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I do fun, for me, strange, crazy, weird things. I do things that other people might not want to do or see the value in doing. I do them for many reasons. One reason I do them is because it allows me to enjoy nature in a way you just cannot enjoy nature in any other way.

When you spend over ten hours out in nature moving across this landscape on your feet you appreciate nature in a way you can’t when engaging it in different ways. You appreciate all the stones, the roots, and the thorns. You appreciate the mud and muck and stream crossings. OK. Maybe appreciate isn’t the right word for those things.

Finger Lakes Trail Stream Crossing
Stream crossing along the Finger Lakes Trail.

But what happens is you experience nature. You don’t just see nature. Seeing nature is great, but experiencing nature is just another level. When you spend that much time out in nature you see things a little differently. I like how my mind shifts when I am out there.

This different way of experiencing nature helps me to appreciate nature better. It helps me to think about nature more. It helps me to be a better artist. It helps me to be more creative.

Taking the time to get out in the woods on a virtual 50k like the Aravaipa Strong race gives me time to reflect and work on my craft in ways I can’t at other times.

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I enjoy running as an outlet, as a way to socialize, and as a way to stay healthy. What I enjoy even more than running is just being outside and adventuring. I have not really just gone out adventuring in a while. I don’t know if was due to a lack of motivation or inspiration, but it just hadn’t really happened since my last big race. Then along came this interesting opportunity.

I love social media and I especially love certain content creators. One of my favorites has been Jamil Coury of Aravaipa Running. He creates so much awesome content on YouTube that is both entertaining and inspiring. I would love to run an Aravaipa race, however they are located in Arizona and I have no idea when or if I will ever be out that way. Then we are hit with the Corona Virus Pandemic. This obviously has not been fun for anyone, but to look on the bright side for me it caused a pivot to virtual races and that included virtual races from Aravaipa Running.

Aravaipa Running announced their first virtual race, Aravaipa Strong. I am not usually into virtual races, but the chance to run an official Aravaipa race was very appealing. Plus if you are having a virtual race you have to have good swag and the Aravaipa team put together great swag. Even better was that you could choose your own distance from 5k to 100 miles. I had not been training for any long runs but this opportunity for adventure was one I could not pass up.

I was tired I could have taken a nap in this lean to at the junction of the main Finger Lakes Trail and the Crystal Hills branch of the FLT.
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Continue to stay the course. It doesn’t mean do what you normally would have done had the corona virus pandemic not occurred, but it means keep working at the goals and plans that you had already made. It means adapt those plans as best you can to fit into your life and your businesses in the way we have to operate now.

My commitment this year was to work hard to grow my photography business this year. The ultimate goal for me being that it is no longer my side hustle, but it is my career. Merge my career and my passion.

A big part of that plan and growth meant expanding to offer new services I had always wanted to offer but never felt like I had the time for. But now I was committing to them. I had been working to plan workshops to work with photographers to learn more about our craft.

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If our world hadn’t been upended by the corona virus I would have been leading my second migratory bird workshop at Eldridge Park, but that was not to be. Even though I am not currently able to go gather a group and guide them through some wildlife photography I still kept faith with myself and went to Eldridge Park solo.

It was cold but mostly sunny this morning. I thought I would be fortunate and get some beautiful and bright spring sunlight, but as the sun rose in the sky the clouds continuously rose to meet it. The light wasn’t ideal but the bright sun and thick clouds did create some interesting effects.

Today I did not see the migratory birds I had been hoping for but there was still lots of action on the lake.

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Spring always brings a great variety of photographic opportunities. I always enjoy photographing spring flowers as they begin to bloom. Spring has only recently arrived on the calendar and even more recently has it finally begun to feel like Spring here in upstate, NY. Where we live is at a slightly higher elevation than most of the surrounding area so Spring arrives even later at my house.

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Ducks on a pond

I had planned to implement some new photography projects and services this year. However, with the Corona Virus and Social Distancing my plans like many of your plans are now on hold.

One service I was planning to gear up for this year was offering photography workshops. My first series of workshops was to begin the first week of April. I wanted to lead workshops on photographing migrating birds in our area. I wanted to lead this series of workshops at Eldridge Park.

I have already set the dates for these workshops next year: Migratory Bird Photography

While I wasn’t able to offer the workshop and have a group of people present to share the experience with I wanted to carry out my day the way I would have if I had been holding the workshop. So I went to Eldridge Park anyway to photograph migratory birds.

I added some photographs from this trip to my Waterfowl gallery.

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Still Run Your Races

Runners have been training long and hard to run races, set PR’s, and take on new challenges. Then we were hit with the Corona Virus Pandemic. All events with large gatherings were cancelled. This meant all of our races were cancelled for the foreseeable future. Social distancing became the new normal.

I think for many runners the initial news that races were being canceled was like a gut punch because so many of us had been planning so much of our lives around training and preparing for our races. Now that our races are cancelled what were we supposed to do with ourselves. I feel like that is just a very natural initial reaction to what we all know was the right decision, in cancelling races.

The new reality of social distancing reinforces some of the best aspects of running. We can run anywhere at any time with or without anyone. Running is a great sport because it doesn’t actually require a team. We can go out and run and train and compete against ourselves and achieve new feats in running without having to be around anyone else.

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Usually when I go out on a photography outing I go out with the intention of photographing a specific subject or subjects. One of my favorite photography subjects for this time of year are migratory birds that pass through our region as they migrate to their summer breeding areas. One of the best places in our area to see migratory birds is at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a drive to get there so I do not make the trip as often as I would like.

During this time of social distancing due to the Corona Virus I thought that going to the Monetezuma NWR would be the perfect activity because At the refuge there is a Wildlife Drive where you can literally drive around the main area of the refuge and stay in your car the entire time and watch and photograph birds. I assumed the Wildlife Drive would be open and did not check the website. That was a mistake. We arrived and the Wildlife Drive had not yet open for the season. I was able to check out other areas of the refuge and the nearby Montezuma Audubon Center. Due to my miscalculation regarding the wildlife drive I wasn’t able to see many birds or create many good photographs.

You can see Photographs from this trip in this Gallery.

Hiding from the waves behind our car.
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I spent some time today trying to relearn what I had previously learned how to do in Photoshop. At one point I had learned how to create a composite image from several shots that I took at a race I photographed. I was able to create an image that I really liked but I did not keep in practice with doing it and forgot how to do it. So, now I get to spend time learning it once again.

In 2017 I photographed Red Newt Racing’s Lucifer’s Crossing Race that took place at Buttermilk Falls in Upstate, NY. I wanted to try and be a little more creative with this series of photographs. I brought a tripos and set up to take longer exposure photos as the runners passed in front of me. I wanted to really capture their motion.

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Challenge and Change

We are all going through a challenging time right now. There is a lot of uncertainty. Our daily routines have been disrupted and our way of life is turned upside down. The one thing we all need to remember is that we are all in this together and we need do what we can according to our means to look out for each other during this time.

Here at KRNaturalPhoto I feel very fortunate in this moment as this business is still my side hustle and I have my day job to support me through this. If there is something I can do to help support a member of my community out there during this time please reach out and get in touch with me.

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