October is my birthday month and what better way to bring in my mid-twenties than a face collision at a roller skating rink during my birthday party. While I sat in the emergency room I couldn’t help but laugh because of course this happened. My life has been anything but normal and continues to throw several surprises at me. If I’ve learned anything from these surprises it’s how you handle them. I’ve also learned I’m going to have to put my roller derby dreams aside for a little while.
And so begins the mid-twenties life crisis. Feeling one coming on? Read this.
In the end, it’s all about perspective and carrying your head high. The day after I broke my nose (in two places) my mom and I got tattoos to celebrate milestones in our life and of course, the badassery we share together.
Moments after my face collision at the skating rink.
ER selfie with mom trying to figure out where to look.
Next day, tattoo time. The black eyes are setting in nicely.
Mom’s tattoo says “Grief is a sword or it is nothing.”
Hand of Fatima.
Coming out of an anesthesia haze with a thumbs up. Nose surgery was a success!
On another note, here are some favorites from October. There are a little less than normal due to my being in doctor’s offices than work.
Bring on the November surprises.
September was a great month for several reasons. The light was phenomenal, I got to shoot a wide range of different things, meet some very interesting people and horses. Lots of horses. You can probably guess what my favorite animal is based on this post and the images that follow.
These horses got me thinking…
Has anyone ever told you that you photographed something too much? I’m guilty of being that person, I also know people who have had this happen to them by editors or other colleagues. I once told my friend Olivia she had too many photos of kids in her portfolio. Looking back on it, why the hell did I say that? I mean obviously, I cling to the quote by Oliver Wilde where he says “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” But why would we moderate something we are good at? Or makes us feel confident or empowered as a photographer? Crazy. Let’s not do that.
Take all the photos of kids, dogs, horses, food, leaves or whatever floats your boat and catches those brilliant eyeballs of yours.
There I said it. Okay, here are some of my favorites from September.
Well, we are still on fire. No surprise there as Montana is notorious for aggressive fires this month. However, I can’t seem to recall them being this bad and this frequent. I found a little nugget on the Billings Gazette website just this morning, it stated, “Montana currently has 23 major fires burning more than 220,000 acres, and more than 125 aircraft, 400 engines and more than 4,000 firefighters on the ground.” Montana even managed to have the largest fire in the nation, burning 270,000 acres and was estimated to be the size of state of New York. That blew my mind. It also cost about $6 million to fight. While normally I tend to wait on a grass fire call over the scanner, I don’t anymore.
Just yesterday I had the most intense experience with an air tanker on a grass fire just outside Billings. I learned a big lesson too. To be honest, I missed the shot. Ever lost sleep over missing a shot? So annoying that we as young photographers have to go through this just as the pros have. I still have trouble finding a balance between my camera and getting content out there on social media. Just like I have trouble finding a balance between choosing to shoot in video primarily for a story or still. The constant struggle, or like my friend Emma Howells calls it, the circus. I’m an open book if someone wants to share some tips and tricks they’ve learned when dealing with the circus.
So anyway, while I’m uploading a video update to my Twitter account about the fire, I hear a grumble. Having no idea where it is coming from I finish the final touches of a hashtag when all of a sudden the giant Missoula Neptune air tanker roars what seemed like several hundred feet above me. And like a mere mortal waiting to be abducted by a UFO I stand in awe of the site as a wall of red fire retardant rolls my way. It stopped several yards in front of me. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen until I looked down. My phone was in my hand, not my camera. And yet another reminder that I am a damn human first.
Annoyed and cursing under my breath I began to obsess over the thought of getting that shot again, knowing it wouldn’t be the same as I had experienced it. But dammit I had to try. I remember a tip a fire fighter gave me while in the field. He said the air tankers will try to circle the fire three times before it unloads. So happy I remembered because it did just that and I ended up with a shot I could bring back and be semi proud about. I’m still wincing over that first shot though. Anyone feeling my pain here?
On another note, this month started out real slow for me on the work front. I am really grateful though because I got to do some really cool stuff like go to Poynter’s drone school in Portland. I am so excited to incorporate drone footage into my work. As a photographer I really enjoy showing scale of an area or situation. I think people really like to know how big stuff is and how small they are. So stay tuned for a little different perspective.
Here are some shots from three days of my brain being fried…
This was our life for three days. Airspace charts, I think I just learned a new language.
Finally got to fly the damn things.
Melissa Lyttle feeling the brain burn.
Passed my drone pilot’s exam!!
When I got back it was game time. Here are a few of my favorites.
Looking forward to next month. In this industry you never know what you’re going to get.