Alpine lakes are my favorite bodies of water. They're usually cold enough people don't disturb the peace by splashing around. I wasn't able to sit at this one for hours, like I usually would, but I made sure to save the spot so I can return. Phone screens don't quite do any of these images justice.
New Zealand has one of the most organized parks departments in the world, and that means that visitors and residents alike have the ability to camp responsibly at pristine beaches like this one. As a foreigner, I felt conflicted every single day about the impact my presence had on the environment, even as I religiously practiced leave no trace principles (as I always do). I thoroughly enjoyed my trip, but almost wish there had been more friction in place to limit the massive number of people who visit the islands every year - most recent count is around 4 million people a year, about the same as the population of the country. Regardless, my heart was full when I captured this image, sitting on the beach, in peace, with bird song and a million sandflies keeping me company.
Everything about my time in Milford Fjord was perfect. (You may know if it as Milford Sound, but the name isn't accurate, so I'm going with Fjord😂) It rained for two days straight, and even up until about 20 minutes before I got on the water. When the sun finally came out it was hard to believe what I was looking at - from the vertical rainforests on the mountain sides to the saltwater/freshwater layers that created turquoise ripples. This though, what you're looking at, was the most magical. When I asked whether I was actually seeing a river coming down from the glacier above, my nature guide said yes, and that wasn't it. There's only one other place in the world where the following phenomenon exists: a glacier sits above a rainforest whose rainfall mixes with seasonal glacial melt which then feeds a river that empties into a fjord layered with fresh and saltwater from the ocean situated meters away. It's kind of absurd, actually - and perfectly NZ. I captured a few shots of the river's mouth straight on, but really enjoyed this vantage point because the ginormous (that's the technical term, right?) glacier/mountain/rainforest made the vessel look like a toy boat.
Scale was *really* difficult to capture during this trip. I shoot wide pretty often, so instead, pulled out my telephoto lens for this image and just filled the viewfinder. Aoraki on a clear day was unbelievable.
The Aoraki Mackenzie area is one of only 12 IDA Dark Sky Reserves in the world. 12, in the world. My time out under the night sky here a few days ago was incredible. I captured this shot moments after astronomical twilight began. What a way to jump back in to this craft that I love.
My favorite time to edit photos is the morning after a shoot, usually in my freezing car, with a cup of tea I’ve just made. Because my “process” takes about 30 seconds per image (I pretty much just remove aberrations, adjust highlights/white balance, crop, then export into a jpg), I’m able to wrap things up pretty quickly then be on my way. I haven’t been on the road in a while (gearing up for a pretty big trip at the end of the month) and so it’s been a little less fun reviewing and editing older images, but this one from my most recent trip to Yosemite brought a smile to my face. The car driving down miles away from where I was created a streak of fire that cut across the bottom fourth of this image in a way I might not have appreciated during a quicker (sleepier) edit.
When you hear your whole life that you're strong it's difficult to think of yourself any other way, or to ask for help when you don't feel like superwoman or even averagewoman. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer the summer before my senior year of high school, things started changing for me, but not in a way most people could see. I had one of my best trimesters that fall, writing my entire senior thesis in a matter of weeks (I got an A on it), applying to colleges without any major issues, and generally being the same snarky but happy friend and classmate I'd always been. My sophomore year at Yale, the chemo and radiation treatments my mom was taking really took a physical toll. She lost her beautiful head of hair, hair that I still remember the smell and feel of, and I started losing it, but subtly. I'd always slept (in my mom's words) "like a log," but suddenly was going to bed later and later and waking up knowing I hadn't rested much. Sophomore spring when she died, I probably slept a few hours a week, but because of Yale's leave of absence policy I had to continue taking all of my classes (while flying down to NC often) if I didn't "want" to take a full year off. Yale, one of the oldest and best resourced schools in the country, had no process for short term grief or mental health absences other than forcing students to take a full year away from campus (I hope that has changed, but this happened in 2013 so 🤷🏾♀️). Through all of this I kept on hearing about how "strong" I was. More than a few times I wanted to tell friends I actually wasn't (but never did), that I slept on my couch in front of the TV most nights because whenever I was in bed I couldn't sleep without nightmares that kept me from full sleep cycles. I knew I had pretty serious depression brought on by grief, in addition to my sleep issues, but I didn't see a therapist until well after graduation (and not really until a few months ago). I feel fine sharing this because I've seen a number of people I deeply respect sharing their own mental health stories today. I'm still not sleeping normally, in fact, I spent the last two nights on my couch with all the lights on.