Dream Catchers

I love dreamcatchers. They’re just so… dreamy! I find such peace and serenity when I make a dreamcatcher, and the best part is that every dreamcatcher is unique to the person holding it. I love making these as gifts because you get to hand pick the feathers, twine, stones, etc. for the person in mind. Each one has a unique story to tell. 

I’ll never forget doing yoga in the forest at What the Festival surrounded by dreamcatchers cascading down from the trees. It was a magical moment that will stick with me forever. My entire life changed in that moment, as if all the dreams I never even knew I had were surrounding me. It was so magical that I'm hoping to contribute dream catchers of my own this year! 

I believe that dream catchers are a symbol of friendship and unity, especially when given as a gift. So, whether you’re making a gift for a family member, a new friend, or yourself, you can use this guide to get started. And remember, every dreamcatcher is unique and there is no right or wrong way of doing it.

Dream catchers are a Native American tradition. They are intended to protect those dreaming from the negative dreams, while allowing the positive ones to flow through the loops and down the feathers. Of course, dream catchers can be left up to interpretation. I like to believe they represent strength and a sense of calm. May your dream catcher bring you peace!

 

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As I close my eyes, I begin to drift off to another time. Standing in a field of Sunflowers, wearing a white t shirt and jeans, sun beaming down on my face. It’s quiet, and the winds are soft-spoken. 

This is where I belong. 

It is a privilege to live in daydreams and fantasies. Uninhibited, untainted… with the entire world in the palm of your hand. Like anything is possible. Because anything really is possible, if you believe it to be true. 

Take me back to age 7. The carefree girl who loved everyone, and smiled as soon as her eyes opened every morning. The girl who jumped out of bed, picked out a cute outfit, and ran out the door to find adventure. She who wandered around the neighborhood, playing in the sun, picking up bugs, and creating forts out of sticks and stones. The girl who knew nothing other than how to play, and how to love. Back then, there was no worry of paying rent or finding a “big girl job” and there certainly wasn’t any fear of judgment. Because back then we were all kids, just playing.  

Now I am older. I am wiser. I have loved and lost. I’ve seen darkness and light. I’ve uncovered the truth about life here on Earth and what it means to be a human. And I believe I have daydreams to thank.

When you sit back and close your eyes, what do you see? Many of us can’t even bear the thought of being alone with our mind… we fear time will pass us by, and time is money. Time is valuable. 

But the truth is, the majority of people on this planet are not living the life they deserve. We’ve grown into a society clouded by judgment and self doubt. We allow the views of others to dictate our worth and determine our self esteem. We’ve become so wrapped up in the vision of “success” that was developed by our ancestors, that we’ve forgotten how to even ask ourselves the very simple question of “what makes me happy?”

But it’s never too late. It all starts with a dream. A lovely daydream that takes you to a safe space where you can simply just be you. Where you can run and play and be wild and free. And once you’ve found that place, the rest of the world doesn’t seem so bad. The process, of course, is one of many trenches and demons. You must be willing to fight for your freedom. You have to stare into the depths of darkness and welcome the pain and fear that will inevitably find you. The only way to truly know the light is to seek it when you are scared and alone. But continue to seek, and one day you will find it. You will see a tiny sliver of light, and then it will go away. And then you will find a bit more, and that too will be taken away. But you keep pressing on, chasing the light as it grows stronger and brighter every time. Eventually, you will begin to feel it. 

It’s warm. Mmmm, oh so warm. This is love; pure, untainted and unconditional. 

This is home. 
You’re free. 

 

Shooting for the Stars

A couple weeks ago I ventured into the forest at Lost Lake with Devin and a few other photographers to get a taste of what it takes to photograph the stars at night. While our hike was only 2.5 miles long, and not far from home, I definitely still learned a thing or two. 

I arrived at the campsite around 5, set up my tent, and packed up my equipment and hiking gear (camera, tripod, wide angle lens, microfiber cloth, remote control, flashlight, gloves, hat, hand warmers, and snacks). It was a chilly September night, and we were going to be sitting at 6000 ft for several hours, so I made sure to be as prepared as possible. We hiked up to a viewpoint that overlooked hundreds of acres of forest, the winding Columbia River, and of course, Mt. Hood. The skies were crystal clear, and the air was crisp. I sat on the ledge of the mountain, staring out into the world, imagining what it would be like to dedicate 60 days to photographing landscapes...

Devin told us stories of how he'd sit in one place all night long, waiting. Patiently waiting. Completely alone, in absolute silence, and absolute darkness. At the top of a mountain, the only sound you hear is the movement of leaves blowing in the wind, and maybe some critters nearby. The moon lights your path, but the rest of the world is dark. You are completely isolated, with nothing but your own thoughts to keep you company. 

The main takeaway I had from this experience is that patience and persistence will always be a part of the journey if you are pursuing your passion. Good things take time, but awareness of how that time is being spent is what births greatness. 

The main takeaway I had from this experience is that patience and persistence will always be a part of the journey if you are pursuing your passion. Good things take time, but awareness of how that time is being spent is what births greatness. 

Experiencing this really put some things into perspective for me. I started thinking about patience, and why it's such a vital lesson to be learned. I believe that patience and isolation begin a test of faith. We are patient when we know that what we are going to achieve will be worth the wait. If you can manage to cultivate a vision great enough to endure the slow and often painful process of achieving it, it means you have tapped into something calling you from within. And once you've reached this point, you'll be amazed at how often the outcome of your vision is event greater than anything you could have imagined.  

I also thought about the dedication it would take to pull of an adventure like Devin's. Being submerged in that environment really helped me understand his journey, and what it can look like to pursue a passion in landscape photography. Everyone has a unique journey, and it was very insightful getting a taste of what Devin's life is like and how hard he works to chase his dreams. And while shooting landscapes isn't really for me, I was able to appreciate the experience and walk away with a special memory, a lasting feeling, and some pretty cool photos.

 

Inspiration: An interview with Devin Tolman

Devin Tolman has a presence unlike anyone else. He speaks softly with intention, and has nothing but kind and encouraging words to offer. I was thrilled when he agreed to let me interview him about his 60 day adventure across America. As I sat on the big leather couch at Oblique waiting for Devin to arrive, I began sifting through his Instagram, bubbling with excitement to hear about his journey. Devin first told me about his journey of a lifetime a few months ago at a party. He was going to drive across the United States to photograph the country’s most breathtaking landscapes. I couldn’t wait to see what magic he would come up with. Little did I know that his journey would help encourage me to take the next steps in my life to chase my own dreams and fulfill my own passions. Devin’s journey was not just a show of photography skills, but a journey of self exploration, perseverance, patience, and emotion, that would help shape his life in a way nothing else could. 

What did it feel like to be away from home for so long?

It took about a month for me to stop freaking out about it. Like, the very first day that I left, I left at 5:00 in the morning, and my check engine light turned on two miles down the road. I was like, what the fuck. So immediately I pulled over and pulled my battery, then plugged it back in so I could keep driving and just ignore it. I made it to the beach (Cannon) and I was so tired when I got there, I was just exhausted, that I decided I’m going to take a quick nap.  And when I woke up from that nap in the back of my car, and all my windows were blocked off and the setup was exactly how I’d imagined it, I freaked out. I didn’t start driving until that evening, because it took me so long to come to terms with what I was doing. I started putting a lot of pressure on myself to do certain things, to be a certain way, thinking, you know, I’ve got to take take amazing pictures… and it stressed me out. And so I spent that whole day coming to terms with it, and once I felt like I had it, then I left. 

So your journey started in Portland, first stop at Cannon Beach... what came next?

So I drove down the whole coast all the way down the 101 to the 1, took the 1 to San Franscisco, then San Francisco over to Yosemite, Death Valley, and Mono Lake. Mono Lake was one of my favorites. They filmed planet of the apes near by. There are these things called Tufas; these huge ancient salt formations, and the water is just the craziest color… It’s really strange. 

What inspired you to take this trip?

I feel like I have a very unique position in my life. I've had a lot of strange things happen to me when I was younger, like being at the right place at the right time. So many strange things one after another that were placed in my life that I started to feel like the only thing that made sense to me was that these things happened to me because I was able, and strong enough, to handle it. And given the situation of realizing that my 9-5 was a bunch of garbage and I am worth more than a stupid job, I realized that the next step would be to quit that job (New Seasons, 8 years). So I decided alright, it’s time. I saved up for 6 months, sold everything I owned, decided to live in my car and do this to show other people that they can do it to.

Was there ever a point where you were close to giving up?

When I was in New Mexico, I almost went home. I was having such a hard time, again. I have a video diary, and this one in particular is in the back of my car and I’m just like, I can’t do this. But I pushed forward and went out anyways and decided you know what, do what makes you happy. Get out there, stress free, lets go. And I created my favorite image of the trip. And right after that, I just realized how important it is to keep pushing, because that is what separates success from failure. My favorite image of the whole 60 days traveling across the country is from when I felt the lowest. 

I took a piece from Devin's Blog, Daily Day Dreams:

"Sometimes it can be hard when you don’t have anyone to pull you out of the sand, but I dug deep and I’m SO damn glad that I did. I rolled around in the softest sand I’ve ever felt, buried myself in it, followed some bugs, took some pictures, and made my favorite image of the trip so far. Good things come to those who are motivated enough to give themselves the opportunity to see and feel something... Tired is just a feeling, and memories last forever."

What was the toughest shot to get?

I went to Utah, and stayed in Zion for a bit. Which was incredible, truly amazing. It's the one spot I wish I had spent more time on because it was so damn much fun. 

So I went here at sunset, and I was like, I want to shoot and stand down there but I couldn't figure out how to get there and there were people all over. I shot the sunset, it was boring, so I left. And then that night I couldn't stop thinking about it. I wanted to go there, and I wanted to stand on that thing. So the next morning, I started hiking at 4:00 in the morning, got up there at 4:30, sunrise was at about 5:15. I set everything up, and from the point that I set my camera up to take pictures, it took me about 15-20 minutes to get to that point, but it took over an hour to figure out how to get to that point. And when I got to the top, there was etched in the sandstone "Bill 1987" It was super sick. Really dangerous. A lot of fun. 

"As I scouted the location, I saw this peak that was absolutely perfect to stand on. The only problem is I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how the hell to get to it without falling off the thousand foot cliff on the other side…"

"As I scouted the location, I saw this peak that was absolutely perfect to stand on. The only problem is I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how the hell to get to it without falling off the thousand foot cliff on the other side…"


How do you capture images like this?

I use a time lapse. I set the intervals for a lot longer, about 4-5 seconds, and then I can go interact with the scene. It gives me much more natural stance and body language, than if I was to just run over there and stand really quick. 

And how long have you been doing photography?

10 years. I got into it because my best pal growing up was always filming skateboard videos of us, and it was so sick, I loved it. And then I was playing with his camera for a while and it just stuck, I got so excited about it. It started as, you know, we'd go places skateboarding, and they’d be places I’d want to tell people about, or that i’d like to show them. And so then I was able to start showing people what I was talking about.

Tell me about your last stop at Two Medicine.

Glacier is the shit, it’s in Montana. This is Two Medicine. It's really fucking cool. This is lightening that would freeze the clouds. Like, if you’re taking an exposure, say 30 seconds, the clouds move in those 30 seconds. But because the lightening was so bright and powerful, you would under expose your image... so like when there wasn’t lightening going on I couldn’t even see any of this. But then when it would go off,  it would “pew”, freeze it like a flash does and freeze the image so it’s sharp and clear. 

Two Medicine before the storm.

Two Medicine before the storm.

Two Medicine as lightening strikes. "I was watching the entire world change in front of me, and it was fucking epic. It was like that whole storm that came in, came in while I was standing there. And it went from perfectly clear reflections, to that lightening storm that was so powerful it was blowing my tripod over."

Two Medicine as lightening strikes.

"I was watching the entire world change in front of me, and it was fucking epic. It was like that whole storm that came in, came in while I was standing there. And it went from perfectly clear reflections, to that lightening storm that was so powerful it was blowing my tripod over."

What was the biggest takeaway for you from this whole experinece?

Patience was huge. I definitely learned a lot of patience. I also learned the importance of what it really is that you can overcome. I literally went through every possible feeling you can think of. I was sad, I was happy, I was angry, I was bored, I was excited, everything. I was upset enough to scream, but you know, pushing forward... its worth it.

Devin kept a personal journal throughout the trip and shared this passage with me:

"Fear holds us back, and it also motivates us to keep going. It’s quite the tricky emotion, really… When you’re aware of your feelings you can choose to accept them, and move forward. Not let them hold you back or keep you from what you truly believe you’re supposed to do. With a healthy understanding of self, you can accomplish anything.

I feel fortunate to be able to share the places I go, and hopefully convey the feelings I might have felt. I find it so fascinating that when I share an image, most of the time no one has a clue what it took to take it. Maybe I just picked the frame, picked the settings at random, and got lucky? Maybe, I obsessed wildly for an hour before hand trying to find that “perfect” spot? You’ll never know. But I do. And I’ll never know what the images really mean to the viewer, because I’m the creator. But I continue to create on the faith alone that someone out there might see what I’m doing and feel something."

So what is Devin doing now?

Devin told me he was offered the job opportunity of a lifetime- to spend three months touring with Zeds Dead to photograph and shoot video of the tour. When I asked him why he turned it down, he said: 

“It doesn’t feel right. I don’t want a life of drugs and partying, and photographing that kind of stuff. Thats not where my hearts is. Thats not why I went on this trip. I went on this trip to do what I believe in my heart is right. And I think giving someone inspiration is the greatest thing on the planet.  You can’t buy it. When you give it and you are able to give... that... its incredible. I need to hone in on that, instead of partying my ass off with Zeds Dead." 

I respect the hell out of him for that. It’s extremely challenging to turn down a high paying gig when you just quit your job and spent two months traveling. But I also know that listening to your heart always leads you the right direction and taking that leap of faith is always the right choice. 

"It’s a little more scary. But thats the thing about your passions… you’re passionate about them. You can’t do anything but them. Even if I got a job somewhere other than photography, I’d still be taking pictures. It drives my soul. It makes me feel alive in so many ways. It’s really weird, if I don’t create images that I’m proud of over like maybe two weeks or something, if i haven’t done anything creative or mentally stimulating, I start to feel really weird. And then the moment I get that image I’m like.. ahhhhhh! And the search for it is amazing." 

My Final Words

Devin is such an inspiration to me. Throughout his journey he faced health issues, car problems, lost packages, an eye infection, altitude sickness, frustration, and loneliness.  His passion drove him forward through these setbacks and his faith steadied his course to the end. Throughout his travels, his dedication to his journal and his craft allowed him to truly learn about himself in an intimate, raw, and unfiltered way. I have so much respect for anyone willing to go there. He didn't always get the exact image he had hoped for, but the experience he had left an impact larger than any image possibly could.  I can feel the passion and the love that goes into every one of Devin's photos. They're magical.

Next week I will be joining him for his class on shooting the stars and I am so excited! We will be camping overnight on Mount Hood and I will get a taste of the adventure he sought. Stay tuned!

If you want to read more about Devin's adventure across America, check out his blog Daily Day Dreams. You can also view more of Devin's work on his website http://www.devintolman.com.


 

Inspiration

 

Ever since I was little I wanted to change the world. I remember being a young girl, laying in the bottom half of a bunk bed staring at the wall and wondering what it would be like to make a difference. Losing sight of this through adolecense, as we all do, I spent several years in a dark hole of “I’m not good enough” and “I want to be more like that person.” But even through this, I’ve always known in the corners of my mind that none of this was true. My mother always encouraged me to be my creative, authentic self and she always believed that I could accomplish anything. So even through the darkest of times, I knew the truth… that what I was currently experiencing was not the way life had to be. The hurt and the pain, to the deepest depths, could be turned into love and fulfillment. 

I fixated on this voice for years, nurturing and encouraging it to hold more and more power within. I chipped away at myself, down to the very fiber of my being, to understand exactly who I am, what I want, what I believe in, and how I want to live. I wanted to break away from the chains and be free, and while still a work in progress, I am making progress. 

What I’ve discovered is that we are all creative beings. We were planted here on earth to create, grow, nurture, and love. It is so easy to lose sight of this when we are wrapped up in laws and our current societal and economic state. So many of us try to fit into a mold created for us by others. You must be thin to be beautiful. You must work endlessly and save for the future. You can’t wear that, you look like a fool. 

You know what I say? Fuck that.

It’s time we start to realize that our time on this planet we call Earth is to be spent living true to the heart. To live free of judgement and constraint, and to embrace the beautiful gift of life we were blessed with. We should be allowed to express ourselves creatively and openly without fear of being shamed. I try not to let it infuriate me that some humans believe they are better than others because they are white or straight or tall or “beautiful” by industry standards. I don’t care if you are white, black, indian, gay, straight, trans, whatever… I believe we all have the right to live by our spirit and spirit knows no race or gender. Spirit it pure loving energy emerged into this human body to have an experience by which to grow and live truly. We are not human for the sake of being human. To be born, get an education, work our entire lives, and then die. No. We are sent here to grow spiritually and seek our personal enlightenment. As energetic, spiritual beings, our duty here on earth is to find our purpose, battle our demons, and express ourselves creatively. We are here to love one another without condition, because love, in the words of Benni Benassi, is gonna save us. 

I started this blog as a way to express myself creatively and to have my voice heard. I have been blessed with the gift of inspiration and I believe I have something to say. And even if not one soul reads anything I write, I will still pursue this because it is helping me grow and develop into the person I want to become. I get the most amazing feeling when I see the people I love succeeding. I am surrounded by creative individuals who are passionate and driven and are taking control of their lives. Passion is love, and the more you surround yourself with love the more passionate you become. What I love the most about my life is the constant inspiration coming and going. Allowing yourself to gain inspiration from everything around you can bring about some really beautiful things and honest freedom. We are all creative beings, let's embrace that. 

I am excited to share the things that inspire me here, and to have a creative outlet for myself that encourages growth, realness, passion and excitement. I hope you enjoy what I have to say, and perhaps feel inspired too 😉