I recently went on an overlanding trip with my dad, traveling between MT, WY and CO. Like many of our trips, our focus was on photographing big game (wolves, bear, elk, moose, badgers, etc.) in the backcountry. Not only did I frequently find myself too close to even photograph animals with my camera but I also found myself putting my camera down more than I was piking it up. Don’t get me wrong, I am a diehard for the perfect picture. I have traveled to some extreme places to photograph animals and I have loved every minute of it. But recently I have made it a personal mission to promote personal wellness both for myself and those around me. My most recent focus being on “presence”. I interpret this to mean being in the moment, not the past, nor the future. I realized on this trip, that for the first time, I did not have to work at presence. As I sat watching a moose slowly meander towards us while munching away in a field near Rocky Mountain National Park I snapped a few pictures and then put my camera down. I felt connected to the moment. The sun was shining. I sat comfortably on a log. The grass looked so green. I could hear the moose walking through the muddy field. I felt the wind blowing. I was neither pondering my past or worrying about the future. I was just there, in that present time, experiencing a truly peaceful moment with a moose. During this time my dad turned and asked me if I was okay…I’m sure because I was not glued to my camera as I always was. I grinned and replied “yes, I’m just enjoying this moment”. I knew that as someone who had spent the latter part of his career helping medical providers seek personal wellness he understood that and no further explanation was needed. I found this type of interaction occurring more and more frequently on the trip. As I sit writing this on the plane I am setting an intention that I will carry this learned presence back with me as I re-enter what my dad and I refer to as “the real world”. I am definitely still a photographer and I will never stop shooting big game but every once in a while I think I’ll put the lens down and just be. If you have made it this far, I hope you will seek out moments like this where you are just present. It doesn’t have to be in the backcountry watching a moose; maybe it’s watching a bee pollinate flowers on your porch or sipping tea while reading a chapter from your favorite book. Life goes too fast. Tomorrow will come wether you worry about it or not so enjoy today while you have it. Namaste!