North Carolina Bound

I have not taken a vacation, a real vacation in more than a dozen years.  I carry a pretty heavy schedule majority of the time due to working a full time job and photographing events and concerts thought out the year.  But this year I decided I needed a break, a long two week break in the mountains of North Carolina.  My best friend of almost fifty years lives in a little town called Concord.  So on October 15 I boarded flight 818 and headed north. IMG_1422

It was a very short flight; less than an hour and a half and was uneventful.  We landed on and I made my way across the tarmac to my waiting friend.  I should mention that she too is a Debbie.  When I got off the plane the temperature was cooler, but still warm, however I was in for a surprise.

On Tuesday we took off on a road trip up through the Pisgah National Forest and up through the mountains searching for some color and some waterfalls.  The color was missing from this scenario as North Carolina had longer than normal summer temperatures which was keeping the leaves from changing.  Not to mention two hurricane’s had passed through the area.

Our first stop was a little diner where I enjoyed a nice plate of NC style BBQ, one word; Yum!  Our adventure continued as we drove through the mountains of the Pisgah National Forest and the weather took a turn and it started to rain.  This did not stop our trekking the beaten path to find a waterfall; not only did I find one, but a covered bridge too!  Giant score for me photographically speaking.  The rain was coming down pretty steady but my excitement built as I heard the sound of rushing water and once we arrived the sound became deafening, but in such a wonderful restorative way.IMG_1373North Carolina-3

This next week we stayed close to home and I was able to photograph some local birds and experience a change in temperature.  Then on Saturday our other best friend flew in so we made another road trip into Charlotte to pick her up. Did I mention she too is a Debbie? (North Carolina will never be the same).

 

That weekend we invited a few friends who live in the area over for a gathering, it was great to see them and to meet their families.  So much love in one place……incredible.

On Monday October 22 we three Debbie’s took off on a road trip once again.  We drove up through the Blue Ridge Parkway and I was able to find more color, the temperature had dropped from the upper 70’s to the mid 30’s and settled around 45 degrees.  For this Florida girl it was cold, but the crisp air, sharing time with my best friends and just enjoying the ride and the color seeping through the trees was something I can’t explain in words, only heart can.  We drove up to about 5000 feet, found a lovely little restaunt to have lunch  and then off to find Linville Falls.  We didn’t hike to the top, but I was happy with what we found.  Continuing our drive we found icicles popping out of the side of a mountain.  So we pulled in to a parking area and I hiked back to the area where water was seeping out of the rocks.  My lungs were screaming with the thinner and colder 37 degree air, but it was so beautiful.

I needed this time away, I needed to do some life reflection and to be with my girls who know me so well.  I have not laughed or loved like this in a very long time.  They are amazing; we are amazing to have had this friendship of 50 years that is so deep and unshakeable. The T-shirts Debbie brought us says it all the back has the three D’s and it says “True Friendship Grows Forever”.

I love these girls so much and I was sad to depart.  I will be back…..again.

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Time Off

Autumn through Spring has me hopping when it comes to photography work.  Lots of concerts keep me from having very much free time and when I get any, it’s only for a few hours at most.  I do a lot of traveling and with editing my personal time is at a premium.

The past few weeks I have had completely free weekends and I took advantage and went camping.

My first adventure was over Mother’s Day weekend where I spent a lot of time with my youngest son Tommy Owen  at Trail Lakes Campground where I stayed in one of the wonderful cabins.We took an adventure and walked through an area where no one really goes.  It was around a lake that was full of alligators and nesting Green-back Herons.  Sometimes we didn’t really have a path to follow, we just allowed the lake bank to guide us.

 

 

We finished the day with dinner then off to Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk to attempt some night photography.

Mother's Day Weekend-49
The streak is an airplane

This past weekend I went camping at Myakka River State Park, it’s been a few years since I have been there and I made sure to secure my favorite spot.  The first evening was beautiful and I did a lot of shooting.

 

Saturday I went to The Ringling Museum for the morning and afternoon.

 

Upon returning to my campsite a heavy rainstorm ensued.  The rain continued all through the night and into the early morning.  I ended up leaving a little early because of the rain.  It was still a great weekend to be away enjoying the natural environment.

This weekend will be back to my concert shooting, so watch my Facebook page for some upcoming photos.  Until next time, from behind the lens.

The Get-Away

Oftentimes we think of a get-away as going off to some exotic destination, but for me it’s time spent alone and/or with family. Some often ask me if they can come along, but I am hesitant for several reasons; I’m on a structured day to day routine with work and any photography I may have after work or any edits, so my personal time is extremely valuable. I really don’t want to be anyone’s entertainment for an entire weekend. I also crave that alone me time, to sit and do nothing, take a nap or go on a drive or hike and not feel responsible for anyone, but myself. If I do ask someone along it’s because I know they can go off an entertain themselves or they understand my need for solitude, mind you I’m not anti-social, I love people and I love talking to them, and finding out their story, however there are times when I simply want to be silent and sit alone and ponder things in my life and clear my mind. That’s the beauty of being solitary for a time. I’m an Introvert and for years considered myself shy, but yet when around friends and people I care for I am as outgoing as any Extrovert I know. Talkative, animated and full of life, the difference is, I don’t feed off of the energy of people around me, I feed off of quiet and solitude, it’s what restores my soul.

With my day job as an administrative assistant, I am either on the phone, or dealing with residents and vendors who stop by, or our employees, so daily I expend a lot of physical and emotional energy. Then you add to that after a full day of work, I go off and photograph concerts with loud music and lots of people and heavy equipment or shooting portraits of individuals and families with children, I have to be “on point” and my energy level must remain high as I am constantly talking and directing, By the time I am ready for some down time, I’m READY! I love being a photographer and I love the excitement of the crowd and the thrill of getting that perfect shot; it’s what drives me daily, but in order to keep going I have to spend time within myself and alone so when I’m asked if someone can join me in my short weekend sabbaticals, I certainly hope they understand why I am hesitant or tell them no. I need the time to recharge my batteries within myself. It makes me better at my work, it gives me clarity to see I’m doing the right thing and it rests my body so that I can keep up the pace set before me. Foggy Morning

It gives me peace.

Green and Creativity Re-birth

I have found with my busy lifestyle that if I don’t take time to get out into the ‘green’ my creativity begins to wane.  Between the concerts, portraits and weddings I have taken on, I’ve not had a lot of available time to be out in the woods or off in a nature preserve.

This past weekend I had some much-needed time off.  I had finished editing the last wedding on my books and was almost finished with the portrait session I had done the week prior, yet I had a couple of projects that still needed my attention.  I just couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around what needed to be done with them, so I put them on the back burner to stew around in my mind.  I decided on Saturday that I would head to the local park and take in the boardwalk and see what my camera may find.  Because I hold a full-time job along with my part-time photography my mind is constantly thinking and working; portraits, concerts and weddings require my brain to constantly be thinking about the next shot I need to take and calculate the lighting and the distance from my lens to the subject, but out in the open air at a park or in the woods, I get to rely more on my instincts and simply aim my camera and shoot.  I don’t take a lot of shots because I’m there to relax my mind, but if I do see something I want to remember whether scenery, plants or animals I will snap off a few.  The color green is very relaxing and I find I mellow and meld into the environment.  I think it makes me a better photographer, because I get a few hours to relax and to renew my mind and thoughts.  After spending a couple of days in the woods I came home and was able to dive into the past projects with a new passion, I opened up the project and within a few minutes I had solved the mystery of what I was going to do with the project.  The few hours I spent in the heat and in the green were well worth it.  I got a few great photos and I feel like a new person.  If you are a photographer and you are having a difficult time keeping up your creativity take an hour or two and lose yourself in the woods.  You don’t have to go far, a local park, a nature preserve or even a zoo will give you the needed break your brain needs.  We can always use a mental break from time to time.  So no matter what you job is, take a break, go outside, breathe in the fresh air and relax.

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Yellow Rat Snake
Yellow Rat Snake