Sunday, November 28, 2010

letting it go.

This trip to San Diego was (for me) focused on learning to let things go. I struggle with this constantly, as I feel really comfortable being in control. So I jetted off to a place as far west as you can go in the United States. I've been feeling so low on self confidence and the right words to say, I hope this is a fraction of what people have shared with me lately.

First of all, it was freezing cold. I wore my down jacket for about 95% of the time there.

I wanted to be alone, to take a quiet walk and think about all these things that have been swimming in my brain. I forgot how well I travel by myself. It's a lot easier to get yourself from point A to point B rather than 5 people. I have learned that I thrive on time spent alone. I am so used to it that I often long for it when I've spent a bit of time around more people.

While we were there, we went to Sea World. I saw Shamu. He is one talented mammal, let me tell you. Take a look:

Sea world day was also the day of my friend's memorial back home. I wanted so badly to go, but couldn't. Put that on my list of things to let go.
So the first time I had a chance, I ran to the beach. It wasn't very much because we were on a tiny island facing condominiums and ships. But I wanted to take a moment to appreciate being outside, being alive and being in one piece.

I take self portraits a lot. Mainly it's because I usually have really good light and I know that someone else isn't going to be able to come to my location quickly enough. I also think it is good for all of the photographers to step in front of the camera. Having taken my own photos, I learn how to better communicate with the people I shoot photos of.

I spent this time taking photos and thinking about things that I needed to just let sail into the wind. Earlier in the day, I was trying to get a picture of this guy:
He kept moving and I just kept asking him, please stay still, please sit, don't fly, come back. Right after I thought this, I thought, "why are you asking a bird to not fly? thats like asking the waves of the ocean to stop coming back and the sun not to rise each day. Things will be. It was a moment, now let it free."

The last day we visited a beach pretty close to the border. It was foggy, windy and cold. And it was wonderful. I spent time hugging my brother and sister and mother and father. I was grateful for the time I got to spend with them there.

In the end, I didn't let things go. I wanted to but I couldn't get them to completely take off. I think that's okay. Because at that same point I started to let go, I realized something. You can't appreciate life without death. You won't appreciate love without some sort of pain. All things return to the earth. Things remain, and that will be the way life goes. You appreciate the joy in your life because of the times where you thought the hurt would last forever.

So it goes. And I'm loosening the grip (thanks Mei.) on things and while doing that, focusing my attention on love and appreciation. Cheers to those of you living life by the wind, by following what your heart says is good and right for you and by loving to the fullest capacity.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


(Chris Pruchnic on far left)
(Photo below: Chris on far right)
Life is short.

We lost a good one.

Loss is an odd emotion to feel. For a moment, it's terrifying. The next, it is heart breaking. And then it serves you a side of reality, realization of temporariness, and a grand finale of shock.

I have, unfortunately, dealt with a lot of loss in my life. I think it goes hand in hand with the life activities that those of us that choose it, pursue. It is always a big reality check for me when I put into perspective the things that we do. I am surrounded by people, amazing people, who float up vertical faces, jump off cliffs voluntarily, and push the limits on a daily basis. I am grateful to know such people, but I often forget how extreme these things are. I appreciate what they do and what they are good at, but I also forget the thin line that is often crossed between what is safe and times where people, including myself, "narrowly escape." It always puts it back in perspective for me that I need to double and triple check my knots, make sure I have a solid belayer and climbing partner, and I need to tell people I love them more.

Chris was a friend. We worked together on The North Face tour for two years and he kept encouraging me to pursue what made me happy. We talked about my photography and my climbing, and we talked about his running and climbing. Every conversation we had I would bring up school and he would tell me to just finish and graduate, and be the best that I could be. I appreciated those words, and know that he spoke the truth. When I talked to him on the tour this year, I promised him after I was out of school I would get an American Alpine Membership. I plan on following through with this promise.

I went to church tonight, expecting to walk into a sermon that would "fix" the hurt that I was feeling. It didn't. But in thumbing through my Bible, I found a verse that I underlined. It is about how when you loose everything, you depend on the things that matter. That is for me, God, my faith, family, friends, my memories. It's true that loss strips you of everything. It forces you to take a look around and re-examine your life, if you are living it the way you want. Are you?

Looking back, I realize how much of my life has stemmed out of grief and loss. I started taking photographs because I needed something to be still when everything around me was changing. I got a dog because I needed something to love and depend on that also needed and depended on me. Both of these things have radically changed my life for the better, and it was all based on the heaviest emotions I have ever felt.

The days ahead seem long. I know there is a huge community out there that will be missing him and his energetic presence.

I'm flying as far West as the United States goes. I need to reconnect with the ground and dig my feet into the sand and look across the ocean and understand its endlessness.

Life is short. Don't let your heart collect dust. Follow the wind where it takes you, and breathe it in deep. Be the best you can be. Love everyone wholeheartedly. Do what you love. Adventure out in to the world and be quiet in the wilderness. Send hugs and kisses to the wind to those you miss. They will receive them and send some back.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


You must be living on wildfires.
Thats why your eyes
are smoke and ash

You must be living on earthquakes
You must be living on earthquakes
Must be why my heart breaks
everytime you pass

Oh no matter how I try
I just watch you blow by
In a lens

I've been feeling the weight of heavy changes that are rapidly approaching. I find myself missing people and memories before they even pass. It's the stepping on egg shells while time counts down that I don't like. How do you live in the present when you know that the present will soon be the future? It's something I struggle with.

**on a side note, I realized I have no legit idea how to put makeup on. I spent 40 minutes smothering shimmery things on my eyelids and only came out looking like a 4 year old that had gotten into her mother's make up bag.

also, I am tired of taking self portraits.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Today I woke up anxious despite the relaxing weekend I had.
A group of friends and I backpacked a couple miles back into Vedauwoo and then camped there for the night. Veda slept in my sleeping bag...not very comfortable, but a good memory nonetheless.

So today when I felt like everything was piling up, I took off. I try not to do this often, as I felt today like I was running away, but I knew that the only thing that could calm me down was some much needed solitary photo time. I like days like this, where I drive out of town with Veda in the car with me. It's just the two of us with the music turned loud, and the thought that if I wanted and chose, we could just keep driving to who knows where. Thinking this makes me feel less restrained and bottled up.

I balance things like this. When I have a big project or paper due, when things seem too overwhelming, I take off time and go out by myself. I need the time to laugh or cry and just feel the ground beneath me.

Today there was no golden sunset, but dark snow clouds moving in. It's been so warm here, I almost forget it's wintertime. I didn't mind though, today, when the sun was setting behind these giant blues. It made for a sublime sort of feeling, sort of what I have been thinking about. So when I got out to my favorite photo taking field, I spent just a couple minutes laying on the ground and breathing. It was good.

I know I uploaded a lot of photos from today, but truthfully, I like a lot of them. I didn't take a lot of 'happy looking' photos either, but I think that this makes them even more emotional and connected for me.

I'm ready for the next adventure.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


It's funny how sometimes I have a photo idea in my mind and it turns out nothing like I expect. I try not to have "expectations" for these kinds of things, but just have a loose plan of what I want to do.
What ends up coming out is a mix between my vision beforehand, the lighting at the time and my subconscious thoughts and feelings.
I realize after I take a lot of my photographs how much of my emotions come into play, despite trying to keep them out of it sometimes.

I've been fighting some battles lately. A battle with society that says my success is based on how well I do in school, if I graduate, if I even went in the first place.
I've been fighting battles with being "in between". A friend and I talked about this yesterday, how it is so frustrating to be in the middle of two feelings, between an 'in' or 'out' and just having to be sitting on the line.
One of the biggest battles I fight constantly is my desire to go. I have a fear that if my life gets into a routine, I will get caught in it and not be able to get out. I don't have any desire to settle down and start making big life plans. If a door opens, I will most likely take it because, well, it's there.
Everyone is fighting something, and I forget that sometimes.

You can't compare tragedies, no ones is more painful than someone else's. It's the same with battles. Everyone's battles are important, are worth being listened to and acknowledged.

so fight as hard, best and fair as you can.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

monuments, pancakes.

Today I woke up and decided the world needed pancakes. So I skipped my class, made them, I drank coffee and enjoyed the morning. Veda had some too, but she snuck them behind my back. Oh well, the pancakes I make are wonderful, so I can't blame her.

Yesterday, a friend and I went to go see Ames Monument outside of town. It was pretty neat looking, just a pyramid in the middle of nowhere. We were there during the golden hour and the lighting was amazing. After exploring the monument, watching a train pass and howling at coyotes, it was back to homework. But it was a good day filled with lots of laughing.