LANDSCAPES

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Stay the Course

Cushendall, Ireland
White horse looks out over misty field in Ireland

Have you ever decided to make a positive change in your life and then immediately everything falls apart? At the very moment you gain clarity the fog rolls in and blurs the path you had finally forged in front of you. It has happened to me more times than I can count. This image reminds me that during those moments when I lose sight of my goal I must keep myself firmly rooted on the course I had charted. I must push straight on with more focus than ever...never taking my eye from the direction my path had been leading. Sure, in the mist and confusion my outlook might deviate slightly but if I concentrate on the destination rather than the distractions and obstacles standing in my way I will eventually wade through the fog and find clarity once more.

Hidden Treasures

Brady's Beach,
Bamfield, BC
Rock formations on sandy Brady's Beach Vancouver Island bc

This beach is not easy to find. There’s no road or parking lot snuggled next to the sand. This magical shore demands payment for the reward it offers! A water taxi and a long walk up and down many hills and dusty roads. I have been here many times. It is almost always deserted. Each time, I stand in awe of the beauty surrounding me and wonder what I’ve missed in my life because I gave up too soon or didn’t try at all?  How many days did I hide from beauty; from blessing because it seemed too arduous to make the effort?

 

This photo is my challenge to myself and to you.

 

A challenge to change our thinking from, ‘I’m afraid to try’ to ‘I’m afraid of what I will miss if I don’t.”

Breaking Through

Bamfield,
Vancouver Island, BC
Rustic green shack and broken window in Bamfield Vancouver Island

Life is a series of containers we house ourselves in. Those confinements can be ideas, choices, relationships, jobs - anything that has a part in defining who we are. This green building is old, weathered & beaten. It is no longer hospitable shelter. I have lived in a number of ugly containers in my life - situations that confined the beauty my life was intended to be. When I see this broken window I see power. I see determination to burst out of the dilapidated containers that trap us. Change is never easy, but we can choose to shatter the walls that keep us trapped in lifestyles, situations or relationships that confine and define us. Break the barriers that lock you in! You are more powerful than you realize!

Chesterman Ripples

Chesterman Beach
Vancouver Island, BC
Sunset over Chesterman Beach in Tofino BC

My favourite part of this image is the ripples in the water. They make me think of those times in life when things don't go easily. When you thought the path would be smooth and it ended up being a little bumpy. These are the moments that shape us. That create beauty within. It's the bumps and bruises, the ripples and waves in life that make us who we are. How we choose to react and handle life's surprises results in beauty or bitterness.

We decide.

Seagull in a Quandry

Nanaimo Harbour
Vancouver Island, BC
Seagul chokes on purple starfish in Nanaimo BC

Ever bitten off more than you can chew? Apparently, it’s not a trait saved only for humans. The expression on this seagull’s face makes me giggle each time I view it. That painful regret and the realization that I might be in over my head are all too familiar sensations. But really, how will we ever know when we’ve reached our limits if we never push them? How will we grow if we never reach beyond ourselves - push to better our best. True, sometimes it is uncomfortable and embarrassing when we fail. In my humble opinion, the reward for success far outweighs the risk of failure.

Travelling

Sinclair's Bay
Ackergill, UK
Sunset over misty beach in Northern Scotland
Ocean waves roll into the Bay near Wich, Scotland
Orange sunset over misty waves in Northern Scotland

When I was travelling Northern Scotland many years ago I came upon a beach that stole a piece of my heart. For me, there was something enchanted about that place. The wind was strong, the air was crisp and the North Sea roared onto the shore to meet me. As I stepped onto the sand I was overwhelmed with emotion. I strolled the beach in the twilight and allowed myself to bathe in the overwhelm that overtook me.

My time on that shore was brief. No more than an hour but a bond had grown between me and that place that I cannot define. My heart ached to leave it and I still yearn to return.

That beach changed my definition of travel. Travelling, to me, now means, “Leaving little pieces of your heart all over the world in the hopes you will one day be reunited.”

Leaning In

Cushendall, Ireland
Tiny foal leans into White mother horse in misty field in Northern Ireland

It’s so great to have that person who you can lean into when life gets a little uncertain. Whether the path ahead has become foggy and you’re not totally sure which way to go or because something in your life leaves you feeling uncertain, scared or anxious. We need that person we can count on. That one that makes us feel safe even when the world around us is overwhelming. I think that’s what makes this image so special to me. It makes me think of my person - my safe place.

Profound Beauty

Scottish Highlands, UK
Wispy white scottish flowers call Bog Cotton

I often feel like this flower - invisible, unseen, insignificant amongst so much greatness. Yet, this flower reminds me that I carry an unseen beauty that should be valued above all outward flourishes.  This little puff is specially equipped to trap heat from the sun allowing it to survive in the harshest Northern climates including the Arctic. As humans we tend to value traditional beauty and broad spectacle but there is something to be said about those people who endure hardship and continue to bloom. People who have seen the worst the world can throw at them and continue to spread light, life and beauty in response.

 

That is the most profound beauty of all.

Magnificently Insignificant

Bald Mountain, Shawnigan Lake
Vancouver Island, BC
Sunset viewed from the top of a mountain near Victoria BC

Bald Mountain is a small, unspectacular mountain. Its name and stature leave you believing it has little to offer. it sits in silence, waiting for those few souls willing to take a chance and challenge its mediocrity. But this insignificant knoll taught me that one should never underestimate such places, or people for that matter. Both can surprise you. Beautiful treasures can be found in the most modest forms, if you take the time to explore them.

"Never judge a book by its cover", has proven itself to me time and time again. It is the one who pre-judges who loses out in the end.

Curious Fawn

Mill Bay, 
Vancouver Island, BC
 A fawn staning among flowers and grass

Walking down a country road one day I was startled by a little fawn who bounced out of the woods onto the road just in front of me. I froze. She froze. We studied each other cautiously.

Suddenly, she turned and trotted right up to me. She didn’t hesitate or show any sign of fear. Her hoofs tapped the pavement without making a sound and she stood at my feet staring up at me. Close enough that I could have reached out my hand to pet her, she lifted her head and looked at me. Eyes wide with curiosity. I felt as though I had been honoured by a king. There is something hallowed about being accepted by a wild animal. I can think of few moments in life more touching than the ones shared with a species that is not supposed to be my friend. Those moments where the rules of nature are broken and you share something forbidden. These moments are bestowed upon stillness and quiet. Although we humans value the discipline of keeping busy, nature honours the art of stillness. Of seeing. Of being seen. These moments, though few and very far between offer more reward than all my accomplishments borne from my busy-ness combined.

Shelter From the Storm

Shack Island, Nanaimo,
Vancouver Island, BC
IMG_8117-5x7 Final.jpg  A rustic wooden cabin
Cushendall, Ireland

It is a fact of life that storms will come. When they do, we all need a place to shelter. That shelter can come in many forms - a person, a food, a ritual, a place...there are many forms of safety just as there are many types of struggle. When the storm hits we do not care what our shelter looks like. We only care that it works - that is keeps us warm, dry, safe from harm. If we spent half as much time working on being better friends, confidents, support systems - shelters as we do on what we look like. How could we change the world? Always remember your true beauty is in how you treat others. In the end, this is all they truly see.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Rathtrevor Beach, Parksville
Vancouver Island, BC
Sandbar path divdes the ocean leading to the sunset at Rathetrevor Beach near Nanaimo BC

It had been one of those days when life’s troubles choke the life out of you.

I fled to the beach for some peace and a chance to clear my head. As the tide rushed over my feet and chased me towards the shore I noted the symbolism of being pursued by problems that threaten to drown. As I turned towards the safety of the shore I could see the path clearly in front of me and snapped this photo.

Sometimes life’s messes hem us in but every now and then that pressure gives us the clarity needed to find our way out.

Don't Miss It

Falls Lake, BC
Driftwood along shore of mountain lake near Vancouver BC

The view of this lake just drew me in. Beauty and purity so enticing that I felt the urge to let it swallow me. Had I been equipped with swimming attire not even the chill air could have kept me from bathing in its serenity. It was hard to imagine there was a highway on the other side of the mountain, just out of sight. Thousands of people rushing by unaware of the majesty they were missing; just as I had done so many times before. It made me wonder how many other treasures had I sped past on this trip alone?

Life rushes past at breath-taking speed and if we don’t make the conscious effort to slow down we miss the wonder, beauty and spectacle that life was intended to be.

Life is short. Slow down. Don't miss it.

The Edge of Beauty

Dallas Rd, Victoria
Vancouver Island, BC
Wooden fence along seaside cliff on Dallas Road in Victoria BC

Sentinels

Larch Valley, AB
Photographed from Sentinel Pass
Imposing mountains above Larch Valley near Morraine Lake BC

Sound in the Sunset

Barkley Sound, Bamfield
Vancouver Island, BC
Brilliant Sunset over Barklay Sound in Bamfield BC

Sandpiper Slumber

Sandpipers resting on a beach near Melbourne, Florida

Light Keeper

Oregon Coast
Lighthouse on cliffside over looking oceanon Oregon coast

Highland Cow

Scottish Highlands, UK
Highland cow in Scottish pasture
Highway to Hana
Maui, HI
3 waterfalls into blue lagoon on Maui
Hana
Maui, HI
Turbulant sea rushes into sea cave, Maui, HI
Chesterman Beach, Tofino
Vancouver Island, BC
Calm water on Chesterman Beach, Tofino BC

Chesterman Sunset

Chesterman Beach, Tofino
Vancouver Island, BC
Red Sun falls into ocean at Chesterman Beach in Tofino, BC
Lahaina
Maui, HI
Horses in yelow pasture beneath Maui mountains
Mill Bay
Vancouver Island, BC
Two deer resting beneath tree near Victoria BC
Northern Ireland
Ship on ominously calm sea near Belfast

Hand of God

Northern Ireland
Dark cloud hovers over ship at sea near Belfast
Lighthouse Point
Gulf Islands, BC
Lighthouse and Sailboat near Victoria BC
Myra Canyon
Kelowna, BC
Historic mountain railroad tunnel  near Kelowna BC

Copyright 2018 ANDREA CROSS PHOTOGRAPHY