I was intrigued by cameras long before I knew how to properly use one. My sisters and I laugh remembering a time I was wandering at a snail’s pace down our driveway with my eye glued to the viewfinder of a 35mm I was fiddling with for the first time. At some point as I moved along watching the light meter, a revelation struck me and I mumbled half to myself, “…so the darker it is…the less LIGHT!” They burst out laughing. Lost in my own world, I didn’t realize what was so funny until they repeated what I had said.

I learned how to process film and develop photos in my high school darkroom, and I continued that exercise in college alongside my studies (art history, Spanish and computer science). Then a pivotal day came years later in 2008 when I visited a favorite trail in Berlin, Massachusetts. Entering the woods, I was surprised to see mushrooms everywhere. It had just rained and a great many of them had recently pushed up through the leaf litter, glistening in all different shapes, textures and colors. They were poking out from every shady nook, every mossy tussock and every little hole in rotting logs. Amazed and excited by the sheer abundance, I started taking pictures of all that I saw. My favorite discovery that day was a minisicule, white parasol mushroom that I later learned was a Marasmius species. Its half-translucent cap seemed to glow like a tiny beacon from out of a dark quilt of matted oak leaves at my feet. I got down on the ground for a closer look, and managed to capture something of its essence. That photo will always be special to me. I guess I saw a little of myself in that mushroom.

The beautiful images I took home from that walk ignited a fresh passion for photography – and for nature. I had discovered how to preserve the magic I find out there and take a little bit home with me. Walking in the woods, or anywhere outdoors, has always been one of my favorite pastimes. Communing with nature is my way to relax and reset. Since that day, my camera always comes with me, allowing me to save a memento or two from every adventure.