Potential in the Unknown

(Posted by Ryan)

There is something mysterious and slightly frightening about the early morning hours, before the earth has turned enough to allow the sun's light to break the horizon. I think it's the encompassing darkness and not being able to see everything around you. That darkness . . . that thought of the unknown can be downright terrifying if you let it consume you.

I have learned that within those feelings of anxiety and vulnerability, there is potential for an incredible amount of creative energy. By accepting the nervous energy and turning it into something positive, I have been able to give myself an incredible creative gift. That gift is the possibility and potential in every moment.

I find this philosophy to be extremely inspirational and helpful in everyday life, but it is most pronounced to me right before a photo shoot. Every shoot, no matter how carefully planned, has its variables and unknowns. These variables are where creativity and improvisation thrive, and if given the chance and nurtured properly, things will fall into place and images will spring to life.

Riding in a groomer before dawn with just the faintest reflection of light on the horizon, the anxiety builds into a cornucopia of possibility for the day's shoot. I ride along talking to the driver, who has been carefully operating this machine all night, thinking of how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to be sitting here right now. I am thankful for this moment and nearly bursting with excitement for the inevitable rise of the sun. We ride to the top of the mountain, headlights marking our way, where I hop out into the cold with my camera gear and prepare for my first shot.

The landscape bursts to life with first light and the shoot day is underway. I could stay up here forever, but I know Larissa and the skiing talent are getting ready at the bottom of the mountain. I get my shots, hop in the groomer, and away we go into the possibility of the day.

Here is a sampling of the results of the day's shoot at Whitetail Ski Resort: