How to capture the experience of a lifetime in a single 20 second exposure photograph

There was no shortage of documentation during my trip to the Havasu Falls area with Columbia Sportswear and the OmniTen team. We shot heaps of footage with our GoPros, tweeted any time we had cell service, blogged during any downtime, and took thousands of photos with our respective cameras.

But nothing compares to this:

Photo by: Will Rochfort
http://WMRjr.com

I get goosebumps just looking at this beautiful snapshot – it perfectly captures the essence of our trip, the teamwork employed during our collective adventure, the eager spirit I encountered in every single person I traveled through Arizona with, and the beautiful family that is the OmniTen crew.

This photo was captured by the wonderful Will Rochfort during a late evening hike down to Havasu Falls from our campsite. It took us eight takes to get the shot just right, and the light sources were all headlamps – which felt appropriate, if you ask me. We got a little wet and dirty in the process, but that seems to have been the theme of our Havasu adventure.

We began the journey to Arizona with Columbia Sportswear as a group of total strangers. I only knew my nine OmniTen counterparts by the faces I had inspected on their various social media profiles. We had exchanged plentiful tweets, and a Facebook page was created to foster interactivity – but I didn’t know these people. It was mildly terrifying to board the airplane heading towards the Phoenix airport, knowing that I wouldn’t be greeted by a single familiar face.

And yet, now I can’t imagine my life without these people. We are a funky bunch – a vegan triathlete from Ohio, a handsome face who loves showtunes, a peak-bagging wonder from San Jose, a climbing couple with an unassuming charm; we’re weird. I would have never grouped us together, and yet, we were somehow bound through our OmniTen connection – and it worked.

By the end of our trip, we all shed tears at the thought of departing from each other’s company. There are some bonds so unique that one simply can’t bear the thought of letting them go. How many people do you hike 10 miles out of the Grand Canyon with, urging each other onward, and sharing a hidden nook for potty purposes? I don’t know about you, but taking a poop in the middle of the desert in front of someone you’ve only known for five days seems like a pretty big sign of true friendship. (You know who you are, and I’d gladly pop a squat with you any time!)

To my OmniTen friends, you light up my life. Thank you for the most humbling, inspiring, uplifting, and downright HOT adventure. We will meet again, and now we’ve got a challenge to make the next adventure even more memorable than the first. I love you all.

Comments

  1. says

    Yeah, that’s an awesome photo…just on a totally different level than I’m afraid my photography skills will ever be. Great to enjoy an awesome trip and have someone with talent and creativity be able to highlight it like that!

    • says

      Seriously! Will definitely inspired me to step up my photography game. Would you believe that he’s entirely self-taught? He just loves to read photography books, and has transformed himself into a sharpshooting camera whiz.

  2. says

    Great idea and execution. I’m glad you came out with a photo that means so much to you… so much better than the “perfect postcard” photos of a beautiful landscape (though there’s nothing wrong with that).

    Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Thanks for the kind words, Bill. You know, I actually had bought a postcard on our way back to Phoenix, but left it in the bus. I had a brief moment of “oh no!” but quickly realized that all my photos were way more memorable than a silly postcard.

  3. says

    Awesome, Katie. So very well written! I love the different perspectives we all get from this trip. Looking forward to everyone’s write ups, but it’s so true about being outdoors with strangers… you leave as great friends!

  4. says

    I can relate to your post! (though fortunately I didn’t have to squat when I hiked out of Havasupai tribal lands). I’ve been fortunate enough to meet 3 of the Omniten crew in person under various circumstances so I can back you up that they are a good group and I’m crazy jealous of your trip! :)

    • says

      Seriously, what a phenomenal group of people. We really just need to orchestrate a giant tweet-up of all my favorite social media folks – what a blast that would be!

Trackbacks

  1. […] We met in Phoenix, Arizona for a press trip as complete strangers, and by the time we left Havasu Falls five days later, we all cried upon departure. During our Arizona adventure together, we were spoiled in Sedona with prickly pear margaritas and vortex yoga on Bell Rock, spent three days exploring the Grand Canyon and jumping from the waterfalls around Havasupai, and grew into an unforgettable little family. I can’t thank Columbia Sportswear enough for blessing me with the Omniten opportunity – it truly changed my life forever. […]

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