1. The newest image from my Icelandic red dress series.  The waterfall is the most magnificent Dynjandi, which we (Rob, Whitney and I) spent all night driving on slippery gravel roads up and down mountain cliff-sides as we navigated through the West Fjords to get to, by 3:00am (only 5 hours later than we anticipated).  Later that morning, after a much needed sleep, I climbed ahead of the others to get to the very base of the falls and take this photo.  The temperature was near freezing, but somehow walking across the patches of snow and through a shallow stream in my dress and bare feet was not as torturous as I had anticipated.  Feeling the rush of both adrenaline and the cascading water, and looking down at the beautiful landscape and ocean view below the waterfall, filled me with so much joy.  When I take these photos, I try to engage in each moment as fully as possible.  I stood here and I breathed in and out.  I felt the wind pushing me from behind, stinging my arms with the glacial water mist.  I felt the damp ends of my billowing dress as it repeatedly beat against my legs.  I breathed in and I breathed out.  I felt the icy cold of the stones as it seeped up through the soles of my feet, further numbing my legs.  I felt my heart pounding along with the roaring water all around me.  I breathed in and I breathed out.  Suddenly, right after this photo was taken, the sun came over the edge of the mountain and I felt immediate rays of warmth competing with the icy wind and water on my skin.  I soon, and rather gladly, gave in to the sunshine and followed its warmth away from the falls and back to my socks and boots.  I layered up and sat in the sun and let the numbness ease away.  I breathed in and I breathed out.  I thought again, how beautiful it is to exist. 

    (Source: Flickr / elizabethgadd)

     
  2.  
  3. Self-portrait during sunset on the night I spent on top of the Golden Ears mountains in BC, Canada.

     
  4. Woke up to this sunrise today, about 5000 feet above the world.  I could get used to this.

     
  5. Campin’ with my favourite adventure partner. :)

     
  6. "Amity"
    Latest self-portrait from Iceland.  I miss my horse friends.

    (Source: Flickr / elizabethgadd)

     
  7. "Graceful Divergence"

    You’ve probably noticed by now the red dress in all my latest photos from Iceland…  A couple reasons for that: A. I had very little room in my travelling suitcase for extra outfits, especially considering I had to save suit-case space for transporting chocolate (yes, that was my most vital necessity for the trip), and B.  When I was thinking ahead about creating an Icelandic self-portrait series, I wanted something that would depict “standing out”.  Not just a bright colour to stand out against the Icelandic backdrops, but more something of a reflection of my thoughts as of late.

    Over the last couple years I have been blessed with several new people in my life, engaging with them and learning of their own thoughts and struggles and triumphs.  I’ve been noticing friends who wish to blend in less and stand out more in this world, in a beautiful and positive way.  And then friends who already stand out but want more than anything to blend in, to be normal.  And It’s got me thinking of my own journey, of my last couple years of my attempting to step out of my comfort zone: Not worrying so much about my ultra social-awkwardness, taking courage in letting myself be seen even in that awkwardness, and trying to live more whole-heartedly.  I usually stay on the sidelines and try not to fully engage with other people’s lives.  I like to blend in and try not to be seen.  I often picture myself getting a little cabin in the mountains far from civilization and being a hermit for the rest of my life with just the company of my pets (which, let’s be honest… I still plan to do that someday).  But even so, people still notice.  People see me as I go about living my life.  And I’ve spent too much time worrying what people think of me, my awkwardness and my quirks and my keeping to myself.  But this has been something I’m learning to let go of, the fears of what people think.  Whether I’m trying to blend in, or make myself known, I’m learning to accept myself as someone who doesn’t need to worry, and learning not to be afraid to be different.  Often all I want is to be silent, to imitate my surroundings, try to blend in, and curl up and forget everything but to exist only as a simple extension of humanity and nature. 

    But this year, to me, is about learning to take courage and not worry as I take each step on the path ahead of me .  And If we’re going to stand out, we might as well try our best to do so in a beautiful way.  

    (Source: Flickr / elizabethgadd)

     
  8. "Walk Onward".

    Latest from Iceland. :)

    (Source: Flickr / elizabethgadd)

     
  9. I pretty much wanted to adopt every single Icelandic horse we saw on our journey around the country.

    Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I’d be better off if the horses adopted me instead.  Yes, I don’t think I’d mind wandering the epic landscapes with a herd of majestic horses for the rest of my life.  It’s settled then, I’m going back. :)

    (Source: Flickr / elizabethgadd)

     
  10. Latest photo from Iceland. :)

    (Source: Flickr / elizabethgadd)