A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about reflections

Post-Adventure Vacuum

A Quiet Week, Adventures on Ice, What's Next?

overcast 25 °F

I think I’m in a post adventure vacuum. I’m content to while away the hours with a book, a ukulele, a big pile of bread dough or my computer. This seems natural after five months of travel. This is my time to decompress and reflect on where I’m at and what happens next.
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I haven’t come up with anything.

I’m not about to force another trip. I’ve made that mistake before. I’m happy to wait this one out. In the past ten days, I haven’t written one word in my journal. This is rare. I don’t have anything to say right now. I’m enjoying the stillness - the quiet days of torpor.

I came “home” to get my knee looked at by a doctor. I have something called osteochondritis dessicans, which means I have some bad bone in my knee. While this explains my long-term issues I’ve had with that knee, it doesn’t explain my recent pain. After bending it all around, the doctor wasn’t able to reproduce the pain I had. Go figure. Two days later, it was aching again. I’m not sure if I should bring it in or not.

Eagle River

I went to my family’s vacation home yesterday to get some fresh air and get out of the house. The sun doesn’t rise very high in the sky in January; the low light cast long blue shadows across the white snow. It’s been a weird year here in Michigan. It hasn’t snowed much at all. There have been times when I’ve had to strap on snowshoes to get to where I was standing in shallow boots.

The property runs along a small section of the Eagle River. I walked across the snowy lot, eventually making my way to the river. I always find myself by the river. The river is cold, smothered in ice and shadow. The ice was clear in places and I was able to see that it was about four inches thick. In other areas, the ice was frosty or covered with snow. I gingerly tested its strength, and found it held my weight just fine.

I love the chuckling sounds of a healthy river. In winter, the melody of the river changes as the ice muffles the pitch. It’s a beautiful sound. I hunkered down next to set of rapids to watch air bubbles slip along the underside of the ice before surfacing at the next air pocket. This was a treat for the senses, and soon I was lost in the moment.

Ice
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There were little air vents in the ice. The ice that formed around the vent was like a ring of polished white diamonds.
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Investigating further, I found old coyote prints frozen into the surface of the river and filled with snow. I tried several angles, but I couldn’t find a composition that worked for them. I once attended a lecture by National Geographic Photographer Jay Dickman. He said to us, "Sometimes our goal as a photographer is to make the best photograph we can given the conditions." I like that. There are times when there isn't much to shoot. Do the best you can with what you have available.
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When I arose from the prints, I took a step backward. I heard the unmistakable “CRACK” of ice. A small shot of adrenaline coursed through me. I’ll never forget that sound. The first time I heard that sound, I fell through a crack in the ice shelf on Lake Superior. I was able to catch myself with my arms, but my feet were dangling just above the water. I moved fast, hauling myself out of the crack before I fell in the water.

This episode wasn’t nearly so interesting, but I moved slowly back towards shallow water all the same.

I ended my afternoon by sitting in the warm sun and having lunch. I ate a Cornish pasty, sipped a good beer, and read my book for an hour. This was time well spent.

The camp (as we call it) has always carried this good vibe. While I still don’t have any ambitions with my life right now, I know I’m in a good place. As Watts would say, “Murky water becomes clear, only when left alone.”

For now, I’ll continue working on my baking skills, jamming on my new ukulele, and hanging with my people. It might be a good time to finally look into my own photographic website. Let me know if you have any ideas...

The Ghost
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One morning I walked down the stairs and saw this beautiful light coming through the stained glass window. I liked the scene, and decided to see what I could do with it. It turned out to be perfect light for ghost images.

Have no fear. I only haunt good hamburger joints, friendly pubs, libraries, hostels, and of course, my brothers staircase.

Have a good week!

Posted by Rhombus 17:50 Archived in USA Tagged snow winter rivers reflections ice photography michigan philosophy Comments (2)

British Columbia by Water

An Ethereal Study of Reflection, Ocean Life and Fun

sunny 67 °F

These are my final observations of Alaska for the year.

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One: The Misty Fjords weren’t as misty as I expected them to be. To be sure, the morning was very misty, and very beautiful because of the vaporous water. Later in the day, they burned off, revealing the impressive rock faces that make up the landscape.
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Sometimes, incredible weather can happen in the most unlikely of places.

Two: Alaska was very good to me this year. Thinking back on all of the amazing things I have seen this past summer has been further encouragement, that I am indeed on the right path. Aye, life is good.

Three: I’m going to miss Alaska.
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Four: It’s been a fantastic trip. How lucky can one guy get?

These are my observations of British Columbia.

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One: British Columbia has amazing morning lighting, leading me to conclude it is an ethereal realm where the intense greens were mirrors on the surface of its protected narrow and winding waterways. Eventually, the mirrored images begin to form unique natural designs, and patterns. I was lost in brightness of the trees, the beautiful patterns repeating themselves, and the overall beauty of the mornings.
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Two: Kayaking is splendid activity to enhance the visuals of item one. I spent a morning floating on a placid surface, paddling hard when I wanted, but mostly taking it easy and exploring the intertidal zones along the shores of these lushly forested islands. I saw gigantic sea stars, and other invertebrates I hadn’t seen before. B.C. is a healthy place, the environments and ecosystems are strong, and flourishing.
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Three: The wildlife of British Columbia can be quite good. I saw pods of Orca, including a mother and calf pair that played in the tidal current lines just aft of our ship, not more than thirty feet away. We were out of gear of course and posing no threat to any wildlife. To find yourself surrounded by water mammals is a good situation to be in.
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To top it off, we found a pod of Pacific White Sided dolphins! There were several hundred in the group, and most of them were jumping in and out of the water with dolphin regularity. It’s hard to follow dolphins as they streak through the water. They are unpredictable. The best course of action is just to trust your instincts and keep shooting. For every fifteen bad pictures I take, there is usually one gem.
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The dolphins made my day. Just when you think there won’t be anything else to make a trip better, dolphins show up and spread that smile on my face just a little wider.
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Four: British Columbia has a lot to offer. Go check it out sometime. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
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I'm now back in the Lower Forty-Eight, about to spend six weeks travelling up and down the Columbia, Snake, Palouse, and Willamette Rivers.
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Posted by Rhombus 10:21 Archived in Canada Tagged trees reflections wildlife whales alaska canada dolphins photography orcas Comments (2)

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