Monday, January 25, 2010

Reflections and Boot Shots

On our way back from Alaska last September, we stopped to take photos at some particularly gorgeous scenery. The thing that caught our eye was an old avalanche path down a mountainside. It spilled into a very still and reflecting lake.

We soon noticed the gorgeous lake and reflections on the other side of the highway.

After being really happy to get some good reflection shots, I wandered off a little ways down the road from these scenes to catch some more views.

I love seeing something through the lens of a camera, cutting out a portion of a larger scene and highlighting it through careful composition. I love seeing detail, lines, and shapes within a larger view. But sometimes, as a photographer you can be so enraptured with the view you see through your camera that you fail to take it all in by itself, without the camera stuck to your face. There are such amazing things around you which you want to capture with the camera that sometimes it takes a deliberate effort to stop taking pictures and just be in the scene. To breathe it all in, become a part of it, let it surround me. To feel the vastness and epic grandeur. To smell the air and feel the silence.


taking a deep breath.....

and listening....

are things that help me thoroughly enter the scene.

Sometimes, I sit right down on the ground, stretch out my feet, and lean back on my elbows.


The thing I like most about boot shots is that they take me right back to the deep breaths I took as I soaked it all in.

Here's a boot shot I've posted before. It's on top of Bear Mountain overlooking Skilak Lake on the Kenai Peninsula.

This is the end of the trail up Bear Mountain. It's a short but steep hike up to the lookout. The path is narrow and growth is sometimes five feet tall. And remember, it's called BEAR MOUNTAIN? Tall grasses and a 2-3 foot wide trail up a mountain named for bears, well, it makes for a bit of a tense hike. You're always keeping eyes sweeping left and right, your ears tuned for any sound off the trail, and you're trying to make as much noise as possible to let any bears know you're coming. All of this is going on while your legs are burning, your lungs are huffing, and your heart is trying to beat itself out of your body through your ears. (At least mine was, anyway.)

When you get to the top where you emerge onto a huge rock and see the expansive view before you, it is a sweet relief on multiple levels. You get to stop climbing. You are in an open place that feels safer (though in reality there are still bears around). You can sit down, get a drink, catch your breath, and enjoy the amazing view.

It was shortly after taking this photo and heading back down the trail that we had our Bear Mountain bear encounter. In some places it's best to be quick about all that "breathing it in" and "letting it surround you" stuff. Though my two visits to the rock on Bear Mountain are emblazoned on my heart as some of the best nature memories I've had, I think I prefer the safer and more relaxing amazing moments.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, stunning shots Judi!
    You have such a gift for capturing such glorious scenery. Thanks for sharing with those of us that can only imagine being there.