we as human beings are so freaking hard on ourselves. we tear ourselves down and believe we are incapable.
but as it turns out, you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. you are, in fact, VERY capable of incredible things.
these days, it is so easy to make our lives appear flawlessly wonderful. we choose what to show and what to keep hidden.
but as it turns out, everyone is fighting some sort of battle. everyone is dealing with some sort of insecurity.
that being said, I wanted to share something about myself with you.
as some people know, I have never taken a photography class in my life. everything I know about the art and action of photography I have learned by playing with my camera, by trial & error. which is great, because that is just how I learn best. however, it's also not so great because I never learned the basics of shooting film - how a light meter works, what settings to use for what different situations, how some numbers affect other numbers, blah blah blah. the technical side of my camera has terrified me from the moment I got my first DSLR at age 16. I have used the safety net of the screen on the back of my camera for TEN YEARS. and recently I have been really, really hard on myself for not knowing the basic knowledge of what I thought "made you a photographer."
so I set out to change that.
my 2015 resolution was to learn how to shoot film. on manual -- all the logic and smarts that I didn't think I had.
I purchased a Canon EOS-3 on eBay, ordered some film, and got to work. I had NO idea what I was doing, because I couldn't see the photos I was taking on the back of my camera any more. I had no security blanket of an LCD screen telling me "these photos look GREAT!" when the shutter on a film camera closes, you'd better hope your settings were right or else that moment is lost in a world of under-or-over-exposure forever.
it took me a couple months, but I got through my first 2 rolls of film: one B&W and one color.
then it took me several weeks to work up the courage to send them in to be processed.
I had convinced myself that the photos were shit and was hoping that at least ONE of my 60 exposures would "turn out".
friday night, I got my photos back.
and much to my disbelief, every single one of my exposures was on point.
yeah, some of them were a tad overexposed. some of them weren't focused to perfection. but to me -- they were perfect.
and I had doubted myself and my ability SO HARD. all for nothing.
I share this with you because I want you to know that I'm still learning. we are ALL still learning.
the moment we stop learning is the moment we should be afraid of.
my hope for you is that you BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN GREATNESS.
because, as I said before, you are capable of incredible things.
^ this last one was actually taken by my sweet husband :)
Sometimes, I look at my life and wonder "how the heck did I get here? THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!"
Seven years ago, I couldn't have even IMAGINED that my life would look like this. I couldn't have told you that I would be a moderately successful and talented photographer who gets to travel the world and meet some of the coolest cats to walk this earth. I could have never dreamed that this industry would bring such incredible and unique people into my life, that will be in my life FOREVER.
About 2 years ago, I attended a photography "conference" called Adventure Always (you can see pictures from that adventure HERE), where I managed to fall into this cozy group of photographer friends. We witnessed other photographers pour their hearts out together, shared meals together, and went photo-adventuring all over the Queen Mary together.
Last month, we gathered together at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.
There was no organized conference, paid speakers, or agenda -- just 8 artists & their cameras, following their bliss wherever it may lead them. Between the nightly hot tub conversations to the "pull over, we need to take a picture on that couch!" drives -- I never wanted it to end. I love these people so very dearly. They inspire me to challenge myself both in my art form and in my business, and I will hold them in my heart until my last breath.
this is my friend Andrew and his fiancé, Bryce.
they're getting married in November. and it's going to be LEGENDARY.
these two hearts hail from Racine, Wisconsin. Katie & Joey, you guys are so damn cool. I still think you should move to California instead of Oregon....
and then there were these lovebirds, Brian & Christina, all the way from Buffalo, New York.
whom I forced to be lovey dovey....... YOU'RE WELCOME ;)
oh yeah, and we found Greg Balkin and his orange jacket in Joshua Tree!
so that was rad.
sometimes running away IS the answer.
especially when 7 other photographers run away with you.
it could be the creative breath of fresh air you didn't even know you needed.
we are The Camp Tribe.
we throw axes, lift logs over our heads, chase sunsets, roast s'mores, hike barefoot, take pictures, and have wonderful camp fire conversations.
this is the first of many more adventures to come......
if I have learned anything in this life, it's that one will never regret listening hard to the quiet whisperings of your heart.
i love a LOT of things on this good earth, but there are few things i love greater than traveling. i have a critical case of wanderlust that i fear will never be quieted. my heart aches to hear the stories of people in all corners of the world, my feet yearn to find themselves on foreign soil, my eyes burn to see everything i can possibly see before they close for good. and so, when my friend kimberly invited me to come visit her in italy, i didn't hesitate. despite my husband being unavailable and barely finding a spare 10 days to escape the chaos of wedding season -- i wasn't going to let anything stand in my way. i needed it more than i could have possibly known.
and so, passport and camera in hand, i embarked on a most memorable adventure.
allow me to take you back there...
here is kimberly's house in which she lives with her airforce doctor husband and beautiful 2 year old daughter:
this is the view seen by stepping out her front door (my heart may or may not have skipped a beat):
a HUGE thanks to kimberly's husband, rocky, for spending his weekend with their daughter and letting us run away on adventures just us girls...
first stop, THIS PLACE:
where we slept like queens and woke to breakfast in the dining hall (and couldn't stop speaking in a pretentious brittish accent)
after running rampant through our private estate's gardens, we ventured onward...
... and landed ourself in Tuscany at what Kimberly so perfectly calls her happy place.
where we once again ran like wildlings through olive tree groves, cameras at the ready.
this beautiful piece of heaven is owned and run by the italian mama everyone wishes they had.
she cooked us a 4 course meal and made sure our wine glasses were always full.
and she has a place in my heart forever.
after many hugs and "ciao, bellas!" we wandered towards the oldest monastery in italy, which happened to be beautifully situated smack in the middle of the oldest forest in europe.
before we knew it, it was home again home again jiggity jig.
the rest of the trip involved castles...
... canals for days ...
... pulling over anywhere and everywhere we saw something spectacular ...
... cemeteries ...
... and this place, Lago di Barcis:
words will never be able to express how intensely my soul needed this time away from home with a kindred spirit.
kimberly, my dear, you are truly one of a kind. I am so incredibly grateful for every conversation and memory we shared.
where are we going next???