Feeling One's Surroundings

The above can be taken literally, or figuratively, when exploring the outdoors. Both should be exercised often.

When hiking I forget to actually feel my surroundings. Tonight I took the time to feel the rocks, feel the flax, and imgaine what it would feel like to dive into this huge bank of clouds. One's interaction with the natural world is all based on perception. How do you perceive the woods you are standing in, the mountain you are summiting, and the ocean water you are swimming in?

In my younger years I was a competitive cyclist, triathlete, and mountain biker. There is no doubt in my mind, when biking, running, and swimming, the only thing I felt was the sweet pain of the competition. There were very few times I actually took the time to take in my surroundings, and truly feel what it was like to be in some amazing places. I still love to push my physical limits, but if there is an opportunity to immerse myself in the moment, I will wholeheartedly take it.

One such instance is pictured below. While riding up at Coronet Peak, with my friends Rob and Tamara, I decided to stop and capture them descending. After they were out of sight, I took another 5-10 minutes to process the beautiful views all around me.

Get outside and feel your surroundings (just don't pet any skunks)!


Sony A7Rii - 24-70 2.8

1/200 | f7.1 | ISO200 | 45mm




We all have a finite amount of it, and what we choose to do with it is completely up to us. For some there is not much choice, other than choosing to survive. Those of us who were born into first world families have an unlimited amount of options available to us, but believe most often the freedom we have been blessed with is squandered by preconceived notions of what we should do to conform.

In most cases it is often best to take that time and be unconventional with it. Instead of slamming head first into a job out of college, take time to truly find out what you want to do with the expensive degree you worked so hard for. You (and your parents) deserve as much! I would say travel, but that may not be the best option for everyone.

After having slowly crept towards what would be considered middle age (40 :( ), i look back and wonder how I could used my time more wisely.  First and foremost would have been spending less time at my job, and more time traveling the globe. I have no regrets, just advice for those who come after me. My life right now is quite beautiful, and I needed all those lessons in time along the way. They are now of great service to me when I slowly see my time on this brilliant blue gem as much shorter than I thought when I was in my 20s.

The person below has the right idea on how to utilize one's time. Catching those last waves, and rays, of the day.


Sony A7Rii - 70-200mm 2.8

1/60 | f13 | ISO 100 | 70mm



Life Moves

Without us sometimes knowing it, life moves in a direction we didn't expect it. Whether that be having to physically move without being given notice, or seeing friends and family moving on without warning, it will move often without asking.

Because we are all finite creatures, it is often best reflect on how we have moved in our life and how life has moved us, and simply give thanks for those opporunities. It may sound cliche, but living in a constant state of gratitude is truly the best way to move in life. Often I try my best to live this as my mantra, unfortunately I am flawed like all my fellow earthlings. Catching oneself is the key, with a swift effort to push back into smile and gratitude mode.

Are the mountains moving you, or are you moving the mountains?


Sony A7Rii

1/60 | f10 | ISO 100 | 58mm



Tunnel Beach

It has been a while since my last post! Not sure what prevented me from writing as consistently as I have in the past. Most often the daily pursuits of life can prevent one from staying on the path leading to the really important things in life.

To me those are photography, and writing. While I may not write long form (yet), my hope is that the short pieces I put up have meaning.

The photo below is of one of my favorite places in all of Dunedin, Tunnel Beach. When you make the descent to the coastline the stunning sandstone cliffs make an abrupt appearance in your field of view. They are striking to see against the backdrop of the blue ocean. It truly never fails to impress me when I visit. When in Dunedin I highly recommend taking a trip here.

Sony A7Rii - 24-70 2.8

1/125 | f7.1 | ISO 100 | 24mm




One of my favorite places to visit on the whole of planet earth. If you visit New Zealand, you must visit this sacred spot. Check the weather for a clear day, as seeing the entire range is worth the wait.

This photo recently shared by @purenewzealand on Instagram

Get outside and explore!



Building a new way of thinking

Lunch breaks, in my old job, were often taken while sitting in front of a computer, sorting through emails. When I moved to Dunedin, this habit found its way over with me. For some reason I kept thinking that this is how it must be, there is definitely no other way to actually enjoy a lunch break. Well, as often is the case, I was completely wrong. There is no doubt that there are far better ways to spend a lunch with none of them being an indoor choice.

The photo below was taken on a recent lunch break my wife and I took to hike up to the top of Mt Cargill. This is from one of my new favortie viewpoints, Butters Peak. I highly recommend, if ever in Dunedin, to hike to both of these beauties.

Even if your computer is calling, take time to get outside and play!


Sony A7RII - 24-70 2.8

1/400 | f8 | ISO 250 | 24mm

Edit: LR & PS



December in the Deep South

Growing up in Wisconsin often meant that I had the pleasure of a white Christmas. When I moved to North Carolina, the chances were less likely, but there was still the possibilty. Now in New Zealand, and the Southern Hemisphere, this is highly unlikely (unless I was on a glacier in Aoraki NP). It is a little strange to have summer-like temps, and so much daylight, but I think I could get used to a warm Christmas. The one thing missing is family. I have a feeling they would all enjoy a Christmas in the Deep South, as well.

The photo below is from a recent sunset chaser I had in Dunedin. The wind helped add a little extra drama to a nicely diffused sun. Who would have thought a kid from the Midwest would love Christmas at the beach. Definitely not this one from the Wisconsin.

Even if it's -20F, always remember to get outside and play!!


Sony A7RII - 70-200 2.8

1/80 | f11 | ISO 100 | 70mm



Walking the path alone

The title isn't meant to sound somber, or sad, just a reflection on what we must do at times to truly find out what we want out of life. We can't have our partners, parents, or friends tell us who we are or what are goals are in life. Those expectations should be left to you, and you alone. I feel very fortunate to be living the life I am today, but feel it wouldn't be as fulfilling as it is had I not had to walk some seriously dark paths on my own. Knowing first hand what the depths of depression feel like, I can honestly say those were the years that formed the resilience I have today. I will say, however, that I should have done a better job of seeking out professional help early on, for the recovery process would have been much shorter. Alas, I was a young twenty-something who thought he knew more than he really did. What I believe this experience provided for me was the ability to empathize with others, and truly listen when someone is reaching out for help.

Photography, for me, has turned into a therapeutic endeavor and I wish I would have had this artistic outlet in my younger years. I guess it's better late than never. The picture below is a true representation of the joy being out in the mountains can provide one's soul. I do find these hikes for more enjoyable with my wife, and adventure buddy, Angela. While the emersive experience of being on one's own is an introspective journey good for most everyone, being with partners and friends is the meaning of true happiness.

As always, remember to get ouside and play!!!