ethanessig Jan/ 21/ 2018 | 0

My camera came into my life at an opportune moment; recovering from having surgery on my liver. It was the beginning of an annoying eight months of recovery (originally supposed to be six weeks…). My parents got me a Nikon D5500 for my birthday. To this day, its one of the best gifts I could have wished for. I received it while recovering at their house in early fall of 2016. Snapping shots of frogs and goldfish from the backyard; my mind was becoming creative in ways it hadn’t been before.

The first chance I got to test out my new DSLR was on a trip to Colorado with my Dad in October of 2016. I still wasn’t fully recovered. My body was rejecting the internal stitching, so I had several open holes in my abdomen. No big deal, though. My spirit needed the trip more than my body required recovery time.

Our journey began at RMNP. We drove along the road stopping for some landscape shots. My Dad also got a D5500, so we were doing a bit of learning together. I didn’t shoot anything too fantastic, but I was out there.

Our next stop was Eagle, CO with Conor and Alyssa to see the Littles. One of my favorite stops in Colorado. We went on a trail called Lost Lake, which is where I took one of my favorite photos ever. A beautiful shot from the ground, viewing rocks, snow, and dirt leading up the trail through the baby pines. Beautiful.

After the first Colorado trip post surgery, I started to get a series of infections. It weighed me slowly. I just wanted to be better. Though I wasn’t getting much better, trips were still in the works. Elisa and I headed out to Colorado in December. We stayed in Estes Park at bed and breakfast (link the blogs). It was a beautiful trip, but I was struck with another infection while we were there, which kept us from exploring as far as we wanted. The upside I took some of my favorite photos EVER on that trip (Elisa helped me see some great shots). Beautiful snow capped mountains were the main shot. I was shocked how some turned out. At this point, I wasn’t using any editing software. I was shooting in filters, which turned out horribly on future trips, but somehow worked out here, at least in my opinion.

Although my mind was still going through a lot, the people in my life and my camera helped make the most out of that recovery period. One of the most significant moments of growth I have ever experienced. I did get better, and my adventures with my camera continued.


I was excited to get some shots of ZNP, one of my favorite places in the world. This was when I decided to stick with filters that had worked out in the past, and it burned me… burned me bad.

I took a few good shots in Zion. One from the top of Observation Point and one from Hidden Canyon stand out in my mind. Every other shot I took was in the POP filter. It made the red and orange rock look like the sun. I have no idea why I used it for an entire week. I suppose it was hope that the magic from Colorado would occur again.


My camera has helped me see the glorious places I go in a whole new way. A huge thing is finding the beauty in more than just the vast mountain view that will be popular on Instagram. I used to worry that carrying a camera around would keep me out of the present. All I would think about is a cool picture, but the opposite happened. It becomes more important to take the adventure slowly. Look everywhere to see what would be amazing to capture and share.

I just did a hike a local park in the Kansas City area. It was one of the most peaceful moments I’ve had in a while. I went maybe a mile, but it took me almost 30 minutes. I stopped at everything that caught my eye. After the shot, I just sat there, stared, and appreciated. It was all beautiful.


Photography provided a creative outlet when I needed it the most. We all need that release at some point. We are meant to be creative and express how we see the world. Maybe your outlet is a camera, a brush, or a pen. Luckily, we all have endless possibilities.

I appreciate you reading. Have a solid day.

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