It was a long ride. We needed entertained.
Entertainment came in the form of a radio host called "Johnny Dare". Some of you locals probably have heard of him. He's described as a shock jock, but really, he's just more like a teenage boy in a 41 year old's body.
Anyway, he goes on vacation and comes back to tell an interesting story. He had taken his dog Barger and himself, along with his Jeep and drove west. He is in Utah if I remember correctly and photographing rock formations when he stumbles upon a rattle snake. He uses his tripod and a rock wall to "jump" over the snake, dog in arms.
But for me, that wasn't the interesting part of the story. The most interesting part, was how he told that they just drove and took photos.
I instantly started thinking about what an adventure that could be. Setting out due west with no real "plan". Taking photos of what life presents you along the way. That has stuck with me for several years.
So when we went to S. Dakota, one of the things that really fascinated me were the animals. As you know, I love me some chickens, and I have this unusual cow fetish. Apparently other people have noticed this. But what I don't see enough of, is the wild.
It all started innocent enough.
We were driving into Devils Monument, and I spotted a deer. I wanted to take a few pics so we stopped where we weren't supposed to. I got out and slowly started walking, thinking that they would bolt any second. But that didn't happen. I creeped closer and closer, shooting off a photo ever 15 seconds.
I had gotten closer to a wild deer, and gotten the best photos of one I ever have in my life.
I just wanted to sit down in the grass and watch her and the sun sparkle off of her whiskers.
But alas, we were in trouble. We had stopped in a no stopping area. Oops. Otherwise, they were pretty ok with me being out in the park, harassing the "locals"
We saw the prairie dogs, and again, I got out, getting closer and closer. They make hilarious warning noises. What you can't see is when they throw their arms in the air and scream *eeeeeEEEE!*
The next day, we went to Custer State Park. It's well known for it's herds of buffalo.
Now, to be honest, the buffalo is one of the few animals I'm really really scared of. It's a funny story of when my ex and I were at a drive through animal park in Branson. As we crossed a tiny "bridge", a buffalo was a foot from my side of the door. We crept by him, but apparently it ticked him off so he head butted our car! I screamed! I peed my pants a little and wanted my mommy. (ok not that last part)
It left only a small dent, but I did get a chuckle out of telling people the dent was put there by a buffalo.
Since then, I've been a little paranoid.
Throughout the park we saw other critters:
Wild turkey (what you don't see is the wild deer that was messing with the turkey!)
We missed the burros and I'm sure many other critters.
But I'm kind glad I missed this:
Where am I going with this?
Well a couple weeks ago, I talked about a sign, and how I felt like I'd been given a sign. That sign was this trip. No, it wasn't a rattlesnake sign (thank God), it was a sign that I should be doing something else.
Don't get your panties in a twist. I'm not giving up blogging, or photography, or even weddings. I like shooting people, but I realized that I LOVE shooting animals and nature and the great outside! While I was there, I really wanted to just sit for hours and watch and photograph, but I couldn't because I had an impatient glass man with me, and well, I don't really blame them. Watching me photograph a deer for 3 hours probably would get boring no?
My mind wandered back to the story of Johnny, taking his camera and his adventure across the country. The plans started to form in my head and before I got home, I was talking about a second trip.
Me, a long lens, my jeep, (probably a pistol), and an adventure.
I just feel like something is missing, like I have a story I need to tell. Like a sabbatical of some sort.
The tentative plans are already in the works. Well, the plans in my head anyway. Nothing is concrete but I'm feeling like next summer I'll be traveling west again looking for a story. I don't know what that story is, and I don't know how it will be told. Will it be just some blogging? Will it be a private book? or will it be something bigger?
I don't know the answers to any of those questions yet, but when I do, you'll be the first to know.