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52 Weeks Project | Week 50 | The Daredevil

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The older I get, 
the more I understand
how important it is
to live a life most
people don't understand.

 
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I once read a book by Joseph Campbell where he said 'The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.' And the older I get, the more clearly I can see this. 

Our society wants to categorize us. Stereotype us. Simplify our existence for what it believes to be the stake for it's survival. To give every single person a pre-determined outcome before he or she has a chance to find it for themselves. To send everyone to school the same way. To follow relationships the same way. To chase after jobs and money instead of dreams and individual ideas. And well, I say hell to the nah to all of that. 

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Your soul deserves searching. And deserves attention. Because only in that quest can we ever find and work on our everyday happiness. And when we find it, we are then contributing to the world the best within us. Our best talents, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and can even build healthier relationships with the people around us thus making the world we live in a better place to be. 

It shouldn't matter so much if you don't fit in somewhere. Because I've lived my whole life never really fitting in anywhere. And that's ok. I've never really needed to. Because despite it, I can still make friends. I can still love. And I can still be real and true and open to others who are different than me - because literally everybody is. It's literally impossible for any 2 people to be the same. 

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People told me even before being a mom that driving a motorcycle around is stupid and reckless. And while there is definitely some truth in the reckless, it all goes down to the person driving the thing for the stupid.

But when you become a parent, there seems to be this silenced and accepted rule in our society that you have to hang everything else up in your life and say no more to any chance, danger, or new things that drive you for the sake of being there for your child.

So when I started talking about wanting to buy a motorcycle - which has been a thing through my whole 20's - people in my life around me became a lot more vocal against it now that I was a mom. Telling me that I had responsibilites to my son. That somehow my riding a bike, going traveling with him, or even working at all was doing a disservice to my son by not being there for him 24/7. 

But, I have a question for those of you wanting to say that to me as you are reading this. 

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What kind of disservice are you doing to yourself and your children by never allowing yourself to be everything you want in this life?

By pushing your boundaries and showing your children that they too can be and do anything they want to do?

Because, you not doing what you want for yourself and for your family will naturally take it's toll on you over the years. And as you grow older, bitterness sets in from never achieving much of what you set out for. Then unhappiness sets in if it isn't there already. And close mindedness inevitably does as well.

And what is that showing to your children?

Our children learn most by example from the people in their lives. And if I want Leo to be a brave adult, confident in his abilities, smart, and more than capable to be anything he wants... it's MY job as his mother to show him how to do that. To be those qualities and give him the belief that he is all of those things too. To me, that's our ultimate gift to our children.

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So instead of changing my entire life and person for Leo, I would rather take the approach to live life as true to who I always have been and just take him along for the ride instead.

Because I think he'll learn a lot more that way and be a more than capable adult than if I decided to hide who I was and embrace what society is trying to make me be. 

Even if it might be a little more reckless to ride around on motorcycles, jump out of airplanes, or travel the world.. I can still be smart about it and play the game of life too. 

So let's all drop this all or nothing attitude. Embrace what makes us different as individuals. And play the hell out of the tunes of our minds to give the world a little more uniqueness than what was there before.

Because the world deserves it.

Every person around you deserves it.

But you deserve it most. 

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A super special thank you to my husband Paul for understanding this part of me and embracing it. He bought me this motorcycle, a Suzuki TU250x,  for our 10th wedding anniversary in February and I honestly cannot express how much it's a dream come true. Gotta still fix this beauty up and make her road worthy which will be my next project this summer <3 and hopefully will be finally tackling getting my license and mastering this skillset I started and never finished when I was just 19. 

So here's to new adventures and always listening to the call of the open road whose lure never seems to fade. 

 

52 Weeks Project | Week 8 | The Stargazer

This week is all about space and the accumulating possibilities ahead for the human race. I'm not an expert in space aeronautics, nuclear energy, physics, or quantum mechanics but the topics always have interested me. I get pulled in anytime anyone mentions anything about - what is being called - the final frontier of humanity because I feel as though it embraces optimism in its truest form and embraces the potentials we have as a species. And that alone excites me. 

Not to mention, this past week has been completely dedicating my free time to taking advantage of the clear skies, no moon, and calm weather. Because let's be honest, it's been rainy for the majority of this year! Which has been hard to attempt any sort of astrophotography for me (Fun Fact: One of my 2017 goals is getting into astrophotography)

So, let's recap this week.

On Saturday I went to Forecastle Festival in Louisville. After getting my fill there, I left a little early to head home just before sunset. On my drive home, I noticed that the sky was completely clear. So keeping in mind that astrophotography goal, and having an obnoxious opportunity right in front of my face, I had to stop over somewhere and get some photos. 

Now, that photo above really isn't a GREAT Milky Way shot. There are a lot of things I did wrong because I didn't take the time to get my focus right or settings. But it's mainly because I was out in the middle of no where Kentucky, alone. Getting out of my car and setting up for this shot took a LOT of nerves on my part. Because being out in the middle of no where in the complete darkness was, uneasy. And I actually had encounters with deer 4 different times in the 30 minutes I dedicated to getting some shots that scared the living daylights out of me. And one actually hissed at me. "Deers hiss?!?!" Yes. Click here to hear what that sounds like haha.

So anyway, when I got home and edited this, being the perfectionist that I am, I was greatly disappointed in my shots. Which has been the outcome anytime I have taken photos of the stars. The one above being the best I got that night. 

So, to bury the disappoint and tackle new shots with more patience and time, I did some research to see what the weather was going to be like this week and well, Tuesday and Wednesday forecasted clear weather BOTH nights! And I had no shoots scheduled!!

WHAT. 

So, I asked my sister to come along with me this time so I wouldn't be alone and we trekked out after our babies were all asleep (and our husbands with them safely). I made a promise to myself to find the darkest spot I could without driving hours and hours away and make up for that Saturday night in Kentucky. And well, we did. 

And of course, an hour and 50 bug bites later, I grabbed not only the shots above, but the ones below the later it got into the night. THESE are ones I'm very proud of. And the first shots I've personally taken that I can even consider being Astrophotography

These pictures are the first time I've ever been able to get my focus right on the night sky. I've been able to capture stars for years, playing with settings and doing a whole lot of trial and error, but could never the focus which was greatly discouraging. But I finally figured it out and captured images that I want to share with the world! And makes me fall in love with photography ALL OVER AGAIN.

THIS. This is why I love doing what I do. Even though I've been doing photography for 10 years, it still challenges me and no matter how much I learn and grow, there will always be more to know. 

Now, the photo I ended up using for this week's picture was actually taken last night. When my sister and I went out together, I didn't get a clear shot of just me by myself. I was so taken by just being in the moment, I forgot. But I love what I captured with my sister. 

With this being a self portrait project though, I needed a shot of myself. 

So I went back out Wednesday night since it was forecasted clear AGAIN. 

I went solo again, which ended up being a little terrifying again. But I was a lot closer to home and in a place I'm very familiar with, Caeser's Creek State Park. I set up the shot near the beach area actually in the parking lot using my car to set up my tripod for some shots. And then placing the camera on the ground for the final shots. 

Now, while I was setting up for the shots to be taken on the ground, I was laying down on the ground with my camera, headlamp on so I could see what I was doing. Once I was ready to get up and set up in the shot, I noticed FIVE raccoon gathered about 4 feet away from me in the darkness completely curious what I was doing. FIVE. When my light shined on them though, they scattered quickly into a drain pipe and out the other side into the woods nearby. It was then that I realized an whole bunch of animals were standing in the woods watching me because about 6 more pairs of eyes glowed in the trees. It felt like I was in this scene from PeeWee's Big Adventure (CLICK).

 

So, the shots above kind of make me laugh because the camera would start taking the photo and then I'd hear something scurry next to me and couldn't stay still for the shot LOL. Needless to say, I'm happy that I took the time to get these shots, but I probably will NOT be doing this again by myself. 

Look at that Milky Way though <3<3 (sooooo worth ittttt)

I didn't edit in the Milky Way into any of these shots. I used what was naturally there. In this week's video, I do a pretty good breakdown for what equipment, settings, and steps I did for planning these shots out more effectively. Be sure to give that a watch below! (and watch to the end for a little outtake haha)

 
 

52 Weeks Project| Week 2 | Wake the Warrior

 

"She needed a hero. So that's what she became."

Do not kill if you can wound. 
Do not wound if you can subdue.
And don't raise your hand at all
until you at first extended it. 

Nestled beneath the surface, a fire burns. A fire burning so deep,
the walls of kingdoms rumble. A fighter is ignited and the danger surrounding is no longer, for I became it. A danger to all that is
unjust, evil, and dark against this world. 

 

 

BEHIND THE SCENES

This week's image is all about unlocking your inner warrior. And embracing being that warrior. To take a stand on what you believe in and follow through with it whole-heartedly.

Being a warrior doesn't just mean fighting with your fists and physical strength, but with your mind, ideology, and mentality. That embracing your inner strength comes before any outer strength can be recognized. And making a decision on where you stand and what you are willing to fight for. 

We all have a warrior inside of us. Do you know how to unlock yours? 

Here is this weeks behind the scenes video if you want to see how this image was photographed, edited, and created.

And a few more outtakes that were considered as the final image: