Day 9 & 10 / by Hannah Harley

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May 14 & 15 We left Grand Tetons a little later than expected, but we were still recovering from the excitement of the day before. We knew that the next day wouldn't be extremely interesting, seeing as we would be driving into Boise.

We got there 8 hours later, and quickly went to get Karen a new phone. She had shattered hers after she took a selfie with a bison, and unfortunately, the photo has been deleted. It would've been awesome, too. We ran one more errand; Karen has THE WORST luck.

We went to Big Jud's, a burger joint recommended to us by the man who sold Karen her new phone. It was delicious, but wow. There was so much food. We were so exhausted that we ate in silence, which has come to be our practice. It's not that we don't like each other.. We just have to re-energize before socializing.

We eagerly went to our hotel, which was so generously provided to us by Haley's father (we are so so so grateful). There were TWO bedrooms and a kitchen and a living room. And by some amazing miracle, there was Law & Order: SVU. I was happy.

I got some summer coursework done before I crashed for the night.

We began our departure at 7:30 am when I woke up Haley and Karen, who by some miracle, didn't hit me for waking them up. We grabbed some breakfast and hit the road. I drove the first 6 hours, a feat that I wouldn't have been able to do just a month ago, but I have been trained at this point.

We would be rolling into California, so I knew Karen was way excited to get there. True enough, as soon as we crossed the border into California, the car erupted in overjoyed hoorays.

HannahHarley -20150515-4603unedited
HannahHarley -20150515-4603unedited

I'll be honest with you, my dear reader. I am getting quite exhausted. I had an intense 21 credit semester this spring, not to mention that softball consumed so much of my time. I am proud of how well I was able to maintain both my mental stability and my grades, but the nature of this trip hasn't really given me the break I probably needed. I explained that if I don't do it now, when will I do it? ("If not now, then when?" is a favorite quote.) But I am still trying to recover from a crazy semester and on the road might not be the best place to do that.

The past two days have given me a wonderful respite from photography. I love photography; I love it. But I feel like I've been pursuing it without inspiration. It feels like a habit more than a passion. I think this just stems from exhaustion and fatigue more so than an actual decrease of my love of this medium.

Photography is one of my greatest passions, that's without a doubt. But like everything, it is best in moderation. I feel like I have to photograph each moment of this trip, and while this moment is fleeting and I've probably missed 20 spectacular photos in the course of writing this post, it is as important to remain balanced instead of allowing yourself to lose your passion.

I see Haley and Karen photograph and film with such endlless energy, and I find that I sometimes need more time and even need to not take photographs. There were many times in Yellowstone when I elected to not photograph. It's not that it wasn't beautiful, but sometimes, the camera gets in the way of the moment. Sometimes, that shutter ruins the scene.

It reminds me of when we were in the Badllands, catching the last rays of sunlight. We were all desparate to get it the shots, to get the only images of the Badlands that we would have. When a couple came to that spot, they heard our shutters snapping every two seconds. I watched them a little, and I noticed them look at each other, exchange a painful smile and leave. We were so busy capturing the moment that we forgot to live in it.

So maybe, going forward, I'll photograph less. But maybe, I'll get better pictures if I pause, breathe in the moment, and above all, rest up. As my dad said, "It's a big country."

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HannahHarley -20150515-4583edited

Two weeks remain in our journey.. Here we go!!