Tag Archives: nature photography

See The World | Travel Photography | Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Every country I’ve visited has at least one magical place that rests in my heart and makes me smile when I think of it. And even though Nicaragua wasn’t my favorite country, it wasn’t without those magical places.

A little piece of wild coast on Little Corn, a tiny island in the Caribbean, was one of them.

The day before venturing out to find this piece of coast, I stared at this beach, seas sick on a boat, wishing I were exploring the sand rather than wanting to lose my lunch over the edge. So when I woke up that morning, I decided to ditch all my plans. I threw on my bikini and went in search of sand and seclusion.

The walk to the beach was nearly as beautiful as the beach itself. Hibiscus growing wild, tall grasses, plants galore. I walked slow and soaked in every moment. I sat in the shade and listened to the trees. I chatted with the few locals walking by.

Heather-Rae-Murphy-Photography-Yoga-Nicaragau-2a

I wondered if it would be hard to find the area I spotted from the boat. But then, on an island only a few miles around, I imagine nothing’s too hard to find.

After walking for about twenty minutes, I reached a clearing in the trees, and I began to see that signature peak of blue across the horizon. I had arrived at the ocean. And not a soul was in sight.

It was glorious.

I did yoga poses for my camera. I read Lord of the Rings while nestled in the sand. I swam laps in the water. I fell asleep in the shade. I took pictures. Lots of pictures. And just as morning turned into afternoon, and the sun felt a bit too steamy, a few dotted clouds overhead opened up and started drizzling on the sand, just enough to erase the stifling heat.

I hope you enjoy a few of the pictures from that day. They certainly make me smile. 

xo

Heather-Rae-Murphy-Photography-Yoga-Nicaragau-3

Posted in Travel Photography Also tagged , , , , , |

Creativity Sparks | Mt. Charleston Phot Walk | The Camera You Have

Heather-Rae-Murphy-Photography-Mt-Charleston-1

We’ve all heard the cliche: the best camera is the one you have with you. And there’s usually a reason something becomes cliche — because, at least to some extent, it’s true.

In this case? Totally 100% TRUE.

Here’s the perfect example. That photo above? Taken with an iPhone 5c. I went on a photo walk yesterday. I thought I’d drive myself up to Mt. Charleston and take a hike I hadn’t been on — Mary Jane Falls. I wanted to capture a few nice shots. Maybe do a few yoga poses. Have a nice afternoon strolling about the mountain.

I got about  a quarter mile into my hike and saw a tree stump that I thought would be great to sit on for a creative self-portrait. I walked over and scoped out the scene. I found the perfect angle to set up my tripod. I checked for the best light and best background. I started setting up my camera equipment — put the camera on the tripod, adjusted the angle and height of the tripod, checked the ISO of my camera. And then. Yeah…then. Then I noticed an error code reading on my camera screen. Well, crap. I left my memory cards at home!!

At that precise moment, I looked up and saw how perfectly the light was hitting my tree stump. I slumped over a bit. I was thoroughly disappointed. What a great picture that would have been!

After a momentary moping session I decided I wasn’t going to skip my photo. I had a back up camera. Sort of. I had my iPhone!

I literally repeated that mantra in my head: the best camera is the one you have with you.

So the iPhone is my best camera. So what? Take your picture. Capture your moment. Don’t let the memory pass simply because you don’t have the fanciest camera to work with.

I still wasn’t sure how to take this picture. I didn’t have my phone tripod with me. How would I even prop the phone up? I almost gave up and settled for a handheld selfie. But then I noticed a spot on my regular tripod in which I might be able to wedge my phone. I didn’t know if it would hold or if that spot was even the right size/width. But I stuck the phone in there, and the darn thing stayed (honestly, I think it was quite a brilliant idea — I may just use that ridiculously large tripod to hold my little phone in the future for things like this).

I’m sure a person or two noticed my little turquoise-cased phone being held by a rather large tripod. But so what? Let them think it looks silly. It does.

But I captured my moment, a moment that would be otherwise gone.

So if you’re just getting into photography, and you’re feeling intimidated by all the professional photographers with big, expensive, fancy cameras — don’t be. If the only camera you have is a point and shoot, use it. If the only camera you have is on your phone, use it. If you have an old, clunky, first-generation DSLR, use it. It doesn’t matter what you have. Use the camera you have. Get to know it. Get to know light and shadow and the settings you can change. Find out what makes for the best pictures on your camera and what makes for the worst.

I’ve seen people with state-of-the-art cameras take poor pictures. And I’ve seen people with mediocre cameras take stellar pictures.

Do what you can with what you have, and forget the rest. Enjoy the creative process, and don’t look back!

Posted in Creativity Sparks Also tagged , , , , , |

See The World | Travel Photography | Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala

These photos are from a perfect evening spent cruising Lake Peten Itza by boat in Flores, Guatemala. My friend and I chartered a local fisherman to give us a tour of the area by boat. The fisherman’s name was Carlos. He knew we were from the U.S., and he wore his U.S.A. t-shirt. Although he spoke broken English, he talked with us the entire time, working hard to understand our broken Spanish. We had dinner with him that night and met his wife and daughter. He invited us into his home without a second thought. He was the sweetest man, and made the biggest impact on my trip to Guatemala. I truly believe some of the best experiences are had when you branch out from the tourist areas and meet with the locals. They change your perspective of the world (not to mention, they know the best places to see).

heather-rae-murphy-photography-flores-guatemala-lake-peten-itza

Posted in Travel Photography Also tagged , , , , |

See The World | Travel Photography | The Great Smoky Mountains

Heather-Rae-Murphy-Photography-Travel-Smoky-Mountains-a

These photos are from the Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains. I couldn’t resist visiting. The descriptions promised elk, and the valley was called the Cataloochee! I mean, the name was a fun enough reason alone to visit.

Here’s an excerpt from my travel journal that day:

So I kinda figured since I was visiting a valley, I’d just drive right in. Someone should really mention the one-lane dirt road up and down the side of the mountain that accomodates two-lane traffic required to get there! I somehow managed to drive in without driving off the side of the mountain or having a heart attack. How do I always end up on roads like this?!?! But I digress. Because I found my trailhead, and I was off! Oh, how freaking gorgeous this place is! And although every trail guide told me this trail would be busy, I didn’t see another soul (not one all day).

About a half mile in, the trail stopped at a river. I looked across the river and saw the trail picked up on the other side. There was no way to cross but to go in. Well, it wasn’t that deep and the current didn’t look that strong. So I did what anyone would do. I took off my shoes and rolled my pants over my knees. I had a couple thousand dollars worth of camera equipment in one hand, shoes and socks in the other, and my full pack on my back. I got in.

Well, the current was stronger than I thought, the water was deeper than it looked, and the rocks were slippery. And…I fell in. Save the camera at all costs! I let out a screech, used my shoes to fall on and held my left hand straight in the air. Saved! And then my Coach sunglasses fell off my head and into the river. Of course. (Mind you, I’ve never owned a pair of nice sunglasses before in my life! I was not losing them now.) I ran everything to the other side as fast as I could, took my pack off, and went after the sunglasses. Also…saved! By the time I got to the other side with all items accounted for I was soaked and laughing hysterically. And greeted by hundreds of purple butterflies (not even exaggerating).

Let me tell you — the Smokies are some of the most beautiful mountains ever! I wandered for miles up into the mountains. Until, of course, I realized I somehow wandered off trail and was feeling kinda lost at the top of some mountain. Was I even on a trail? When was the last time someone was up here? There are so many damn leaves on the ground. Anything that might have been a trail at one time was disguised by fallen leaves. Was this an animal trail or a people trail? Ahhhh. I’m so damn good at getting lost. It was 5pm, I was at the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, I hadn’t seen another living soul all day, but at least I was pretty sure I could figure out how to survive overnight. Good times. Eventually, I did find my way back. And then I found some wild elk hanging out in a meadow.

This place. Freaking gorgeous.

Posted in Travel Photography Also tagged , |