ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

I know a lot of people are having issues or reservations about this ongoing fundraising charade but to be honest I am not the type who usually takes things too seriously.  To me I look at a few different factors when deciding whether or not to support something.  

1.  Is it for a good cause?
2.  Does it help people?
3.  Does it hurt anyone/anything?

When we were nominated, as a couple, the last item was debatable for us.  In California we are currently in a drought emergency.  Last year was one of the driest on record and with only 17% of the normal ice pack, this year has also been greatly impacted.  We wanted to think of a way to help spread the awareness for ALS while also being courteous of the forests around us so we decided to take it to the creek and have some fun with it!

It was nice to get out and do a little exploring all while promoting a good cause.  I don't think either of us have laughed so much or so hard in awhile and at times we nearly fell over river rocks unable to see through our own tears!  Glad we were able to help spread a little more awareness while also conserving our precious resources!

Were you nominated?  Did you accept the challenge?  I Would love to see your videos!


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Junction Fire...

On Monday our town was literally turned upside down.  Our Facebook feeds seemed suddenly bombarded by images of smokes and flames forming above the businesses on our main street.  Everyone began questioning what it was; was it a building?  Could it be another brush fire only beginning?  Everyone was unsure and scared as to what was happening and within hours the severity of the situation came to light with hundreds of acres being consumed right on the edges of town.  One of the first images I saw was an Instagram of the back side of my studio with the flames appearing to be only yards away from the buildings furthest edge.  After a few frantic calls and some soothing confirmation that the blaze was moving to the east we rushed outside to see what we could see.  The view from our front porch was petrifying and with information only trickling in we were all unsure as to what turn the fire would take next. 

By 4pm evacuations were already in order and by night fall hundreds of structures were being threatened and thousands asked to leave their homes.  Fire crews were quick to respond bringing in man power from all over as well as equipment like the DC 10 which proceeded to drop retardant at the fire's edge.

Three days later the fire is at 65% contained and most residents have been able to return safely to their homes.  Forty seven structures were consumed by the fire, two of which were commercial properties that were engulfed when the fire jumped our main highway.

Now the fire is well on its way to total containment and though the town still does not know the origin of the fire they remain united and helping those less fortunate who have lost their homes.  We are so grateful to our firefighters and all they have done this year to keep our town safe.

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Coming soon...

I feel like I have been gone forever because quite frankly I have been!  This is my first post for the majority for 2014.  A lot has been happening as well as changing here on the Thousand Acre Wood, but I will be back soon to tell you all about it.  Thank you for all the emails and comments while I was away and cannot wait to catch up with you all once I return.

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Fire Dancing...

Life on the ranch has been crazy these last few weeks.  I haven't been able to really go out and explore much because of it.  During the few months prior we have had sightings of a mountain lion roaming the property.  Their territory is pretty large, upwards of three hundred square miles, I believe, but this one lone cat has decided that the ranch would be the perfect place to raise her cub.  Typically lions do not share territory with the exception of their young, so when we see the prints all over the ranch we know it's her.

About three weeks ago my family's mule, Jake, was attacked and killed by the lion.  He was over 30 years old and had been a constant figure on the ranch for many of those years.  Since losing Jake it has been a flurry of activity with the federal trapper attempting to capture the lion and decide what they believe will be the best way of handling the situation.  Thus far their trials have been worthless and we continue to see new tracks.  Although no new attacks have been reported, she has still attacked numerous times in the past so we are all taking extreme caution and avoiding any unnecessary wandering.

So I have been mainly homebound these last couple of weeks.  Catching up on work and photographing a lot of holiday pictures as well as a few weddings.  Last weekend I shot solo at a wedding that featured fire dancers.  It was one of the most awe inspiring performances I have ever seen!  It was such a challenge trying to photograph such an event.  I have never photographed fire dancers before and I kept trying to find that perfect exposure to allow the true feeling of the dances to come alive.  In the beginning, some of the images didn't quite stack up but by the end I was feeling comfortable and confident.  I love being able to look back and enjoy the show again and again!

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