Days after my realization that I shouldn’t pressure myself to be something I am not, after I said I would no longer pressure my hobbies to be financially fruitful, and after I announced my intentions with this blog: today, I ran into the woods.
The day was cool, overcast and littered with passing showers; my very favorite kind of day. I’m not sure if the things I felt were amplified from the weather, or the anticipation I’d felt waiting for the days to pass mid-week. Seeing the vibrant yellow, orange, red and green leaves touched me deeply that I’d catch myself tearing up at the beauty.
Perhaps all this emotion was in connection with the realization I’d recently had, that I don’t have to put so much pressure on myself regarding work and hobbies. Letting go of all the weight that had been placed on my shoulders, both purposely and not intentionally by myself and people that care for me, was so freeing– I’m not sure the implications of the decision to let go and run head-first into my passions had truly sunk in until today.
Trevor and I spent the day seemingly chasing the wind, driving all over central Pennsylvania looking for inspiring places to photograph. As I said, it was cloudy, chilly and rained off-and-on. For most photographers this sort of day probably isn’t desirable because of the lighting, but I reveled in it. Maybe it was partly because I was so thankful to be in my newfound headspace.
Although I took my two old film cameras, I didn’t use them. It was far too wet, especially for the old Polaroid Sun600 unit I have; I didn’t want anything to happen to them. Instead, I shot the whole day on my iPhone 8+. It’s replaceable. I honestly love the camera, including the ease of it, plus it delivers good quality for my landscape photos. Not carrying around a DSLR is nice sometimes. In case you were wondering, when its raining is one of the times.
RICKETTS GLEN STATE PARK
Even though we were both excited to leave the house and go on our first shoot day since winter, it was terribly planned. Trevor works a job with a call rotation and was primary on-call, which meant we couldn’t really go anywhere too far from home. We decided on Ricketts Glen State park.
Because it was raining there weren’t too many people at the park, which was perfect. There also wasn’t a lot of traffic, which meant I could run out into the road and snap a few pictures safely. I think they’re some of my favorites from the day, simply because of how I had to snag them.
We spent the most time here, hitting several locations before we realized Trevor didn’t have any cell service. Typically we like going places out of cellular range, but that’s a no-no when he’s the go-to for any critical tickets that come in. He kind of has to be reachable, so back into civilization we begrudgingly went.
ON AN ADVENTURE
From there the driving adventure began. The two of us had been hopeful that we could spend the day in Ricketts Glen, so when we’d learned we didn’t have cellular service and had to leave, neither of us wanted to go home. We’d both planned on spending the day shooting, so we searched high and low for places we could stop and photograph.
Somehow the adventure turned into a micro road-trip of sorts. We drove and drove and drove, with very little to show for it. I was able to hang my phone out the window and steal a few photos of unkept barns and houses that I thought were pretty, though I can’t say the photos turned out the greatest.
It was still a lot of fun and we spent most of the day chatting away. I can’t remember all the things we talked about (perhaps out of blissful delirium from exhaustion) but I know we laughed a lot. Talking to that man is all too easy for me, and I love every minute of it. Getting to spend an entire day joking and laughing in the car, while sneaking cheeky photos of barns, was perfect. Even if I don’t remember the details.
Eventually we made our way to a local park called “Montour Preserve,” because it’s in Montour county, Pennsylvania. The place has been off and on the chopping block for the past decade, I think, as the land has changed hands and the non-profit running it runs out of money. Supposedly the current owners want to turn the forested property into a lakeside development, which is heartbreaking. I truly hope the residents of the county and surrounding counties can band together to keep the preserve open to the public for day-use.
There’s a reservoir there for fishing and whatnot, where we sat and watched fish leaping in and out of the water for a small while. The crickets still sing here, even though its gotten quite chilly. It was nice to hear them while birds called back and forth and leaves shivered in the breeze.
As golden hour hit we drove to the opposite side of the reservoir, for a short walk, and discovered a small corn field. The sun shone behind the tree branches perfectly, and I felt inspired to take some photos of my husband. I love the way they turned out! The shoot was a lot of fun to do; Trevor is a great model that listens well to direction, so it’s quite easy to photograph him. What do you think of the portrait? This one is my favorite!
I needed this day, and had looked forward to it so much. Throughout the day I’d see something that moved me, or catch myself in a moment, and become overcome by a wave of gratefulness. I was nearly moved to tears several times: thankful that I could spend that Saturday in the company of my love, thankful that I could return to the woods to cocoon myself in such wild beauty, and thankful I’d gotten to spend a day entertaining my camera. Not to mention I love rainy days and was thankful for the rain, too.
Words can’t express well enough how good it felt to throw myself into a day of photography without any strings attached, so I’m not going to try. But I didn’t feel like I was wasting any time, didn’t feel like I should, or could, be doing something more productive. Instead it felt like the very best use of my time, the only obvious use of my time that day.
I could honestly be free and simply focus on collecting the beauty I’d set out to find. Though I am disappointed we didn’t get to spend more of our time in the forest. Mostly because I love being there, but also because I find them wildly inspiring. Needless to say, I can’t wait to return to the woods again soon.