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“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 this viewpoint and I so wanted to add one to my portfolio. For at least 30 minutes I sat several yards from the edge of this cliff trying to shake the fear that was near hyperventilation. Trying to convince myself that I could do this, I butt scooted – yes butt scooted in front of several spectators that were standing fearless on the edge grabbing selfies. I finally made to the edge and took several deep breathes before I dared to lean forward to make some sort of attempt at an image. Snap, snap…hoping there was something captured on the memory card, I crawled back to safety. I did not capture the image I had envisioned, but I did walk away with a little bit of pride, knowing I faced my fear. They have now built a viewing fence at this location, so I will not be able to return to show a bit more bravery, but I am certain that you gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

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