Community Involvement – Oklahoma Kayak and Tulsa’s Great Raft Race 2017

Recently I photographed a few community events (and I plan to catch even more this year). Why? Because there is a certain unfiltered element that captures life in a way no posed photo or selfie ever could. It shows raw grit. Vitality, joy and LIFE! Not only that you were present but that you LIVED! This is why I keep asking what community events are coming up. What local celebrations are not to be missed?

Sponsored by Jackson Kayak and Redbull

Rafa Ortiz leads an into to whitewater class at Oklahoma RiverSports with Oklahoma Kayak’s founder Dave Lindo.

This weekend I stopped by a Whitewater Class hosted by Oklahoma Kayak, Jackson Kayak, RedBull and held at RiverSports OKC. Rafa Ortiz was the guest instructor and is an all out Kayaking superstar. These types of classes are so fun. You get to watch people learning how to improve their skills. Everyone in the class is cheering for each little achievement (if you have never attempted your first eskimo roll you have no idea how big of a deal this is!) While the class worked on basic skills, I followed the more advanced group down the channel and photographed them in action.

Now this is what it looks like to feel Alive!

Quite possibly one of my favorite photos from the day was of Breeze. She was constantly trying and working on her skills you could practically watch the gears turning. Every time her paddle moved it was with clear intention. She was kind enough to send me this note:

“Girl thank you SO much for taking pictures! You are literally the only one who caught me in my boat on film this weekend. So thank you from the bottom of my waterlogged heart ”

My favorite photo from the day Breeze rocking her whitewater skills!

She has no idea how much this note meant to me. Something very like this is what gave me my big push into launching Beyond Ordinary Life Photography. In 2012 I trained hard that year with my eyes on completing my first 50K. I tackled Pumpkin Holler with a clear plan. I was excited that there was a photographer who would be there to photograph the race. My first 50K. I completed my race, received my medal, had a celebratory beer. I triumphed. Then I headed off to the showers. Once the photos came online I found one of me. It was taken after the race, after the shower while I was sitting in front of the campfire with a towel wrapped around my head.This was not what I wanted to hold up to the world as my proof that I was there. I did it. I accomplished my goal. Breeze’s note was a reminder that yes I started this business as a Portrait Studio, but I also did it as service to the community and the things I am passionate about (trail running, kayaking, and local community events). These things matter every bit as much as the family portrait. This is why it is important and vital that I share my photography with these community events I support! (Yes I pick and choose and no I cannot be everywhere and as I learned trying to photograph every trail race at a certain point you want to participate and not just document.) As Dave at Oklahoma Kayak reminded me

“next time we get you in a boat”

My thought is that my first attempt at white water will look much like this. Me being separated from my paddle.

I have decided to add to my services.. Now I am offering Adventure Portraits. Portraits for adults and families. Out in the elements – doing what you do. Up close – alive. Just like I would for my seniors. Only for Adults & Families. Let’s get out there and capture those memories of you LIVING!


My little perch during the Great Raft Race.

Labor Day I trekked with my gear to the banks of the Arkansas River to photograph the Great Raft Race – a revival of a fun event from Tulsa’s past. After a few attempts to access the water I was at last successful and set up with chair, tripod, cooler, and sunscreen to watch the rafter’s float by in their homemade watercrafts.

Next year (provided I am not rafting myself) I plan to change locations – where I set up the river was very wide. I would like to be closer to the fun, I’m already scouting new locations.

the Beverly Hillbillies

QT & Lowrance

Melton Trucking

Melton Trucking

To see all the details from these events visit our Facebook page, tag yourself and share away!

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