It's crushing to hear your beautiful, courageous wife has stage IV breast cancer.
Two years ago our world stopped when she was first diagnosed. Now it feels like we are watching someone else's life unfold, not ours. I WANT this to be someone else's life. I want to wake up and realize this all one bad dream.
I know it's impossible to make sense of something like this in the heat of the moment, but I can't help but try. To question God, and to beg God to make this go away.
This week seeing the outpouring of emails, calls, Scripture and words of encouragement for Heidi, myself and our girls has been so uplifting and I am so grateful. I am humbled, I cannot express how much it means to me to have such a support network now in this very confusing time, and I thank you all, and ask for continued prayer for Heidi, myself and the girls.
All that being said this is the first time I have really been able to sit in my thoughts since we got the news last Tuesday. One of the things to come to the forefront in that time of reflection was the vast difference of my past personal pains/losses and this current storm. Specifically my teenage years, and how alone I felt in my pain and loss. I will give you the cliff notes version.
Midway through my seventh grade school year our family moved 80 miles north from Costa Mesa to Thousand Oaks, CA. Navigating this new town and school was tough, even tougher dealing with the usual brutal nature teenagers treat each other. Jump ahead three years to an intense one-year span that began with losing one of my few close friends to leukemia. That was followed by a bad concussion that knocked me out of school and kept me house-bound for two weeks, with lingering symptoms for about a year. That rough year was capped with the passing of my much-loved grandfather due to Alzheimers and lung cancer. In the midst of that intense year I felt so alone and I didn't feel like I had anyone I could trust to share that pain with.
It took me all my college years and early post-college years to develop a community of friends to come to terms with the past struggles of loneliness and hurt and confront the fact that I had felt that God had abandoned me. I vividly remember the day when I had that moment of clarity, of realizing that God had been with me even in the midst of my lowest times.
Obviously the pains of life haven't ceased but they seem much more bearable. Even reflecting on the past six years, they have been tough years, but to have a community of support in the midst of it all has been so encouraging.
I will be honest. It's hard to see the silver-lining in this current storm, but I have the assurance that I am not alone in this.
Last week while on vacation in Colorado with Heidi and the girls we had this storm cloud lingering while we waited for an official diagnosis. I had this Andrew Peterson song rolling around in my head and couldn't get it out. The context of the song doesn't exactly fit our current circumstance, but the sentiment is there.
And I do pray that God does 'make a different way' for our family.
I again thank everyone for all their prayers, words of encouragement and help that have already overflowed into our house. It is much appreciated.
For our most recent trip to Yosemite we chose to visit the eastern side out of Tioga Pass and the Tuolumne Meadows region of the park. One of my images on my wishlist was sunset at Olmsted Point, just northeast of Half Dome. I was eager to see a much different view point of the iconic monolith. The day we arrived at the park I thought we were going to get a spectacular stormy view as we watched the afternoon thunderstorms starting to brew. I rushed out to the point to find this:
I thought I would wait it out. But the elements got the better of me as the lightning was inching closer to my location (being on an exposed granite face is not ideal place to be during an electrical storm) so it was not meant to be.
However I did revisit Olmsted Point two days later for nice sunrise, and these great shots.
Click here to see more images from my Yosemite Trip, and check back from more images of nearby Mono Lake and the ghost town Bodie.
Taken in Tehachapi, CA. The stark contrast between the night sky and the oak tree and grass was courtesy of my parents front porch light. Originally I intended to use the light to set up the shot. But seeing the vivid colors in my test shots I chose to keep the light on.
When I visited Zion National Park two years ago for the first time I knew I had to go back. One of the shots I had wanted to get this time was a Milky Way shot over the Watchman. It took a little planning but I was well rewarded. This shot was literally taken outside my tent in the Watchman campground.
As the weather starts to warm up the trips I planned at the beginning of the year are starting to take shape. While I look forward to upcoming new adventures I can't help but also look back at some of my past trips. Like last year's trek through Utah and Arizona. This week's picture is from that trip, the last day actually, at White Pocket in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.
If you visit this site regularly you will know that I love to photograph trees, especially bristlecone trees up in the White Mountains near Bishop, CA. These contorted trees are so visually striking and definitely look like they are among the oldest things living on this earth. This particular fallen tree is probably about 3,000 years old.
Winter and early spring is one of my favorite times to visit Death Valley National Park. I know it sounds desolate and barren, but if you've spent any significant time in the actual park you'd know that first impressions can be deceiving, it's far from barren. Just on the geologic level there are so many fascinating things to see like Artist's Palette, a group of hills filled with a variety or minerals giving it a the feeling your driving/walking through some giant artist's paint palette.
The winter storms that roll through Southern California always get me excited to see how it affects the landscape. I also get a sense of disappointment that I am not up near the Sierras (or in the Sierras) experiencing the weather up there.
This shot was taken in the Owens Valley in California a few years back a spring storm dusted the surrounding mountains with snow.
This month only I am offering a 25% discount on all print orders $16 or more. Just visit my etsy shop, dubland.etsy.com and enter the Coupon Code CHRISTMAS14 during checkout.
Offer good on custom orders as well.
Want your order by Christmas day? Order your print by December 19th. Metal and Canvas prints need to be ordered by December 12th.
Sometimes you have to make do with the time you have. These days as a husband and a father of young kids I don't have as many opportunities to scout out a location and spend several hours taking shots.
This particular shot was shot that took about two months to efficiently execute. I had scouted it quite a few times but timing the sun being up at just the right time was tricky. I was trying to time it so I could take the shot as I was leaving for work, and it just so happened that last week it all worked out perfectly.
It's always fun to look back at some of you earliest work. This week's selection is going back 11 years to some of my first ever digital pictures (on a 3 megapixel camera) in Stirling, Scotland looking at the William Wallace tower and also from the top of the tower. Yes, it's the William Wallace from the Braveheart movies, he has a whole tower dedicated to him in the city of Stirling, site of one of his more famous battles.
Stirling was hands down one of the highlights from that trip, I would love to go back there again and really explore more of that wonderful region.