Well the New Year is fast approaching, which means resolutions. Often times my goal always revolves around losing weight or getting in shape. Of course these goals are never met. Two weeks in I loose my motivation and I fall back in to my old unhealthy habits. The sad part is I have been in this vicious cycle for years and every time I fail, I am left with self doubt.
Recently I watched a Ted Talk that brought me much insight into why my goals were never achieved. Check it out right now...
It made me realize I was setting goals that I really had no control over. My ACTIONS are the only thing I can control. So to bring me back to the New Year I am going to resolve to make EVERYDAY THE ADVENTURE and hopefully in doing so my other goals will simply fall into place. By placing priority on things I love, I will in turn be happier. By making everyday my adventure I will find not only joy when I am out wondering a valley carved by a glacier but also be mesmerized by the goose and duck that frequent my local park. I don't need to fly across an ocean to be filled with joy and happiness, all I need to to learn to to be present in the place that I am.
Who is ready to make everyday the adventure starting January 1, 2018? Let us get it started! Anytime you do, post the photo with the hashtag #MakeEverydayTheAdventure. Let us all start living our lives to their fullest and achieving our goals by not focusing on them.
WHO: Just me and my camera
WHAT: Bison at the end of a rainbow
WHEN: OCT 2015
WHERE: Tower Junction, Yellowstone NP
"Good as Gold"
Last month I headed over to Yellowstone National Park for a week to unwind and hopefully capture some great images. I had visited the park at the same time last year and was hoping a similar weather pattern of fog/rain would present itself again. To my dismay, it did not. Instead I was greeted with clear blue skies, no clouds and 60 degrees; a photographer's worst nightmare. So for the most part I spent the week catching up on some sleep, terrible I know. The sunny weather was hindering my creative juices.
Thankfully one of the mornings it was overcast and I thought it the perfect opportunity to head to Lamar for some wildlife. On the way there I passed Blacktail Plateau Drive and to my surprise it was open. I have not been down the road in years and thought "lets do it." Sadly, not much wildlife to see and the cloud cover was just too heavy. As I was nearing the end of the road three bison were blocking my way and being that I drive a Ford Fiesta I was not about to anger them.
After about 20 minutes I was finally able to squeeze by without having my car smashed in. As I came to the Lamar Valley turn there was another small herd of bison headed towards the road. In all honesty with the background being flat and the bison not close enough for portrait work I decided to just keep going on my way to Lamar. I was slowing working my way through the small "bison jam" when all of a sudden, sunlight broke though and caused a rainbow! I quickly backed up into a spot "mostly" off the road and began to work fast. I switched lenses to capture more of the sky and fired off many shots, hoping one would be good. For, as most people know bison are usually quite intense at eating, I have so many photos of there heads downs, they just end up looking like furry boulders if you can't create a profile of some kind. As you can see from the image above, I lucked out and in one frame I was able to capture one with her head up. The rainbow only lasted for maybe 10 minutes. I just love thinking about how I would have missed it had it not been for the delay I experienced earlier. Unfortunately, I did not see much other wildlife that day, but the theme of bison continued as the held the precedent of always blocking the road.
WHO: Local artist Erica Harvey, with Erica Lane Photography
WHAT: Majestic Moments, a photographic collection of five Rocky Mountain National Parks
WHEN: February 1 - 29, 2016 • WHERE: Bay Leaf Cafe in Spearfish, SD
1st Place: Work - "Rain or Shine
I am bit late on my posting, but I am happy to announce that I won 1st place in the "Work" category in the South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SD PBS) Photography Contest. This is my second year in a row placing so I am very honored that my images are once again helping to raise money for a good cause. To see all the winners CLICK HERE. To get a copy of your own calendar of winning images I think you just need to donate to SD PBS, so call 1-800-456-0766 today!
Beloware all of the images I submitted to this year's contest. Unlike last year, when photographers only had one day to create their images, this year we were given a whole week and would you believe that entire week was cloudy and rainy in the Black Hills? Go figure. That week I was scheduled to take a few visitors to chase and photograph the 1880 Train, hence why most of my submissions are train related. I also chose to do a leaf study that week due to the crappy weather, which is why I submitted one random leaf image photograph.
Join me Oct. 2nd @ 5-7pm for an artist reception!
Head over to The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology's Apex Gallery in Rapid City, SD where I have a collection of 21 images from my travels through The Rocky Mountains this past year and a half. There will be photographs from my most recent trip to Glacier, Banff and Jasper National Park along with images taken in 2014 of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. For those that attend the show I will be raffling off a 20 x 30 canvas print of one my winning images from the 2015 Dahl Mountain Photography Contest, but you can only enter to win at the Apex Gallery. I am also offering those that visit the show $75 off metal prints and $25 off an canvas prints. Hope to see you there!
Our 10-day Alaska Cruise on the Norwegian Pearl.
For the past year, my husband and I have had our trip to Alaska all planned out. After much research we chose to go in May since it was supposed to be less rainy and colder, so there would be no mosquitoes. I have done two other cruises to the Inside Passage and knew that I would be at the mercy of the cruise ship schedule. Meaning the focus was to be more vacation, less photography. Less photography, meant bring less gear. I opted to bring a smaller camera bag; the Lowpro Photo Sport 200 AW (expect a gear review in the future). This bag allowed me to take my camera and two lens, plus plenty of room for essentials and a small tripod.
Earlier in the year I was given the opportunity to try out Nikon's 28-300mm "travel lens." Overall I was pleased with the results and I decided I would rent one for our trip. Which meant, besides my 105 Micro, that was the "go to" lens for my vacation. I rented it with a discount from Borrowlenses.com a few months before our sail date and all that was left was to wait for our trip to get here and pray for good weather. It was my husband's first time and I wanted it to be perfect.
Now for those of you that are waiting for my hard lesson to consist of me being attacked by a bear or some other tale filled with cuts, bloods and bruises, I can thankfully say you will be disappointed. Our vacation was itself was absolutely perfect. We had sun and blue sky 11 out of the 12 days we were gone. We saw whales from our cruise ship, we got to hold live crabs, were surrounded by 50+ Bald Eagles as they dived into the water for bait fish and it was so sunny we even got a tan on our faces (it was still cold, so we were covered every where else LOL). My hard lesson has to do with my rented camera gear, which I will get to towards the end of my story. It may not be as exciting as a bear attack but I want to hit home how sad and awful the out come was for me. Now back to my amazing trip...
The one rainy day we had was unfortunately the day we visited Mendenhall Glacier and the Mother Nature had it out for me. I would take my camera out, get set up and it would start raining. So I put it away, hike a bit more, rain would stop, I set up again and you guessed it it starts raining. After 4 times I gave up. It was not meant to be. We hiked back to the shuttle, rains stops. After 20 minute shuttle ride back to Juneau skies clear, no more rain, beautiful light. Enough said :-(... keep repeating to myself you are on vacation, you are on vacation.
It was our first time cruising with Norwegian and over all we were not disappointed. We loved the food on board, they had many complimentary meal options. The staff on the Pearl were all great. The ship was not hard to navigate and had many quiet places for us to sit and relax. Our only issue was we did not feel the entertainment was up to par and the ship had crap for movies; thankfully this was an Alaska Cruise or we might have been bored out of our minds.
My next major photo location came when we woke-up to find ourselves in Glacier Bay on a beautiful sunny day. I would have preferred a few clouds but it was quiet stunning to witness the scenery with such clarity and to be able to see as far as the eye could see. Our most breathtaking glacier was the highlight of the bay, Margerie Glacier. We viewed the glacier from deck 12 or 13 and it was still taller then the ship! The scenery we were witnessing was simply stunning. I was feeling pretty good about the images I was creating.
On our actual trip my husband had one depressing issue. The night before we were to dock in Victoria he hurt his back out while pretending to lift me. I told him I had apparently hit up the buffet to much. We hoped with ice and sleep it would be better and he would be able to leave the boat the next day. Sadly to no avail, he was having a hard time walking and I left him behind while I went to ride scooters, visit the Butchart Gardens and the Butterfly Gardens. I felt awful about leaving him but there wasn't much I could do. So I went and had a photo day on my own. I popped on the 105 Micro and declared it "Macro Day." Due to the scooter return times and our docking late morning I only had a few hours at the gardens and one hour with the butterflies. I could have spent all day at each place but didn't need to be late, or get lost (which I did) when it came time to return the scooter.
So anyways.. back to the I learned a lesson the hard way. Again trip amazing right? I was looking forward to sifting through my images upon our return. So as I mentioned before I RENTED a lens. It arrived the day before and I ASSUMED it had been checked and declared in working order. So we go on our trip and I am taking a ton of pictures with my small point and shoot camera, but occasionally I am taking the time to use my D610. I brought my DSLR mostly to photograph Mendenhall Glacier (as we know didn't go the best), Glacier Bay (highlight of the trip, hands down) and the Butchart Gardens in Victoria (where I only used my 105MM, thankfully). After the most amazing trip, with the most amazing weather we arrived home a few weeks ago and since I had the afternoon to myself what do I do... I clean the house! Then download my pictures.
On my initial inspection every thing looks good. Then upon second review I zoom in closer to pick my favorites based on sharpness and that is when all "ship" hits the fan. The short of it is I was sent a faulty lens. When shooting in the 28-60mm zone you get nice crisp pictures, I used that section 10% of the time. When shooting in the 60-100mm zone the far left 25% of the image look like you forgot to focus while the rest of the image in in focus. Then anything after that only the middle 25% is sharp. To put simply I was stunned, speechless and trying not to cry. If this trip had been 100% on photography I pretty sure I would have curled up into the fetal position and covered myself with a blanket hoping I was dreaming.
After a phone call, emails and a lens test (which almost didn't happen due to the tech some how not noticing the pile of paperwork attached to the lens) I got my money back and a $25 credit. I am very hurt that is all I was offered and won't go into detail on how I feel about only being offered a $25 credit as compensation for my sad ordeal. Overall service was great and the situation was dealt with swiftly, but there is no way the issue with the lens was caused by FedEx I feel this lens was not properly checked-in and was then sent out to me, the poor unsuspecting customer. So with this in mind, on to the hard lesson I learned. Don't ASSUME anything. If you are renting, borrowing, or even buying a lens; test it before you go. What if you don't have time? Make time. I cannot go back in time and fix my lens. I can't redo my trip. Every moment of your entire life cannot be recreated don't let broken equipment be the cause of you not having the ability to capture it properly. Thankfully for me the pictures will work for our scrapbooks and social sharing, but when it come to printing it looks like I will just have to go back to Alaska and create new and different memories. Who doesn't need a reason to go back to Alaska?
One last lesson for photographers...
Remember that when you are with your family it is not about creating images it is about making memories. So don't forget to get out from behind the camera and just live in the moment :-)
On April 30th The Dahl announced the image that won The Peg Sagen's People's Choice Award. The image "The Fiery Heavens Above," my photograph, was chosen by the public for this honor. I was deeply humbled by the outcome of the exhibit/contest. All three of my submitted images were excepted and honored by awards.
As many of you may not know, I started my photography business back in 2005. By 2008 it had become profitable and I decided to open a gallery to showcase my work. Unfortunately for me, my timing was off and soon the economy crashed. This event forced me to put my passion to the side as I looked for part-time work, which soon let to full-time work, which subsequently led to me giving up photography all together. At the time I did not notice the emptiness that was building in my heart. I had been taking pictures since I was 8-years old, so to just "quit cold turkey" really took a lot out of me.
Thankfully sometime last year signs were pointing me back to my passion. I had just lost my job and thought it a great oppportunity to revamp my business to have a more educational focus. I have spent the last year rebuilding my portfolio, recreating my website and even changing my company name. It has been hard work; I have often wondered if I made the right choice, the fear of my past putting doubt in my mind. Winning these awards has given me a sign that I am moving in the right direction and provided me the motivation I need to keep moving forward with my dream. Thank you all for coming along with me on this journey.
WHO: My mom and I
WHAT: Oxbow Bend
WHEN: October 2014
WHERE: Grand Teton National Park, WY
WHY: Trying to catch the fall colors (as you can see from the picture we were a bit late)
"Frosted in Pink"
When going to the Tetons for photography, anyone who is anyone has heard of Oxbow Bend where the above image was taken. This past fall I was on a trip with my Mom to catch the fall colors in the Tetons. We started our trip a week before this image was created. Before we had even left I knew from posts on Facebook that I would miss the fall colors for a second year in a row. I tried to not let this knowledge get me down and told myself there would be many other stories to tell. Thankfully fall in Yellowstone National Park was turning into a photographers heaven with lovely moody mornings filled with fog. Well after 6 straight days of mornings filled with fog I was starting to crave a sunrise. I mean all of my images were starting to look the same. Every time I got up early hoping for some warm golden rays, I got fog.
Before bed that night I got everything ready. Set the alarm for 5:30am since I only had to drive just 5 minutes away for my shot. When the alarm ran after what felt like just five minutes of sleep I quickly rolled over to turn it off being my mom had no need to rise so early with me. I won't lie after a week of getting up early I was tired and exhausted, but I put on a hat and headed out the door. As I rounded the corner near Oxbow Bend I could see quite a few flash lights and the closer I got the more evident it became I would not be alone. In fact I would estimate that there were almost 150 photographers already set-up and ready to catch the sunrise! I was shocked. It had we wishing I had appreciated that moment at Lower Falls when only 15 photographers surrounded me. Apparently I was not the only person missing the sun. I felt discouraged put pushed forward with my plan. I parked the car, grabbed my bag and starting walking away from everyone. I had to find a spot that I could call my own. While walking I thought to myself "I must make it different." With so many of us I had to somehow make my image standout. I concluded that most people here would be shooting normal rectangular shots, so I was going to focus 80% of my composure on a panoramic layout. I finally located a location where not only was I away from everyone but I was even out of site of everyone. Hooray for pretending to be the only one around. I quickly turned to getting my gear ready and just as I was just finishing up I hear twigs snapping and leaves crunching. Apparently my spot also looked to be a great spot for "Mr. John Doe" to set-up his gear as well. I won't lie I tried hard to not give him the stink eye, but I was really bummed he plopped his stuff right next to mine. Then a few minutes later I had another guy just 10 feet above me. Where were they all coming from?! At some point I had to let my disappointment go so I could focus on the task at hand. The sun was just starting her display and pink began to frost the mountains. I just loved how moody the sky was behind the peaks I could not wait to see how this sunrise panned out. Just as I finished snapping the three images that were used to create the panoramic above the sun moved behind a cloud and the show was over; that was all she wrote. My first sunrise in almost a week and she lasted a whole ten minutes. Don't get me wrong I love the image that came of that morning but I will never stop wondering what might had been and she been allowed to fully rise to meet the mountains.
Buy Print "Frosted in Pink"
WHO: My friend Antonia and I
WHAT: Upper Falls, Johnston Canyon
WHEN: July 2014
WHERE: Banff National Park, Canada
WHY: Girls Photo Adventure Trip!
"Hang on Tight"
One last thing I would like to point out about my image "Hang on Tight." If you notice, the title of the image has nothing to do with the waterfall or water at all. When I took this photo my focus was on those amazing trees gripping that cliff for dear life. I thought it showed a great lesson; no matter what you are giving in life as long as do not give up you can succeed. So in short, I took this image to showcase those wonderful trees, the waterfall was just an afterthought that made the background interesting.
WHERE: Grand Teton National Park near Jackson Lake Damn
Once the high from seeing the bear wore off the panic came back and I resumed my course to the cabin. Thankfully I was able to transfer the files, but for awhile there I really thought I had lost 3 days worth of images.
So with everything in order I packed up and headed back on the road. I stopped to take pictures on my way out of the park but the sky was now just bright blue, no clouds and full sun, not the best lighting.
This last piece doesn't have much to do with the bear but it does end my roller coaster of emotions. I was told by another photographer where I could find a litter of coyote pups over on Mormon Row. I had never actually spent any time there so it took me a while to find it. Even then I wasn't sure where to look until another person pointed it out to me. Those pups really blended in.
A big thank you to everyone who visited me today!
My online store has been activated!
If you get your order in by the 12th of December your prints will be here in time for the holidays.
GRAND OPENING SALE coming this Monday, December 8th.
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Everyone has a passion in life, mine is photography mixed with the great outdoors. Though such should come as no surprise since I grew up playing and getting lost in the woods of The Black Hills of South Dakota. Making it only natural that I feel most at home when I am surrounded by mountain peaks and the voices of the animals. I have always wanted to make a difference in this world, I just did not know how I could. I soon realized by documenting our planet I could share my joy with the rest of the world. It is my hope that with my nature photography I will instill the same passion and love that I have for Mother Nature into others. This world we live on is truly an amazing place, but with our personal lives filled with work and stress we often forget to stop and take in the beauty all around us.