for spring.

     It was nice to get out of the house and away from the front of the computer. I have a few video projects in progress and it’s nice to be working with moving images again. Working with video is a much different beast than still images. Of course, there are similarities in exposure, composition, etc., but the difference in length of time from capture to output is what I notice most of all. There’s lots of waiting involved.

  I’m loving it, though. The feeling I get when I realize the whole project has been worth the waiting is amazing. It’s another way to tell a story which really is what photography is all about whether it be moving or still. I’ll be sharing some of what I’ve been working on sooner rather than later and can’t wait to get this stuff out into the wild.

     Hope you’re digging the weather lately and getting a chance to take advantage of it.

The Essence of Everest

The Summit
The view from Mt. Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Not Everest, but striking nonetheless.
     I was having lunch with a friend the other day and somewhere between the cheese dip and the chimichangas he started telling me about the workload he was under. In addition to his full-time job he started law school a week ago. He’s not lazy, as you can probably imagine, but sometimes, almost all the time, motivation is met with challenge. 
     When I think of law school, the image conjured up in my popular culture infused brain is of Mitch McDeere in The Firm. I picture long nights of sifting through mountains of books, sleeves rolled up with a legal pad full of notes. I see veins bulging from the forehead of a student trying to process more information than the human brain has capacity for.
     This doesn’t sound like fun stuff. It’s not supposed to be. I have heard that the first year of law school is the most difficult and it’s not by mistake. The first year is designed to be hard and is meant to thin the herd of the hopeful to make way for the devoted. 
     My friend is at the very beginning of a long slog and he knows that. Knowledge of a difficult journey doesn’t stop the feelings that come with it, though. Inherent in any great undertaking are the concerns, fears, second-guessing and worry that are, in a way, life’s way of doing it’s own herd thinning. It was then that I thought of Mt. Everest.
     Years ago, in a sign of simpler times, I became obsessed with doing an impression of Christopher Walken. He was all over the place and being able to mimic his uneven cadence was something I tried very hard to do, if only to impress myself. I never got it, never came close and it drove me nuts. I was, however, able to do an uncanny impression of Carl Sagan (not that that means anything to anyone) and even a pretty good Jodie Foster. That’s right, Jodie Foster. But never Christopher Walken. My buddy James called it my Everest, meaning the toughest obstacle I would face in the world of vocal impressions. If I could succeed in that, all others would be easy. 
     Well, I abandoned the Walken thing. However, the essence of Everest has stayed with me.
      When faced with difficulty in my life I’ve often thought of those that have achieved the summit of that mountain and the challenges they faced along the way. I wonder how many times they wanted to just quit and turn back because it seemed too hard. I think of the signs telling them it wasn’t worth it to continue, like the dead bodies of other climbers who never finished the trip. How many times did they think, “This is crazy.” or, “I can’t do this.”? How often is the progress of just a few feet celebrated as a success?
     From the outside, reaching the top would seem to be the end of the trouble, but any experienced climber will tell you that the trip back down is just as dangerous and presents its own set of challenges. The pinnacle is only part of the journey. Forget what you learned on the way up and the whole trip can be for naught.

     The feeling I try and channel mostly though, is the mental calm of knowing that once you’ve made it past Everest, all other mountains pale in comparison. Once you crest the summit of that great peak, other climbs that may have appeared insurmountable in their own right shrink a bit and don’t appear so forbidding anymore. You can make it through them, because you made it through Everest.

     I have had many Everests in my life, metaphorically, of course. Every one of them that I have dared to climb has always given me the same gift. I’m granted the freedom from worry about challenges that, in comparison, just don’t measure up. Things are put in their right place. I’m reminded each time that what appears to be impossible is usually possible.

     I once heard photographer David DuChemin say, “What’s in the way, is the way.” That’s often how Everest appears in my life. Everest isn’t usually something that’s hard to see or hiding in a corner, it’s in my face and obstructing a complete view of the horizon. The biggest challenges are the ones I’ve been looking at for a long time, spinning wheels trying to find a way around instead of over them.

     A lot can be learned from those that scale the mountain and return to tell the tale. They prepare themselves, of course. They securely fit in their mind that the task ahead is expected to be difficult and do it anyway. And no one, lest they be doomed to fail before they even begin, tries to conquer Everest alone.

Weekend Sky

     I made a trip up to Pleasant View this weekend to help my brother with some things around the house. It’s a drive I should make more often. There are some beautiful landscapes up there with plenty of barns, fields and sky. We had wrapped up our work and as I was loading up the truck I noticed the clouds. They had a look of brushstrokes and in my head popped an image of Bob Ross. I think he would have loved them. 
     Chalk up one more reason to always have a camera handy. I usually have a couple with me wherever I go. Most of the time I have my DSLR, but the truck is stocked with disposable film cameras in case I’m without. I miss having my Iphone since it went kaput for many reasons, but the camera it held is at the top of  the list. I’ve been rockin’ my old school Razr for a couple months now, but I’m not afraid to whip it out, either. A pixelated image is better than no image at all. Sometimes, it’s preferred. 
House on not-so-Haunted Hill
     On the road I listened to some new tunes from a duo called The Civil Wars. They make some beautiful music together. Haunting and subtle with serious intensity. Some of their vocals gave me chills.  After 10 tracks I was left with the same feeling I had when I first heard early Patty Griffin or Jeremy Lister, which is to say I wanted to hear more and I can’t wait to see where they go next. There’s a free download of a show they performed at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia available on their website. If you have trouble finding it, you can always just click here. It’s worth checking out. Enjoy.