I lived in New York City for well over a decade. When I first quit my job as a lawyer, one of the ways that I got myself into “work mode” was by starting my day with a long walk with my camera. It got me out of the house and gave me a routine that I so desperately missed. Those city walks were everything to me and since at the time I was still doing a lot of family photo shoots and small events, it was great for location scouting as well as for shooting street photography just for fun and for my fine art archive.
When I first left NYC I found the quiet and the colors to be jarring instead of calming. SO. MUCH. NATURE. I felt offended by the serenity and bored by the lack of movement and activity. But, the longer I lived away from all that NY is, I gradually started to realize that the chaos of the city, while exciting and energizing wasn’t feeding me in the way I needed and recognizing that truth has been a game changer that has affected my entire outlook and the way that I approach life, work and even parenting.
I still seek it out from time to time and run to New York when ever I can for culture, amazing restaurants, family adventures and noise, but I can get fed inspiration being out in nature, too!
Since moving to the lower Hudson Valley, where there is way more green than concrete jungle, I’ve found myself craving those walks but this time not as much to document the bustling city but to connect with myself in search of a different kind of inspiration. The motivation I find being outdoors is unlike any other. I hike with my dog and listen to music or just the sounds of nature - sometimes a breeze rustling through some trees can sound like a crescendo depending on what’s going on in your mind - and I rarely take a photo because I prefer to record the moment in my memory and use that in my work in my studio. I prefer to be outside soaking in the sun and filling my lungs with air and inspiration that I then take to my studio to put on a canvas. The important thing for me is just to get out there. My favorite thing to do is to watch the light around me - the way it filters through the trees or the way it seems to dance on the ground. The key is opening your eyes and seeing it!
While I don’t take my camera out during my daily hikes and walks, I do still take it every where when we are on vacation. These photos were taken two summers ago when I went to Costa Rica with my family. Being in the rain forest awakened something inside of me and it made me appreciate my own surroundings back home even more. The light, texture, colors and shapes inspired many new paintings and reminded me not to take my own environment for granted. If I close my eyes I can still hear the quiet, the leaves rustling, the sound of the rain lightly hitting the foliage, and the sighs from my children when they spotted a new-to-them plant (or when I made them keep going after a two hour hike).
Seeing these photos after not looking at them for a long time takes me back to this amazing trip and makes me miss going outside with my camera for no other reason than to document my life and beauty in nature.
What inspires you?