I’ve thought hard about what an up-close encounter with an orca in the Pacific might be like, but nothing could prepare me for the actual event. It’s honestly a miracle that I locked my 500mm lens onto this beautiful animal in that split-second that she surfaced, but thanks to it, that moment will live forever. Still smiling.
I’ve been a nomad, as of late, putting thousands of miles of asphalt in the rear-view mirror. While my savings may not necessarily approve, adventure has found a permanent place in front of my wind shield. For those of you wondering, I’m living my best life out here.
The summer snow on Mount Hood was impressive, as was Rainier’s might. The wide and winding Columbia guided me between the two. Cannon Beach was everything I’d imagined, but better, as puffins and murres sailed overhead and brightened my smile. Devil’s Punchbowl fooled me at a glance, but put birds in my frame like no other place has. Gray whales in the Oregon tides refreshed my breathing with breaths of their own. The Olympic Coast and its rainforests were teachers, and believe me, I took some serious notes here. Roosevelt elk in the morning air surprised me and noisy barred owls in camp kept me awake at night. Point No Point had a point indeed, to meet fellow birders and share stories of our feathered friends. The San Juan Islands, were merely a tease; I know I’ll be back. The orcas I’ve yet to discover are calling, along with the thousands of miles left unexplored up the coast through Canada and Alaska. If I could explore them tomorrow, I’d be half-way there.
This is a remarkable planet, with plenty to explore. I believe my purpose here is to explore it, to learn from it and to do my part in keeping it wild. What lesson will tomorrow bring?
Do you ever wonder what they're thinking about, while we admire them?
I'm having trouble lately, not knowing which direction to go. Photography has always been an escape for me, from the facets of this human world. I was lucky enough to learn that taking a step outside normality reveals so much more about this place. This is a big planet. A big planet with big ecosystems, big open spaces, big trees and mountains and wild animals roaming it all; but slowly, that space is disappearing. The walls are closing on all things wild, as our population grows exponentially and our technological advances keep improving. Humans will adapt to whatever it is a changing world throws at them. The others won't be so lucky.
I don't think I can continue to take pretty photos of wild animals and act like everything is okay. Because, it's not.
What remains is beautiful, and truly inspirational. It all inspires me. If the natural world could talk, what would it say? And would we as a society listen? The truth is, the natural world is talking, and it's talking right to us. Listen.
If I'm going to keep a camera in my hand for the rest of my life, as I so wish to do, I need to change gears. When I first began this journey, I wanted to be a voice for my subjects and capture the facets of their lives that make them so incredible. I like to think I've done that, to some extent, but I know I could do better. We could all do better. Here and now.
It's time to start the next chapter, and actually make a difference on this big planet; with its big ecosystems, big open spaces, big trees and mountains and wild animals roaming it all.
How? I have no idea, but when I look back on it all some day, I want to know that I made a difference. And if I didn’t, I want to know that I tried.
Here’s to trying.