Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 15Mar20

Joshua Tree! It’s such an amazing park! We’ve been so many times in recent years and I don’t get tired of it.

We were there for just a couple of days. The last day, there was mist and fog and light rain (and not-so-light-rain) and I didn’t get photos of that (I don’t have rain gear for my camera), but the rest of the time, it was lovely.

This is the back side of rocks that were right behind our campsite. The kids climbed up there quite a bit. (There is a route around on the right that doesn’t require use of the “ladder.”)



This log was actually longer and windier, but this was the best shot I could get. Still pretty neat.



I love plants growing out of rocks. (Except weeds growing out of my driveway. I don’t love those.)



A neat-looking branch. Looks a bit like a bird.



Actual bird! (This is the view to the front of our campsite. The views were non-stop.)



The moon was so pretty the one night we could see it. (Clouds and rain other nights.)



This baseball was under a bush in our campsite when we arrived.



Spring! Not as many flowers as I expected, but the ones that had come out were lovely.



We had quite a few bold, hungry critters in camp with us…


Good times! Fun place to take photos. Fun place to hike and scramble and climb and camp. Two thumbs up.

And the head image? A rattlesnake we passed in our travels. Pretty docile. Just waking up from winter. But we definitely didn’t test the limits of its sluggishness…

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, mindset

Camping and quitting

Half a year ago, we made plans to go camping in Joshua Tree National Park over spring break. Plans rounded out with two other families in three sites side-by-side.

The Climbing Daddy, The Kid, and I have camped at Jumbo Rocks campground before, and the site we happened to be in had some great scrambling immediately behind us. So we reserved that one and one to either side (56, 57, 58, if you’re wanting to check it out).


We learned last week that rain was in the forecast, but we had the sites already reserved and figured if rain actually happened—we are desert-dwellers—we’d make the best of it.

We set up shop on Sunday, explored a little, ate dinner, enjoyed being with fun people in a beautiful place.

Monday morning we had a slow breakfast and clouds slowly rolled in. Not ominous, but not inspiring hope.

We took a hike, climbed on some rocks, found a nice spot to site and have lunch, explored some more. Kids had a great time.

Back at camp, the rangers came by and let us know it was expected to start raining around 11 that night.

A couple of the guys went into town for forgotten items and said that in their travels, they felt the air change, saw the clouds become ominous, agreed that we weren’t getting out of this dry.

We had dinner and decided we were going to pack into the cars everything that we didn’t specifically need to sleep.

On a short tangent, meals with three families, when we didn’t coordinate ahead of time, were so much fun. We all shared everything and ended up with a hodgepodge of tastiness that we wouldn’t have had on our own. Yum!

Back to the story.

We also realized that at least two of us had never had our tents in the rain and didn’t know if our rain flies were useful.

Finally, I thought … this is dumb. Why are we packing up everything except tents and sleeping bags in hopes that we’re not up at 2 a.m. wet from the rain? And without anywhere to cook (if it were still to be raining the next day)? Let’s just go into town and stay at a hotel.

Part of me felt stupid for suggesting this plan. Was I just being “soft” because I’m not a die-hard camper? Or because the first night had been unexpectedly cold?

The other part of me knew that my plan was grounded in reasonable real-life. We weren’t trapped in the wilderness—we were on a spring break trip to a national park with three kids under 10 and one barely older.

After many small conversations, adults in attendance agreed this was a good plan. We left the tents (to see if they could take the rain) and went into town.

One of the littles fell asleep on the way. Two others played chess until they fell asleep. The older played on his iPad for a while.

Adults drank beer and played Cards Against Humanity.

We were all warm and dry.

And it rained. Not at 11, but the next morning, the ground was soaked and puddles were abundant. In our tent? Puddles.

Whether the decision was solid going into it, it was retroactively justified.

I was reminded of something I’ve known for a long time and still forget from time to time — it’s not always bad to quit.

Posted in mindset

My photography journey 8Mar20

Well … I didn’t make time for photography this week. (I won’t bore you with all the things that happened instead. Leave it at: onslaught of work- and child-related obligations.)

But I did learn a few things about landscape photography, including a trick for sunset shots, and I have opportunity to experiment and learn this week, so I will have some shots for you next week. Looking to do some hands-on learning with some long exposures as well. Fingers crossed that I will have at least one or two that I’m happy with, but I’ll share either way. (The journey is not only about success!)

Regardless, my eye has definitely been changing, not only for potential shots and shots I’ve just taken, but also on looking at photos. There’s one I can think of immediately of The Climbing Daddy and I. We’re dressed up; it’s a lovely shot.

Except it’s the middle of the afternoon and we’re in the sun and one side is overexposed. Was it just not great lighting and that’s as good as that shot was going to get? Or did the photographer not know how to adjust her settings to accommodate the harsh lighting?

Either way, I notice it now, and a year ago when the shot was taken, I didn’t.

Have a great week!

Posted in ebb & flow, know better do better, mindset, motivation, vulnerability

Awkwardness of growing up

Adults often reference the awkwardness of growing up, of adolescence.

And sure, that’s a weird time in life because so much is new and we have no choice but to muscle through the weirdness, surrounded by other people who are in a similar position, led often by people who are condescending and dismissive.

We have to take risks and grow because we have no other choice. Those paths don’t all look the same, of course; regardless, we’re all doing it to some extent.

The problem is that once we find relatively stable ground, many of us stay at that point where we don’t have to risk any more—or feel like we don’t have to risk any more—and we stagnate.

There will be awkwardness any time we’re in a state of learning something new. It might be a new athletic endeavor, a new artistic path, a new intellectual project, a new interpersonal risk, a new intrapersonal journey.

They’re all awkward and uncomfortable and we feel kind of lost and suck at them when we start.

Start anyway. (Or start because!)

Be brave enough to suck at something new.


Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 1Mar20

Last weekend, I took a portrait photography class at a local park. We were asked to bring a model, and a friend volunteered. We had a fun time (lots of silly faces), I learned a few things, and I got lots of practice with some feedback. Inching closer to comfortable in manual mode…

The lead photo needs to be on a poster in my classrooms. And maybe on the walls at home, too. Because I make that face a lot…

I also took a few in the yard. They didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked, but that’s part of the journey,..