I’m not really an “Outdoors Person.” I have always appreciated and stood in awe of nature. Look, I even have a Pinterest board about it. But the simple fact is, I’m just more comfortable indoors. I’ve mentioned before, that in the summer, I really hate being outside unless it’s by a lake. I just prefer the cold. I’ve been lucky in my life to venture to a few stunning natural destinations though… Flathead National Forest in Montana (I went there with my church in the summer before my Junior year in High School. It’s a gorgeous place I hope to get back to someday) and the Lake Taupo region of New Zealand, where there is the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, and I spent 3 weeks the summer before my Senior year in High School. Both of these times in my life made a significant impact on me, and shaped me in my youth, and yet I’ve always claimed to hate hiking. I guess, more specifically, I hate group hiking, where I am being led, and sometimes it’s hot. Ugh.
Anyway, back in the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, I had a long vacation from work. I had a new camera, and nothing to do, so I thought I might venture north to Jay Cooke State Park, which is only about 2 hours away from the city. It was a good, noble though, something to for sure get me out of my comfort zone, because I don’t travel alone hardly ever, and I don’t spend a lot of times in the outdoors. Well, that didn’t happen. Something about taking that leap just spooked me. Addtionally, I design the Outdoors Weekend section for the Star Tribune so I was feeling like a bit of a charlatan. The last several months have seen a shift in my interests though. I started following closely the work of Owen Perry who has a great, stylistic eye for outdoors photography. Then I went on my honeymoon and felt a surge of confidence in my photo-taking abilities. I became fully consumed by the idea of nature photography. And last weekend’s journey to the Upper Peninsula just about sealed it. I knew I had to get outside more, and I wanted to go places, and see mountains and forests and rivers. All the time. And I wanted to be there with my camera.
I got a chance this weekend because my section needed some photos, and I volunteered to take some of fall colors. It’s still early yet for color in the cities though, so I went North on Saturday, to Jay Cooke State Park, because I felt like I still owed the park a visit. It’s completely different than it would’ve been if I had gone during the Polar Vortex. Maybe I will go back this winter, too. Especially a place that’s so easy to get to.
Not only do I feel like I have a better eye for Photography than before, but I think my processing techniques get better and better with each session. I’d even compare these photos to the ones in this post. It feels like I’m throwing those photos under the bus! I just had less of an idea of how I wanted those to look.
It actually turns out I’m a pretty adept hiker. I did take my sweet time on this particular walk, since I was taking so many photos. What should’ve been a 20 minute hike took the better part of 90 minutes, and even though I was sweaty, and wearing jeans, I still tramped off the path and got in the mud and laid on my back in the dirt. I really want to go back, when I’m not on an assignment, and I can camp. I’d like to spend all day with this place, instead of a quick 2 hours.
This kind of feels like a coming of age blog post. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I was famished afterwords because I hadn’t eaten in about 5 hours and I spent 2 hours hiking in sweltering heat in jeans. Sooooo… The first Chipotle in like, the top half of Minnesota opened in Duluth recently, and I had to go there. Truthfully, it was annoying, BUT Duluth is on a great big hill, and SHIT the views from up there are incredible. So, bonus photos.