In a 1986 book called The Solace of Open Spaces, Gretel Ehrlich declares,
“Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are.”
I’m lucky to live in California. The urban kingdom of LA aggressively crawls into into a steadfast competitor – ancient forces of nature. When you spend just a few hours in the realm of California’s countryside, our human structures seem so much more fragile. I got into photography because it’s a way to capture a brief moment in the present with an ancient, powerful force.
I’ve been going out on hikes ever since I can remember. There’s something formative about going on an afternoon adventure; scraping past tree branches as you ascend toward a higher elevation, leaping on boulders, maybe losing your balance and landing clumsily on your hands on the tough rock. You pass a field of wildflowers, blooming scarlet, gold, and periwinkle, early for the season. You hear some frenzied scurried – realizing it’s probably just a squirrel, but you’re always on the alert for something like coyotes or skunks.
The hours dwindle by. Hunger creeps up on you. But the brief hour of sunset to twilight is what makes the effort all worthwhile. This is when I like to take my photos. And I’m not alone; this golden hour is a popular time for photographers to capture the mystical light covering the landscape.
Their is an overwhelming peace to the wild. Some people don’t feel safe outdoors; there’s too many bugs, too much dirt, too much uncertainty. But being away from our cities and technology forces us to connect with what’s really human. After a long day’s hike, you’ve consumed all the sites and sounds of the organic world. All of these experiences existed long before our fancy luxury cars and skyscrapers. There’s no better way to truly connect with yourself than to get outside. For me, I can keep this peaceful moment by capturing it in a photograph.
Stay tuned for more photography in my next post.