Trail cameras are great because you never know what type of photos you’ll end up with (if any). We strapped ours to a tree for a few weeks in hopes of seeing a mountain lion but the results were mostly pine trees swaying and deer grazing. Still, the surprise element is exciting and it feels like developing film.
Donald showed me how to use masks in Photoshop to create some entertaining results. Below are a few of our collaborations and some pleasant surprises captured by the Bushnell trail and game camera. I call this series, “If M.I.A. Made a Music Video in the Colorado Wilderness.”
Please disregard the inaccurate date and time stamp on these photos. They were shot this Spring in Colorado (2015).
The photo below shows why I never wear headphones when out in public and especially not while I’m deep in the woods. I love to work out to music (especially listening to M.I.A.), but I prefer to know what’s going on around me when I’m outside. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
And below is an outtake (taken with an iPhone, not with the Bushnell camera) showing some of the props that I brought with me for this project. I jogged ~ 3.5 miles up a mountain with 1,800+ elevation gain and a day-pack full of non-essentials (including lipstick + gold hoop earrings).
More to come because this was a really fun project and the fawns should be showing up in the mountains any day now…
*Note* No animals were injured during this photo shoot, however, I fell a few times while jumping around trying to activate the camera sensor.
This is winter.
For me winter means cabin fever, cursing at the ice scraper, prickly sensations in my fingers and toes, claustrophobic layers of clothing, and my nose making streaks on the window panes while I daydream of walking outside in flip-flops and a tank top with ease. But it doesn’t have to be all that bad. In fact, if there is snow on the ground the outdoors turn into a powdery playground. You just have to brave the cold to discover the fun.
This series of images is from my first time snowshoeing. It’s an activity that literally melts away the winter blues. It’s important to get outside and exercise even when it’s cold out. Plus it feels good to try something new. Snowshoeing is a perfect example of biomimicry at its finest. You’ll feel like a snowshoe hare floating across the powdery fields. I highly recommend it!
Photos from Horsetooth Mountain, Fort Collins, CO, December 2014
The next five slides are a mood board that I put together as a reminder that there is still awesomeness to be found in the depths of winter.
-Colorful, warm snow gear
-Seeing tiny animals that survive the cold temperatures (without the help of colorful, warm snow gear!)
-Amazing crafts that use biomimicry to help humans float and enjoy the difficult terrain (traditional snowshoes are the most beautiful, functional craft that I have ever seen). Photo credits at bottom.
More photos below from Horsetooth Mountain, Fort Collins, CO, December 2014
Slide Photo Credits
1.Vintage Retro 70s Ski Coat (thisnext.com)
2.The Snow-Shoe Girl (Sla-Gun). Alaska. 1906
- Manuela Bormanero and a friend holiday in Cortina d’Ampezzo, March 1976 by Slim Aarons (braveskimom.com)
- Dan Newcomb Photography, (https://www.flickr.com/photos/9453805@N07/)
- Henke for Saska Sport Industries. Image copyright Conde Nast Archive, 1972
1. Elisabeth Flamand with the finished snowshoe painted with traditional powdered pigments, 1979, photo by Henri Vaillancourt
- Duane Bryers, “Hilda”
- Pierre Cardin, 1971. 70s ski bunny fashion (weissesrauschen.tumblr.com)
- Elanor White Snowshoe pinup (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/480407485222213650/)
- Giant snowshoe in Norway, Maine. Photo by Jack Quinn, 1949 (http://rose-tinted-vintage.tumblr.com/)
- Nickolas Muray, “Lucky Strike, Girl with Snowshoes,” 1936.
- Native American woman weaving snowshoes, http://www.vintagewinter.com/
- Vintage Retro 70s Ski Coat (thisnext.com)
On this shortest day of the year I now understand one of the main reasons why people love to live in the mountains- it’s the drama of the lighting. It’s like being in a theater and the characters are the sun, clouds, lakes, trees, mountains and all the little creatures that patrol the grounds. Even with the least amount of sunlight available it is so clear to me that lighting is key.
Who needs television or movies when you can watch the morning light seduce the hillside? If you really need a dose of drama then set up a bird feeder outside one of your windows and watch the territory fights, name calling and chest bumping begin.
This series of photos is from the last few days leading up to the 2014 winter solstice in Northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. There will be a bit more sunlight each day now!
At some point you should flirt with a shy mountain. It might not respond right away but it will eventually take notice and respond.
Happy Winter Solstice!
I found a new hobby here in Fort Collins. I don’t consider myself a strong runner, but trail running at elevation is an exciting new challenge for me and it’s readily available right outside my front door. I have a lot of respect for athletes who train at elevation because it is NO JOKE. On the first run I was winded after about 200 feet. It felt like someone was pressing down on my shoulders and as I kept running it felt like there were tow hooks attached to each of my lungs, pulling them down to the ground. But the views were spectacular and so I kept running.
On some of the uphill sections I would start walking and oddly enough that seemed faster and more efficient than running. The photos below are from the Horsetooth Reservoir area in Fort Collins, Colorado. The starting elevation is around 5,300′ and the highest elevation that I have run to so far is Horsetooth Mountain at 7,260′. It took just over an hour to gain ~2,000′ and the views of the Rocky Mountains on a clear day in the distance are spectacular.
I’m excited to see this place transform in the Spring although I’m terrified of the snakes that will be slithering through the fields at that time, too. Right now the scenery reminds me of the paint section of the art store. More specifically, it reminds me of the earthy brown shades of paint. Yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber and raw umber are pigments that surely must be created from this part of the Earth (harvested in December no doubt!).
I have also seen some very daring mountain bikers riding at night on the trails. They used incredibly bright bicycle lights and from a distance they looked like an elongated, bioluminescent creature navigating the night scape. It was a surreal spectacle and I will try to get some video footage of it if I see another cycling group braving the cold temperatures at night.
The way you feel on a mountain can change in an instant, especially if you get cold. On this last run I got super cold once I reached the peak and stopped running. I had a light windbreaker with me and was able to warm up as soon as I started running again, but I think I’ll need to start trail running in a layered outfit somewhat like this instead. Just in case, right?
Saying goodbye to San Diego was a lot harder than I imagined. It is the prettiest place that I have ever lived. The weather is always gentle and the salty breezes lure you outdoors everyday. The ocean view from the top of the Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of my favorites. I went there to do a final barefoot beach run with friends before departing.
As soon as I saw the enormous ocean sprawl out in front of me I started balling. I was crying because it is so beautiful and I will miss setting my eyes on it. I’m not sure when I became so attached to the ocean, but at some point over the past 5 1/2 years my astral body must have taken a night flight while I slept and dropped an anchor deep into the Pacific ocean. Pulling that anchor up and towing it to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is a challenging expedition.
I recommend going for a barefoot run as a final way to say goodbye to a place (if the weather allows, of course). It’s the ultimate grounding experience, and if you happen to be running and crying at the same time, well that’s even better. What I mean is that it feels as if the running and crying get into a boxing ring together. They duke it out for a spell and then your nervous system comes in as the referee to break up the fight, regulate your breathing and bring you back to your calm self. Plus your feet and calves will feel achy and strong at the end. I let my friend Lara take a photo of me in this vulnerable state just before we descended the stairs to Black’s Beach for a run. I look like I’m laughing here but I’m battling tears.
This was a really cleansing experience and I’m happy to have these photos to remember it all. I posted some photos below from my last few weeks in San Diego. These are just a few of the many things that I will miss about this magical place.
The stairs at Black’s Beach- best natural workout in town. Try it barefoot!
Rainbows over the ocean. On this particular day a bolt of lightning struck right through the rainbow. I didn’t catch it with my camera, but life could’ve ended right after that moment and I would be satisfied.
The active, scantily clad beauties walking all around town. This is a vintage photo, but it’s basically still the same in San Diego (appropriated photo from a book called Art in the Streets written by Jeffrey Deitch, Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose).
Getting to walk out of your front door in “beach gear” and:
a.) no one bats an eye
b.) you are not cold
c.) you can jump in the salty ocean if desired
The pretty succulent plants blooming and growing in every corner. They remind me to consistently grow, even in the most unexpected or difficult situations.
Circuit class with some of the toughest ladies in San Diego (Stephanie and Marlo) and our trainer, Corey from Bmorfit. He gave me a new respect for the value of hip rotation exercises and getting a consistent ab burn at least once a day.
Being a twenty minute drive from my cousin Mike, his wife Chris and their two adorable kids, Jude and Alex. On our last day of hanging out with the kids I brought them a piece of reflective paper and told them it was a “rainbow catcher.” They were entertained for hours.
and of course…Jude’s infectious laugther. It doesn’t get better than this.
Adiós a San Diego. Nos vemos otra vez.
Thank you California for teaching me that I love the mountains.
These photos are from our hike from Idyllwild to Mt. San Jacinto via Humber Park. Mother Nature was showing off for us on this day. Flirting for hours with her sparkly blues.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Day hiking Mt. Whitney is accurately described as “strenuous.” I knew what we were up for and my hiking partners and I trained well for this monster hike, including completing the majority of the six pack of peaks and Cactus to Clouds. I thought the few days rest at Lone Pine Campground (6,000 ft.) and spending the day at Lone Pine Lake (10,050 ft.) the day before the hike would help, but I clearly underestimated the time and value of acclimatizing. In retrospect, I would like to have camped at a higher elevation for at least one night to prevent the altitude headache, but we booked what was available to us on a busy holiday weekend.
Mt. Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 ft., so this hike went well beyond my previous highest elevation point of 11,503 ft. (Mt. San Gorgonio). I expected a strenuous hike and prepared for it, but I reached a level of exhaustion that I had never experienced before. I was able to push through the 22 mile round trip hike, with an elevation gain of over 6,100 ft., in 15 hours. We had less than ideal weather including rain, sleet and gusty wind chills in the 30’s. I “landed” back at Whitney Portal with extremely sore feet, a headache, mineral deficient and very thirsty. The funny thing is that as soon as I sat down, drank some vegetable juice, and acknowledged that it was officially over I felt better right away. And now when I look back at the photos I feel proud for pushing beyond my comfort zone and privileged to have witnessed such spectacular scenery (including a rainbow when we were at 13K!).