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About "Adventures"

Life provides many opportunities for adventure. Some adventures involve physical activities such as mountain climbing, white water rafting, or participating in sports. Other adventures come in the form of new business opportunities, forming new friendships, acquiring a new hobby or skill, or trying an exotic food.


I have always enjoyed physical adventures (camping, hiking, sports, travel) but other adventures have included going to college, getting a job, and even starting a family. Life itself is an adventure.


30 years in law enforcement was also an adventure with plenty of risks. As a federal drug prosecutor, I realized that both my professional life and my personal activities produced a great deal of adrenaline. Over time, I recognized that I was a type of “adrenaline junkie” who enjoyed the thrill of a chase as well as many other challenges that were physical, mental, and psychological in nature. This need for excitement continues to provide opportunities for new adventures as well as photos to be shared.    

When one of my co-workers once looked at a mountain lion picture I had just taken, she asked the following question in a polite yet concerned way. “When you take pictures, do you wear a helmet?”


It is hard to explain why I sometimes take pictures that require a certain amount of risk. Common responses include something like “it only looks scary” or “I was perfectly safe” or “I am always very careful” or “it was really, really fun.” Being safe is extremely important, both for myself as well as family and friends. Regardless of what it looks like in the picture, common sense, experience, creative camera angles, and safety precautions allow for more adventures in the future.


One of my favorite photographers, Galen Rowell, was a wilderness photographer, adventure photojournalist and climber until his death in 2002 as the result of an airplane accident. He was aptly described by Tom Brokaw in the forward of a book called Galen Rowell: A Retrospective as follows:


“Galen Rowell was a man who went into the mountains, into the desert, to the edge of the sea, to the last great wild places in the world to be absorbed by their grace and grandeur. That is what he did for himself. For the rest of us, he shared his vision with—click—the release of a shutter, creating photographs as timeless, as stunning, and as powerful as nature itself.”


Although photography can involve a great deal of adventure, it does not always require direct participation in the adventurous activity. You can photograph others doing fun and exciting things and get vicarious enjoyment from their activities, but some photography requires the adventure itself. Without that, National Geographic Magazine would feature images of home décor.


Many of the best outdoor photographers are a combination of photographer and explorer. Grizzly bears do not typically visit neighborhood parks, and opportunities to film mountain goats do not come from the comfort of a couch. Although squirrel photography can sometimes be fun and challenging, the market for squirrel images is limited to those who really, REALLY love squirrels (or those who like target practice).


For many pictures in this gallery, I am simply an observer. In others, capturing the image required my participation in an adventure with others. Other adventures were undertaken alone, or at least at a respectful distance of others doing the same. Wildlife photography is a good example of the latter since stalking wildlife is not a group activity. Even capturing images of hummingbirds in our sunflower garden is a one-person project. Thankfully, hummingbirds rarely kill humans.


A few favorite quotes on this subject:


“The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” Ansel Adams


“I do not want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” Dianne Ackerman, American poet, essayist and naturalist.


“You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn't waste either.” Galen Rowell


The images you see in this gallery represent many types of activities. Some are relaxing and safe such as fly fishing. Others, like white water kayaking, mountain climbing, and skydiving involve various degrees of risk as well as rewards such as a sense of accomplishment, testing your mental and physical endurance, accomplishing something that others cannot or will not do, developing new skills, broadening your horizons, or simply having fun, and I hope you have fun looking at them. Perhaps one will inspire you to go on an adventure of your own.

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