A Professional Climber Who Discovered the Magic of Photography
Lifestyle One woman reflects on the beauty of spending life outdoors, and how she feels most at peace when capturing photos of the landscapes around her.
I have experienced the mesmerizing trance of watching the northern lights dance across the Greenlandic sky, the paralyzing fear of ascending a jungle tower in a downpour, and the fascinating wonder of discovering the entire world within a drop of dew. Though separated by many years and thousands of miles, these moments all share the common thread of nature, and I have climbing and photography to thank for putting me there in first place.
It was by chance that I found climbing, the sport that first pushed me into the outdoors and sparked my interest in photography. Growing up in the flatlands of Ohio, I was a rule-abiding homebody who clung to the familiar — an unlikely candidate to become a well-traveled professional rock climber. I spent my early years scaling man-made walls in dusty indoor gyms, and the far-away outdoors were absent from my climbing experiences. But soon enough, my stubborn desire to excel at the sport led me west to Colorado, where I was introduced to two new loves — the outdoors and photography.
The draw of having real rocks to climb initially took me outside, but I was somewhat blind to the beauty surrounding them until I picked up a camera as a way to pass time between climbing attempts. Soon, my eyes were opened to the small and large wonders around me. From a tiny water droplet to a sunset igniting the sky, photography allowed me to more thoroughly explore familiar areas and acquaint myself with foreign landscapes. The feeling of discovering a beautiful subtlety of a favorite spot or seeing the light hit an unfamiliar land quickly became as exhilarating as finally mastering a difficult move on one of my climbs.
Climbing takes me to spectacular places, and photography gives me a deep appreciation of their insane beauty. In the chaos of everyday life, I am grateful to have both ways to experience the outdoors. Nature puts the brakes on my racing mind and reminds me that, in a world gone mad, the beauty is still out there. Keep looking.