In previous posts I have shared how the hardest part of Photography involves an inner battle for self control; moderating emotion with detachment, seeking that perfect balance of nuance and clarity. But the challenges that make nature Photography such a rewarding pursuit are not all staged inside our hearts and minds; external hurdles abound, also. It is all part of the fun.

I am told that many of my images evoke feelings of calm, tranquility and inner peace. E.g. our Olympic Coastline collection , or most of the images in our Limited Edition gallery. I find that encouraging. Both your actual feedback, and to hear of the specific feelings my images generate. Tranquility is indeed one of the emotions I often attempt to communicate. But in this post I wanted to share a little-known secret…

Nature Photography is not always a walk in the park… unless we define the words ‘walk’ and ‘park’ loosely enough to include death defying forays into the outer edges of uncharted wilderness. Ansel Adams even as an old man, frequently ventured off the beaten path , scaling Yosemite’s granite slopes, walking out on dizzying promontories over immense, deadly chasms. Nature’s tranquil beauty is often sequestered behind impenetrable fortresses as if guarded by monstrous sentinels, hidden from view, testing those who would seek to encounter its transformative beauty. How much are they willing to risk?

Spell-bound in this pursuit, nature photographers have been gored by wild animals, fallen off steep cliffs, drowned in unforgiving waters but still, we press on. It is another paradox of our craft, that risking life and limb is often what it takes to create images that convey peace and tranquility.

I snapped the photograph in this post (click to enlarge) to share a glimpse of this reality. A mess of heavy logs stood between the trailhead at the end of a steep forest trail and the peaceful composition of sea stacks bathed in early morning light (see post, below, dated November 28).

Hard enough to make one’s way over such a barrier while carrying a forty pound backpack (not to mention the weight of one’s own advancing years) but the challenge doesn’t end there. Add a layer of slippery frost on top of each log in the pre-dawn hours of late November, then turn down the light, as in having to traverse this barrier in the dark, and you begin to get the idea. Then there are dangers that come with stormy weather or the incoming tide, on any log-littered beach, and the fact that simply falling through such a grid can put one in a life threatening situation…

But, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant to discourage anyone from pursuing nature photography, only to share a behind-the-scenes look and so help better to prepare for the quest. For, in the end it is all worth it.