Shuk-Yeah!!

Another mountaineering trip in the books and holy shit was it a good one!  We got paired up with Austin Shannon (an amazing guide), and he showed us the ropes on Mt Shuksan; the 2nd highest peak in North Cascades National park.  It felt good to get back on a glacier and add a little ridge scramble/rock climbing to the mix.  Exposure has always sketched me out big time, so it’s a trip being able to calm myself down and move up effectively.  Shuksan provided just the right amount of challenge without being overwhelming  I feel like we bit off exactly what we could chew.  The views kicked ass, and it was refreshing to unplug for a few days.  Here’s the evidence:

 

KP roadtripped with us and picked out some great watering holes along the way

a sick view of Ryan’s ripped calves and the Shuksan massif

simple accomodations

glaciers, baby. glaciers

Mt Baker in the sunset haze

looking towards Canada

Mountain pose….but not the kind you do in yoga

summertime snow travel

rise n shine

sloggin’ through the sunrise

spreadin’ the aloha

put this guy in a damn outdoor activewear catalog

pausing for a pose on the spiciest part

Summit of Shuksan! Shuk-Yeah!!

rapping down

Evidence of Evolution: 6 Years in the Blog Game

What started as a way to merely showcase my photography and show off my travels has evolved over the years.  I used to be all about shooting landscapes, sports, and sunsets (which will always inspire me), but I’ve transitioned to shooting people a lot more.  Taking portraits is HARD…and I’ve learned that a big part of that is how I, as a photographer, make someone FEEL when they have a big old camera in their face.  How do I put them at ease when their natural tendency is to tense-up and try to look perfect? I don’t interact with mountains and ridge lines in that manner….so it’s a whole new challenge, and a worthy one at that.  Exterior beauty and enticing aesthetics will always be fun to shoot, but how can I capture what’s on the inside?  How can I draw out inner beauty?  How can I help my subject see themselves in a way that bolsters their self-esteem?  When they see a photo of themselves, I want them to think, “Wow…that’s me??  I like the way I look, but I love the way I felt in that moment.”

What’s even more of challenge is combining all those elements into one frame: capturing both the power of a landscape while showcasing someone’s individuality & personality simultaneously.  The other day I had a chance to try just that…and holy shit was it a blast.  Rolled out to the Bonneville Salt Flats with two new friends who happen to not only be beautiful blondes on the outside but even prettier people on the inside.  I love everything about these photos; the light, the setting, the ridiculousness of all the posing and outfit changes, the fact that yoga is now a preferred outdoor activity, and the way shooting these lovely ladies made me feel.  Additionally, they snapped a few shots that helped me view myself in a whole new light.  I’m bashful in front of a camera and have a critical eye, so I feel like I rarely see shots of myself that I love….much less doing a freaking yoga pose.  But when I saw myself, I liked not only how my exterior body looked, but also what it reflected about how I felt on the inside.  I feel very aligned in my life right now, and that comes through in these photos.  I have a hunch that when my friends saw the pics of themselves, they felt the same way.

People are beautiful…just as they are.  I want to focus on that; pun intended.

oh…and less is still more.

Photo Shoot Base Camp

Ashley struttin’ on the salt

this is what happens when put a cheerleader and figure skater together

grace and strength

Danni doin’ her thing

my fav new shorts and fav new pose

bendyaf

D gets deep into her bend

for a split-second I look like I know what I’m doing

outfit change!!

dreamy

there they go again

warrior b ftw

pretty little posers

you know I got in on that action

Danni turns the world upside down

doin’ the yoga. Never thought I’d be here. Gonna keep this evolving thing going.

 

 

PTC Pool Party

Little Bro pretty much just made the best decision of his life (besides wifing-up Summer)…..he put in a pool.  London turned 3, so what better time to head down to the Dirty South for a family weekend of splishin’ & splashin’?  The pool turned out amazing…the weather was perfect…and numerous coronas were consumed.  So much fun hangin’ with the fam!

London the Pirate Vocalist

Madi & Scotty stayin’ in the shade

Mama T & London rockin’ shades

endless energy

loungi’ w/Daddy

Perry & Mikey…soon to be married!

pure stoke

Mercer with classic style points

she gets it from her momma

little mermaid type stuff

All The Yoga

So there I was, face down in a puddle of my own sweat with my leg bent awkwardly underneath me.  In tears.  Safe to say, I was getting a lot more than a simple hamstring stretch.

I gotta be honest…yoga is kooky as hell.  All this namaste-nonsense, ohhming, expensive-ass yoga pants, and poses on instagram that scream “LOOK AT ME!”  For the longest time, I knew aspects of yoga where healthy and wholesome, but everything I experienced at local studios and on social media turned me off and undermined its validity.  Then last year, things started to change.  Let me be more clear; my experience and perception changed, and I found myself practicing yoga 2-5 times a week.  I noticed unexpected peripheral benefits started popping up.  Over the winter, my skiing improved drastically and my mental focus during mountaineering was way more locked-on.   Sure, I still made fun of all the yoga-bullshittery I saw everywhere….but something was clicking.

Fast forward a couple months, and I’m about to wrap up a 200 hour yoga teacher certification course.  The best thing about it has been all the new friends I’ve made.  Everyone seems to be looking for the same things:  deeper relationships, self-improvement, a healthier lifestyle, and just an overall boost in happiness.  It’s pretty awesome.  Plus I’m getting bendy as hell.  I can’t quite put my feet behind my head yet, but I’m told that’s not the point.  Guess I still got some learning to do.

We got together, ventured out to the Salt Lake, and I was able to get some fun pics of, you guessed it, yoga poses.  The shoot went so well, another group of yoga peeps wanted to meet up the following week for a 2nd shoot.  It feels so damn good to get a photo of someone doing something they love.  It’s even better when that person sees the shot and gets a sense of how beautiful they truly are.  So now when I see a yoga pose on instagram, I’m way less critical…..(especially if it’s my shot, because I take it as a big old ‘thank you’)

 

Escalante Excursion Dos

TJ had some time off work, so we bolted down South to poke around in the desert.  Highlights included slot canyons, steaks, Tecates, ribs, waterfalls, and …….time-lapses.

During sunset one evening, TJ grabbed the tripod…pulled out a motorized mount…and affixed his iphone to it.  It was a beautiful scene and the light was hitting the landscape just right.  As I watched TJ set things up, I realized how tricky the time-lapse process was.  There are all sorts of variables at play: the speed of rotation, the duration, the composition, and how level the camera is.  He kept repositioning the tripod, pushing buttons, tweaking the angle, and trying to find the perfect setup.  Throughout the whole process he was excited.  Giddy.  He was lost in his play; engrossed in the moment…and probably a little drunk. In the end, the time-lapse turned out ok…but TJ wasn’t all that stoked on it.  I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere, but I just thought it was cool watching my buddy practice his art.

Time lapse master

perfectionist

supreme focus

peekaboo gulch

I wasn’t brave enough to not use the rope

Spooky canyon

Damn, the Adventure Cardigan never looked so good.

TJ’s time-lapse skills are way better than his backgammon game

casually posing at Calf Creek

 

Equador: Where Lows Are Highs

The Quito airport sits at just over 9,000 ft, so the moment you get off the plane, your lungs feel it.  Our accommodations varied in elevation; the highest of which was just over 15,000′ and the lowest being around 6,500′: still higher than SLC.  You could say we were high the whole trip.  Stats include: 6 clients, 2 awesome guides, 16 days, 2 acclimatization hikes, 200+ empanadas, countless cervezas, 5 historic Haciendas, 3 volcanoes, and the curveball: 0 summits.

Cayambe, Antisana, and Chimborazo; each mountain refused to let us summit.  We would’ve been stoked to bag all 3 in perfect conditions and share summit high-fives, but instead we faced heavy snow, high avalanche danger, and gaping crevasses.  But with each successive denial, we found ourselves less and less affected.  Our spirits stayed high because we were doing our best.  We found contentment within our effort and peaceful agreement with our guides’ decisions to pull the plug.

I’m pretty damn competitive…and as Ricky Bobby said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”  So it took a bit of mind shift to realize that a failure to summit was nowhere near an overall failure.  My tail was not tucked, my head wasn’t hanging, and I was still stoked!

Beauty and freedom lies in the effort; not necessarily the end result.

“…an artist derives more pleasure from painting than from completing a picture.” -Seneca

Speaking of pictures, here are my best…

smack dab in the middle

Our guide Romulo….Legend Status

first acclimatization hike

killer hat

hike 2: Imbabura

crazy plants

spongy ground cover

Cayambe

our guide Emily. Rarely serious. Always a bad ass.

said goodnight to this….

…and woke up at 11pm to this

downtime entertainment

one of the haciendas

after 7 hours of uphill, first light on Antisana

The Flabongo….Legend Status

a new day dawns on Cotopaxi & Chimborazo in the distance

Cotopaxi

Ry at 18,200′

sexy lines

steer clear of the void, bros

Ry leads the descent

dodging crevasses

rode some horses. saw some condors

met a local photographer and checked out his archives

He had a house made with hay as the primary insulation

He also had a great dane

got some hats like Romulo’s!!

having a blast on Chimborazo; a couple hundred feet from turning around

the night was kind of a blur

3am….back at the hut. Tired, cold, and strangely happy.

 

Safe to say we’ll be heading back to Equador; a return trip is already in the works.  We’ll get our summit high-fives.

 

 

Hiking With My Bud

The foothills above downtown SLC are kind of a conundrum.  Am I in the mountains?  Am I in the city?  Am I in a freakin park?  Should I ride my bike….or just walk my dog?   For Ryan and me, tonight the answer was to load up our backpacks with 35+ lbs of water bottles and rocks and go for a little training hike of sorts.  Conversation…vistas…movement…sunsets; Wed afternoon on the city side of the Wasatch was awesome….in a simple, everyday kind of way.  Damn, I love living here.

Nearby Yet Far Off

The Great Salt Lake is quickly climbing the ranks of favorite places.  It’s so weird out there.  Stinky.  Dusty. Empty. Vast.  Dynamic.  Every time is different, and even though it’s so close, it feels like you’re on another planet…or at least on the other side of this one.

Back to Back evenings yielded these shots:

Finally got the SUPs out on the salty water

The water is silky

psychedelic

golden

slice of light

the sky was lit

The next evening was out on the salt flats…

salt lines

mad hops

Angie had a shoot….

…then posed for me

My favorite shot of the night

 

Family Freaking Photography??

I’ve always been drawn to shooting landscapes, ’cause taking pics of people is hard!  Especially families.  I kinda cringe at the thought of clichè poses and cheesy smiles.  But I’ve tagged along on a couple professional photo shoots and have been learning/imitating how to combine light, composition, and camera settings.  It’s been fun playing around…and I’m all jazzed up about improving!

 

Park City shoot

Antelope Island shoot

Angie the pro nails another shot

Salt Lake shoot w/Lynn and her girls

 

Then I did a shoot all by myself with the Hatchers! The Great Salt Lake is such an awesome place….

Love these guys!!

Escalante Excursion

Utah’s got slots.  Lot’s of ’em.  Narrow, tight, windy, smooth, slotty little canyons all over the place.  Checked out Peekaboo and Spooky canyons last week.

sharp light
slot bridges

holes in rocks

hole in rock

more holes in rocks

spotsmobile sparkles

sparkletime

steaks 2

ashamed to admit: first time I have ever cooked on an open campfire.

silky slot

silky walls

dipshit yoga

just doing what everyone else does when in nature