Marriage is an adventure. Sometimes it can be a hard push up a steep mountain pass, other times a sweet downhill into a calm meadow of wildflowers, but honestly it is usually something that is left on the back burner instead of treated like the adventure that it is. What I mean is we usually take it for granted. It is there, it is part of our lives and we love our partner. But do we put as much effort into it like we do when we prepare for an adventure like say a bikepacking trip? Usually not.
Then over two, five, ten or twenty years things get stale and neither person can quite put their finger on what went wrong. Jen and I have been through this more than once. I am not sure how many times I will have to be reminded that my marriage needs an input of energy just as much as my Adventure Monkey does. Hopefully this last wakeup call will be just that, the last.
As you may be picking up here, we’ve found ourselves in a rough patch and are working through it. But once things are back on track we have to remember not to take the marriage or each other for granted. That is a whole separate blog in itself, so let me get to the point of this post.
Jen and I went to Camp Wood in Elmdale, Kansas, the site of the AM photocycling tours, to get away and rekindle. We rented a cute little cabin, filled it full of food and art supplies and spent the weekend hanging out and working on vision boards. A vision board consists of creating a visual representation of things we want in our lives. It could be a new bike or a new job, but more importantly than things are the feelings these things will give us or the feelings we want to get from them. We used paint, glue, magazines, markers, and a lot of other supplies to come up with our visual representations of what we want out of life. I know, it sounds a little airy-fairy, but it was pretty cool. I’d show you my finished board, but let’s just say I’m a way better photographer than painter, although I enjoyed the process immensely. On that note let’s look at some cool images from the weekend.
First off, here’s our cabin.
Our Stone House Cabin
The front porch swing made a great place for morning coffee
living room, full kitchen, table full of art supplies and to the right is the bedroom and bathroom
The bedroom. Maybe I should have tidied up the place before taking this shot.
Once again, Camp Wood did not fail to impress us. It is nestled in the midst of the Flint Hills, is reasonably priced and has all the amenities a person needs to get away and enjoy the outdoors. Camp Wood also has a pond with water activities, horses, a climbing tower, skate park and a very nice conference center. You should consider using it for a conference or just a simple getaway like we did.
Jen runs a Yoga studio in Emporia called Heart Center Studio. One of the things we planned on doing is taking some pictures that she could use for her studio. We thought we were in trouble with all the rain we had, but as you can see, it worked out perfectly.
We walked onto the patio overlooking the Flint Hills on our first night. The clouds were looking ominous and I thought we should shoot right then before it started to rain, a good choice. This is shot using natural light and then processed in Adobe Lightroom to get the effect you see here.
The sun was going down and the clouds were getting thicker, so we had to move quickly to get some shots. Here’s a couple more.
Same pose as before but a little closer. I took this one into Adobe Photoshop to add some textures and play with Jen’s hair. I used natural light and exposed more for the clouds. Just enough light peeked through to light her face. I like the calm look on her face in this shot too.
It soon got too dark for the camera so we quit for the day. Luckily we got on our porch swing to enjoy some amazing crackling thunder and big rain that followed.
It was dark and cloudy the next day. The clouds were just a solid mass of grey with no definition. Not good for sky shots. We had one more chance to shoot on our last day. The sky cooperated as the sun burnt away some clouds and left us with a partly cloudy sky with nice cloud definition. It was time to shoot.
Here Jen is stretching and getting ready. I focused on the necklace. As you can see, I used off camera flash to give Jen’s outline some Wow, and I needed some added light to balance her with the bright sky. I wanted to capture the clouds and beautiful sky, so I set the camera to expose for the sky. Without a flash that would have made Jen a silhouette. That is cool, but not what I was going for.
To make this all work, I had to use a very high flash sync like I did at Gravel Worlds. It wasn’t to stop motion this time, since yoga isn’t very fast moving. My motivation was to shoot at a wide open aperture for a shallow depth of field. To do that and not over expose the sky, I had to shoot anywhere from a 2500th to a 3200th of a second. That is a super fast flash sync and was made possible by using a Nikon speedlight with a radio controlled flash popper. I used Pixel King flash poppers with great success. So far they seem to work well in manual mode and not so well in TTL mode. This is OK though because TTL would not give me such dramatic lighting that I was going for.
Here’s some more of the beautiful, talented and strong wife of mine.
Wow, I love this shot. Jennifer is quite lovely.
More than just lovely she is also pretty tough to do this headstand on a rock.
Those are some great pictures and Jen and I had a wonderful weekend together.
The Flint Hills and Camp Wood offer a great place to stay, to teach and to shoot. Speaking of such YOU need to register ASAP for the photocycling tour on September 14-16. We are staying in temperature controlled cabins this time and will cover more photography material than before. It’s going to be fun. Register HERE before it’s too late!
Feed Your Monkey!