July Update: Odds n Ends

I've realized that while I've been waiting around for the "big" story to happen, so that I can blog about it, all the little stuff has started to fall by the wayside... and the little stuff adds up to be big eventually. It's like running into someone whom you haven't seen in years and they ask, "What's new?" Uh... well... everything? If you haven't been in touch or updating on a regular basis, you literally have nothing to say to this such person. Lately, this way of thinking started reaching over into my photography as well. I've found photos I haven't shared for one reason or another. Maybe there wasn't a story, or they felt too random. But part of my love of taking pictures is the beauty in the simplicity of capturing a "real" moment that doesn't have to be big. And I don't want to deny the joy I get out of sharing those moments with others. So no more waiting because, really, life is just a bunch of this n thats and odds n ends, and this shouldn't keep me from having something to say or photos to share.

 
 

Change has been my constant companion for quite a while now. Sounds funny, I know. Change... constant? But it's true. While some people fear Change, I've grown to rely on it. It encourages me to get out of any comfort zones I put up around me so I can continue to grow and learn and see how amazing this adventure of life can be if I'm open to it. It's not always that comfortable and makes me face my truth a lot, but tough love is still love, and I've learned to love Change back. The first part of this year consisted of waves of personal changes, again, that now have me sitting mid-year with about as much uncertainty as certainty about my future. But this is okay, because while still facing change, I know the uncertainties will slip away soon enough. 

A big decision based on changes was to put my wonderful dog, Kai, up for adoption. Now for those of you who have met Kai personally, or have followed him on my social media, you know what a special guy he is. He was a rescue to begin with and I really had no idea what a lovable, crazy goofball he was going to be. Kai the catahoula, or "hooligan," or "goober," or "doodles"... he's all of them and more. He's been a bit of a wildcard since day one, but the choice for his rehoming is based on my own issues, not his. I've read plenty of Facebook posts about how people have kept their dogs through college and break-ups and pregnancies and you-name-its. The shaming is out there. However, I'm realistic enough about life to know that if it really was that easy, there wouldn't be so much need for shelters or rescues or pet adoption groups. People are far from perfect and life is far from ideal. Not all relationships, including those with our animal companions, are meant to be forever. And it's never an easy decision to make when things have to end. Despite having the need for a regular meal, a roof over his head, and a snuggle occasionally, Kai is a wild and independent soul. I'm not the only one who can love him and provide for him. I've had to let that control go, knowing that his new forever family is out there looking for him right now. And we'll be grateful to them when they show up. In the mean time, we'll enjoy each others company until we must part ways. He, and I, will be just fine. We both have a lot of adventure ahead of us.

While not a lot is scheduled into my future based on the uncertainty I talked about, I do have a couple up-and-comings to share. Late in August I will be heading to Missoula, MT to attend photo school. This has been something I've wanted to do for a couple years now, and this just seemed like the year to go for it. While I don't have a bucket list, this could qualify as a bucket list item. I found the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in a Missoula visitors guide I picked up on a trip to visit my friend, Tanya, in Seeley Lake in 2013. They have some amazing classes and programs and I'm excited to immerse myself in a week of learning macro photography; a style I love. I'm also looking forward to catching up with my good friend in her beautiful part of the world while I'm down there. Stay tuned, I promise to share this experience.

In October, I will have my work featured in the Arts on 3 Gallery in Christina Lake. While a few months ahead still, I am starting to curate and prepare for it now. This is a first for me and I'm excited and honoured to have this opportunity. It will be interesting to see what photos I choose and how I will deal with my own inner critic, because we all have one. But the ability to share and create something beautiful outweighs any fears and doubts I could possibly come across. I have been writing positive affirmations on Post-It notes as reminders for myself this year. I'll just put up a few more, dive into this task, and see what happens! More sharing ahead.

 
 

For those of you who continue to stick by me and my changes and the ups and the downs, thank you. Truly. I'm finding that the more truth one has to face, the harder it becomes to hide. And hiding behind a false-front is too much work. We're only here to live our lives for ourselves, and perhaps help or inspire or teach something to others who may need it along the way. All those Post-It affirmations I have are because someone shared something I needed to hear. Hopefully I can pay it forward in some way. 

 
 

So, here's to enjoying the rest of the summer, with certainty or uncertainty ahead. Things are going to happen one way or another. And I'll be back, telling my stories when they do! 

Baby marmots and me

Okay, I know if you put "baby" in front of anything, you pretty much get everyone's attention... am I right? 

Welcome to my time in nature's nursery.

There's a point along the Trans Canada Trail near Christina Lake, where you walk through some carved out areas with high, rocky banks that the former railroad tracks used to pass through. Marmots like rocky areas and you're sure to see a few, standing up on their back legs looking out for possible danger. Or, you might hear them with their high-pitched, whistle-squeaks, warning their buddies of trespassers. I always feel like I'm walking into some sort of ambush when I hike along this area, seeing heads poking up on both sides of the trail, high above, and warning sounds being passed back and forth. It's a good thing they don't hunt humans and have a vegetarian diet! 

I've been wanting to get some pictures of this species of large squirrels (yes, squirrels believe it or not) and decided to climb up to the top of one of these rocky sections a few weeks ago, hoping to get a shot. What I didn't expect to see up there was seven sets of little eyes staring back at me from various locations among the rocks. Yes, babies

Babies everywhere!!

Now I don't believe I've ever encountered a baby marmot before, never-mind even thought about one. The ones I see on the hillsides around here during these months are very well grown up. They lounge around on the warm rocks or munch away on green grasses in the fields. How they survive the summer heat in such furry coats is mind-boggling. I find them an adorable sight that I look forward to each year. Discovering their young ones has taken my marmot love up a whole level. 

When I first saw these little guys, I was scared they'd dive into holes in the pile of rocks and hide. But, they seemed as curious about me as I was about them and we pretty much had a stare-off happening within minutes. There are days I decide not to carry around an extra 4 pounds of telephoto lens in my pack and wish I did. This was one of those days. Telephoto lenses are essential for those close-up wildlife shots, which I knew wouldn't be much of a problem with how this meet-an- greet was going. So I made a plan to return the next day. 

When I returned with my extra four pounds of lens, the scene was pretty much the same. This time momma (or maybe daddy?) marmot was there and took off to a location far enough to watch the babies, but not be in too much danger herself. I was really surprised the little ones didn't follow. I settled down with my camera on a low, flat rock about 15 feet away from my subjects. Once in a while, momma would whistle-squeak a warning and the babies would inch back into the rocks. But they returned just as quick to watch me watching them. The photo-ops came easily. I took shots, enjoyed my furry little companions, and made sure I didn't overstay my welcome. 

Then, I got to come home and look at these adorable babies again while I went through all the photos.

 

Parent marmot keeping an eye on me and babies.

 

It's moments like these that I am so grateful for my love of the outdoors, living where I live, and following my passion for photography. I encountered a question the other day, which was, "What is it that you love about being a photographer?" My response is: Sharing the beauty of the world, a special moment, or something that someone may never get to see themselves.  So, if you were like me and never saw a baby marmot before... hope you enjoy seeing these photos as much as I do sharing them!