Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Sweet Spot

(All pics. snapped on 5/30/11)

After posting the pictures from a couple of entries ago, the ones with the creek and the vine-covered tree? A little birdy told me that if I turned left, instead of right (duh) on the path that had gotten me to that wonderful place - I'd end up at an even more spectacular spot...which quite frankly, I found hard to believe. But? Whatever. Main thing was, I woke up yesterday morning - ready to find out for myself if it was true. I also awoke after only four hours of sleep - feeling positive and upbeat for the first time in eons, and on a mission to try and stay cool...since it was shaping up to be an oppressively scorching hot day.

Once there on the path, I navigated my way through waist-high prickers and other flora, wondering if I'd ever even find the creek beyond all that overgrowth. But when the rushing sound of water began to gradually crescendo, practically drowning out the din of weed-eaters and lawnmowers and folks yelling at their dogs from their yards - I knew that it would lead me to the mystery location.

However, before leaving the path to attempt navigating my way to the creek - I couldn't resist snapping some pics. of myself scampering over to this fallen tree, and up as high I as I could get in 10 seconds, while allowing enough time to get in position, and try to look like I'd been lazily lying on the limb for awhile...

I'm here to tell ya, this was not as easy as it looks. After 20-some tries, my arms and shoulders ached from having hurriedly hoisted my body up so high. The temperature was soaring, and I was absolutely drenched. It's like this - if I had 'em, I'd have been sweating my balls off. But when the flies began greedily feeding off of the blood from the cuts on both of my knees - I was done. No matter how many times I tried to shoo 'em away, they belligerently returned to keep was freaky.

I collected my stuff and with both arms full, I methodically made my way through the absurdly dense, seemingly never-ending thicket - cussing, and stooped-over in a hunch the whole way. 

By this point, I was more excited about dunking my bedraggled body in some cool, moving water - than I was about staging was so flippin' hot out. And can I just tell you? When I finally came out of the brush to see this? It felt as if I'd reached Nirvana...I literally could...not...believe what was there before my eyes.

After processing the preternatural beauty of this place, while decadently swimming in the pool below the falls - I knew that it was time to get my butt back to work. 

Now one would think that getting good pics. in a setting this superb - would be a cinch, but holy cow did I struggle! Not only to convincingly plant myself amid such natural magnificence, but also to capture a respectable amount of it within each frame. In nearly every shot, I either felt swallowed-up by the greatness of the scene, or that I was incapable of harnessing its magnitude.

I took piles and piles of pics., none of which did the place justice...and in order to ward off encroaching frustration - I thought it might be helpful to take 5. 

While tucked away out of the sun, perched on a cool, moss-covered rock by the waterfall - it occurred to me that it was the first time ever on a shoot, that I was just as content to sit still and do nothing but soak up my stellar surroundings, as I was to be photographing myself among them. It was such a huge relief to feel so calm and peaceful...and to revel in my alone time, once again.

But...for as much as I needed and appreciated the break, I'm hyper and can never sit still for very long. I decided to dive right back into my pics., this time though, I would try aiming my camera in the opposite direction of the falls, towards a more humble, less intimidating part of the creek - hoping it might make a more manageable backdrop.

On my way over to do the nightgown pics., I had to slop through an oozy, muddy bog. I chanted, "Ew?...ew?...ew?" with every slow, squishy step - but only 10 pictures into the nightgown theme, the proverbial light bulb went off and I thought, "Dude...wait. What tha hell am I doing?! I gotsta get down in that muck!"

Upon first sight, I'd thought that the waterfall, and the lagoon-ish green pool - would undoubtedly set the stage for the best pics. of the bunch....but no. It wasn't until I wallowed in that stinky, smooshy mud pit - in front of a nondescript, steep, sandy bank - that I truly found my sweet spot that day...

I havta give a shout-out to the friend who kept me up so late the night before - trust me, the enlightening and uplifting repartee we shared - more than made up for the resulting lack of sleep. Thank you so much for helping me brush myself off - and begin moving forward a bit. 

I also need to thank the "little birdy" who gave me the tip about this incredible venue...oh my god I owe ya' major! Love, love...

And although you'll probably think this is utterly ridiculous - Thanks also to Rob Dyrdek and his Fantasy Factory...the last episode I watched inspired me to snag the phrase "sweet spot" (as always) the show reminded me to think positively, and aim high.

And last but not least - Thank You, dear Mother Nature...for providing so many sweet spots - not just for my pics., but also for sanctuary from the upheaval in my life...


  1. I definitely prefer the Lauralyn who appreciates friends, little birdies, Rob Dyrdek, and Mother Nature (mud and flesh eating flies included) more than hermit-like Lauralyn. Thanks again for sharing :)

  2. @A Redditor - Haha! Well, the funny thing about your comment is - that returning to hermit-dom is precisely what allowed me to start feeling a little bit better, and appreciating all of the GOOD in my life. Where I get myself into trouble, is when I make the mistake of mixing it up (so to speak) with other humans. I'm starting to believe that I may have lost the finesse to successfully mingle with men. So once again, I've retreated to my solitary safe haven...I know it's the best thing for my sanity, and historically - bowing out of the social circuit makes me a much more productive artist...but I guess only time will tell if being alone again, will positively (or negatively) impact my work.

    Thanks to you TOO - for sharing!

  3. Have you ever considered writing a book? You're quite the creative wordsmith (that's a word, right?). I perused (that's a word, right?) through your online dating blog and had a hard time turning away. It's a shame more people can't be as transparent as you (as I use A Redditor for my name).

  4. @A Redditor - Yeah, the book idea definitely comes and goes. I mean, if you think about it - I've got probably several books-worth of stories and photos already compiled in both of my blogs...the trick is, finding someone to publish it/them - since I have no desire to go the vanity press route. Frankly, I've always thought that my old blog might be better-suited for an HBO or Showtime series. But I'd be lyin' if I said that I wouldn't love someday, to see my self-portraits between the covers of a glossy coffee table book :)

  5. I must sound like a broken record, but the storytelling is very captivating (I had to look it up...), the scenery is perfect, the waterfalls, the water, the trees and ohh yeah, the nude woman in the photos makes it a great visual buffett (I'm sorry is lunch time).
    As good as all of the above parts add to the overall experience, the writing glues me to the screen to devour every sentence. Awesome gift....keep it up.
    AMC 6/1/11

  6. @Anonymous - Why THANK You! NICE! Your remarks have me seriously motivated to keep up the momentum...fingers crossed today's shoot is a home run...

  7. Again, as always, you leave me in awe. Thank you for sharing your talent for words and photography.

  8. Ohhhhh I want the mud....You are definitely blessed with living in a part of the world that presents you will some amazing back drops but it is your photography that brings them to life.

    I need to go out hunting more, problem is I know of a couple of places but they are not exactly deserted....maybe I just need to be braver.


  9. @13messages - Oh...I'm SO happy to know that you still come here. Feels like it's been forEVer since we spoke...

    YOUR blog's looking AWEsome these days, btw! I LOVE the effects that you're putting on your pics.!

    Hope all is well with you :)

  10. @Molly - Yeah, just be braver! You won't believe how utterly thrilling it can be! Always keep something handy though - a tank dress or something else that you can slip into really quickly, so you can cover up - should someone appear :)

    Although the place in these pics. does look totally deserted, it sits right on the rear property line of two private residences. I actually warned the one property owner (who I know) that I was planning on shooting back there. She was totally cool with it, but she cautioned me to be careful of the guy who lives next door...yipes!...I just tried not to worry about whether anyone would show up or not...

  11. I never commented on this one, although I meant to several times... really stunning work! You're on a roll I haven't seen before... this is highly impressive stuff. The last photo is likely among your best ever, IMO.

  12. @Steve Mouzon - Why THANK you, Steve! I loved this was the closest thing to paradise that I've ever found ANYwhere around here. Kinda helped me forget about the real world for awhile, which was something that I sorely needed at the time...

  13. Where was that taken? I would not mind taking some there myself!

  14. Anonymous - I's inCREDible, isn't it? It's in Millwood, but you have to walk through people's yards, and right past their houses to get there...

  15. falsies unfortunately, but nice pictures

  16. The last picture (Mud) makes me think of a trapped wild animal. Great shot; incredible expression!

    And the other pictures certainly are taken in an amazing setting. It reminds me of blissful days spent in similarly wonderful surroundings with my wife.