So it’s now well past the half way point of January and still no calendar. It’s been busy for sure, but more importantly, my mind has been filled with how I create the impact I dream of. The impact that … Continue reading
So this year the backcountry birthday arose from the sprawling mounds of biodegradable diapers. In fact, the whole family and another couple of best friends headed out for a new area in the Yuba Pass area. Wilderness, hiking, quiet, and proximity all brought us to Carr Lake in the Tahoe National Forest. There we unloaded and hiked 25,000 lbs of baby stuff, beer, and food into the nearest open campsite some 1/4 mile down the trail. Some nice gentlemen had pity on us and helped me carry in gear. Once we were set up (well we actually moved for the second night!!!) I felt so blessed to be breathing in backcountry birthday air. We explored some truly amazing terrain that was accessible, hikable (i.e. not immediately steep for toddlers) and swimable – yes – lots of lakes.
It’s always difficult drifting into a new year for me. I never feel quite ready to release the last one – for all its memories, love, fun, adventure and emotion. Letting go is very hard for me, something I’m always working on. I never want the year to end… endings can feel so lonely to me.
In December of this year, a great hero of our civilization passed on and I guess for 2014 I’d like to integrate his words into all I try to do. Nelson Mandela was amazing in so many ways. A fearless, selfless leader who shared smiles regularly. He was a unifier, a communicator, a savior to many. Continue reading
I wanted to send out warmth, love and healing thoughts to the victims, families, and community at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard. Living within a stone’s throw of the gigantic ships of the Coast Guard, the Port of Oakland and the Alameda Naval Air Station, I’m always amazed by the people who serve our country on the seas and oceans around the world. I often stand in amazement of these wonderful metal beasts we’ve created. I imagine that it is not easy being on the seas in a desert of water. I couldn’t do it, and I appreciate those that do serve and sail, and make our world a more connected and beautiful place.
As we move forward from this newest tragedy, I hope we can begin to address our societal relationship with guns. From Sandy Hook to Columbine to Fort Bragg, guns have taken away so much from so many kind and gracious souls, fighters, and lovers. I understand that gun rights are a complex issue mired with constitutional rights, safety, freedom and societal responsibility. I also know there isn’t an elixir that will turn all our guns into flowers. I do hope we can continue to have conversations about how to disempower the firearm as a physical item as well as a symbol. I cannot fault music or TV or war or photography as industries.
Instead, what I can do [with all due respect to our military, peace officers and others with firearms] is to commit to myself that as a photographer I will never photograph a gun in an empowering, hip or exultingly manner that increases its power as a societal symbol of strength and power. I am in fact guilty of misusing a gun as a prop. I was poking fun at the faked “Palin in a swim suit with a gun” photo in a maternity shoot with my wife. My wife and I both found it humorous, as did many others. But now I can’t stand it anymore. It’s just not funny, because I believe that we would all agree that what makes that photo unique is the placement of a firearm with Palin of course.
So its time to change. No more “cool” photos with guns – I’d rather photograph art, love, and passion. Guns are lame.
I urge other photographers to do the same: Quit shooting guns. Become part of the solution. When someone asks you why – take it as an opportunity to talk about how guns don’t deserve to be celebrated.
Rain is the force of life in Mediterranean climates. It’s not simply a thing that happens here or there – rather it defines wet and dry seasons. It creates possibilities for birds, worms and salmon alike. Today it’s raining here. It’s quite a surprise for the end of June, but I wanted to embrace it. It’s a beautiful caesura in the parching season of the hot, dry summer which is forecast for 2013. Enjoy the rain, the anomalous rain and all the life it brings at the most unpredictable moments. Continue reading
Yes, you read that right. One of the most iconic, magical places on earth will only be accessible by trespass. This is what we call Fortress Conservation in the ecology field: buy the land – then put a fence around it to limit human interaction.
Erecting fences is a short-sighted, privilege-driven way of doing conservation. It’s not a way to promote conservation, it’s the way to kill it.
I’ve been working on trying to recap and learn from my past year of photography. This year, for the first time, I’ve taken on creating an ebook with my 16 favorite images, and offering it as a sort of brief, updated portfolio. Continue reading
It’s been a rough week.
Grandma got sick. Really, really sick – like you don’t want me to tell.
And just as the light at the end of the tunnel was beaming into our weary eyes, Dad got hit. We’ve had an intense medical ward energy looming over our days. Chlorox, electrolye water, soiled rags. When the rags ran out we soiled the towels, when the towels ran out – we just soiled whatever was left.
Medicine calls it Norovirus. We called it a serious kick in the ass.
And in between the moments of little baby screams and there was a deafening silence. The jackhammer in my head was so loud it was quiet. Our minds drifted towards feeling healthy – sunny days on the beach and cool mountain breezes in enormous canyons. Every pain, ache, scream, vomit became purely animal. Function over fashion devoid of intellectualism. It was a priori life. It was beautiful in a sick way. It is slowly returning us to understanding the power of our family unit, its resiliency and how we are blessed to have a team to create progress out of pain and love out of discomfort.
I can’t wait to meet our newest bun in the oven. My peace around this next stage is understanding where Kaya fits in – the big sister, the inspiration, the teacher. Kaya, our only child, is hitting amazing notes of language development, taking kinesthetic leaps, and starting to interface with the world around her as a sentient-cognitive being. It’s an unbelievable process witnessing her mind develop, transition and emerge. The process has been brisk. It is also warming; it has also presented up the Buddhist ideal of the “beginner’s mind”, or shoshin. This is shoshin: 初心 – as written (by computer) in Japanese.
There are lots of ideas, books, theorems that have been born in the womb of this quality. You can read your cerebellum blue about the idea. You can meditate the idea into a form and quality you desire, but I believe that you will fall short until you engage in the empirical experience. There is nothing greater than acting on what you believe. The way to discover shoshin is to be a parent.
I’m just excited for Friday and some relaxing times with good friends and family coming up in the next few weeks. Life is rad – rally hard!
Click on the image to get a larger view of Mirror Lake and a wild summer carrot.