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    A confession…and inspiration!

    Barn sunset

    I’ve been inspired quite a bit lately, and I’ll tell you by what in just a bit.

    But first, do you want to know a silly secret? I am not outdoorsy. I’ve lived in Idaho Falls since 2003, and I’ve never really gotten out and explored Idaho the way I should. I’ve never spent time at Palisades Lake, or in Island Park, except for quickly passing through in the car, me and my kids’ noses pressed to the glass on our way to Jackson. Between my family and being a Realtor I haven’t even found time to soak in the hot springs in Lava, though I’ve wanted to for years. Just never prioritized it. Even though I haven’t done these things, I have felt a little consistent feeling, at the back of my heart. You know the kind, right? During your daily grind, you can’t put your finger on what the discomfort is exactly, but if you focus on what the source of that pining is, you discover that you’ve been doing something wrong all along, and you know it intuitively.



    Ririe burning

    Sometimes when I’m driving along, the beauty of the scenery in front of me is so breathtaking that it hurts to not stop the car and drink it in, and yet I have somewhere to be, and so I can’t. I’ll see wildflowers or fall leaves or beautiful rock formations from 2 miles away and think, I want to put my feet on those, not see them speeding by at 80 mph. I have discovered that I’m not outdoorsy in action, but my heart, gosh darn it, is YEARNING to get out there and get my inner woodsman (woodswoman?) on.  My heart is panging to BE in the beauty, to experience it with my 5 senses, and to pass on these awesome experiences and the awe of nature to my loved ones.

    So, what’s inspiring me? What could make the change for me? The source of my inspiration has been my recent discovery of a local photographer, Josh Packer and his amazing ability to capture insane amounts of beauty by just being present in nature and patiently waiting for the shot. What’s even better is that he is generous with his gift. On many of his photos, he labels them “Please feel free to share”. And share them I have. My wallpaper on my phone is a shot of the starry sky from a boat dock in Island Park. Yesterday, I sent a collection of his images to a fellow who’s relocating to Idaho from California, a client who’s into hunting and fishing the way I am into driving, apparently L.


    Conant Valley

    Josh’s shots have inspired me twice this week to pull over, get out of my busy little real estate life for a minute, stand in the moment and drink it in, then raise my camera and try my darndest to capture the essence of what I’m seeing. Today, my daughter Sophie and I were coming home from a birthday party in driving rain. Suddenly, the rain stopped and the sun burst out gloriously from behind the thick iron gray curtain of clouds. I told my 8 year old, “There’s got to be a rainbow around here somewhere with that much rain and that much sun!” She looked around and excitedly spotted behind us the most amazing, bright, horizon to horizon rainbow riding on a dense blue/gray background of clouds. It was definitely time to stop the car. We pulled into a school parking lot and ran out to the field to get the obstructions out of the way while I prepped my camera. By the time we got out into the middle of the field, it had all but disappeared.  See? Fleeting…

    Josh somehow has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. I’d say he discovers nature and experiences it with 6 senses, actually. Intuition must play a part. He has a gift for sure. I am indebted to him for the zeal with which he stakes out and haunts a new spot, wading through deep water, or freezing in the moonlight, connecting with nature and just waiting for that shot. It makes me want to be present in my environment with that same zeal. Are you inspired by his work too? Where should I start my outdoor exploration adventure?


    Enjoy some of his photographs right here. And a couple of my brand-new-nature-lover photos as well. Find more of his work at . You can order his prints at sunset









    Carissa Sanders


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