Saturday night, coming down from one of those days at Autzen that you wish you could replay over and over again...watching a 19 year old QB make 56,000 people believe he is the future...again, incredible day! But I was tired, knowing Sunday morning was going to come quick, so I decided to crash early. (Falling asleep to re-runs of "The Office"...I know it's old and I'm late but I just discovered Michael Scott, and he is now my hero!)
Alarm goes off and I was ready for a full day of photography and exploring our closest coastal town of Florence (Flo-town, as some of the friends call it). Once my dude TK arrived with an assortment of cameras (that I'm afraid to even touch), Go-Pros, and backpacks, we were off. First stop, gas. Second stop, coffee. Knowing this day was going to be an excellent and productive day, it started out better than I could've ever imagined. As we are waiting for my coffee, and TK's "Dutch Cocoa" (he thought it had caffeine in it) TK pointed out that the customer on the other side of the stand ordering had his own "Oregon Boy" hat on. I couldn't believe my eyes: it's 7AM on Sunday morning and in our first interaction with people, there's a dude with OUR hat on!! My day was made before it had even really started. I wanted to buy this guys drinks but I missed my chance due to staring in shock and excitement for too long. What a morning! (Note: I brought this up at least 12 times throughout the day...put a smile on my face every time.)
I'm not sure how many of you have actually made the drive to Florence on the 126 Highway, but man, during the fall it is filled with stellar colors throughout the hour long drive from Eugene. Once we hit Mapleton bridge, it didn't take long for TK's mind to start exploding with photo ideas. It was on! Old boats, foggy river, and my personal favorite, railroad tracks with fall colored tree tunnels surrounding them. 100% willing to hold the umbrella and watch TK work his magic, I knew he didn't bring 3 cameras all for himself, my time would come, but for now let's see this dude work! Like I said previously, junkyard boards, railroad tracks, abandoned bridges, and a hunter and fisherman's worst enemy, fog, this guy is finding beauty and entertainment in all of it. A true talent and something I will really try to practice from now on. For the last couple of years I believe optimism has saved me from many headaches, confrontations, and anxiety, I'm hoping this will have even more of that same effect on me as a person.
Moving right along, TK suggests the next spot, Cushman Landing, and little does he know I caught my first Chinook Salmon (fun fact: this is Oregon's state fish) right where we stopped. It will forever be embedded in my mind. Sketchy bridges, loose rock, and the movie "Stand By Me" were heavy in both of our minds. We thrived....and no I'm not talking about the energy patch. A few shots in, and the rain was getting to us.
Next stop breakfast! Beachcomber is always my go-to when in Flo-town. Great beer selection, good food, and remember now, it is Sunday so football is in full effect on all of their TV's. A full belly, and tired of conversing with the funny old fella next to us, who somehow thinks he previously knew me, we are back on the road. Great turnouts are all over, but lucky me, I seem to find the only one occupied by some hoodlums. Trying to figure out how to let them be, and still get to where we want to go, we decide to trek through the tall, and very wet grass (hello wet feet). With our spectators participating in some suspicious activities, TK has now decided that I should take control of my own camera. I was afraid to ask how much $$$ this camera is even worth. I just protected it with my life because I knew TK would not have taken my "I'm good bud" answer to using my own camera. After securing the camera around my neck (not trusting the band for one second) the shooting starts. I was quite impressed with the scenery, our product, and this camera that I'm holding on to for dear life. It was on! The floodgates opened and all kinds of ideas have completely overtaken my mind. Adjusting zooms, repositioning myself in wet grass, moving the hats in millimeter increments...I was all in! It wasn't long before our spectators were interested in our hats, they proceeded to tell us it was their birthday (not your ideal triplets) and that our hats were wet, and they were more than happy to take them off our hands. Not today friends, we're working.
With 20-30 of the best pictures I've ever taken under my belt (the only pictures I've ever taken), our next spot is already on my mind. Now every turnout I'm thinking has potential. Bringing myself down, I knew we were on a time crunch. We'll have to pick and choose a couple more spots, and attack! Heceta beach, game on! Now just waiting, and wondering if TK will hand me the camera again, he hands me a different one than before. Instantly, my mind started racing. Is this one more expensive? Is it cheaper? Is it worse? Is it better? Am I that bad? Is he getting jealous because I'm already that good? Answer: None of the above. Different lighting, different distances, different lens - different camera. Duh! I knew that! So round two for me, and round 1,000 for TK, but I'm sure he's not as pumped as I am. First hat is out of the bag, cool looking stump...I got this! Nope, I had already lost my touch, had to be the new camera. Being optimistic I moved over a few steps. New backdrop, new stump. Yep, I still got it! Glassing the scenery, log covered in the graffiti (love), an awesome steel bridge, and a massive tide change...this is incredible!! Did I mention I am working? I'm loving life right now! With our time frame winding down, I knew one more stop had to be taken advantage of.
Higher elevation, endless water filled with killer orcas (yes, I'm afraid of them, watch Blackfish, you will be to), roaring sea lions, and an addicting lighthouse light that I'm in a personal battle with. We get the best parking spot in this new turnout spot - no big deal - grab a few hats, and again the ideas are flooding in. Trying to focus while listening to a toddler imitate sea lions is quite tough, but about as entertaining as it gets. Keeping my eye on the cars 10 feet behind me flying down Highway 101, this is tougher than I thought, but challenge accepted. After a few minutes and some great shots, winning the battle with the rotating light at the lighthouse, our time was up...homebound.
One more coffee stop was in need (great crew at the Florence Dutch Bro's), and then let's get home. It wasn't but two minutes into the drive, and I'm wanting TK to get out the computer, upload the pictures and see this magic I have created....and of course his photos, that I know I will be thoroughly impressed with. But I knew, looking down at a computer, winding down the 126 highway, and missing those colors, not your ideal drive home. I can wait. I'm just hoping my photos will be half as good as what I was feeling when I was capturing them. The drive home was spent discussing all the different scenarios of the day, reiterating what a great day it was! If there was any quiet time, TK or I would fill it with a random story - we are definitely storytellers, so there is never a lack of conversation. A beautiful reverse drive from the AM and we are back in Eugene. High praises to TK for showing me the ropes of photography. Now I am blasting him with questions: How much are these cameras? Should I get one? Who the hell pays $2,500 for a camera, wait that's just the lens? It's crazy business. I think I'll start with something I won't cry over if something happens to it.
Pulling in the driveway I'm now feeling exhausted, ready to change my socks, and recap the whole day again. I couldn't help but smile - I knew it was a great day, both exploring and producing for Oregon Grown. These pictures would have much more meaning to me than any other pictures I have taken before.
As I write this post, I still have not viewed all of the pictures, but I have got a sneak peak, and I cannot wait to share with everyone!
Today made me think a lot about where I am at in my life and where I want to be. I am in a great place in my life right now. Yes my free time is limited, but I'm also taking advantage of every opportunity that I am fortunate to receive. Taking one day at a time is my biggest challenge. I am taking it head on and thriving every single day. Doing my best and being the best person I can be everyday has given me the opportunities and drive I need to create the life I want to live. I will challenge everyone to take a step in their lives that leads them in a positive direction, and to where they want to be in their lives. Remember it is up to us, and only us. Enjoy each day to it's fullest! I hope reading this has made your day better, made you smile, or makes you really do what you want to do...it is what life is all about.
Thank you for reading and looking forward to our next encounter!
"The" Oregon Boy