The story below is an example of the writings that coincide with my images. They are part journal entry and part recollection of the adventure behind the photographs. I feel this is a good one to get things going, as in many ways this is the experience which truly began to change how I live my life. I hope you enjoy!
("Life's Possibilities", "Soaking Up Life", "A Peek See")
I could make the argument that in many ways, this experience is the one which really set the stage for my life's passion for adventure and preservation...
In April of 2012, I drove South to visit my brother in South Carolina for my inauguration into the world of backpacking. He had been getting into it (backpacking, that is) for a couple of years and we had loosely discussed getting together for an adventure for a while let's say. Well, during the holidays of 2011, more concrete plans were made and here I was. Using mainly his extra along with his wife's gear, he took me out for 3 days/2 nights on the Foothills Trail in Northwestern SC. To say the 8 miles on day 1 kicked my ass would be an understatement! I'll never forget the feeling of floating away upon taking the pack off for lunch only a few miles in, which, by the way, is never quite as funny feeling as that first time. I also don't think I'll ever forget how exhausted, punished, and well, down right alien I felt for the last two miles of that hike. But I loved it.
We arrived at night one's campsite just in the nick of time to hang a tarp to pass the thunderstorm that had been brewing for most of the afternoon. The sky at once opened up and the storm let loose, ahhhh that smell! As we awaited its passing, I had the notion to photograph the scene in front of us from under our shelter. And am I glad I did! I absolutely love how green and teeming with life the forest is. As I gaze upon it, I see how life giving this Spring rainfall truly is, how every tree and leaf are soaking it up. I see it breathing. I can feel its heartbeat.
As the storm passed on, we set our camp and chopped/sawed our firewood. And just before preparing our dinner, I caught a magnificent sunset moment from the top of the waterfall not more than a stone's throw from our tent. That is, after all, one of the main reasons my brother felt this location would be a really cool photo opportunity for me - as he had noticed here before that at this time of year, one gets a clear view of the sun setting beyond the distant mountains from the top of the waterfall. Although I didn't get a "clear" view due to our stormy conditions, the moment was purely exhilarating! With the falls flowing and plunging a good 80-100 feet right at my feet, I had a peek see through the thick of the surrounding forest into misty mountain ridge lines and an ethereal pink glow in the clouds that only a breaking thunderstorm can provide. After I snapped a couple exposures, I turned to face my brother and pumped my fists in the air as if triumphant. "A Peek See" into just a few of nature's grandest elements is what it truly was...
The night was thick and damp, but by the fire was bliss. In the darkness, as we conversed about life around the flame, we witnessed some strange blue glow of a gliding insect that to this day we have yet to identify. Some species of firefly we do not know, perhaps? Whatever it was, it was nature's pure magic. What a way for one to spend their first day and night backpacking, I thought as the fire died down beside a thundering waterfall... We, much like the forest, were "Soaking Up Life."
Bruised and battered at dawn the next morning, I stood photographing the waterfall. As I was setting up, I caught my brother out of the corner of my eye, strolling down the trail to greet me with a cup of coffee he just brewed at our campsite, maybe 50 feet behind the top of those falls you're looking at... What a moment, what an experience. It was only a weekend long, but it changed my life forever and set me on the path for where I am today, opening the doors to so many of "Life's Possibilities" and what I believe to be my life's purpose. Thanks bro!