personal photojournalism: another walk in the woods

we love walking through the woods over here.  or at least i do, and the men in my life love me enough to humor me every so often with a trip to the forest.

on this particular day, we were all a little tense and grouchy.  the kids were volleying meltdowns between one another and my husband and i were volleying short retorts and frustrated words muttered under our breath.  what i had hoped would be a few hours of time spent bonding as a family was quickly turning into a public display of irritation.

but then, right around this point in our trip, something changed.  our big kid chose a path for us to follow, and suddenly he was invested in our outing, instead of an unwilling participant of family un-happy hour.  seeing his brother perk up, the little decided he'd better follow suit and suddenly insisted on being set down on the ground instead of insisting that he be carried.  and, as is often the case, as the kids became easier to manage, my husband and i were able to relax into the afternoon a little more.  less worried about maintaining control of 2 kids with behavior threatening to careen out of control and more worried about keeping up with 2 kids eager to explore, we were finally able to set off into the forest and just be.

be together.  be a family.  be out in nature and breathe in the air and the woods and creation.

and what better way to end a walk through the woods than with a leaf fight in a beautiful patch of light?  it was the perfect way to wrap up what turned out to be a wonderful family outing.  once you finish scrolling through these images, be sure to circle around and check out  Joy Huber- Lancaster PA Children's Documentary Photographer-  to see what she was up to in October!

a monday morning hike

my attention has been divided into so many pieces over the last few months that most of my 365 shooting has been aimed at getting a single great (or, honestly, good) shot each day.  and that's not necessarily a bad thing- it saves me time at the computer in the evenings, it helps me focus on refining my ability to shoot in specific types of light, it gives me a chance to try out new techniques, etc etc etc.

but.

i love telling stories.  a lot.  i love reading them out loud, i love relaying them to friends, and i love using my photos to create them.  so when one of my favorite photography groups on fb had a bit of a revival last week to draw it back to its roots of documentary, storytelling photography, it made me realize that i need to have a bit of a revival myself.

so today, instead of trying for one single great (or good) shot, i dusted the cobwebs off my mental checklist for shooting to tell a story and captured our morning hike through a local forest.  enjoy :)

the first time we visited this forest, this staircase was precarious, at best.  the last time we visited, there was no staircase (but there was plenty of caution tape).  so this time, all three of us were excited to check out the new stairs leading to the hiking trails.

the boys wasted no time, and immediately took off down the trail where they each weaved in and out of the dappled light as the sunshine filtered through the leaves onto the treasures they found less than a minute after our walk started.  and so of course, as they were collecting leaves and sticks, i was collecting a frame or two of the little yellow flowers lining the entrance to the woods.

one of the things i love most about these outings i take with my boys is to watch them as they explore and discover.  they both have such different ways of approaching the world, and they both notice and value different things, but they always look to one another for guidance and encouragement just the same.

and then, of course, we had to stop for a snack break- followed by a hit of the paci and a momma snuggle for the little, who i think was starting to feel a little overwhelmed and certainly a little tired.

now that he had refueled, my big discovered that the forest has a lot of rocks.  first he found the big ones that had collected around the benches where we sat to eat, and after throwing them onto the ground (his favorite thing to do with rocks), he noticed that the path we had recently turned onto was literally made of small rocks.  which meant the rest of our hike consisted of him stopping every 10 steps to dump his current fistful of rocks to replace it with the new, clearly superior rocks now beneath his feet.  and sometimes stash a few in his pocket.  meanwhile, the little imitated him for awhile, and then moved on to his own personal forest favorite- the stick :)

once the initial excitement of the rocks died down a bit, i got us walking again and shortly thereafter we came upon a bridge over a small creek.  in case you didn't know, creeks are the ideal place for chucking rocks, so of course that reignited the need for rock collecting and tossing.  luckily, there was no one else around, so i left them to their devices and took the opportunity to shoot a few details shots, including this massive spider whose web was hanging directly at my eye level smack in the middle of the trail.  i'm just grateful he didn't end up in my hair.

with a little (or possibly a lot) of persuasion, we ended our rock throwing and headed back towards the car.  our last discovery for the day was these cool little pine cones that we found littered across one section of the trail.  unfortunately, they held our attention just long enough for both kids to hit the "i've waited too long for lunch" threshold, and i ended up carrying one most of the way back (until we got back to the stairs and suddenly his legs worked again!) and the other one got a stern talking to once we reached the car.  

the downside (or possibly the upside) to being your own family documenter is that you miss out on catching the moments like that, but i'm thankful for the parts of the story from today that i was able to hold onto.

happy monday all <3 

into the forest

today finally, finally, finally felt like spring.  it was one of those rare perfect days where the weather just is.  no chill in the air but not hot either, a light breeze with warm sunshine- you can feel it, but you're not distracted by it.  it's the kind of day where you breathe deeply and the air fills you up and the sunshine recharges your soul and no matter what may be going on, you're reminded that life is good.  like, really, truly, deeply good.

days like today are not to be wasted.  they're made to be lived in and run through and soaked up and inhaled so that we can carry them with us through the days that aren't quite so perfect.

so, that's what we did.  after a morning at the playground, we came home, fed and napped the kids, and then packed back up and headed out to a local forest, which happens to be my new favorite place in the world.  seriously.  i would spend everyday there with my kids if they would let me.

we started out finding rocks and tossing them into the creek, which happens to be one of their absolute favorite new things to do.  it took some convincing to keep them out of the water since we usually let them wade around in the creek at one of the parks we go to, but once they realized what an abundance of rocks they had available to them, it became a non-issue.

this kiddo here is intrigued by the details- rocks, sticks, bugs, anything he can dig up or take apart or closely observe- and i love watching him explore the little things of the world.

after awhile, we left the creek and headed out to a new trail we've never walked before.  it was flat, which was nice for the kids, but still had plenty for them to see/pick up/climb on- and had plenty of stunning light for me to play with :)

these next three images may seem a little redundant, but i've got my momma goggles on when i look at them, so they all got to stick around.  i have no idea why he was walking this way, but it was so cute i could have cried.  he is developing into such an incredible little guy, and it is beautifully amazing to watch.

it was just the most perfectly wonderful afternoon, and i'm so thankful for everything about it <3