Therapy Animals and Photography

As you can read on the About Me page, I am a person who has suffered through a great deal in my life to date. I’m okay with everything that has happened, the medical diagnosis that turned my life upside down and even the tragedies that have occurred. I am not saying that it’s easy or that I am 100% dealing with the issues but I am saying that I have learned to cope.

In 2008, when I had two years of massive depression and then the diagnosis of Multiple sclerosis, a counselor decided it was time for me to access what meant the most to me in my life. Her suggestion was that I pick up a camera and start photographing everything that “spoke” to me. I started taking photos of nature and wildlife, animals and farms. My health care provider suggested that I start eating more raw foods, home-grown items so that I knew what went into the production of food goods and to find time to release stress.

All of this started a major transition in my life. I discovered my love of cattle. I discovered what I felt about the land, my natural environment and more of who I was on the inside. Working with the cattle is my true therapy. I learned that when I am around them, I breathe slower and I am more relaxed. I am not like Tigger on drugs, which is me at any other point during the day. I learned that calves never fail to bring a smile to my face. I learned the sense of accomplishment like I never have before after saving a calf from near death and then watching them give birth to their first calf.

I have learned that I can capture this passion through the lens of a camera too, not only for cattle but for tractors and diesel trucks, flowers and nature, wildlife and water. I’ve learned that I love the little things in life and have come to appreciate them that much more. It just seems that no matter how difficult my life is, there is always something so small that thrives through wind, rain and snow. If a tiny plant with the smallest of flowers can come back year after year during the harshest of elements that nature provides, then I guess I don’t have an excuse anymore to feel sorry for myself. Mother Nature has taught me that we all have our own storms to weather but, as long as our roots are strong, we can always regrow. During our regrowth, we may become something slightly different from what we were before but usually we are stronger on the other side.

I have lots that I could share about these feelings and emotions but I won’t bore you with the details. I will just remind you that no matter what, each trial we go through brings us closer to who we really are on the inside. I am a survivor, plain and simple.

So for now, I will keep working with my therapy cattle and grooming them to be friendly animals for others to use and learn from. I will continue to learn about what’s best for me and my environment. And, of course, I will continue to photograph everything along the way.

If you live in the area and just need some space…I will be more than happy to let you come laugh with me over calf-antics, share a spot on the banks of the pond at sunset, or allow you to stroll through the pastures capturing your own photos. My work here is meant to be shared.

Calf-Antics

Calf-Antics

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Those Moments

Sometimes I just have THOSE moments. Maybe I am just a little more aware of the things around me because I am always searching for just the perfect shot. Maybe it’s because I look at things a little differently, seeking those things that a different and unique. I’m not really sure what it is, it just is. It’s difficult for me to explain and even harder for me to teach. It just is what it is.

Those moments I speak of are when something happens, for me it’s usually captured by a camera in my hand, that makes you sit back on your heels and ponder the moment. The moments don’t happen often. It’s rare and it takes you by surprise. It could be something crazy like a grasshopper that jumps on the window of the truck on a cloudy day. It could be something as simple as a calf smelling a flower. Then other times, it could be something as simple as the delicate petals of a flower that are nearly transparent from the rain, wind and sun.

These aren’t those moments that are bad. They are the moments that are miraculous. Those moments that I just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Some require patience but most just happen while out walking doing something entirely different. They are moments full of awe and wonderful amazement as you look up and see things in a different perspective. I am a professional photographer. These are the moments that take my breathe away and moments I am always on the look out for.

Amy, a week old Jersey/Dexter cross calf, smelling a wildflower.

 

The delicate petals of an unusual colored wildflower

 

The flight of the grasshopper

I have won awards, placed in the top 300 for international competitions, been published countless amounts of time and nothing compares to the moments when these moments are taken. No amount of money, praise or attention can compare. I take photographs JUST to capture these moments. It happens with nature, with people and everything in between. I’m just blessed to be able to have them happen time and time again!

 

 

Strength of the storm

Back in 2008 when I was struggling with the loss of family members and a new diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis, I watched a storm develop over my home…these are the words that came to mind.

Photo taken as a storm receded and the sunshine blessed us with it’s presence.

In the inner recesses of my mind, there is no light. 
There is no way out. No way to start over. 
No way to control the inner blackness that surrounds me like storm clouds.
Emptiness. Loneliness. Sadness.

These are the emotions I feel. 
My existence here seems so small and unimportant. 
I have lost nearly everything that I hold near and dear to my heart. 
I am but a shadow of my former self. 
Earth shattering and heart breaking events seem to swirl around me like clouds of the impending and unrelenting storm that keeps whirling around my body and soul.

The pain is like the driving rain that falls from the sky. 
The loneliness blows at my soul like the winds of a tornado. 
My utter sadness that goes to my core is like the lightning bolts that shoot from the sky. 
Ominous clouds, strong winds, driving sheets of rain and bolts of lightning;the center of my existence.

I stand in the center of it all. 
Still fighting, still struggling against it all. 
Feet planted firmly apart on the ground. Arms slightly raised, palms up at my sides. 
Head tilted back with my face lifted. My breathing is calm and deep. 
I am absorbing the strength and ferocity of the storm, becoming one with the pure unadultered power of nature. 

One lone tree stands in the background. 
Barren and leafless, it spreads out its branches like the fingers of death and destruction. 
It fights my soul to gain control of nature’s prowess. 
Dark and menacing as the storm and grown from Mother Nature herself, 
this tree should be over powering me yet, for some reason we stand in compatible silence with the noise and roar of the storm blowing around us.

I will not be defeated. I am who I was put here to be. 
I am here to prove a point to all those I come in contact with. I am at peace. 
I have found serenity. I am strong. 
No one can not chop me down like the old dead tree. 
No one can not strike me with lightning to split me in half.  
No one can blow me apart with their winds. No one can not knock me down. 

The driving rains toughens my skin. 
The winds only make me gnarled and twisted, in turn making me stronger. 
The lightning only charges my conviction.  
The ominous clouds only serve to make me blind to what I need to see. 
The rumble of thunder deafens me to hear only what I am suppose to listen to.

I stand in the center of it all. 
Still fighting, still struggling against it all. 
Feet planted firmly apart. Arms slightly raised, palms up. 
Face lifted while my head is tilted back. My breathing is calm and deep. 
I AM the storm that has strength and fury. 
I am at one with the power of nature. 

You fight as you continue to gain connection as you dig into her inner ground soul and as you touch her skies with your fingertips. 
You challenge her at every turn but, she is stronger willed that you are and she controls your destiny. 
You are that barren, leafless tree that someone will chop down. 
You can be struck by lightning and split in half. 
You can be blown apart by the howling winds of destruction. 
You can be knocked down and you will. 

I stand in the center of it all. 
Still fighting, still struggling against it all. 
Feet planted firmly apart. Arms slightly raised, palms up. 
Face lifted while my head is tilted back. My breathing is calm and deep. 
I AM the storm that has strength and fury. 
I am at one with the strength of the storm.

I have found my strength within, I pray that you can find the same in yourself. Gather strength from the struggles. Empower and embrace your inner storm.

Spring Eternal

With all the bad news the media is reporting. It’s important for me to kick back and remember the little things in life. Nature provides us with great examples of renewal, especially in areas that have been covered in snow all winter.

Spring is eternal. It’s nature’s way of showing us that no matter how cold or frozen life has gotten, it always renews with a little bit of light and sunshine, warmth and a brush of Mother Nature’s kindness. I associate the simplicity of the cycles of nature with my life right now. I am on the edge of my very own “spring revival”. I am still growing and I can feel the buds of great things right on the edge of the horizon.

I live life always searching for images that capture my emotions. Images that make me feel a peace in my soul that I haven’t been able to “touch” in another way yet. Photography isn’t about a subject to me, it’s about the moment, the color and vibrancy, the “life” within the subject. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a garden or a track…It’s just how I see the world. Small bits and pieces that gather to create this beautiful thing we call life.

Here are a few images I took today that speak of “Spring in Bloom”. I hope you enjoy!

Crocus, always the first to break through the cold brown ground to share it's beauty

Crocus, always the first to break through the cold brown ground to share it’s beauty

Tiny little buds

Tiny little buds

Daffodils

Daffodils