The Dailypost started a new month-long challenge this month, Photography 101. When I started this blog, about 7 months ago, I thought I would be writing a lot. I am writing, but where I find myself gravitating towards is learning as much as I can about photography. When I saw this opportunity, I signed up.
What I didn’t think about was how I would merge it into my blog. I am so excited about the new challenge I am participating in, hosted by Captivate Me, called the One Four Challenge. I love participating each week in the Monochrome Madness challenge hosted on Leanne Cole’s Blog and many weeks I find I take part in the Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by The Daily Post as well.
I didn’t want to post twice a day, that feels like too much, for me and for you! So, I am going to post the weeks assignments in one post on Fridays this month. That way, I can properly participate and not overwhelm anyone in the process.
Day 1- HOME
Hunt Memorial Cabin, Fairbanks AK
If you read this blog at all, you know that I struggle with feeling at home. I was raised in a warm, loving home and I always feel at home when I am with my parents or sister, spending time together, no matter that my childhood home belongs to another family now and my once tight-knit family is presently spread across the country.
I have wandered and adventured throughout my 20’s and 30’s, I highly doubt this will change when I move into my 40’s and beyond. But, a home-base, has eluded me in my 30’s. We have recently moved to the North Coast, Humbolt County California. It is beautiful, it is inspiring, I am finding parts of myself here that have laid dormant for years and that feels so great. But, it doesn’t feel like home yet, maybe it will. I am willing to give it time, it is that special of a place.
This smile on my face in the picture above is truly authentic and tells me that where I am in this image, is home. It is a wild place, somewhere I lived with my husband prior to us having kids, a mortgage, and so many responsibilities that we hold now. I am happiest and at home wearing layers, seeing wild vast scenery and getting pushed outside my comfort zone regularly. This is what happens when you live in Alaska. Fairbanks, Alaska especially, and this is where my heart still calls home.
Day 2- STREET
Road to Arcata Community Forest, Arcata CA
This street is the gateway to the Community Forest, in Arcata, CA. This community forest is made up of over 800 acres of protected land, with 18 trails making their way through multiple parts of these woods. The trees are very tall, most are 150 year old Redwoods. I love the forethought of this town in protecting this area.
When my family and I came to Arcata last May to visit and see what this area had to offer us, I was instantly struck by this place. It isn’t a small area, you could actually get lost in here and not have a clue how to get back out. For some, that is probably a scary “what if…”. For me, it means a lot that it is here and available.
This street is not off the beaten path, it doesn’t take extra effort to get here. It is actually right on one of the main roads through town and just outside of the boundaries of Humbolt State Universities campus. You can leave the hustle and bustle of town in moments. Your car is instantly cloaked in shadows, muted sunlight and moist air. My kind of place indeed.
Day 3- WATER
Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, Arcata CA
I find myself connecting with water in many ways in our new surroundings. We are just miles from the Pacific Ocean, with untouched and protected shorelines for miles in either direction. There are dew drops always dangling from leaves or holding on to the tips of the grass making for incredible reflection in the morning light. There are puddles for my boys to stomp in. I see the tides washing in and out, offering me a beautiful reminder of beginning again.
And I can’t forget the rains, they are more frequent the further into fall we go. Of all these ways water flows into my everyday, my favorite aspect of water is its reflection. As if the view isn’t stunning enough, the water makes sure you see it, every last detail, reflected back, powerful and bold.
This image is from our local marsh just after sunrise, as I am sure you can see from that bright light jumping through the branches of the tree. I love it here, there are beautiful shore birds enjoying a meal, views of the mountains, trees, the town, the bay and the morning light is crisp and warm. If I could I would start my morning here every day, there is something about this place that feeds me.
Day 4- BLISS
Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Exploring nature with my boys, is one of my true blissful moments in life. Their open abandon to see what is around the next bend, their squeals of excitement echoing through the trees, canyons, mountain tops, or valleys, I love their enthusiasm. Then there are those softer moments as they settle into a newly found landscape, their acknowledgement of the beauty surrounding them, it opens my experience more deeply. It is beautifully infectious.
Day 5- SOLITUDE
Every time I pull up to one of our local beaches I am overcome with disbelief, that this pristine expanse is usually empty. When we lived in Southern California and went to the beach, we fought the masses of people on the freeway, in the parking lots, in line to get our ticket to park, in the line for the restroom to change clothes. There were multiple groups of bikers, runners, jogger strollers winding and weaving their way between each other on the path down to the beach. Once on the beach, there were usually 100’s if not thousands of people there with you, blocking your view, using the space as their gym. You were never alone, no matter what time of day or night.
Now, we show up, and in any direction we look…we are alone. My boys scream at the top of their lungs until they are out of breath, I just sit in one place and study the waves as they curl over each other again and again. I close my eyes, take in the sea air, open my ears to the constant hum of the waves crashing and sink my feet into the soft fine-grained sand. We stay here, for hours, and occasionally a few people come to enjoy the view too. But, they move on quickly and we are alone again.
There are often seals playing in the waves, pelicans flying low and dipping their huge pouches in the water coming up with fish and even an occasional Elk calling a mate. It is an incredible place to find solitude and solace.
Here is a gallery of this week’s posts: