What's in an Adventure?

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"“Every experience is a form of exploration.”― Ansel AdamsTake time and reflect on your experience's and ask yourself how many of them you have explored. Without the definition of your experience, have you really experienced anything? Life is but the moments that we do explore, remember, or have some impact on us. A few years back I explored my experiences and decided it was time for something. I needed a change, my photography had gone stale and my dreams of being a professional photographer had started to fade. Photography for me was always the answer to "find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life," and I was so caught up in it that I lost my way. I was doing wedding photography to "make a buck" and I soon discovered that is just as bad as doing a job I didn't want to. I really had to look at what I wanted to do and how I could get there. In typical fashion for my life, I took it to the extreme and decided to chase a dream of mine that I have had since I was a little kid and up and move to Colorado. I got one of those crappy 9-5 jobs to pay the bills, but the adventure was just beginning.With the help of my long time best friend, we set out on the journey to move myself and my dog Dakota, to a place where we knew no one, but would spend the next 3 years exploring some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever laid my eyes on. Durango, Colorado has been one amazing journey, with new friends and new amazing experiences this New Jersey guy longed for. Truth is though, I don't think I have ever been this close to being so far out of my comfort zone. But it is here where I truly learned what Ansel meant in his quote, life can become mundane, the 9-5 can get you down, and life simply can be forgotten. Your job is not you and your life is not your job. The one thing Durango has mastered is this simple concept. As a New Jerseyan I think the one thing that amazed me first about Durango, was how early the shops on Main Street would close! Walking down Main after work one day I couldn't believe how busy the town was with the new influx of tourist and yet shops were closing, it was only 4:30 P.M. But that is how it is here in Durango, because the fun isn't just for the tourist. Most people here live an outdoor life, adventure is just around the corner (literally) and on a Saturday or Sunday you won't find the mall busy or even the shops downtown, but go out to a trail, alpine lake, or the river and you are bound to run into people enjoying some of the best stuff this planet has to offer. Durango helped me grow and change in a way I never thought possible. Even though I started out as a fish out of water and questioned my extreme choice, looking back I can honestly say, my experience, in the beautiful town of Durango, is one that has changed me for the better and one I will never forget.Yes, my time in Durango has come to an end, but in true Durango style my adventure is far from over. Durango has provided me with so many experiences and adventures that it is hard to really put into words. So many nights I laid in bed thinking about what I experienced and what I saw. I learned what the term "Backcountry" really meant and I discovered nature all over again. My biggest education came in the form of something I have always loved but was rarely able to witness in NJ, the night sky. Out here in the west, you get a truly new experience when walking outside at night. The universe above us is a truly magical place, stirring more questions than answers, but at the same time revealing an inner peace only to be found in the acceptance of the mysteries of life. At the same time I started exploring Durango and the universe above, I was enrolled in an online photography mentorship, The Arcanum, and with the help of the Arcanum I discovered night photography and haven't looked back since. On my first adventure into night photography, I headed up to one of my favorite ghost towns, Animas Forks and was fortunate enough to capture a shot that would be that starting point for my night photography addiction.The next few months were spent exploring Durango at night and photographing the wonders of our universe and my obsession started growing but the adventure was just beginning. So when I received the call a few weeks ago that I was laid off, so many things went through my mind. Again I was reevaluating my life and where I was at and what I truly wanted out of it. Taking my lessons from Durango and looking at what I wanted to do moving forward an idea was born and my new adventure would start to unfold within the confines of my mind. An adventure that while scarry, would also be rewarding and feed my new obsession. In July I will be starting a tour of the great US of A to start a project to photograph the Milky Way in all 48 continuous states. I am still in the early stages of planning and a little unsure of the possibilities of accomplishing this, but with my new adventurous ways I figured it was worth a shot.The main thing that I discovered out here in Durango is that life's adventures, come as they may, are the fiber that makes up our inner peace. For an artist these adventures not only make up so much of how I see the world, but how I convey that  to the viewers. I will have many more posts coming about my adventure and the thoughts revealed I hope you subscribe and follow along with me this summer as I take on this awesome adventure across my amazing country.Here is one to hold you over until then, one of the top 3 places in the country for the night sky is Moab, Utah, stay tuned to find out what the #1 place in America is for the night sky and while I'll be there during the years biggest meteor shower!