Tag Archives: inspiring stories

A Creek, a Family and a Gift to the Future

Rehabilitating a Degraded Salmon Run Gives a Family New Purpose and a Deeper Connection with the Land

Inspiring Photo Projects – Photographers Without Borders®

Photography Projects That Change The World

Photographers Without Borders® covers the stories of grassroots initiatives from photographer’s around the world  who contribute to sustainable development and conservation.  The mission of PWB is to inform and promote positive change in the world by visually communicating the ways that grassroots initiatives are addressing problems in each of their communities. PWB works with a variety of organizations and initiatives that demonstrate a significant impact in the areas of sustainable development and conservation. To read more about the worldwide movement go to: Photographers Without Borders®

Happy Anniversary To Me!


Today I celebrate a day like no other. It is not a celebration of a relationship or of a happy moment in life. It’s a celebration of the day my life changed forever. Six years ago today I almost lost my life. My children almost lost a mother, my brothers almost lost a sister, and my parents almost lost a daughter all because of a simple text message. I am physically as well as mentally changed forever because of it. However, I celebrate today because that accident, as bad as it was, also changed my perception, taught me amazing lessons, catapulted me back into school and into a new career that I am passionate about. Through all of the damage that occurred, all of the surgeries and thousands of hours in physical therapy I made a choice (and stuck with it) to not only make the best of the situation but to use it to succeed in my life and its working.

Six years ago today I almost lost my life in a car accident due to another individual texting while driving and I will never be the same again but that is okay…. In fact, it’s fantastic. I am not angry with her for her bad choices. In all honesty, I  believe that if it was not for that accident I would have never learned about myself, my family, my friends, my full strengths and my passions. So, in a way I am thankful for her choice.


I have written about my story before and I don’t share it for pity, I share it to inspire others. I share my story because there are so many negative things that happen in life and it is easy to fall into a rut because of it. I share my story because it is easy to give up on yourself without support.  I share my story because it  was (and still is) one of the scariest (but yet rewarding) things I have ever endured. I share my story because none of us will ever walk through life without change…you can’t fight it, it is inevitable. Some of the things we encounter will be beautiful while others will be traumatic but I am here to say that the trauma does not last. Trauma can be used to create something beautiful, trauma can teach you to truly appreciate the beautiful things, the hearts of others, and it is what makes moments in life priceless.

If it were not for my car accident I’m 99% positive that I would not be on my journey to becoming a world-renowned landscape and nature photographer. I am just as positive that I would not own an art gallery that is about to take on other artists in several fields. I truly believe I would never have seen the courage and strength in myself nor would I ever had invested in myself on so many levels.  Granted, I am nowhere close to being done but I have come a long way and I am proud of the choices I have made over the past six years. And for the scars I have on my body and the remaining damage to my spine, I am becoming proud of them too…they are proof that wounds heal and challenges can be overcome.


To read the full story of my journey please visit: In the Beginning: How My Photographic Journey Began and please visit the gallery at: Pi Photography And Fine Art.

Inspiring Photo Projects – Documentary work by Mark Leong

Hong Kong Under China

This video is part of a series of interviews with photographers featured in Moving Walls 21. Moving Walls is an annual exhibit produced by the Open Society Documentary Photography Project exploring a variety of social justice and human rights issues. To read more about this project please visit Open Society Foundation.

My First Classes – How My Photographic Journey Began Part 4

School was a great stepping stone for me. I was extremely gun-ho about learning everything I could about photography which was a blessing and a curse because there is so much to photography. When I first started exploring photography as a whole, I did not understand why anyone would stick to one field of photography. I didn’t understand the business side of photography and I did not understand the technical side of photography; I didn’t even know what Photoshop was until I was enrolled in school. All I knew at the time was that I really liked taking pictures and I had formed an extremely overactive imagination once I started reading about photography.


Fourteen years out of school really takes a toll on your abilities. When I was in grade school through High school I excelled in mathematics and struggled in English/literature. If you gave me numbers, shapes, and algebraic equations or anything that had to be solved I could figure it out quickly, but poetry, writing, and spelling bored me to tears. So when I took my placement tests for college I was stunned at my grades, I completely failed math but I did fairly well with the English test. So, my first few classes of school were to get my abilities back up to par. Honestly, those two subjects were two out of three of the hardest classes I had to take in college; the absolute worst class was public speaking…everything was a video presentation. I apparently have just as big of a phobia when speaking to an empty room and a video camera as I do with being the center of attention…I know I’m a complicated woman ;). Once those preliminary classes were done it was pretty much educational gorging of photographic information.

School presented me with the opportunity to try different fields of photography without damaging something…such as someone’s wedding day by taking on a job that I wouldn’t be qualified for. We had classes on lighting, Portraiture, Editorial photography, Photojournalism, Advertising photography, and so on to help give us a taste of each field and show us the expectation of the clientele. There were other classes that where more technical classes such as color theory, printing, and electronic design that helped with the editing and printing of our work with less error than going about it alone with trial and error. Branding, marketing, communication and other business course were designed to help us define our vision of our businesses and get our work seen.

I’ve heard a lot of people shun the idea of going to college for a creative field, for me I think it helped me lay the foundation for a solid business and it helped me understand the technical side of photography. However, the creative side is still all mine to explore; because of school I now have better tools and a better understanding of the technical side of photography to do it with.

It is now 2014, I received my associate’s degree in Digital Photography in October of 2013 and I plan to go back to finish the last 6 classes for my Bachelor’s degree within the next two years. My children and I have survived the dramas of the car accident and I have about 70% of my feeling and physical abilities back in the lower half of my body. I still have daily pain that will never go away and unfortunately it fluctuates continuously. But with daily exercise and stretching I no longer need heavy-duty pain killers to make it through my day. Because of the fluctuation I have narrowed down my fields of photography to Nature and Landscape. This allows me to shoot when I feel I can physically handle it without having someone schedule in jeopardy like scheduling someone for a portraits shoot or a wedding. I still do them occasionally but it is extremely rare. And I know I will never be able to climb the tallest mountain in the world to capture a photograph from the top…but that doesn’t mean I cannot get my butt into a helicopter. My choice in Nature and Landscape photograph also allows me the opportunity to shoot for publication and art. Not to mention, I will never run out of subject matter to learn about and to photograph with nature and landscape photography.

To date, my business is getting a fair amount of exposure and I have been published 15 times so far. I am still an amateur photographer and I still have a lot to learn but I can honestly say that I am on my way to pro…eventually world renowned.