Ignition - Ron Lutz II ~ Photographer

Day 1 - Bandit at 9 O'Clock High!

A Hummingbird takes a dive at a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

On my first morning hiking I was slowly making my way across the small prairie section when I noticed all the little birds were gone. Slowly turning I found this guy sitting not more than 25' (~8 m). I aimed my camera for about 15 minutes at it when suddenly a hummingbird came swooping in!

Why Do This?

It's so easy to lay in bed late at night and think of all the wonderful ways you think you'll better yourself. Telling yourself that someday you'll be hiking in the park more, eating better, and really being an all around good dad and husband. Then the next day comes and there are so many "things that need done." No time to start anything new today. Eventually you get into a funk and don't know why.

Then one day you realize that the little awful demonstration of bad/rude/unpleasant behavior you just witnessed your little girl make was a mirror of your own actions. For me it was the catalyst that initiated a change. I didn't come up with a plan. I didn't have an epiphany. There was no "EUEKA!" moment. I simply realized all I needed to do was BE who I think I can be.

The first step was breaking out of my routine. On a sunny Saturday morning I took a long ride through the countryside, making my way to an event some friends were participating in. As I photographed them struggling their way through obstacle courses I realized I needed to set a challenging goal for myself. That goal is to run along side the track next year, keeping up with the Tough Mudders from my town. To do that, I'd need to get in shape.

The Trigger

Time for Action

When we first found the house we live in we'd talk about how wonderful it was that there was a large, natural park practically next to it. We day dreamed of how we'd all hike there a lot, getting exercise and enjoying the outdoors. After living here almost three years we've only occasionally gone for walks. Stewart Lake has miles of rugged trails, with a nice variety of different environments, and wildlife.

It's to be my training ground. Daily hikes carrying camera gear are to be part of my life, and not just something I'll do "someday." By combing my passion for photography, and my desire to be more than I am now, I hope to ignite a new stage for me to propel myself forward. Each day that I hike, moving a little faster between stopping to take photos, going a littler further along the trails, is one more rung on the ladder.

Every Day? Really?

OK, while I would love to hike every single day in the park, there are going to be days when I can't. Like when I photograph a wedding and need to be there, or when we travel. On wedding days I really bust my hump, so I guess that counts as exercise. I'm certainly using my photography skills those days. When we travel I'll just have to be sure to include a daily hike, and take photos, which what I usually do while traveling anyway.

Day 3 - Getting Close

In this image I spent a lot of time slowly moving towards a hummingbird I spotted in the tall grass. Moving slowly I got as close as I could. My lens was a 100mm macro lens, so not the best kit for this type of shoot. I'm including this here because getting so close was a test of patience and focus. So this photo is mainly just a reminder for me to take my time, not as a display photo.

Day 6

Day 7 - Hunting for Trolls

My wife and daughter joined me for a really nice two-hour hike today. As we approached the bridge towards the back of the valley I mentioned how there may be trolls under it.

Day 7

Day 7 - Exploring Her World

Freja catches a large grasshopper for the first time. Being that the weather was rather cool it didn't move very much, making it easier to be examined closely.

What Really Matters

While getting in shape and practicing photography are excellent endeavors unto themselves, the most important aspect to all this is how it relates to my family. By doing this I hope to feel better about who I am as a man. I want to be the best husband and father I can possibly be. In order to be these things I feel the need to refine myself, not pretend to be something I'm not, and to act on what I think I need to do. In doing this exercise of mind, body, and soul I hope to bring the three of us closer together. If my daughter is to emulate my behaviors, I want those behaviors to be positive ones of self enrichment.

Day 7 - Mourning the Bunny

We came upon a freshly killed rabbit. It looked like we must have disturbed a bird of prey, which then dropped it on the trail. It was still fresh, and in one piece. Freja became distraught over something so cute being killed. The nearby bench became the place where the kid had to come to terms with "the circle of life."

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