Exhale After Intermission

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Exhalation After Intermission

Exhale After Intermission

It’s been an ongoing game of hi’s and goodbye’s for several weeks now as Capt Awesome takes to the commuting skies. Long quiet days that allow for a little latitude in how messy the house remains after a meal. Vials and bottles litter the counter in the bathroom. Then comes Friday and it’s a dash to run the dishwasher, sweep up the week’s unkempt display of laziness…or shall we say a shift in priorities. Yes, that sounds better.

We came to this situation with high hopes and a sense of resolve despite the urgings from everyone else. The rewards towered high above ringing with promise, sparkling in such a way we couldn’t resist. Yes, it would be hard, but we can do it. We can do anything.

And we have.

But this sucks! BIG TIME.

Yes, to you all. You were right!! I concede. The sparkles could never outweigh the presence, the space between, the energy or the touch.

***

But something has changed. Time. 48 hours becomes a treasure. No longer a routine, wasted or something to take for granted. We look to fill those hours with purpose and intent. To make up for the time in between when we are apart.

And Fridays…they are a tall glass of water on a hot day. The butterflies before a first date. The smile that can take your breath away. The long exhale after intermission before the next act.


 It started off as a seriously gloomy day. The kind that makes you grateful you decided to bring your raincoat on an epic adventure. To make matters slightly more bitter, it was the last day on the Ring Road. The evening would close in Reykjavik with a departure the following day. We needed to soak in as much glory to last us through the next several months. So the rain needed to move on out!

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Exhalation After Intermission
I took Capt Awesome to Dyrolahey…a word I still cannot pronounce no matter how hard I try. The basalt rock cuts displayed itself in jagged patterns across the terrain, showing off some teeth in certain places.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Exhalation After Intermission

Especially here. A wonder of physics and time. I would swear you could sit here and watch the current drift in and out while time stood still. Your senses mesmerized by the crashing of the waves, the strength of water flinging itself against the rock sending a shock of coolness to the already cool air, the colors shifting from cerulean blue to white to blue again. It was hypnotizing.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Exhalation After Intermission

Capt. Awesome hit the shutter on this one. Then I let him sit, pondering the whys of the world while I headed out to explore the rest of this incredible place. After he returned, he said something that hit home. That he was minding his own business watching the water break upon the rocks after each sweep of the tide, lost in his thoughts. And then come the tourists, quick to whip out their cameras, take their snapshot and move on without really taking in the scene. Guilty am I of this as well. We view so much of our world behind our camera or phone these days that rarely do we stop to actually experience what is right in front of us.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Exhalation After Intermission

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Exhalation After Intermission

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Exhalation After Intermission

Then something magical happened, the clouds separated revealing the heavens above. The sun made it’s first appearance of the day. Oh, the colors. A beautiful ending to a beautiful trip.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Exhalation After Intermission

Somersault

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Somersault

Somersault

When I first met Capt Awesome, I had all these rules in my head. What I could and couldn’t do, how long I needed to date a man before I would consider marrying him, etc. I mean really, after several long term relationships that ended in heart break, it must take an adequate amount of time for one’s heart to recognize the truth. Logically, a few dates couldn’t truly determine such a dramatic change in my life as I knew it. That’s just crazy talk!

So I lived in a momentary state of denial, awe and excitement while my heart made every effort to convince my brain of what existed right before my very eyes. Never mind the butterflies, my stomach doing a thousand somersaults at a simple thought, a smile, a comment…as fluttered memories thwarted every effort at productivity. What work…none of that happening over her! It wasn’t long before the surrender ended in pure acceptance. And soon my sister took one look at me and said, “You really need not pay attention to those rules you’ve created for yourself.”

She was right and I knew it. Imagination and reality walked a parallel line of agreement and there was no mistaking that path any longer. No crossroads, just a straight line in one direction. Clarity. Sweet, blissful clarity.

I remember looking back on the time before that moment, almost 6 years ago outside of a Border’s Bookstore. Slightly jaded at the string of past exes, mistakes, errors of judgement, etc. ad nauseam. Wondering with skeptical hope if Disney movies had ruined me for the rest of my days. Seeing numerous people in my life married, then divorced. Or worse, married and miserable. Skeptical. But hopeful. Then there he was. Smiling at me with a crinkle in his eye and an all knowing glance as if he had a magic ball in his back pocket.

I can still picture it perfectly today.

So glad am I that I didn’t run screaming for the hills after that amazing first date. That I let the wonder and excitement of it all lead me by the hand in eager anticipation of tomorrow.

How aptly, Sia’s Chandelier decides to sing through my speakers at this very moment…

I’m going to live like tomorrow doesn’t exist.

This one is for you, my beautiful friend. May your heart calm any apprehensions and allow you to live in the moment.


 

BTS-Somersault-6
It was the second to last day with these beautiful people as we caravan-ed through this crazy landscape. Each turn in the road bringing us to a new plot of eye candy. The menu offered up lava fields; remnants of the last volcano on this side of the island, the cooled lava curved and undulated across the Earth weaving a fabric of moss and lichen through time. It was soft to the touch and surprisingly warm considering the briskness in the air. And since we took off our shoes to play in the folds, it tickled our toes.

This particular spot turned out to be a popular one as that deep cut in the lava rock set for an peculiar backdrop. I’m interested to see what creations came out of the other personal visions that day.

So Kory and Bonnie get into position as I direct them to the edge, tell them my concept and prepare to take the shot.

Then this happened….

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Somersault Gif

All I can say is I love my friends!

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Somersault

Proper cloud placement is very important and takes many trys…especially when one is balancing precariously atop a rock. Never a dull moment.

I’ve determined Iceland to be one of my happy places. One which will beckon again and again until my return.

Sep 2, 2015 - 11:03 pm

Bonnie Caton - <3

Warning Sign

 

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Warning Sign

Warning Sign

What is the question? 

The land of the lost keeps calling. They have you on speed dial. You’re off to chase the next shooting star. Catch that firefly. Search for the mythical Lochness Monster. Away to Never Neverland.

Then pirates come to wrestle you away in search of treasure beyond your wildest dreams. They stack miles high of the purest gold, so much it could sink a ship…straight to the bottom without a second pause.

The phone continues to ring off the hook.

This time sherpas take you to the highest point on the tallest mountaintop. You wait for the answers to sprinkle down upon you like fairy dust and encapsulate you in absolute happiness and absolute fulfillment.

But the silence is deafening. You cover your ears uncertain as to your surroundings. Where am I? you ask yourself. The ticket proves you boarded the plane but the destination no longer matches the vision. The landscape changes once again and right before your eyes a wrinkle in time reveals a mirage of sorts. With a shake of the head, you’re back on that plane once again.

The search continues.

***

The warning signs are always there. They sneakily edge their way into conversations. A little inquiring here and there. What about…? What do you think about…? Have you ever…? A sideward glance. A hesitation. Tossing and turning in your mind of sleepless nights of mental unrest. That hamster on the wheel is in serious overdrive. Research. More research. And then a pull of the trigger and like a horse out of the gate, you’re off to the races.

Like clockwork.

But what is the question?

How do you truly know what you seek if you never stop to ask the right question?

And perhaps, when you finally figure it all out, you might realize the answer was right in front of you.

The entire time.


After kissing all my friends goodbye, Capt Awesome and I set out on our own to discover what more this incredible island had to offer.  One of the must sees on my list was this strange piece of basalt rock standing upright in the water, named Hvitserkur. Apparently this word means white shirt in Icelandic. (I tried to pronounce it, but as Awesome explained, anytime I attempted to speak the language, he immediately questioned whether or not I had a speech impediment! It really was rather hysterical.)

We set out late one day traveling the Northern edge of the island out towards the Western Fiords. The weather changed, the winds picked up and before you know it, 10:30pm rolled around. It still amazes me how long the day lasts. It’s easy to lose all track of time in the land of the midnight sun.

A bit treacherous climbing down the side of the cliff to access the beach, but the view was worth it.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Warning Sign

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Warning Sign

We’ve determined this looks like a moose drinking water. A female moose, of course!

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Warning Sign

A haven for seagulls, the name White Shirt comes from the guano (bird poop) left deposited all over the rocks.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Warning Sign

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Warning Sign

This is what midnight looks like with an approaching storm.

A strong pull with this place there truly is.

Skating Around the Truth

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Skating Around the Truth

Skating Around the Truth

So much of the experience in Iceland felt like another planet. There’s something about being so close to nature that makes all of your other problems and concerns seem quite trivial. Popular culture drives you towards consumerism, competing with the Joneses, get that higher paying job so you can pay for that shiny car…it’s a very easy trap to fall into, I know. It doesn’t help living in such a expensive city which just perpetuates this vicious cycle again and again.

But what the hell is the point?

Do we live to work or do we work to live?

Capt. Awesome came back from that trip with a different perspective. Perhaps with varying degrees of perspective as he wants to move to Iceland….which is out of the question!!! My poor sun-seeking soul would suffer great madness during the all too plenty winter months! So not going to any extremes, but finding a resting place that better suits our lifestyle. Where buckets of nature override the hustle and bustle of the biggest cities. Where you can find your church on top of a mountain.

Nature has a way of staring you in the face like that. It’s that one-on-one with God – sharing with you the truth, your truth, what hides deep under the surface. What’s truly important. Who is truly important and why we do the things we do in this life.

Even Superman had his Fortress of Solitude…

Sometimes you have to fly to Iceland to rediscover it all.

(Or Bali, where it’s warmer.)


 

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Skating Around the Truth
Skating Around the Truth almost didn’t happen. We arrived at Jökulsárlón later in the evening. The clouds rolled thick and proceeded to cover everything in sight with a cool mist of precipitation in an already cold place. And I was hangry. (Which is never a good thing.)

Sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don’t. Many of my other beloved Fromagis dared boldness by climbing into waders and braving the frigid waters. Crazy, mad geniuses, I tell you! Others stayed out late or proceeded to get up early. In all honestly, how often does one get the opportunity to photograph in such a place? Almost never. But I prefer the heat to the cold so after failed attempts, I decided I could still achieve my vision without forcing myself. So I waited…took a gander at the landscape and went to bed.

All of these were photographed sometime in the 11 ‘o’clock hour in the evening.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS - Skating Around the Truth

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS - Skating Around the Truth

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS - Skating Around the Truth

When I realized I didn’t want to photography myself in this landscape, I asked Lieke. Her almost white hair cried for an image surrounded by ice. In fact, she modeled for just about everyone in this place. Our own Fromagi Ice Princess!

The next day, the clouds chose to stay close and hover, the natural light box in the sky which deemed the perfect light for my intentions.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS - Skating Around the Truth

Photographed on an endless black beach.

***

I realized, perhaps sadly, that I often get so caught up in photographing for art that I forget those magical behind the scenes moments…you know, the ones that remind you of the why? Friendships. Memories. Smiles.

So here’s a few on our first day with Lieke and Mia, laughing at the absurdity of the wind as it whipped through their hair relentlessly.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS - Skating Around the Truth

Where the World Bleeds White

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Where the World Bleeds White

Where the World Bleeds White

I’ve been drifting through this last week in a haze, my feet hovering a couple of inches off the ground coming off of an epic trip with some of my favorite people.

ICELAND.

Even the name sounds like some mythical place only imagined under the most creative minds in fairy tales.

It didn’t disappoint.

Every bend in the road revealed a new and fantastical scene of eye candy to feast upon. One moment my gaze is met by spectacular snow-capped mountains only then to be greeted by black sand beaches stretching out to infinity. The next turn finds me indulging in a glacial lagoon and then wrapping myself in the lichen covered landscape of the lava fields, letting the earth fold me in her arms. Another curve exposes the most surrealistic rock formations… I could swear I was trapped inside a Salvador Dali painting. Maybe Dali dreamed of this far off land before picking up his paint brush. Canyons cutting deep into the land displaying mossy fingers and grooves… and HORSES! (The 8 year old inside of me couldn’t get enough!)

Mother Nature certainly had her way when she created this island. I eagerly awaited every new change in direction in anticipation of her next unveiling. What new magic trick did she have up her sleeve?

And the waterfalls a plenty…they cascaded down curtains of rock everywhere. Plenty of Icelanders so strategically built their house with this in mind. Nothing quite like a waterfall in your very own backyard in the summer time. And the purest water at that. We filled our bottles right from the source, no fear of repercussions and better than any water out of the tap back home.

Far and few are the places untouched by man. And boy are they grand.

I’ve always said that my church was on top of a mountain. It’s also beside a waterfall. Or perched atop the edge of a cliff overlooking majesty. Finding those moments when you realize how small we really are. A tiny piece of the bigger puzzle. Comprised of the same.

Carbon.


© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Where the World Bleeds White
Words really cannot express how blessed I feel to have been a part of this whirlwind of excitement. It was a love affair of friendships and inspiration as 18 people, just strangers a year prior, embarked upon the RV Caravan Express! I have to admit I was fearful that time would erode the magic from the previous adventure. As time tugs at the years, my natural inclination is to limit the close friendships in my life. So this new tethering felt elusive and precious. Any and all concerns immediately flew right out the window as soon as Bonnie and I arrived, the last two in from the States, we were greeted with gusto. The door to the taxi flew open, bags taken quickly from our grasps only to find ourselves lost in a sea of arms…like a hug from a thousand bears. We were home. And my heart will forever beat like a jungle drum.

Many more stories will emerge as each new piece unfolds.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Where the World Bleeds White
I don’t often say this, but I’m kind of in love with this piece. We are all our own worse critics and I am no different when it comes to my art. I was hesitant to begin this concept, not really knowing if I had the skill to pull off what I intended.  I often thought of waterfalls as the long flowing hair of the earth. Maybe they displayed Mother Earth herself or perhaps a nymph rooted to the land, bathing in the landscape. This particular waterfall, named Svartifoss, of the thousands we experienced up close and afar, resided approximately 3 miles into Skaftafell National Park. Surrounded by very geometric rock cuts, it carved out a theatrical stage for proper attendance.

A very popular place, most of the seats were already occupied for the show as many photographers lined up with their tripods to capture the power of Svartifoss. All those red dots in the photograph to the left are people!

So I moved to a different vantage point. Let’s call it stage right.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Where the World Bleeds White

Detail of the rocks in their geometric patterns.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Where the World Bleeds White

This was the original shot on a rather gloomy and overcast day. Spring had not quite graced us with her presence yet. Many of the Icelanders exclaimed that summwe was a month off and the current weather was more of May than June. The flowers were just beginning to bud.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Where the World Bleeds White

A new edition to our Fromagi family, this is Mia Hutchinson, a beautiful 18 year old along on the ride to model our concepts. Luckily enough, also a dancer, she had the flexibility to contort herself to my vision. And her long wavy hair matched the flowing tendrils of water cascading down the rocks perfectly. Despite her youth and the tendency toward electronic forms of communication, she has the most wonderful personality. Engaging. Spunky. Humble. Able to talk easily with people twice her age (uh, yeah, that’s me!) Thank you, Mia, for being a part of our experience. :-)

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Where the World Bleeds White

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Where the World Bleeds White
Did I mention the horses? Aside from sheep, these fuzzy horses with their rock star hair could be found at every turn. Brazen, they had no problem coming closer to investigate me while my curiosity and desire to touch anything fuzzy brought me closer to them.

Did you miss those beautiful creatures in the original image? You can find them resting bottom right at the base of the waterfall/hair, quietly watching you as you watch them. Perhaps we all have a little voyeur inside…

Jun 25, 2015 - 2:34 pm

Molly Scott-Bayerdorffer - Beautiful!!! Can’t wait to hear all about your trip!