Tag: Photography

Where’s My Ice Axe?

Where’s My Ice Axe?

FullSizeRenderIt was an interesting travel day. Just the diving + underwater photography and the gear penalty that comes from that equation is grueling but today gave other experiences besides whining about the gear.

First, my mom dropped me at the airport and as I asked her to push the button to lift her back tail gate, I remembered my camera gear bag was leaning against the door. I ran in what seemed like slow motion to the back of her SUV as I watched the bag do a perfect roll out of the vehicle onto the pavement. The good news is, the new EVOC bag I just hocked my three cats and dog for (no…not really…calm down) protected all the cameras and lenses and laptop. The investment of the bag paid off already.

Then the woman sitting behind me on the plane was in her late 70’s or early 80’s, was from my tiny home town…lives next to friends of mine…and she was on her first plane ride ever…first leg of a trip to Ireland. That’s a crazy-cool brave thing to do for your first experience in a plane. The flight attendants gave her wings, checked on her often and she did just great. I thought a lot about her courage.

The first flight was 20 minutes early arriving into Atlanta but probably because they were trying to beat the horrible weather that moved into the area. There was a two hour delay due to Mr. Thunderstorm, the name given to the weather by the gate attendant. It wasn’t such a big deal to have time to grab a sandwich and eat a late lunch.

Once we boarded the completely packed…but very nice, sort of new jet with blue mood lighting…the captain came on the intercom and warned us it was going to be a horrible flight. Well, maybe he said very, very bumpy. He said the extra bouncing would mean the attendants couldn’t serve anything but water. Luckily for us it really wasn’t bad and most likely they simply didn’t have time to restock drinks and snacks because the plane was two hours late arriving due to the weather..those quick turn-arounds don’t give much time for those luxury items airlines have these days…you know the pretzels and sodas. Nevertheless, it was fine and we made an impressive landing from over the Atlantic Ocean into Fort Lauderdale.

IMG_4721Then baggage claim…to add to my collection of huge bags. People sort of stare sometimes at the massive pile of luggage for just me; however, I’m used to it. A big gear bag for dive gear, another for clothes and strobe arms, a hardshell case for the underwater housing, and the lovely, new camera backpack…which needs an introduction.

It seems as if I’ve spent years looking for the right backpack that was carry-on size and would hold my gear.  I just recently I ordered and returned two such creatures from a photo supply store in New York. One was massive and wouldn’t even fit through the doorway of a jet and the other was smaller than the one I already had. So I searched and researched and watched youtube videos and read reviews and finally found the one.

The EVOC CP 35L is made in one of the alpine countries (sorry, can’t remember which one) and is a camera bag for adventurers. It is designed to protect photography gear and be handy and well-made to accommodate the outdoor photographer and still fit inside a plane as a carry-on. I’m not one to write about such trivial things as gear packs but given the grief I’ve had trying to find the right bag, its not trivial to my work. And I could help others who might be pulling their hair out over this matter. It reminds me of Hermoine Granger’s bag in the Harry Potter movie.

The only issue I have is with the weight of my gear…topping out at 37 pounds it’s really heavy to carry, much less lift into an overhead storage compartment on a plane. But here’s what it’s carrying on its maiden voyage: Two Nikon camera bodies, a 70-200mm lens, a 2 x converter, a fish eye lens, a 24-70mm wide angle zoom lens, a laptop and charger, extra camera batteries, battery chargers, two (huge) underwater strobes and their batteries, my travel wallet-purse, lipstick and lip balm, a little other makeup, meds, two pair of sunglasses in hard cases and a pair of regular glasses in a hard case…and other stuff I cannot remember.

FullSizeRender 2Learning the new bag I’ve found extra-handy gadgetry. For instance, there’s a fold out, water-proof avalanche emergency plan and a loop for my ice axe. I’m sure the avalanche plan will come in very handy seeing how much I love romping through the snow (not). But dang it all–the airline refused passage of my ice axe and I really thought I could use it in Bimini. Oh, well. Next time perhaps.

bitmoji-20160617204607It’s never to late to have an adventure, to go somewhere you’ve never gone before, to travel and enjoy the beauty of this planet. And if there’s anyone out there willing to voluntarily help carry gear, have I got a trip for you!


Trust the Light

Trust the Light

simonelipscomb (3)The stage at The Frog Pond Sunday Social was filled with awesome musicians…singer/songwriters…guitar virtuosos….another cauldron of creative genius. I was there not only as a music-lover but as a photographer as well.

simonelipscomb70From my point of view the lighting for photography was great for everyone except Will Kimbrough. He was backlit with a strong late-afternoon sun. As I photographed the group, I accepted with almost certainty that I wouldn’t have any good shots of Will but kept on playing with exposure settings and playing with the light.

simonelipscomb71As the uploading of files from camera to computer began last night I began editing my work and was surprised that some of those shots I never expected to work out were some of my best shots of the afternoon. The images of Cathe Steel and Will at the mic for a Grayson Capps fantastic song, Love, turned out. The backlighting powerfully illustrated the love generated by people dedicated to promoting a better world through music.

simonelipscomb147How many times do we give up on a situation, a person, a place, our passion because we don’t think the conditions are right? How many times do we pass on opportunities because we think it’s just not a good time or situation? Sometimes when we proceed anyway, take the risk, allow the creative spirit within us to keep flowing, something wonderful results.

Grayson Capps, singer songwriter wrote a phenomenal song…Love.

This morning, as I was in my pre-writing contemplation, Mary Elizabeth, Will’s sister, messaged me about a couple of shots from yesterday. In the reply to her I said, “Will’s such a special light for our world,” and then realized the images of of Will perfectly expressed how I see him and the gifts he brings to our planet. What I originally thought of as challenging backlighting proved to illustrate exactly what I wanted to express through images of this gifted musician.

simonelipscomb (4)My intention as a photographer is to capture the essence, the heart, of the subject. Usually I am standing in the middle of a quiet mountain stream or on sunrise sands communing with light as it fills the sky or illuminates rushing water. Playing with light is really what I do. Photographing humans is a newer endeavor but it’s really the same isn’t it? Seeking out, playing with light within a person’s face, heart…music.

simonelipscomb1 (6)Creative work and spiritual path are the same in my mind. I cannot separate the two. Photography is the work of my heart, my method of choice for bringing forth more beauty, more joy. It’s never been clear where the Path will lead. Sometimes life seems like a random series of brief moments of insight. And then there are times when a glimpse into the big picture is granted, like the opening of a curtain for a short glimpse of truth, and I see…and it makes sense. All I have to do is trust the light.

simonelipscomb (5)John O’Donohue wrote a blessing for all of us bringing forth our heart’s work.

“May the light of your soul guide you. May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart. May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul. May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light, and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work. May your work never weary you. May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration, and excitement. May you be present in what you do. May you never become lost in the bland absences. May the day never burden. May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises. May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected. May your soul calm, console, and renew you.”