Aspiring yogis, Lululemon yoga moms, and a transient hippie subculture caught somewhere between the last Dead Tour and the next Burning Man all mingle in a four-day celebration of, well, whatever you want it to be at Wanderlust, a four-city yoga festival that hit Stratton Mountain, Vermont; Copper Mountain, Colorado; Squaw Valley, California; and Whistler, British Columbia this weekend. Here in lies the beauty of the concept, for some the time spent there is a way to tap into something larger than themselves, finding freedom in the massive yoga sessions that are delivered with incredible passion and enthusiasm, while for others it’s a full-blown party all night, sleep all day affair.
I attended the Squaw Valley festival with one goal: to create images that capture the beauty of yoga in an incredible setting. Having never been to Squaw Valley and having not met any of the talent I’d be working with, I was pretty nervous about the sunrise shoot scheduled for the first morning of the festival. In fact, I made sure to arrive a day early so that I could scout at least one sunrise in hopes of finding a few viable options.
As I turned off of 89 toward Squaw Village for the first time, the road snaking its way along a golf course in a massive meadow, what I saw was both stunning and frustrating. The meadow was filled with a gorgeous and mystical ground fog that seemed to dance on thermals as the rising sun warmed it, swirling randomly from side to side in a hypnotic dance. I crossed my fingers that it was a daily occurrence and not the lingering moisture from the previous days rain.
As luck would have it the fog was not only there the first morning of the festival when I shot with Ashley Turner, but it stuck around for a glowing sunrise on the last day as well shooting with Shakti Sunfire. Somehow I was able to convince both of them that trekking a few hundred yards out into the knee-high, dew-soaked, ice frosted grass to stand around barefoot for an hour was worthwhile.
What followed were two shoots that were nothing short of magical. It’s rare that you see a scene that is so heavily dependant on Mother Nature’s cooperation and get to go back day after day to continue the exploration of the concept. I trusted in the fog, Ashley and Shakti found a way to trust in my vision, and together we were able to produce something beautiful.
That’s really the Wanderlust experience, what you get from it will be directly related to what you are willing to put into it.