In our current world of uncertainty it can be easy for one to become stressed and live on the edge. So, the need to find ways to take care of oneself in all aspects of life becomes more important as the uncertainty grows around us. One of my favorite activities for connecting with God and others is through outdoor photography. Nature has many healing properties to it that can be easily passed by in the rush of getting things done. And a simple walk in the woods on a nearby trail can help to promote peace of mind and body. For me the key is often slowing down enough to find the beauty in the simple and small things that surround us every day.

For me outdoor photography is not about capturing the perfect picture. It is about taking the time to observe and seeing things in a different way than I may have missed before. There are many ways to enjoy nature and capture it from grand vistas to watching bugs display their beauty inside of a flower. I find that there are many benefits to outdoor photography that anyone can enjoy even if you don’t have a camera.

1. Taking the time to slow down: In our world of getting it done yesterday, I find that stepping back and taking deep breaths can renew one’s energy and bring a different focus. Doing this while out in nature helps me to see things that I would have easily missed if I just walked on by. Having a camera also helps me to slow down and see things from a more artistic perspective. Seeing and creating a good composition takes time to develop and slowing down is the first step in trying to capture the mood of the scene.

2. Outdoor photography helps to build new skills and improve the ones that I already have. The power of observation can be enhanced by simply watching the clouds roll by. Or by stopping and standing silently for 30 seconds and taking in the world around you. Take time to experience the smells. And the little things that are living life around you that can open up other parts of our world. Slowly turn your head and body in both directions several times. Take the time to observe what is above you. Bend down and take in the world from a ground-level perspective, or a knee-high level. If you have small children this is the world that they see. There is a whole world to discover and endless opportunities to connect with nature and those that are around you. If you have kids with you make a game of it. See who can find the most interesting things in 30 seconds. Seeing things through another’s eyes can help connect people. And taking pictures of what you find can build lasting memories. For me these unexpected moments can be some of the most memorable ones.

3. The health benefits of getting exercise are worth the time it takes to get to new places. For me wandering the neighborhood park or going to a new state park are worth the time. The endless places and the length of the trails don’t matter to me. For me simply being there is the prize. And being able to wander about the trails brings the health benefits and helps to renew my mind and body. It is also a great way to connect with others on the trail.

4. It gives the inner child a chance to explore: for me the quest to explore never seems to end. And the opportunities that nature offers is unending in the ways that you can explore them. The power of imagination and one’s ability to see things in different ways can be breathtaking and endless. And sharing a sunset with ten different people will give you ten unique experiences to enjoy. My kids have always loved to explore and one of the unwritten family rules was if dad did not get hurt trying something then the kids would often get to explore it too. And mom would be close behind taking the pictures of the adventure. It was always fun to give the camera to one of our girls and get their perspective on the world around us.

I invite you to come along and make your own adventures. The world of the foot traveler is vast and bringing others with you are just gifts you haven’t opened yet. Nature’s gifts are endless we only need to take the time to soak them in. The camera is not required; but it can help create lasting memories for generations to come. So come and “shoot the world with light,” as you experience life at a little slower pace.


The Trails in Devils Lake State Park

The path turned from the smooth pavement into the small rocky trail that edged its way along the rocky steps into the forest. The rocks grew in numbers as they greeted the tree roots in the middle of the path. The small awkward roots would roll in and around my feet like unwanted visitors that wanted to grab the front of my shoes. Their numbers only seemed to grow as we skirted up the tree-line and along the boulders that loomed over us on our climb up the trail.

The staircase at Devil’s Lake State Park

As the rocks slowly shifted beneath our feet; we found ourselves winding amidst the trees that stood like guards looking down upon us. The path lead us deeper into what went on into the treelines that surrounded us as we passed others spanning the cliffs for a place to traverse the edges and outcrops around us.

The rock climbers were out in force searching for the perfect place to traverse the cliffs. Some looked for the perfect place to hang from while others searched for a less challenging set of holes to grip on to. As I looked up I could only imagine what the view from the end of rope was like. We passed by several groups of climbers as we made our to some pretty cool outcrops that the average Joe could find. As I stood at the edge the vista opened up in an almost surreal way as I crept to the edge of the cliff.

Outcrop at Devils Lake State Park

As the day sank behind us in the woods, our calling card to escape the impending darkness became obvious. So we slowly made our way back to the trailhead. The final light of the day gave way to dusk and our adventure came to an end. But the adventures that one can come and enjoy at Devil’s Lake State Park are many. From day hikes to camping adventures complete with a store if you forgot your favorite equipment. To all the gear you need for fishing, hiking, and camping equipment to rent and buy. The only limitations are the ones that you bring. So pack your gear and enjoy one of Wisconsin’s best state parks in Bariboo, WI. To make reservations or plan a day trip check out the Wisconsin DNR site at And always remember to “shoot the world with light.”

About Me

Hi, I am Paul Paschke and I am a freelance writer and photographer from west central Wisconsin. I enjoy exploring God’s creation and sharing the journey with my family and friends. I look forward to sharing the large and small with those around me. The one of a kind moments and those things in life that are often overlooked by the masses. I will share stories of he places that I have been and the things that I found on the journey. I invite you to come along and enjoy the fullness of God’s glory that surrounds us. And the people that make the places unique. Come and see some of the places that I have been.