The Columbia Gorge at my Feet

©Stephen Miller 2015

Setting up this business has taken a toll on my social life… to say the least. I have recently made the conscious decision to once again regularly hangout with friends whom I haven’t seen in a very long time. The trouble is we aren’t 18 any more. Most of us have full time jobs, and some even have families now. Which is by no means a negative thing! It’s great that everyone is growing up and finding their way, but it makes staying in touch all the more difficult of a thing to do. So, what then? Do I go out and find all new friends and start over? No, but adding new people to my group of friends is great, and I am hoping that as I get more and more in to my photography and YouTube that my group of friends who share common interests and desire to make online content expands.

Now more than ever I have a strong desire to be adventurous. When I think about the things I want to do to create my content I can’t stop picturing myself no longer in my current city. What I think I want more than anything right now is a place uniquely and truly my own. However I realize that maybe it’s not quite time to step completely out on my own again, but I can make the effort to “baby step” it.

What’s been really exciting for me as of late is with this whole move to create content for online consumption is the amount of support and participation I have received from people who initially I would have expected to not “get it” or see the reason/appeal to it. Rather, I have gotten excited text messages and emails encouraging me to go for it. Even better, in specific relation to my vlogging, people are open to it and are curious and asking me questions about it.  It’s awesome. For so long I stupidly thought that people in my group of friends wouldn’t vibe this kind of work or interest, but I was COMPLETELY mistaken.

In an effort to jump-start this new attitude and lifestyle I am looking to live, I am trying to do more activities that require full body effort. I have always been envious of one of my best mates, Danny, who is this outdoors buff –cross fit doing- mountain man and his adventures hiking, backpacking, and camping. He’s really inspired me to try and take up those activities more seriously, not only for health reasons, but also for work. 

©Stephen Miller 2015

That’s why this past week he and I went out on my first hike in probably almost a year. Yeah, I know… Sad. Danny and I decided to do the Drift Tail Falls hike just outside of Lincoln City here on the Oregon coast. The weather was supposed to be wet, cold, and overcast. Perfect. Overcast weather allows for excellent diffusion of light and the wet plant life will add great texture to images. Whilst driving the hour and half long route to the trailhead I filled Danny in on my business plans and introduced him to my new Canon 5d mark iii and Vlark, my vlogging camera. He got to experience what it’s like to vlog a day first hand and surprisingly was really natural and comfortable in front of the camera!

When we reached the trailhead the ground was still kind of damp from the rain earlier that morning and there were only a few other cars in the lot. Perfect! However, what ended up happening is as we hiked down to the beautiful waterfall the temperature quickly changed and what was supposed to be cold and overcast quickly became hot, muggy, and clear skies. Unfortunately that meant we would arrive at the waterfall during high sun – meaning the worst light to shoot in because it either underexposes or overexposes the image out of the gate. I still managed to get a few shots that I was satisfied with, but it means I will have to head back when the weather is better to get the shots I wanted. Not a problem!

©Stephen Miller 2015, Drift Tail Falls 

©Stephen Miller 2015

The next day I had plans to meet up with a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in over a year. I have known her since elementary school and she is essentially a sister. She had recently purchased a new camera, after my encouraging text messages haha, and wanted to learn how to use it properly. She was so excited, how could I say no? Besides, having another friend interested in photography is a total plus.

Susan and I decided to head up to Rowena’s Crest for the sunset. Let me tell you, if you live in Oregon or are visiting here, and you haven’t gone to the Columbia Gorge to watch the sunset, you are truly missing out on one of the most beautiful views in the entire state. I updated each other on life and business, just like I did with Danny, and received nothing but positive and excited feedback on my new ventures and directions. Whew.

© Stephen Miller 2015

As we arrive at the top of the Columbia gorge we are greeted by a nearly set sun and a beautifully lit landscape filling the 360° view.  We got out our cameras and began her lesson. We spent probably a good hour there practicing landscape and portrait photography. I was surprised how easily she got it. Soon she was off shooting her own compositions and doing rather well and we have agreed to do more “Instagram missions” in the future!

All in all I had an amazing week. This upcoming week is packed with things to do and I am hoping to sneak a hike or two in.

Hope you all had an amazing week and weekend too. Be sure to let me know what your favorite places are to visit or hike! My list keeps growing!

In the mean time, remember to never be afraid of where you have come from and always be excited about where you are going.