Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mountain biking on the plains

It's turning so sunny here in Montana. The snow is melting off and we've spent the last couple days sitting outside, drinking coffee on the porch and drinking beer on the roof.

I've been frantically planning the summer and booking photo jobs. I always panic in the off season (the winter) and then come May-September, I become so booked with amazing opportunities, I can't remember quite what I was panicking about. This summer I've got an internship in the photo department at Patagonia, am traveling with Outdoor Nation around the US, and have a handful of weddings lined up. So before all this traveling starts (12,000 miles to be exact), I've been trying to get as much shooting in as possible.

My friend Sam is visiting me, and brought his skis, a mountain bike, and his climbing gear. It's pretty amazing that in Bozeman, you can do all of those things within 40 miles of the town--in a single day, even. But because it's been so dry, we decided to catch some good light and head up into the hills to shoot some mountain biking.

I'm always psyched to shoot with people that are willing to do the same route, line, move, over and over again until I feel like I can get the shots that I want. Thankfully, Sam was patient and willing. We walked the hills to scout some lines, and while the sun was beating down, we found blackened pronghorn bones that had been partially singed from a fire in the canyon last summer. Grass was starting to grow in some spots of the scorched ground. I always love seeing little hope and ecouragements like that.

I know there are some moments that are better than others; where the clouds part and it is clearer than ever that I'm where I'm supposed to be. That happened for me out on those plains, while the bike wheel sent dirt flying my way. I know that doesn't sound like the ideal situation for most people, but a dirt-dusted camera and consistent laughter made for a great afternoon. I love shooting photos with people whose company I enjoy.

The last couple months have been a pretty steady routine for me. I'd never thought I'd say it, but the dreaded "R" word has come into my life--I'd never pegged myself as a routine-sort-of-follower. However, it's not been terrible to get to know a community. I'm ready to travel again, though. There's something about moving around that makes me feel like my life is progressing in some sort of way- like seeing different places will shape me a little differently than staying in one spot does. It's the kind of travel bug that I'm not sure I'll ever fully get out of my bones--the desire to see something different, to seek consistent change.

I think that I needed to settle into a routine to appreciate moving around. Working someplace other than freelance has also given me the opportunity to take some time off shooting photos, which I believe is necessary and healthy for an artist interested in bettering their medium. Whether that's correct or not, I feel good about what I've been shooting. 

And after spending the day barefoot in the garden, tilling and feeding the chickens, I can safely say that things are good here. It's the slow days like that are so filling.