Week 1 of Trying

I know this doesn’t work well for everyone, but I’ve found that the best way to get myself out of a rut is to throw myself into something, or many things, wholeheartedly. In the past it’s been work, or a sport, or a relationship, perhaps a new skill. This time, I’m trying to keep my eye sight a bit less narrow and have been placing it on more of a concept - play. Playing in Illustrator and trying to make new patterns, images, random stuff that pops in my head. Writing here, it’s fun and scary and enjoyable just to press the keys on the keyboard. Even if the words aren’t eloquent or quite what I imagined, the point is that play is action - not just merely conceptual in my head. The “when I find time, some day I’ll start writing again” the “when I get around to it I’ll finally try and make that illustration I’ve been dreaming of” the “I’ll learn that new skill next week”.

What about now?

Write the words you have now. Play with the illustrations you’ve been dreaming up now. Take that class that you’ve been constantly book marking. Start making time for you. I’ve been trying and I can tell you it feels darn good.

This one is my favorite from my play this week. Plants make me all kinds of happy, and I’ve been thinking a lot about some of my favorite adventures in the desert lately.

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Passion

I love doing a lot of things. Taking photos, running, biking, climbing, painting, gardening and taking care of plants, baking (especially breads!) - I find a lot of joy in many activities.

While I think this keeps my life interesting and full of new experiences - it’s been weighing on me lately. I’m in a place of feeling a bit afloat - looking for the thing that lights my fire and gets me riled up. I’m not saying I don’t find that in taking photos or in the many other things that I do - but I’ve been searching for that one thing that keeps me coming back. Something I’d drop everything for.

I feel like so many of the blogs, book recommendations, Instagram posts, influential speakers are saying similar things.

“Go for that big dream!” “Live you life pursuing your passion!” “Jump in both feet towards the thing you love!”

But what do we do when we don’t know what our dream is? Or passion? Or the thing you love most? It’s a scary feeling being a generalist when the world is telling you to specialize and prioritize.

Perhaps I won’t always be a generalist, maybe I’ll find the thing that lights up my heart. Or maybe my journey for now is going to be pursuing a handful of things that I love until one starts to stick out as the front runner. Once a certain level of mastery is reached our passions tend to take on a whole new form as well.

I’m not really entirely sure where I’m going with this - but writing happens to be one of the things I enjoy doing, so if I’m going to attempt to start mastering something, I have to start somewhere right?

In other news, I’ve been trying to do more self-portraits. Not just stand in front of the camera and smile types, but ones that require a bit more set-up and actually portray how I live my life. The one below is from Friday, the day before Rocket turned 8 (okay, so that day is entirely made up, and I’m not even sure what his age is - but that’s what his records say in our database at work). Rocket is such a lovely little character. He is never embarrassed, lives his life unapologetically, and seems to soak up every moment - whatever that moment happens to be. He is the perfect inspiration for getting out and just enjoying every little moment.

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Night Skiing on Baldy

Yesterday turned into something of a whirlwind of activity - from work, to hiking up Carbonate for a photoshoot, to an impromptu skin and ski on Baldy; it all went by so fast!

That's one of the reasons I love photography so much. It gives me the chance to slow a moment down & compose the photo (& myself) & get to enjoy the memory again down the road!

Skinning & skiing up Baldy was a first for me - & I love being able to recall the smells and sounds. The way the air wrapped around & smelled just like the Whites in New Hampshire do in the Alpine Zone. YES PLEASE!

 

Also - night photos are great for making into type art :)

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Dora the Explorer

I've been on the hunt for an adventure vehicle for quite some time now. Waffling back and forth between larger van type vehicle (thinking Sprinter or something along those lines) to pick-up truck to suburban to "nevermind!". 

I was about ready to table the whole quest until summertime when a 1996 Ford Explorer was donated to the Shelter. For a '96 it's in pretty awesome shape, has snow tires on it, is AWD and has 4WD, AND only has 109,000 miles on it. After hemming and hawing on everything lately - I decided to go for it and make an offer - & got it! 

I got the title in the mail this week and started drafting up some plans. Then this weekend I hopped to it and started on the bed platform. It also gave me a great opportunity to play around with some fun video ideas. 

Check it out :)

Photo Shoot with Shanell & Kiddos

Had a great time spending some time at Draper with Shanell and her kiddos getting some fun fall photos! Photos with kiddos is always an ever changing experience where you have to learn to adapt quickly to get the good shot or be flexible to get the shot you didn't expect - but usually comes out even better (& certainly more candid)!

Photo Shoot with Sal & Charlie

It's fall! My favorite of seasons (granted...I might say that every time the seasons change). Either way, fall makes for some pretty fantastic photo opportunities & I'm psyched I got to share that with Sal and her awesome kiddo Charlie!

Below are a few of my personal favorites from the shoot. Interested in booking a photo shoot of your own? You can do it straight from the website now! Just click here & it'll bring you right to the checkout page.

8 Days on the John Muir Trail

Breaking these pictures down by day of the trip. Enjoy! More write-up to come...someday.

Day 1

(Parking Lot. Up & Over Mono Pass. To a nice campsite by a river.)

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8 - I filled up my memory card completely & couldn't really bear deleting anything. So only memories from Day 8 :)

Buns of Glory

This weekend (oops...now two weekends ago) was the Sawtooth Relay - a 61.something mile course (split into twelve legs to be run by 6 people) that takes the scenic byway from the town of Stanley (population...70?) to Atkinson's Park in Ketchum. It's a race I've always wanted to try, but for one reason or another it just hasn't panned out - until now! 

Our start time Saturday morning was at 4:30am, which meant driving up the night before. Both Jacqui and I had to be in town until later, so we carpooled up pretty late. By the time I had run back to the house (per almost forgetting my running shoes...fairly important), we hadn't left Ketchum until about 9:45. On the bright side, we had a pretty serious cheering section of deer on our drive. Which, although morally uplifting, meant we weren't exactly cruising as we had to slow down/stop for deer around every corner. By the time we got to the Iron Creek campsite to meet everyone, it was about 11:30. Our fellow team members had already pitched us a tent (thank you!) so all we had to do was set up our pads and sleeping bags, crawl in, and pass out.

3am came all too quickly. Both Jacqui and I were totally doing the "I don't need to get up until the other person does...right?" thing - so it was probably around 3:30 when we actually started rolling things up. Groggily we all got ready, coffee, bagel, shoes, pile into truck, head to start line. 

The way the race works (since there are about 400 teams running) is that everyone gets a different wave start time. We started at 4:30 with maybe 15 other teams (tough to tell in the dark). Some teams started as early as 2 others as late as 9:30. 

Rachel was a real trooper and had signed up for our first leg. Due to shivering and my inability to remember my tripod whenever I travel, I didn't get any good photos of the race start - just a cell phone one. But it was a fun scene, everyone was bustling around getting ready, jumping about to keep warm, and really rocking their super cool reflective vests.

The first few legs were in the dark. And the mist/rain. It was difficult to tell who had started with us and who was where. We did our best to pull over to the side to cheer - but I think all of us were still in a bit of early morning haze. The coffee hadn't hit our brains yet.

(I totally still have more to write...but for the sake of getting some pictures up, I'm leaving this as a to be continued)

 

 

Inbetween

This weekend I had the chance to tick off one of those bucket list spots - Goldbug Hotsprings. I was super excited to finally get there - enjoy some sun, good company, get the dogs outside, and to take a try at getting some sweet waterfall/hot spring shots with my camera.

The drive up was super fun & all four of the dogs got along perfectly (minus a few Cali snaps, but that's sort of par for the course). The trail to Goldbug is gorgeous and the views are amazing (see photos). When we got up there the springs were packed & Cali wasn't doing super hot - but we trekked on and tried to get a little higher to see if there was more to see. I'd love to go again, since I do think there is more up there in the steep sections, but I couldn't bring Cali up there - she was super hot and needed a lot of breaks. I took a few pictures up there of the dogs & a couple of Alex looking out over the scenery.

 

When we got back down to the hotsprings I went into full helicopter mom mode with Cali - there were a ton of dogs, and she was exhausted - basically a perfect recipe for her getting into it with another pup. We got to enjoy the hot springs and the dogs dabbled in and out - but as we were going down I realized I took ZERO PICTURES! Which taking shots at the hotsprings was sort of the purpose for dragging the camera up the hill. Fail.

We got back down to the car, grabbed beers and snacks, and started the drive back. On a whim we swung over a bridge right before Lower Stanley and found the best camping spot. No one around, right next to a "Mountain Crick", and with a fire pit. We set up camp, made dinner (or really Alex made dinner and I made a half assed cheese sandwich). Then enjoyed the campfire & the stars while the dogs (sans Monty - who is afraid of fire) meandered about at our feet. Once again, forgot to bust out the camera for some night photos & fire photos (two of my favorite shots to get).

The next morning we milled around & had another fire. Which lent itself to awesome smoke/sun photos - which I actually did bust my camera out for! After that, Stanley Baking Co. & a relaxing afternoon at Redfish. All & all - great weekend and got some great photos.

 

Most importantly, all of the photos I got were of the inbetween moments that I hadn't planned on shooting. While I originally was kicking myself for missing those really cool exciting moments - I realized that the inbetween moments are actually some of my favorites, and (unlike the view of the hotsprings or the clear night sky) are the ones that can easily get left behind in your memory. When it all boils down, I'm glad I got the inbetween shots - now no matter how much time goes by, I'll always remember those. Pretty sweet really.

A Trip to Moab

Eesh. Have not been awesome about updating this blog! Alas, lots of fun trips lately and am just now finishing up editing and exporting the pictures. I took a trip with my Mom almost a month ago now to Moab. It was her first camping trip (woohoo!), first time in the desert (sweet!), and perhaps even first National Park experience (have to double check that fact...). Regardless, we had an awesome time with a few hiccups along the way (which only makes for good stories no?). I was super psyched to get back to the desert for some picture taking, and just because it's one of my favorite places to visit. It was one of the longest spots that Andy & I stopped in when we were traveling across country as two homeless people. And I applied for my current job at the Shelter at the Red Rock Cafe in Moab! So you know...personal historical significance.

Anyway, pictures are from the Sand Flats Rec Area (where we camped), Canyonlands, and Arches. Enjoy!

Postcards with KB

Yikes! So I made this mini-video project when KB was visiting here not the last time, but the time before that - way long ago (or at least it feels that way). Anyway, KB is the master of postcards, so we decided to do a live reading of the one she was working on while we were arts & crafting. I was a big fan of the lighting, so couldn't resist making a video to go along with it. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Yellow, please.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the color yellow? I LOVE the color yellow. If I could put it everywhere I would. However, after something of a disastrous office painting (so, so, so much yellow), I have been nervous to put it up on the walls again. But today as I was looking at my front door, I thought..."yellow, you my dear friend, should be painted yellow."

Before the painting began (I forgot to get a pre-prep picture - oops!)

Before the painting began (I forgot to get a pre-prep picture - oops!)

Right away I ducked into the garage and dug in to find the old can of paint that I had used in the office. I wasted no time as I prepped everything, this was going to look amazing! I had high hopes. I had always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted a yellow door somewhere, but the outside of the door just wasn't a possibility. The house I live in is beige and red - yellow would just make it look like a weird McDonald's (ew) spin-off - & I just couldn't be having any of that.

The minute I started painting, I knew I made the right decision - how I've missed you yellow! The only thing I may love more than yellow in a house are plants - & guess what looks even better together? Yellow PLUS plants! I thought my heart was going to explode with happiness - plants, yellow, a bold new look? Yes please.

I put on the first coat & headed outside to hang out with the dogs while I let it dry. What I forgot about successful house projects, is that they inspire you to do more. And something I've been meaning to get to but haven't had a chance to, is the garden! So I worked on some garden prep while the paint dried.

& now for the big reveal...(drum roll please)...

Lovely right? I think so. The best part? I have a new sense that I have totally got this house project thing! I can't wait to start on some other things I've been contemplating & keep developing my own sense of style. :)

First Magazine Spot!

I am beyond excited (& grateful) to announce that my first (outside of Shelter materials) published photo is out in the world! A photo that I took to use for a Shelter marketing piece was picked up by the Sun Valley Source and they asked to use it for the cover of their Summer edition. Naturally, I was beside myself with excitement. It just came out on the stands and I'll admit I've picked up at least 5 copies to send to my family. Thank you to the Sun Valley Source for publishing my work, I appreciate it!

Rattle Snakes!

Today Hillary, Chad, and I took our little cattle dog pack for a lovely hike out Rock Creek Canyon. It was amazing & beautiful & I wanted to stay out there as long as possible. Until we saw a rattle snake...and then another...and then one more! I've never felt so scared - they blended into the rocks so well it was like a leap of faith every step we took.

Regardless, no one got bit and we got some great shots! Enjoy :)

 

Swim Cat

Last night I took a time out to work on another video. I decided to try something where Hops could help me out. Luckily he didn't mind being a famous actor and a stunt man. I decided to try a "disappearing" shot, where I layer the compositions in After Effects to make it look as if Hops is disappearing into his own scene, when really he is being edited into a pre-made back scene, It's pretty fun! Here is the final shot. (Don't worry - no cats were hurt in the making of this film).

Going for a swim! #catportal #swimcat

A video posted by bekka (@bekka.mongeau) on


Sick Days are for Learning

This weekend I caught one of those colds that knocks you off your feet and leaves you curled up under layers of covers with endless cups of tea coming from a concerned boyfriend. It started as a sore throat on Saturday night and then leapt out full force on Sunday. After a lot of napping on Sunday, I'm starting to feel better today. Just a lingering sniffle (fingers crossed).

On the bright side, all of that couch time allowed me to watch a LOT of After Effects tutorials.

After Effects feels like this whole new territory where pretty much anything goes. There are SO many amazing tools and tricks, presets and effects that paired with limitless footage possibilities...it gives me the chills. I started my After Effects love affair this weekend with this little video. And I'll admit, I might be a little obsessed now - there are so many ideas that have started to spring to life.

But I'll keep from spilling them all right now - for now, here is the beginning of hopefully an exciting journey.

That moment when you realize you're living with a Jedi. #saturdaymornings #jedi #jedimorningtricks

A video posted by bekka (@bekka419) on


Happy New Year!

Welcome to the world 2016! I have a pretty darn good feeling about you. I love myself some goals, and there is no better time to craft a list of annual goals than the New Year.  My list this year is shorter than what I usually put together. I wanted something that didn't feel so daunting when I checked in with it - and I can always add things if I check these off early in the year!

  1. Run [& Finish] a 100k race. I'm very excited about this one. I have yet to break the 50 mile barrier, and I've decided this year is a good year to try. Not only that, but I found what looks like an absolutely beautiful race to try it on! I just signed up and got my spot in the Sun Mountain 100k. The race is on May 25th which gives me plenty of time to build up my base miles and then put a full race training plan into swing.
  2.  Learn how to track text & effects into videos [& then create one!]. Like in this Skillshare video. I want to use this for our Idaho Gives video - Hillary and I are planning something pretty darn sweet for this year. More to come on that later.
  3. Doodle more. On everything. Everywhere. Doodling is fun, and the only way to get better and inspire ideas is to doodle more.
  4. Play at an open mic night. I love playing guitar when no one is watching - playing in front of people would be a large jump out of my comfort zone. Which seems like a darn good reason to do it.