Thursday, October 23, 2014

the little moments :: Titcomb Basin, Wyoming

After sharing the video of our backpacking trip to the Titcomb Basin in the Wind River Range, Wyoming I wanted to get down just a couple additional stories from the trip.  The drive was long - broken up by good eats {Jax on the Tracks in Truckee & Pat's BBQ in Salt Lake City} and by listening to Game of Thrones.  The hike was long and hard and at higher elevation than we're used to {10,000-ish}.  The trip was physically and emotionally challenging.  

Here is the rest of the story...
wind river range

wind river range

wind river range

The hat has progressively gotten floppier after each subsequent washing {or hail storm survived}.  And while it does its sun-blocking job as it should it also does quite a bit of visibility inhibiting as well.  The path was rocky in patches, thickly muddy in others such that I found myself looking down instead of forward.  The floppy hat doing just what it does until, "Stop! Stop!"  The words came from Lukas behind me on the trail.  Up ahead... two moose munching lunch on a brush from the trail.  I was moments away from walking right into them.  We skirted the cow and yearling, giving them a wide berth while they occasionally gave us a side-eyed look between leafy bites.

wind river range

wind river range

wind river range

When one doesn't ever swear, in those moments where a good curse word would be warranted and instead such a mild mannered one pops out that it could hardly pass as a swear word, one doesn't get taken seriously.  The hail came, this time, when we were hiding in the tent.  It was followed by deep and echoing rumbles of thunder.  We looked at each other with saucer big eyes and decided the best place to avoid a lightning strike would NOT be in our little metal framed tent.  The flash came.  Two seconds and THUNDER!  "Sh*t, that was close!"  After the flashes and booms stopped and the hail let up and we finished crouching down low, Lukas had a good laugh at my 'epic' swear fest.

wind river range

wind river range

wind river range

wind river range

wind river range

Lukas wondered away from the reflective pool while we were waiting in hope that the sunset light would fall across the crags overlooking Titcomb Basin.  He set up to shoot the orange light glowing on Elephant's Head, up the bank on the other side of the pool from where I stayed still admiring the view.  Up in the clouds, two dancing butterflies caught my eye.  Little pumps of the wings in graceful flutters, sinks and rises.  They tumbled together against the blue sky like small, sighing breaths.  My eye followed them higher until their flight path had me looking back at Fremont Peak.  And it was glowing pink.  "Lukas!"  But my voice just echoed back at me, ten thousand times louder without reaching Lukas.  I made the trip to the other side of the pond and up the embankment quickly to share the photo-light news.  Then two trips back and forth were made at a jog to bring Lukas the lens he needed.  Two trips because, although the 70-200mm looks very similar to the 24-70mm, they are not in fact the same.  I gasped ragged breaths of oxygen thin air while Lukas got the shots.  Even still, I stood in wonder and amazement.

wind river range

wind river range

wind river range
right before we discovered that our filter only wanted to work very very very slooooowly

wind river range

wind river range

wind river range

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The White Buffalo

The White Buffalo
On a Thursday evening after work, we drove over the hill to Santa Cruz.  We were pretending at being young and crazy kids.  We stood right up front, the music {especially the drums} hitting us right in the face.  We enjoyed it immensely.  Though it was determined, at the end of it all, that we were closer to old folks than we cared to admit.  Next time we'll find a seat at the back.  But this night it was worth it.

We found The White Buffalo {like probably many people} while watching Sons of Anarchy.  His music now, is often on repeat in our house.  The lyrics are gripping and filled with story telling.  The rhythm is distinctive and grabs at your bones.  The emotions run deep.

I was giddy as we waited out front of Moe's Alley for the doors to open.  We waited more, once inside for the show to start and then some more between the opening act {McCoy Tyler} and The White Buffalo.  I wanted to try a little show photography and used the waiting time to play around a little bit with my settings.  To get the image above I set my camera down on the stage... manual focus, a two second delay on the shutter, and Jake Smith {a.k.a The White Buffalo} hopped right over my camera on his way back to the green room.  Awesome!  

And the show?  That was awesome too.  He was so into each song, playing with strong emotion.  19 songs without a pause.  It was impressive.

The next day at work was a bit of a struggle.  But it was worth it. 
The White Buffalo

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

jeff/it and be there :: Titcomb Basin

Fremont Peak, Lukas Wenger {more Wyoming photos}
There just doesn't seem to be enough oxygen in the air above 10,000 feet.  The lungs burn, the head gets achy, and muscles scream over accumulations of lactic acid.  To those we were given daily hail/thunder/lightning storms.  Yet, when the orange-pink light of sunset hit the craggy peaks overhead each burning, freezing step was worth it.  To be pushed to the brink and more than ready to be home - or at least somewhere with a warm shower and clean bed - and at the same time you are so filled with wonder and amazement that you couldn't imagine being anywhere else in that moment.  We hated it and loved it all at the same time.

And that's how Lukas's buddy Jeff, f/it trip partner-in-crime, would have felt too.  Instead of getting to experience this trip with Jeff, Lukas and I took our battered hearts and over the course of 30+ miles battered our bodies as well, f-ing it in Jeff's memory.  In what will always feel so incredibly unfair, Jeff lost his battle with melanoma in early August.  He strived so hard to live life normally and not become this relentless disease.  And that's the way I choose to remember him.  Jeff would often talk about how there are so many awesome and beautiful things to see out in nature.  And truly there are so many within driving distance (even if that means 15 hours in the car).  

For now, I'll the let the images in the video do the rest of the talking.  My words escape me and my mind wonders remembering all the times we had together.


Friday, August 15, 2014

as seen :: around home


Just a few shots from the very beginning of the month. The strawberries became jam and the cucumbers became pickles - plenty of both still in the fridge though we're eating them every day. The garage still has work to be done - two windows wait for installation. But we {Lukas} are getting better at repairing and replacing the rotted structure of the walls.  I'm working on claiming the yard back from the weeds and dirt and millions of brick pavers.  There's a lot of all that and it's all heavy to move.  Slowly, we're taking small steps forward - two steps forward, one step back.  


Saturday, August 9, 2014

habits of home :: tending the garden


I drop Lukas off at the BART station and come home to a spunky kitty who tries to chat me up through the front window, his tail flip-flapping a mile a minute.  I set down keys and wallet and head out to the garage for my watering can.  With it filled, I give the back planter beds - which are in desperate need of a reboot - a drink.  Still going strong are thyme, sage and oregano.  Staging a come back are a couple basil plants.  My fingers are crossed about those.  A weekend away, with hot hot summer sun did in the lettuce and tiny strawberry plants though.

This quite morning time is squeezed in between Lukas leaving for work and then me leaving for work.  Yet, it's not hurried or rushed.  Just what I need to start the day.  And sometimes, like exercising, I don't really feel like doing it... but when done (and even while doing it) I feel so much better.

That simple daily reminder that our days are filled with infinitesimal choices.  We should always chose what brings us joy and happiness.