Tomorrow I take off for Ecuador! Unlike most trips I’ll be leaving my laptop and most of my camera gear behind. It’s kind of exciting to be going pseudo “off grid” for a while. For camera gear, I’m packing my 5D Mark II with my new tiny 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens, a spare battery and charger, plus 31GB of memory, my travel tripod and ballhead, and that’s it. I’ll have my iPhone too, so will be sure to share my adventure via Tweets and mobile snapshots on Instagram, but I won’t have a computer to post DSLR images to or write long emails from. Even with all of the mountaineering and climbing equipment I’m bringing along, it still feels like I’m packing light, at least in terms of technology. I’m already looking forward to going through security without having to take out my laptop and not having to wrestle my Kiboko bag filled with 30+ pounds of camera gear into the bathroom stall with me at the airport or heave it into the overhead compartment on the airplane. Yay for adventures!
This is a minimalist’s pack. If that’s a problem for you, get over it. You’ll love this pack anyway.
I’m a photographer, backpacker, naturalist, guide, and overall adventure enthusiast. I’m not a gear junkie, but I like good gear, and if I can’t find a use for something, it doesn’t get used, end of story. I’ve tried and tested enough packs to know which ones I like and which I’m happy to give back or retire to my closet until I can hand them off to a new owner. There are a treasured few I keep, and the Brooklyn Outfitters Wolfjaw 16L is going to be one of them.
To be honest, I didn’t really need another pack when my BKO Wolfjaw arrived in the mail, but I was excited to test it out just the same. I finally got a chance to do so a few days ago and after putting the bag through the paces in one of my favorite outdoor playgrounds, New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, I can say this pack is here to stay.
Straight out of the box this pack is, dare I say it, pretty. The craftsmanship is top notch; the pack is simply designed, but expertly constructed, and the materials look as if they are built to last. Unlike many lightweight bags made of thin and fragile materials, this one seems durable enough to withstand some serious bushwhacking, rock scrambling, and other less tame pursuits unscathed. Since all of Brooklyn Outfitters’ packs and gear come with a lifetime guarantee, I suppose it doesn’t matter if the pack survives all the torture I’m bound to put in through, but it’s nice to know that a company stands behind its products, and I can rest assured that this pack won’t fail on me in the middle of a summit attempt or halfway through a tough day of hiking.
The Wolfjaw comes in two colors and one color scheme; black with red accents or red with black accents. My bag is “Midnight Black” and the bit of red on it gives it just enough pizazz to make me feel hip wearing it. I know that sounds pretty shallow, but when you are in the woods, sweating, swatting flies, and stinking like a horse’s rear end, anything that makes you feel less uncivilized is welcome. The black does blend in way more than red, so if you aren’t worried about misplacing your pack in the trunk of your car or tucked away in the woods, and want something discreet but still stylish, go with black. The red color on the other hand, is super flashy. It looks awesome in photographs, stands out against just about any landscape, wilderness or urban, and won’t get so easily lost when you place it down to use nature’s facilities. Wearing it, you will also look like you are ready to rescue your fellow adventurers and provide medical assistance at any time; the color is called “Ski Patrol Red” for a reason. Fortunately, the black accents keep the bag from being obnoxious and instead, make it the perfect accessory for completing that “bomber in the backcountry” look of all those attractive and fit hikers you see gracing the cover of Backpacker magazine.
As handsome as the Wolfjaw is, looks would mean nothing if this pack didn’t perform and it does. My first test of the Wolfjaw was on a short hike up East Rattlesnake Mountain, which overlooks Squam Lake in New Hampshire. I had hiked the trail up once before, and knew the view at the top was impressive, so I loaded my pack up with some camera gear, a DSLR and two lenses plus filters, extra memory, and a spare battery, a rain jacket, map, and headlamp, my iPhone and sunglasses, and my tripod. Because the pack is a simple by design, there aren’t a ton of places to put so much gear, but I found it easy to place my smaller items (map, phone, headlamp, and sunglasses) in the zippered outer pocket, and stuff my extra camera equipment in a Clik Elite Camera Capsule zippered pouch inside the main compartment along with my rain jacket. I used the compression straps on the outside of the pack to attach my tripod, and carried my camera with one lens attached on a neck strap slung over my head and one shoulder, and my water bottle in hand.
The compression straps on this pack are really well designed and work exactly like compression straps should. Because they wrap all the way around the pack, they actually compress the bag evenly when tightened, and its possible to carry a load hug snug against your body, for maximum balance and comfort. On many bags, I’ve found the compression straps only tighten the sides of the bag, as opposed to the entire girth of the bag, and I think the method that BKO uses on the Wolfjaw is far superior.
The bag also has an extensive daisy chain of webbing running the length of it, punctuated by a single ice axe loop at the bottom. The daisy chain provides a number of attachment points for extra gear, so you have options, even with the bag’s minimalist design. I didn’t have to use any on my hike up the Rattlesnakes, but I could see myself clipping on rope, climbing shoes, or any number of other accessories onto this pack in future use.
The hike up East Rattlesnake is only about 0.7 miles from the trailhead up to the overlook, but the trail gains about 700 feet in that short time, traversing a number of switchbacks. The mosquitoes were out in droves, and they magnified in intensity any time I stopped, so I beelined it to the overlook quickly, burning through some calories on the way up. The Wolfjaw handled beautifully. It hugged my body without feeling too tight, and perhaps because of the frameless design, I had less problems with my shirt riding up in the back than I do with other compact daypacks. There is some padding on the back on the Wolfjaw, but nothing designed to aid ventilation, yet I found my back to be no more sweaty than with any other pack.
Lightly padded shoulder straps, with webbing for attaching accessories, balance the weight of the pack’s contents easily. A sternum strap and waist strap, each made of webbing with a sturdy no-slip buckle, hold the bag securely to the body. A loop at the top of the pack makes it easy to hang, and the roll top closure provides secure protection with easy access to the bag’s contents.
The Wolfjaw does have a hydration sleeve, which I could have used instead of carrying a water bottle. I forgot to pack a bladder though, and upon investigating the bag, I can’t figure out where the hose is supposed to exit the pack. Because the Wolfjaw has a roll-top closure, like a dry bag, feeding the hose up through the top of the bag does not seem practical, but neither does cutting a port for it in the side of this water resistant bag design. There is also a little clip inside the bag above the zippered pocket where the hydration sleeve is, and I have no idea what this is for. If I had to pick one thing to complain about in regards to the Wolfjaw, it would be this whole hydration sleeve system thing. Mostly, because I’m sure it makes sense to the guys who designed it, but I don’t get it!
The top of this part of the bag also felt stiff on the back of my neck, but only when I first put it on, and only for the first time I wore it each day. Within a minute of having the bag on, I couldn’t detect the stiffness at all, and the bag felt super comfy.
Once I reached the overlook, I started snapping photos almost immediately, first with my camera, then with my phone, then with my camera again. I also grabbed my rain jacket out of the bag and put it on, despite the fact that I was warm, because the constant assault from the biting mosquitoes was a bit more than I could bear at the moment. After resting at the overlook for a bit, I decided I had enough time to try for the adjacent peak, West Rattlesnake, and still make it back in time to the East Rattlesnake overlook in time for sunset in case the views over there weren’t as good.
The Wolfjaw is made of a durable, lightweight, water resistant Cordura material. It means water doesn’t get in very easily, but it also doesn’t get out easily either, a thought that occurred to me when I put my now sweaty rain jacket back in its place inside the pack. Overall though, I think the extra protection the material provides makes me feel more comfortable using this pack in challenging weather conditions than some of my more breathable bags.
As I scrambled over to West Rattlesnake, I found myself thinking, “Wow, I really like this pack.” Usually, I avoid frameless packs whenever carrying camera gear because I find them uncomfortable with camera equipment, but the Wolfjaw changed this for me. It felt light and moved with me, and carried all my necessary gear (probably about 15 lbs in total) easily and comfortably. I enjoyed the freedom of not feeling weighed down, something I love when I hike without a pack at all, while still being able to shoot, something I often miss when I go camera less into the backcountry. Now, I can have the best of both worlds.
The 0.8 miles between East and West Rattlesnake went quickly, and when I reached the overlook on the western mountain, I was instantly glad I decided to push further. The view was outstanding, and from a photographic standpoint, almost overwhelming. So many viewpoints, with rock faces, gnarled and twisted pine trees, and stunted shrubs, all overlooking beautiful Squam Lake, surrounded by mountains and dotted with islands rising from the water, created opportunities for multiple compositions, and I bounced back and forth on the mountain, leaping up and down boulders, and winding my way in and out of paths, shooting multiple angles. The pack’s compact design forced me to stay very organized, and made going from one location to another easy. I liked it so much I even bothered to snap a few shots of my new pack enjoying the view.
After the sun settled behind the mountains, I began my trip back to my camp in the fading light. The mosquitoes had stopped biting and the hike back was pleasant. Despite the late hour and having a few miles already under my feet, I felt alive with the energy and excitement of my amazing sunset hike with an awesome new pack.
For the hiker who wants to carry just what they need and nothing more, the Wolfjaw 16L is the perfect companion. All too many people often venture out into unfamiliar territory poorly prepared, so the Wolfjaw’s simplistic design is perfect for those who would prefer to be carrying nothing at all. There is more than enough space inside for rain gear, safety equipment, food and water, and the bag’s lightweight, comfortable design makes it seem as if you are hardly carrying anything at all.
Purists too, will appreciate the pack’s no-frills design and excellent quality. It doesn’t have anything it doesn’t need (except for maybe that pesky inner clip near the hydration sleeve) and it really doesn’t need anything it doesn’t have. One small change I’d like to see considered on future iterations of the pack is an integrated whistle in the pack’s sternum strap buckle. Ultralight and minimalist hikers love gear that is multipurpose, and adding a built-in whistle to a buckle that already exists will ensure that those going light don’t skimp on safety.
I’m already looking forward to my next adventure with this pack, which is conveniently, tomorrow. The Wolfjaw and I will be trekking up the Hancocks with my friend Brett who is more than halfway towards conquering all forty-eight 4000+ foot peaks in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. He’s also a blogger, naturalist, biologist, and serious outdoor enthusiast, so my original plan was to have him test out the pack for a second opinion. However, I like the Wolfjaw so much, I might have to reconsider and keep it all to myself!
To learn more about Brooklyn Outfitters and to purchase the Wolfjaw pack, visit their website at www.brooklynoutfitters.com. Brooklyn Outfitters offers guided outdoor trips to various destinations throughout the northeast, catering to the weekend warriors of New York City. They also sell 100% USA made, hand-sewn packs, such as the Wolfjaw 16L and its bigger sibling, the Wolfjaw 34L.
Also, check out The New England Nature Blog, where Brett writes about, you guessed it, the nature, ecology, and wild places of New England. His writing is really fun, and I always learn something new when I visit, so be sure to stop by.
For me slowing down is hard. My mind wanders constantly. No matter where I am, I am always wondering, what’s next? What am I going to do with my life? What is my purpose?
I complete my Master’s degree, and instead of celebrating, rejoicing, or just feeling proud, even for one minute, I found myself thinking, “Now what?”
Fortunately, what was next – after my commencement ceremony, after the potluck picnic in the park where I saw at least a few dozen friends for what will probably be the last time ever, and after my mom and friend Molly returned home to New Jersey and Pennsylvania respectively, and my roommates Mike and Hillary headed to Rhode Island for the summer – was a trip to Baltimore, where one of my best friends, Tzvi, was waiting for me in the airport with a hug.
And then followed 10 days in West Virginia, one of my favorite states, with a small group of amazingly bright and inspiring students from Johns Hopkins University. This is the third year I’ve led an outdoor instructor training trip for Hopkins students, and its one of my favorite trips. I was also expecting this one to be my last.
Happiness for me is a mountaintop with a scenic view of the valley below. The smell of azaleas and wildflowers on the wind. The red sun bowing below the horizon, bidding farewell to day.
More than that, it’s sharing experiences such as these with others. It’s sharing myself with others. It’s being me, all flawed and full of love and hope and with a hamster on a treadmill in my head.
Sometimes I just need a reminder.
Sometimes I just need a breath of fresh air. No Facebook or internet or email. Just good company. Laughter. Nature. And that feeling of holding on just long enough to fall in love and then let go. And know that even though everything doesn’t feel ok, it is ok.
And it will be ok.
Happiness is a day in the woods. Or a week.
There is a great quote from Calvin & Hobbes. It goes “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”
At the end of a stint of traveling, the best way to feel is sad to leave but happy to go home, I think. That is how I feel about leaving Costa Rica. This is a lovely country, with wonderful people, incredible biodiversity, and amazing beauty, and I hope to return sometime in the near future.
Long time no write, but I’ve been having too much fun (and staying quite busy) in Costa Rica! I’m here with classmates from Antioch University New England for a graduate level Tropical Ecology and Conservation field studies class, and our time here has been absolutely AMAZING. I love Costa Rica!
We’ve been here for just over a week where we have been mostly studying and learning about the cloud forests up near Monteverde. For the most part, we’ve been parked at La Calandria Field Station near Santa Elena and spent time in Monteverde and at the Monteverde Institute, but we also spent some time in San Gerardo while visiting Bosque Eterno de los Ninos, or the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, on the Carribean slope. We’ve caught frogs and bats, had fresh organic coffee straight off the plantation, spied Three-wattled Bellbirds, Resplendent Quetzals and Keel-billed Toucans, done tree sapling data collection, met baby sloths, and shopped in downtown Santa Elena, and all of it has been wonderful. Photography has been difficult – it always is in non-photography oriented group situations – but I’ve been learning and experiencing so much that it would be foolish to complain. I’m just happy to be here, in this amazing and beautiful place.
Tomorrow we leave the rain forests and head down to the Nicoya Peninsula to study tropical dry forests, mangroves, and coastal ecosystems. I’m excited for our new adventure but sad to leave La Calandria, as it now almost feels like home.
My short time in Haiti is up, and in just a few hours I’ll be boarding a plane to Newark. I’m eager to get back to the states and the comforts of home, despite having a great time in Haiti.
There are so many photos and stories to tell, but I’m quite tired so they’ll have to wait. I have quite a bit of work to catch up on when I get home, but hopefully I’ll have time to process and post photos from Haiti before I leave for Costa Rica next month.
See you soon, America!
PS: You’ll be glad to know my stomach bug lasted only about 36 hours and I’m feeling back to my normal self again. I’m not even sure what the cause was (it could have been the water or something I ate), but I’m sure glad I’m feeling better for my return flights home!
Well, I’ve arrived. This novice world traveler departing from New England has successfully endured her first half day of 90 degree temperatures while navigating through Haitian customs at Port-au-Prince and has settled into the Kinam Hotel for the night.
Wow. Haiti is so… different. Different and beautiful. Haiti is one of those places that conjures up so many questions; as an outsider, I know I have so much to learn. It seems that everything here has a story – every person, every piece of artwork, every store and yard of rubbish and building and stray dog. It’s incredibly humbling.
Anyway, this is a short post, as there is much work to do and long days ahead. Just wanted to check in and tell you all that I’m alive and well. Internet (and even electricity) here is a luxury, so I thought I might as well take advantage of it when I can!
A friend of mine from Antioch, John Dunham, just so happens to be an alumni of nearby Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont, and still volunteers for the college to lead caving trips to caves throughout the northeast. I had never been caving before, but thought it sounded like fun, so I joined John and a group of six students from Marlboro College to explore Clarksville Cave near Albany, New York.
Caving is a pretty sweet way to explore a side of Mother Nature that few people experience. We crawled through tiny passages, on hands, knees, and bellies, getting covered in wet clay and trying to avoid the pools of water that had gathered in the gullies beneath the surface. We wedged ourselves into crevices that seemed impossibly narrow, and shimmied ourselves through tight spaces between rocks. I felt my limbs twisting awkwardly at weird angles, my muscles struggling to pull and push my body through the most absurd spaces. Sometimes the cave opened up into small “rooms” rarely big enough to stand in, and in one section, we waded through a cold and shallow river of rushing water in a spacious underground tunnel that reminded me of something out of an Indiana Jones movie.
At one point, while standing in the underground river, we stopped to turn off our headlamps and experienced the darkest of dark. The blackness surrounded us so completely, it was impossible to see anything, and I even was able to brush my eyelashes with the tips of my finger and still see nothing at all, not even the faintest shadow or outline of my hand.
The girls started to sing – I’m not sure what exactly, but they sang in-the-round and their lovely voices filled the cave with the sweet sound of music. Eventually, the song they had chosen to perform came to an end, and their voices faded out, two by two, gently and beautifully, until the only sound in the cave was the loud rushing of the water around us. We stood in silence and total darkness for a bit longer, then switched our lights back on and continued our exploration of the underground world. I could never ask for a moment like that to happen, but when it does, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.
When I climbed up out of the cave to grab lunch on the surface, I felt like a groundhog on Groundhog’s Day. According to my calculations, we have six more weeks of winter. Funny when you consider that we’ve hardly had a real winter at all this year!
At the end of the day, I felt like I had been beaten up. I could feel bruises already forming and my muscles were fatigued. I was dirty and tired, wet and cold. My joints ached a little, and I had the distinct feeling that Mother Nature and I had an interesting relationship. I loved the feeling of her abuse, but realized that, unlike unhealthy relationships between people, the challenges she put before me only heightened the rewards she dished out. The thrill I get from being outside in and nature makes the soreness I feel afterward more than worthwhile. I thrive on the adrenaline and endorphin kick I get from physical exertion, and I love nature; put the two together and you end up with one happy Kari.
Nature is therapy to me, and sometimes, I suppose therapy is painful. Therapy forces us to examine our real selves, to dig deep inside and push beyond the barriers that are in our way. Emotional walls or physical ones made of rock and earth, we can gain a lot by conquering them and exploring beyond that which is known. The journeys are not always easy, but they make us stronger, and we are better for them. Perhaps that is why I do some of those “crazy” things others wouldn’t dare to do, like biking across the United States or climbing Mount Washington in the winter.
I’m lucky in that I have a lot of adventures. Freedom of spirit is a lifestyle choice I made subconciously some years ago, and one I continue to reaffirm every so often, when my restless nature tempts me to defy conventional wisdom and hit the road, or as is more often the case, the trail. I work for a bit, save for a bit, stress for a bit, and then escape to the wilderness in seek of respite from it all.
A few weeks ago, I had agreed to partake in a trip planned by an outdoor adventure company co-owned by two photographer friends of mine. Brooklyn Outfitters was leading its first ever guided winter hike up Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in the northeast and home of the World’s Worst Weather, a title it earned in 1938 when 231 mph winds gusted over the summit.
I packed my bags, debating which camera to bring. Did I want to be able to capture the highest quality images of the trip, or did I want to just make it up the Grand Lady and back down in one piece? From the summit of Mount Washington, the view is strikingly beautiful as one overlooks the entire Presidential Range of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The hike up travels 4,250 vertical feet over rocky terrain left by glaciers with natural gardens of alpine plants and stunted trees, all of which would be coated in thick layers of rime ice and windswept snow.
There was, of course, no guarentee we would even make it to the summit. Mount Washington has claimed over a hundred human lives, and conditions on the mountain can and do change rapidly. Even a good day can turn into a nightmare on the mountain. Smart hikers who don’t die know when to turn around. The adventure I was about to go on was not for the faint of heart. Undoubtably, it would be one worth remembering.
I finally opted to leave my 5D Mark II and wide angle lens in the car, and decided to carry my much lighter Panasonic GF-1 instead.
The first two miles to Mount Washington are relatively easy, on a broad path through the trees. After this the trail splits, and winter hikers going up the mountain turn onto Lion’s Head, heading up one of the steepest trails to the summit. As we scrambled towards treeline, the views began to open up into something incredible. The cold began to sink in faster. The wind picked up. We had to cover every part of our bodies to prevent frostbite. Head to toe, nothing was exposed, not even the skin on our faces.
The snow glistened and gleamed in the sunshine. Clear days on Mount Washington are not common, but they are beautiful when they do happen and visibility was incredible. Shrouds of white snow picked up by a steady wind streamed over the surrounding ridges like waves rippling over rocks in a stream. The blue blue sky greeted the white snow in perfect harmony where the mountainside hit the horizon. Miniature sculptures of slanted icicles, blown horizontal by the wind, rose from the landscape in crystalline beauty.
It was all mine and just what I needed.
Climbing Mount Washington in the winter is something I’ve dreamed of doing since my first visit to New Hampshire in February 2009. Then, I had snowshoed up a path just east of Pinkham Notch, the Appalachian Mountain Club Visitor’s Center that serves as the hub for folks ascending Washington. It was my first real winter hiking experience, and a bird and nature enthusiast old enough to be my father acted as my guide. The weather was fairly mild and we stayed well below treeline, but the hike was much tougher for me than my seasoned leader. It was then that I learned that people hiked up Mount Washington in winter (was that even possible?) using ice axes and crampons and other mountaineering necessities. It sounded brutal. It sounded awesome. Then and there I made up my mind to try it one day.
Then there was the rest of my life. The blur of grad school. The ever growing pile of work to be done, bills to be paid, and my shapeless future. I’m one of those people that needs a healthy dose of nature, otherwise I freak. I was in the midst of one of my “I don’t feel too good about anything” spells, and freaking was in progress.
Therefore, I decided on therapy in the form of a terrible mountain in the harshest of conditions. She challenged me. On the steep parts, my legs grew tired with extertion, but not with the weight of the world. My throat begged for water. I feared removing my balaclava to drink so I stayed thirsty, but only for water, not for joy. My progress was slow – I have short legs and going uphill is never as efficient for me as it is for some – but steady, and I knew I had it in me. I climbed and kept climbing.
I was determined to make it to the summit. Summitting was more important than pictures to me. I’d take some on the way down if I felt like it.
But I didn’t really feel like it.
My GF-1 was in the brain of my pack and easy to get to. I had on Smartwool liner gloves that would spare my fingers from numbness for a few frames, even in the bitter cold, and I wasn’t even that cold. I had prepared well, and the intense physical effort was keeping me comfortably warm. I was rather enjoying myself.
The primary reason I take photos is because I like to share my experiences and the beauty of nature with others. I like to capture those special moments and special places that I come across on my adventures – be they big ones or small ones – and show them to other people that couldn’t be there with me at the time. Photography is how I connect my life to the lives of others; it is an integral part of my identity.
This I didn’t feel like sharing.
My journey up Mount Washington was in some way private. It was intensely personal. It was me against my self-destructive psyche, against the part of me that was hungry and tired, against my imperfect and out of shape body and my uncertain future. Mount Washington and Old Man Winter were challenging me, not my friends at home or strangers browsing my website. Mother Nature was daring me to fail, not others.
There wasn’t any place else in the world I would rather have been than in those moments as they happened on the mountain. I decided all I wanted from those moments was to experience them, to be fully present. I wanted to live in each moment as completely as possible. I find it easy to get wrapped up in taking photos sometimes. Sometimes photography is a distraction.
Memories are sometimes the most beautiful thing we have. Photographs can capture memories, true, but they can taint them too, because photographs don’t adequately capture a complete experience. Events are experienced through multiple senses simulataneously; they are not two dimensional. Also, our memories aren’t perfect reflections of reality. They have emotions attached to them, and everything we see, hear, smell, and experience is colored by the flavor of our hearts and souls.
In reality, photographs are sorry excuses for memories of experiences. The photographs I would have taken on Mount Washington would only have captured a fraction of what I saw, a small detail of the whole experience, and not with the richness that it deserved.
For example, no photograph can capture the way your nose feels when the hairs inside your nostrils freeze. If you like the cold, like me, it makes you feel alive. Frozen nostril hairs are the sign of impending adventure; I’ve never had frozen nostril hairs and not had a good time.
I don’t remember everything about the trip. I’d like to say that if I close my eyes, I can go back to the mountain but I can’t. The experience came and went, and in my memory some of the details are fuzzy and some are clear as day. A few visuals stick out in my head, like the look of the observatory encapsuled in rime ice, or the alpine garden bent over with the weight of snow and pressure of surviving in one of the harshest environments on earth.
I can hear the squeaky crunch of an ice axe and crampons on frozen snow. That sound is the most distinctive thing I remember of the whole trip, and as I was climbing, as I was using my axe, I was very conscious of the sound, how new it was to me, how I couldn’t quite describe it in words. That stays with me.
The rest, I forget. The memories come and go, washing over me like waves of snow blowing over the mountains.
There are photos from the trip. Brooklyn Outfitters takes photos on every trip, and the guides are often pretty good photographers, as was the case on this adventure. Thanks to them, for the first time in a long time I have photos with me in them doing something cool.
Do I regret not taking my own photos? No. I’ll go back. I’ll climb the beast again. I’ll take photos when it strikes me to do so. But I refuse to be married to my camera and divorced from the world I live in and the entirety of the experiences around me.
How many times do wonderful things happen to us and we think, darn, I wish I had my camera? As photographers, we want to capture the things that happen around us. But it’s important to remember than even the best photographs cannot capture what happens to us.
And what happens to us shapes who we are.
And who we are is more important than the images we take.
When I came home from my Mount Washington adventure, I didn’t have a single photo to share with a soul. My friends, roommates, and fellow photographers were shocked, after all, photography has often been the reason I get out to see and experience all that I have. Yet, I know I made the right choice because my spirit is restored, and I feel whole again.