Bouldering Photography at Devil’s Lake State Park
If you mentioned rock climbing at Devil’s Lake State Park a year ago, I would look at you with a blank stare. I have previously ventured up to Wisconsin to photograph this picturesque state park but it was not until about 8 months ago that I would have known the hidden gems embedded in the nature of this park. In early of September of 2018 I got introduced to the world of rock climbing. I’ve always been intrigued in the simplicity of climbing. Watching professional climbers such as Adam Ondra or Sasha DiGiulian naturally scale up the face of a mountain is poetry in motion. Needless to say, I was quickly hooked.[/tatsu_text]
The midwest is not widely known for a mecca of outdoor climbing. In fact, if you are from Chicago and want to climb outdoors, you will most likely find yourself 3 hours away at Devils Lake State Park which is not only the largest state park in Wisconsin but also offers some of the best bouldering and climbing in the midwest. With over 1600 routes, beautiful hiking trails and quartzite rock cliffs overlooking the lake, it only seems natural that I start my exploration of rock climbing and photography here.
Camping at Mirror Lake State Park
The best part of bouldering at Devils Lake, is camping under the stars at Mirror Lake State Park and of course ordering Pizza Pub. We actually found this campsite by mere coincidence. On the first trip to climb, the Devils Lake Camp grounds were completely booked and this was recommended by park ranger. The moment we set up camp, I already knew that this is where I will be falling asleep whenever I come back up here. On a clear night, the stars light up the sky over the lake and at that moment the name Mirror Lake becomes clear. This is the perfect remedy after a hard day of climbing.
A Passion Found in Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is something else. I fell into this world unknowingly. I didn’t ask to be here but here I am and I absolutely love it. I went from not knowing what a rock climbing gym was to joining one and climbing in it 5 times a week. I remember only being able to climb for 30 minutes because the skin on my fingers were shredded to being able to climb for hours with ease. It’s therapeutic in that way. My mind shuts down all of those lingering thoughts in the back of my head and I become fully present. Climbing has shown me that growth only exists when you push yourself out of your comfort zone and welcome the unknown.
It’s a beautiful thing.
This past year has surely been a wild one and personally it has been the most that I have grown. I’ve met some beautiful people that I never thought I’d meet and let go of some that I will never forget. I’ve been to places that I never believed existed while enjoyed familiar sites like they were the first time. I’ve stepped back, reset, slowed down, learned, laughed, opened up, let go, embraced and experienced a multitude of well everything. It’s a crazy beautiful world we live in. Thank you for every visit, comment, and message you and anyone has ever given me. It truly means a lot. Stay curious, be creative and most importantly, just be happy. Here’s to a brand new year. Sincerely the thoughts inside my head.
If you like this, you might like Surreal Photography Gallery
Scott Stapp Concert Photography
I watched the drops of rain dance off the puddles on the ground, as I walked into the historic Arcadia Theatre in St. Charles west of Chicago. It’s my favorite kind of night, a night packed with live music. These days I find solace at concerts, a sort of palladium to the outside world and the feelings tonight were no different.
It seems a little surreal that I opened up an email asking me to shoot concert photography for Scott Stapp of Creed. I feel like it was yesterday I was watching his band’s music videos, and hearing his voice all over the radio. I was excited, anxious and a little nervous but all of those feelings quickly dissipated, as the lights faded, the theatre went black and the first chord of the guitar ranged through the crowd like a ripple in water. I lifted up my camera and snapped my first picture.
If you like this, you will love A Night of Live Music
A Flea Market and Some Vintage Cameras
Flea markets were made for the phrase “you will never know what you will find”. Cliche? Yes but it’s also the best way to get me to hand you all my money. I mean who could pass up a little mystery. I first started going to flea markets just because it was the only place I could get a snow cone for a dollar. But after a mild brain freeze and my senses thawed out, I started to become filled with curiosity every turn. It quickly the forefront of my mind, “I wonder how old that is?”, “Hmm, never thought about doing that”, “They can sell that?”, or just simply and my favorite, “What the heck is that?”. But it wasn’t until I got into photography that I started a small infatuation with vintage cameras.
At one visit, was walking through vendors and perusing their tables, until I stopped and stared at one of those stand up vintage cameras. I was instantly creating narratives of the previous owners who stood behind and snapped moments through this exact camera. Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with these vintage cameras, but most importantly the constant mystery behind them. I look at the couple I have as a little reminder to why I’m here. Each camera, like us, has it’s stories; they’ve seen good and not so good days, but all of those moments are the very reason why they are here. Everything that has happened and not happened to me is the very reason why I am here, sitting in a chair on a Sunday night writing this. And my future? Well, my future is unknown for now. So, like a flea market, I’ll embrace the adventure and explore, because what the heck, “you will never know what you will find”.
See how I used these vintage cameras in my surreal photography here >
Kaiser and Roccoco | Chicago Dog Photography
This was the second time that I’ve been fortunate enough to take photos for these two. Kaiser and Roccoco joined by their parents Rachel & Shaun were the best of sports as we strolled through Chicago. From the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to soaking in the lakefront views, we enjoyed the beautiful sights of fall in the city. A truly grateful opportunity to enjoy the great weather and wonderful company. The day capped off with a stunning sunset.
Learn More about King Kaiser Boarding Here