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jjeling
01-17-2014, 06:06 AM
In this thread I would like to start by saying that had it not been for this forum, the appreciation I have for photography would not be what it is today. When I first joined, I thought to myself if I could only take pictures like they could I would be happy. I went from a broke college student taking pictures of blank walls, to a what they consider a productive member of society(whatever that means, and it means less and less to me everyday it seems like) that has the ability to go anywhere and take pictures of anything. This year took me on two 5,000 plus mile road trips and many more weekend trips to photograph the things I wanted to go see. The problem now is that after seeing all of this, I still long for the creativity I had when I was just getting started. I was broke. Couldn't afford to drive my car across the country and back, only to do it again a few months later. Time was spent getting creative trying to make something out of nothing. I need to get back to that. But without the experiences of the past year, sitting here typing this would not be possible. Its funny because we always go back to the places we enjoy the most. We go back to the places that helped us grow along the way. Anyways, this forum has been that place and it only seems fitting that I share some of my favorite images from this past year with you. Some of you may have seen them, some may not have. I will try and post a few here a couple times a week telling the stories with each post.

Marko, if this is not the proper place for this thread, I would ask you move it to the correct place. I would have put it in the photographic essay thread but felt as though with the amount of content I'm about to place in this thread some might feel as though I am promoting myself, however I figured it would be easier to just put it here. I can't stand promoting myself to be honest, in my opinion that's how someone stops themselves from growing.

jjeling
01-17-2014, 06:33 AM
To start off the year, I thought it would be fun to go back to Yellowstone National Park. Having been there twice now, it has a bit of a conundrum on its hands. Preserve it, or let several million people in to visit with their automobiles every year? Needless to say, it has to rank as one of the wonders of the world. What an amazing place. Ill go back again this spring. The weather is surely unpredictable. The big thing there however is not necessarily the grand views, its the geothermal features and the abundance of wildlife. Anyone who goes there will see the bison. How can you go to the first National Park in the United States and not take a picture of the last remaining 100% genetically pure bison? You can't. That's why this first picture here is going to be of one.


While waiting in my photo blind(Jeep, cars make good photo blinds there) during a heavy downpour, a bison started walking directly towards me. I took a few pictures of him and upon review was able to see the rain falling in the images as well. A moment in my head told me to hurry up and focus just a few feet in front of me to catch the falling rain and blow the focus of the bison. One thing about the bison, is they are HUGE. Knowing if I blow the focus of the bison, his silhouette is still going to be understandable. 18665

Whats less known is that there are a LOT more elk than there are bison. One thing there are less of than bison are these guys......18661

This guy was probably 300 yards out. At 500mm this is the best I could get. With some cropping and dead tree branch in the way. Still a sight to behold

jjeling
01-17-2014, 07:05 AM
The beauty of Yellowstone is there is something there for everyone. Whether you like animal watching, hiking, or simply driving around and staying inside the comfort of your car. On this trip, it rained more than I would have liked it to. I was by myself this trip which makes disconnecting from everything really easy. 186621866318664 Helping as much as traveling solo does, the park does not have cell phone service except in designated locations. There has been some discussion about this, but it should stay this way. Park systems like this are often times the ONLY way to truly disconnect and with views and environments like this, why would you want to do anything but totally immerse yourself without any distractions.

Marko
01-17-2014, 09:36 AM
Thanks for sharing the images and the Story JJeling - and I SO agree with you about no cell phone access.
Really like image 1 in post 3 here.

jjeling
01-19-2014, 01:54 AM
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jjeling
01-19-2014, 01:57 AM
In conclusion, those pictures pretty much summarize the park. Even though there are countless numbers of animals to look at, and some of the most breathtaking mountains, the geothermal features are what created the landscape of Yellowstone and are the reason the animals are there in such great numbers. Its a magical place, and deserving of a third visit this spring again.

Hillbillygirl
01-19-2014, 06:29 AM
Thank you for sharing so much with us with this story, and pics of your life adventures into the art of photography.

All wonderful captures, and love the meaningful narrative with each. Thanks for sharing, and keep shooting/growing as we all do everyday.

jjeling
01-22-2014, 05:13 AM
So continuing on in the journey, there is no way to continue without stressing the importance of the journey itself. I would be lying to myself if I said the best part of traveling was spending time at a destination. There is nothing more interesting to me when traveling than the actual travel. It is almost depressing when the driving ends and destination has been reached. We all know that sometimes the journey to our destination is just as important as the destination itself. I could speak about the parallels between our own learning experiences and travel experiences for hours, but then again, that's why I am so interested in photography. It seems that through photography, I am able to share my stories much more effectively. Sure this is not an isolated view, but it cannot be discounted either. The journeys we take through life are meant to be experiences we need to have. The road less traveled gives us an alternative view, the open road ahead gives us time to think and contemplate, and stormy weather in front of us makes sure have prepared ourselves for the future. If we decide to take shortcuts, we miss out on a whole lot.......
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jjeling
01-22-2014, 05:13 AM
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jjeling
01-22-2014, 05:49 AM
Having shared those images, I must state that with that trip being my second to Yellowstone, and my first super cell encounter, my ability to truly do what I had set out to achieve with photography had been seriously degraded. You see the thing is, many of you are all great photographers. If you still consider yourself a beginner, keep practicing and you will be able to do the same thing. Had any of you been in these same places, at the same times, you would have been able to capture the same images if not better, that I would put money on. Call me outspoken, or whatever you will, but I wanted to set out to take pictures of the ordinary and turn them into extraordinary. It seems as though now, it is backwards and these are extraordinary images of extraordinary things. So, to me it does not seem like much of a challenge. We all know our equipment well. We all know how light functions and how composition affects the aesthetics of our images. But its the constant struggle and drive to pursue a deeper sense of creativity in my images that drives me to continue doing this. With that being said, I cannot help but fall back on my own understanding that we cannot forget the journeys. Our individual journeys are what shape and influence our decisions and views throughout life. They are completely necessary. Its these journeys that if we decide to forego, then we miss out on an experience that may have given us that little extra knowledge we were looking for. The worst thing you could do is take a short cut. Take the path less traveled, and never forget that you can learn a something from everything and everyone.

Runmonty
01-22-2014, 06:02 AM
Thanks for taking us on your inspirational journey with you. I admire your passion and agree that the journey (however one may decide to define that for themselves) is what is great.

P.S. Lovin' those roadside lightning shots.

jjeling
01-22-2014, 06:19 AM
Thanks Monty. It is a difficult thing to wrestle with sometimes. Although I find myself happy with where I am at right now. I think I could push myself a little harder. I doubt that I am the first one to come to terms with this so I thought I would share some of what I've been dealing with over the past year. Maybe someone agrees with me, maybe some don't. Hopefully this opens up some conversation as to how people have dealt with it and how they feel they've overcome their struggles. In the meantime, it gives me a way to share what I've seen and experienced and perhaps it will open up some creative avenues or ideas for me.

Marko
01-22-2014, 09:37 AM
Thx for sharing this story jjelling.
really liking the roadside lightning shots as well and those lovely road sunsets.

Iguanasan
01-22-2014, 09:56 PM
And I agree, this is a great story and some wonderful images. "If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff." - Jim Richardson, RICHARDSON PHOTOGRAPHY (http://www.jimrichardsonphotography.com/public_html/RICHARDSON_PHOTOGRAPHY.html)

aubintbay
01-24-2014, 05:37 PM
Awesome photos and great story. Those lightning shots are great. I love the tail lights, lightning and reflected lightning on your car all in one shot....awesome!

jjeling
01-26-2014, 09:01 PM
As the final stop before making it home, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is my favorite place to be East of the Mississippi River. It truly is a different world from the rest of every other place I know. In the winter, they receive over 20ft of snow in most places. The other reason, being on the south side of Lake Superior, it offers an uninhibited view north for an excellent view of the Aurora Borealis when the conditions are ideal. Unfortunately, having been up there half a dozen times now, Ive only witnessed the green glow and not the dancing light show that many of you in Canada might be familiar with. The thing about the Upper Peninsula is it offers a sense of serenity not found here at home, or even the lower peninsula of Michigan. They have some of the most beautiful beaches and scenery, it also has a plethora of waterfalls. With this being the second trip in less than a year where I traveled alone for over 4.5k miles in less than 10 days, I felt like my passion for photography was finally validated. Not that its necessary, but I've found that more than anything else, it gives me the ability to share my experiences in life that most people in the will not be able to experience. It seems as though we as photographers have that duty in general. I truly believe that photographers who do this specifically for their own enjoyment, see things in a different way than most commercial photographers. Its nothing against the commercial photographer, I wish I could do it for a living, but then the joy gained from photography would be severely diminished. Taking pictures for pure joy naturally lends itself to more creative images and images that can be enjoyed by more than the singular intended audience. Not everyone has the abilities that we have as experienced photographers to be aware of our composition and can afford to be a little more creative. But EVERYONE can look at an image and enjoy it in one way or another. So many thoughts are provoked while traveling alone for such long periods of time, and over long distances, but revisiting the trips and realizing how each one has impacted you has just as much power as the trip itself. Not everyone can do the things that we do, and its our responsibility to share with the world the way we view things.1872818729187301873118732