In May of 2011 I took my first adventure with my camera. I had no idea when I boarded that plane to America’s southwest how one week would change me forever. It was this trip that I found my soul and realized the need to nourish it. It has been hard to explain to family and friends the need to travel alone. Here is my attempt at an explanation.
1. Disconnection. Disconnecting from the routine of everyday life and information overload that seems to come along with it. Maybe I am getting old, but growing up without cell phones and computers, we created adventures every day. We were shielded from the troubles across the world, not naive to, but it wasn’t in front of us 24-7. Traveling makes it hard to be one with your devices and the break is intoxicating.
2. Patience. Steinbeck once said You don’t just take a trip, the trip takes you. Although, I enjoy planning my trips, creating an itinerary, searching for inspiration on images I hope to capture, I have learned tha...
A favorite book of mine has always been John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America. Perhaps, because of Steinbeck’s yearning for wanderlust in his early 50’s, the same time I realized how much I wanted to experience the beauty, meet the people and hear the stories of this amazing land we call home. When I think of Bannack Montana, I am reminded of the words from those pages “A jo...urney is a person itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us”
When you visit Bannack, the old mining town, you immediately find the true meaning of these words and that of the “wild west”, when law and order seemed to be nonexistent. This well preserved town now sits empty, consumed only by the ghosts of days gone by.
On an earlier visit, a few years ago, to this location, I was cautioned that the current “residents” still run this town. On that stop I encountered a s...
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” —Nelson Mandela
This journey has led me down many amazing paths and the opportunity to see so many beautiful places this country has to offer. There have been those avenues though, that have provided it’s share of angst. My encounter with spirits that have not found rest in a ghost town in Montana, standing in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere to capture the night sky alone, intense storms on the prairie, being lost in the swamps of South Carolina with alligators at bay, but none that induced the fear I felt on the edge of this cliff at Horseshoe Bend, AZ on March 24. 2015.
I have an incredible fear of heights, which I have been trying to conquer, because a lot of amazing images would not happen if I don’t. This moment was probably the most terrified I have ever been. I have seen such extraordinary images from t...
Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm ~ Winston Churchill
When I started discovering my love for this craft, I had seen an image of the Minneapolis skyline at night. I sooo wanted to be able to take a picture like that one. Knowing absolutely nothing about night photography, heck I did know much about photography in general, I knew I had to try. So one cold evenin...g in February of 2008 I headed to the city and looked for a place to give this a try. I remember standing on the train trestle off Nicollet Island seeing this beautiful scene. I set up my tripod, attached my camera and tried every possible setting. After a couple of hours, my toes and fingers numb from the brisk weather and 50 or 60 images I came home and put the card into computer and looked though each image. 1, one, numero uno, image turned out! I studied those settings and ingrained
them into my memory and went out the next night and on February 9th 2008 and captured this. I was so incredib...
“Because grief is not a place to stay, it’s a doorway to pass through.”
― Danielle Stewart, Flowers in the Snow
Sometimes my "moments" come during the creating process. Inspired by a song I heard or a book I read to something as simple as a thought that passed briefly. This morning, I sat down and was was perusing some images from my trip to North Carolina, West Virgina and South Carolina in 2014. I ran across this image that was taken at the Magnolia Plantation and there was just too much green, so I got rid of it and was instantly reminded of a book I read a couple of years ago called Flowers in The Snow. It was a captivating book about racial bigotry in the 60's, but it was filled with so many great quotes that while I was playing with this image it grew to this..and I kinda like it!
Timing is everything. If it is meant to happen it will. At the right time. At the right place. For the right reason. ~ Unknown
This quote certainly describes this moment. Standing on the shores of Lake Superior and the moon broke the horizon on her way to light the night sky. Slowly it began to shine through hollow rock and I was able to see this scene unfold before my. The Friday the 13th full moon of June 2014. Grand Portage, Minnesota
“One day you will wake up & there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” ― Paulo Coelho
The Bucket List ~ I think we all have one. That list of accomplishments, places to see, things to do before we kick the proverbial bucket.
I have one, it is quite long and seems to grow longer as I grow older. This list is something that I take quite seriously, hold very clo...se to my heart and pull out often to gaze admiringly at the lines crossed through many of the items and dream about the ones that still remain.
It was July of 2009, a beautiful warm summer day, when this list became priority for me. My dad was taking his last walk on his journey through this life, when we sat and held hands and I will never forget the incredible sadness that overcame my father when he looked at me and said, "I have so many things I didn't get to do, still two pages on my bucket list". Trying to be the brave daughter, I said, "Dad, if we crossed off everything on our list w...
When my time comes, just skin me and put me up there on Trigger, just as though nothing had ever changed. ~Roy Rogers
Growing up in the 60’s we certainly didn’t watch much television. I suppose it may have been due to the fact we probably had 2 channels and a black and white TV. But, when we did tune in, especially on a Saturday afternoon it was to watch a Western! Captivating me still today w...as the Cowboy life. Living on the range, cattle drives, and of course the never-ending action! With heroes such as Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Gene Autry, Alan Ladd, John Wayne, Roy and Dale Rogers, James Arness and the list goes on. There was just something so Americana about this lifestyle.
Happening across this seen is Wyoming on July 12, 2013 I was enamored by watching a real life horse-drive, with real life cowboys. I don’t know, there are just some things that you will never become too old to enjoy!
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. ~ Willa Cather
July 13, 2013 I camped my way across the beautiful American West, I suppose that I have always been intrigued by the “days gone by” feel that scatter the landscape of Montana and Wyoming, and this road trip certainly provided me with plenty of images that reflect that feeling. This day I hit the back roads of Wyoming an...d watched a storm approaching on the horizon. I seriously thought that these ominous skies were moving ACROSS the plains not TOWARDS me! I remember writing in my journal that I would not make a very good storm chaser! When I realized the inevitable, I was miles from anything and anyone. I pulled my car onto a small approach and waited. Waited for what I truly believed was going to be my last day on earth. I briefly thought about Dorothy and wondered if maybe there really was an Oz. The wind started shaking my vehicle, followed by the plummeting of hail bouncing off my windshield and torren...
My life has been a blessing. I'm grateful for everything I do have and the places I'm going and the things I've seen.~ Leah LaBelle
It was March of 2012 when I bought my first wildlife lens and that day my whole world changed. I don’t know that I can ever put into words the experiences I have had since that day. I found a deeper connection with nature than I ever im...agined.
It was difficult to pick one wildlife image to reflect the emotional bond I have developed with God’s creatures. There has been so many moments. Imagine if you will standing on a cliff and hearing a moose rubbing his antlers on a tree and listening to his mating grunt. Or sitting on the side of a mountain and seeing a ram walk out on a ridge to watch the sunrise with you. Or the adrenaline rush when a grizzly bear runs across the road in front of you with a trout in his mouth. Watching a wolf fight for alpha status. A sweet whitetail doe who has frozen her ears off steal a piece of y...