Sunrise at Emerald Lake

I watched ‘Into the Wild’ this weekend as I’ve always been a fan of the book and just recently realized that it was available for streaming on Netflix.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is:

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.

– Jon Krauker, Into the Wild

Photo of the Day – Emerald Lake Sunrise

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As someone who wasn’t happy with their circumstances and made a change I do believe completely in this. We all have the power to change – change is difficult and it isn’t always simple but for those that push through and see it through it is very worth it because if you live in an unhappy place what is the point of living. For everyone who criticized Chris McCandless for taking off and heading into the woods at least he took a shot – sure there were things he could/should have done differently and he paid the ultimate price but isn’t there something to be said for doing what it is that you love – even if it kills you? I mean, maintaining the status quo just kills most people slowly anyways. If you aren’t busy living you are busy dying.

Now, waking up hours before sunrise and hiking to Emerald Lake isn’t exactly going into the wild but there is something to be said about getting away from it all and just being on your own. Seeing the sunrise without anyone else – heck probably not anyone within a few miles. There is peace there and each and every time I see it I can understand why McCandless felt that joy did not simply emanate from human relationships – but rather it is found all around us….like in a sunrise over Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.


Evening on Two Jack Lake

The first night we spent in Banff on this trip we drove around looking for a place to watch the sunset. The sky however (like last time) didn’t want to cooperate and the sun remained hidden throughout the evening. Eventually, we pulled into the Two Jack Lake Picnic Area. Directly across the lake is the Two Jack Lake Campground (and it was packed on this holiday weekend in Canada) which is the most popular campground in the park. However, despite its popularity there were barely any people over in the picnic area. Of course, this was well past ‘dinner’ hours as the sunset time was 9:30 so the only people wandering around the campground were photographers like myself.

Photo of the Day – Mount Rundle over Two Jack Lake

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Banff was very crowded but this area – which is relatively easy to get to (you just pull into the parking lot) – was near vacant and it was nice to catch a few hours of peace and quiet. Next time I’m in Banff I’ll head to this spot for sunrise as I’ve read a few ‘reviews’ saying the light (as it hits the face of Mount Rundle) can be spectacular. Always need a reason to go back!

Marathon Morning

I took this photo about a year ago on the morning of the Chicago marathon. I was riding my bike down towards my post (I was working one of the stations to motivate the runners) and I noticed how amazing the sunrise was going to be. There were a lot of nice soft colors in the sky and their was little to no wind so the lake was perfectly still. I rode home and grabbed my camera so I could take a couple of pictures and this was one of them.

Photo of the Day – Never miss an Opportunity

Now that I am ‘in’ to photography I am constantly looking at the sky even when I don’t have a camera just thinking about whether the light is good or not. When I first started reading books on photography they said that at some point you would start to do that. I didn’t buy into it but it’s true. You definitely do.

Price of Freedom

The World War II Memorial in Washington DC consists of 56 pillars (one for each of the 48 states in 1945 and territories that sent men and women to the armed forces for the war), a pair of arches dedicated to the fighting in the Atlantic and in the Pacific, a fountain and this ‘Freedom Wall’ and reflecting pool. The Freedom Wall contains 4,048 gold stars – one star for every 100 Americans who died in the war. The full inscription reads ‘Here we mark the Price of Freedom’.

Even with my wide angle lens I wasn’t able to get all of the stars and inscription in frame so I decided to crop at the point where it read ‘Price of Freedom’ as I thought that captured the message of the monument.

Happy Independence Day to all – I watched the American Revolution marathon today on the History channel – anything to keep me out of the Chicago heat. I’d planned on going down to photograph the fireworks but the 98 degree temps and heat index of 105 had me call an audible. Maybe next year.

Photo(s) of the Day

Rocky Reflection

The wildfires going on in Colorado are crazy. I’ve been paying some attention but didn’t realize the extent of it until I spoke with a friend who lives in the area who told me that in some areas they are the worst ever.

Here is a picture I took last year as I was just getting into photography. It may have been my first sunrise shot since I woke up early and drove into the park to see the sun come up. I really didn’t know what to do but I knew I wanted to capture the reflection on the Lake.

Photo of the Day

Sunrise at the Vietnam Wall

It’s a very powerful thing to read the names on the wall and think that in a different time, different place it may have been my name someone else was photographing. Each name on that wall has a family, a back story and a future unfulfilled. It was powerful sitting there looking for the 58,195 names on the wall. Each of them has a story that will forever be untold because of what they sacrificed for my country.

Photo of the Day

The design of the ‘Wall’ was heavily criticized when the designs were first released but it has grown to be among the most significant and most visited monuments in the country. Take some time today to reflect on the sacrifices being made each day throughout the world and thank a soldier if you get the chance.