Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bridge Bay Marina, Yellowstone National Park

The tall pines made a tunnel lit only by the yellow light on our headlights below us, and the ribbon of dark blue sky above. Hubby was driving the kids and I back from watching the sunset at Grant when we passed over the bridge. To our left the forest parted, and at first it looked as if fairy lights were floating in a sea of midnight blue.

Just like that, Bridge Bay became one of my favorite places to photograph in Yellowstone National Park. It just took a perspective shift. I tend to lean toward nothing but landscapes (or nothing but wildlife) when we visit YNP. Campsites don't often catch my eye. But the people-y places in Yellowstone can be just as lovely. Here's my favorite shot:

Bridge Bay Sunset

My family and I came back the next evening at sunset to capture this shot. But even in daytime the Marina had a peaceful quality to it:

This was a daytime long exposure with B + W 10-stop filter...I could have spent all day playing with this set-up as conditions changed. I don't usually have the opportunity to use it.
The vibe was different at night:
Still fun to photograph. I'd love to try it a little earlier in the evening when more blue is visible in the sky and water. I'll definitely be back!
Have you stayed at Bridge Bay? Let me know what you discovered there!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Next Montana Weekend Novella

It was my husband’s idea. “How about fishing?” he said one night.

(How about fishing is pretty much his answer to everything. “What should we do this weekend, since it’s -30 degrees outside?” I could ask. He’d say, “How about fishing?”)

“She could meet a fishing guide,” he explained. “No, she could be a fishing guide!”

“It’s supposed to be romantic,” I scowled.

I’m in the minority, being a non-fly-fishing woman in Montana. When I’m near a river I hunt with a camera, not a rod. I’m not saying fishing can’t be romantic. But the problem with writing a romance about fishing is this: the real romance is between the fisherman and the fish. All those things that help create togetherness, including thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and glorious serendipity, happen between them.

But something about the idea started worming its way into my mind. “Boats,” he encouraged. “What could be more romantic than hanging out together on a boat?”

Hanging out together on a boat while not fishing, I thought. And they wear waders all day! Please. Then he did his big sales pitch:

“The Bighorn River has world class fishing. World class, right here in Montana. There are nice lodges where they could stay, too.” Hmm. I’m all for Montana lodges. “And HUGE fish.” Okay, whatever. (Feel free to add your pro-fish hate mail to the comments below!)

I started looking into it. There are reasons why this river is amazing. There are reasons why trout love it like no other. And the river never freezes in the winter, did you know that? And the bugs! You have to know which ones, when, and at what stage in their life cycle. It’s interesting. Really!

And there’s an epic, friendship making or breaking debate between Wet and Dry Fly fishermen.

As with so many things, the more I researched the more I loved what I was studying. I found a Montana custom boat maker with the most beautiful boats I have ever seen. I learned the history of the MacKenzie, how to get certified as a Montana outfitter, and how to tie a scud.

That’s right, I’ve been watching fly-tying videos on YouTube. What can I say, I like shiny things. In fact, maybe I’ll actually try out the fly-tying kit my husband gave me a few years back.

Wait a minute. Do you think he—do you think it was all a ruse to get me to—naw. Couldn’t be.

The next Montana Weekend Novella will be published in March. If you’d like to know when Cynthia Bruner's books are available, sign up for the newsletter on the Montana Romance blog or at the Montana Inspired Arts ( website.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Inspirational Words for the Entrepreneurial Woman

Scarlet, strong, and laughs. For many years my “word of the year” has come from Proverbs 31. There’s nothing like that scripture to make me feel inspired, or rebuked!

But this year's a little different. I need a whole sentence, and it’s one I'm seeing in a new way.

My words for 2015

When we started my husband’s veterinary clinic years ago I discovered that entrepreneurs have a distinct set of traits (including unabashed optimism) I don’t possess. He was the go-getter, I was the what’s-the-cost person. The whole process was, and remains, an immense, shape-shifting monster that does not leave as much time to help critters as he hoped it would.

Life changed, God nudged, kids grew, and last year a small gap of free time grew in my work week.

As always, my free time was spent on writing and photography.

I began asking questions. Did I want to follow the rules of a company that may not put my family's schedule first? Was I willing to sign away my rights, especially electronic rights, in a digital age? As it turns out, I'm not. I began to consider starting my own business. I had found a monster of my own.

She considers a field. The double meaning of field, as in field of grain or field of employment, stirs something in me. The Proverbs 31 woman has a vision, and she considers it. She studies and wonders, will this take too much time from my family? Is this what God wants me to pursue?

And buys it. There is a cost in time, stress, focus, and money to create a new career. Am I willing to pay that cost? How do I protect my family from that cost? Out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. For a time, whatever she gains from that field must be sown back into it.

If she’s asked those questions and she’s still willing to move forward, she’s not after quick gain.

And it's a vineyard. It may not thrive. The final outcome is up to God. The Proverbs 31 woman makes smart decisions, but there is no guarantee that this field, the one she chose, will bear fruit for her.

The Proverbs 31 woman is not out to "flip" the field  because she’s planning something useful and beautiful. She’s all about bringing lasting blessings to the people around her.

My goal this year is to build work that blesses my family, blesses my clients, and brings glory to God. That includes the fun and less than fun parts. It’s about the long run, the planning, the pruning, and the desire to share the fruits of that work.

2015: She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. Pr 31:16 (NIV)

What are your word(s) for 2015?