Doing volunteer work through photography is something I am quite familiar with. I find it a perfect combination of doing what I love, and utilizing my skill to help non-profit organizations promote their cause. It had been years since I've done this type of volunteer work when I decided to reach out to High Fives Foundation and Achieve Tahoe to see if they had a need for professional quality photographs. Both agreed to let me tag along to a couple of scheduled events. I first found myself shooting sled hockey at Reno Ice in Reno, Nevada. This co-ed, all age introductory event was truly a pleasure. To see everyone from children to parents learning and participating in a new and invigorating sport was both inspiration and heartwarming. You could see how happy everyone was to be engaging in the activity...even through their masks. I was so fired up after shooting this day that I immediately took an opportunity to shoot the following weekend at Alpine Meadows ski resort. On this day, adaptive athletes engaged in snow sports. Once again all ages, I witnessed first time skiers and super experienced shredders. It happened to be a gnarly storm day and an extremely difficult shoot, but the athletes couldn't have been happier. It's inspiring to not only shoot something new, but to shoot something meaningful. There is nothing more meaningful to me than the display of human spirit I witnessed those days. Overcoming obstacles and having fun doing it. I think when you push yourself physically, mentally, or emotionally, you come out of the experience stronger and feeling more alive. Witnessing people doing this has a similar effect. Witnessing a man with one arm and no legs tearing up the mountain on a snowboard made me want to do nothing but get out there with him and push myself past my personal limits. When you need inspiration begin to seek it. Sometimes it may come to you, but more times than not you will need to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. This not only applies to photography but to life. You as a human being are capable of much greater things than the world sometimes lets you believe. All you have to do is try.
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