A lot of people will be spending the day looking back over the year. What they’ve accomplished and all of the usual things. I’m looking back on this photo and the solo trip I took a couple of years ago. This day was especially peaceful and rewarding for many reasons. I woke up in the night to see moose chasing each other around the picnic table at my campsite, walked a river trail at sunrise in near silence, and then enjoyed this view for a while as a steam engine rolled by on the mountainside above. I can only hope I’ll have a day something like this one in my future again.
I had the chance last year to do a photo shoot with my friend Mary Scholz, who has been making amazing music since I’ve known her. She lives on the west coast and it seems like every time one of us travels across the country the other is doing the same so we miss each other. I’d highly recommend you check out her music on iTunes or at www.maryscholz.com. And if you ever have the chance to see her play live you will not regret it.
From atop the Divine Lorraine hotel north of the city you are afforded a fantastic view of the skyline, and when the clouds reflect the sunset perfectly it is an amazing experience to sit there and watch the city light up. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there is renovation underway at the urban exploring goldmine that is the Divine Lorraine, so it can no longer be accessed easily. But getting to see this sunset from the roof once was good enough for me.
Just north of center city Philadelphia there is an abandoned hotel called the Divine Lorraine. While almost unassuming when you drive up Broad Street, avoiding pedestrians and careless Philly drivers, when you get a chance to stop and look at it you’ll wonder how you missed it in the first place. The building itself is magnificent, though the inside has been gutted and is covered in broken glass and graffiti from years of neglect and homeless inhabitation. From the roof, the views are incredible. At sunset the old sign looks over the new city like an elder over her village.
Ringing Rocks State Park in Pennsylvania provided some unexpected treasures during a holiday visit last year. After checking out the field of rocks and hitting a few of them with a hammer (look it up) we headed down a short trail to the waterfalls. Being December, it was cold enough for it to have frozen, and the fresh light coat of snow on everything made the scene even more perfect, if very dangerous to climb on. The ice formations were so intricate and fun to explore. I think I managed to only almost fall once!
Once in a while you luck upon an unexpected scene and catch something great. I was lucky to have been heading out to shoot when I saw this snowy field covered in snow geese. It was almost hard to tell which parts were covered in snow and which were covered with the birds. As the sun was setting behind me the birds began to take off all at once. It’s mesmerizing watching the amazing synchronicity of these animals.
Keeping it brief for the holidays. This photo just made me think of how even when you’re in the place where you live and you know a lot of people, it doesn’t always feel like home. There’s a feeling of constant search for a place to belong and a way to get there.
Even in cities where I don’t feel like a tourist anymore I still find myself always looking up at the buildings. Once in a while I get self-conscious about it, and then I realize that maybe I’m noticing things that others are missing. Either way, I love being downtown among the skyscrapers and feeling their immensity. Unlike New York, Chicago is a little more open so it doesn’t feel quite as cramped when you stop to look up. The Hancock Center has been a favorite building of mine since before I’d even visited for the first time. Its facade is so unique and simplistic that it stands out in my mind to this day.
It’s hard to be creative when you’re comfortable. Any situation that requires some difficulty to figure can often yield the best art in my experience. Whether it be a relationship problem or a physical challenge, being outside the comfort zone makes you think outside the box, which is inherently creative. I think that kind of thinking really opens up channels that seem hard to access when one is at ease. This shot came out of a particularly stressful morning coupled with being stuck outside briefly in the cold. Not to over-explain, but I like the dead leaf reaching out toward the tree from which it fell. Never forget.
It turns out being in the right place at the right time is a big part of getting a good photo. It also happens that sitting in the same spot for an hour shooting hundreds of frames trying to catch one of the numerous lightning strikes happening a few miles away in the desert is another big part of it. After an amazing day of hiking in slot canyons we got to witness this beautiful lightning storm attack the desert as the sun went down. We had a great, safe vantage point from the road where we could sit and enjoy the show. This was my first attempt at editing a lightning shot, and I’m pretty happy with the result.