Benefits of getting Lost in the Woods

Night Photography Skills Post Update: Living in the cloudy Pacific Northwest often prevents visibility to the sky. Since last Thursdays post, there have been virtually no opportunities to do night time photography. So the post I had initially planned on will be coming as soon as the clouds and sky co-operate.

I have recently started using the hashtag #OptOutside more often when posting pictures to my Instagram and Twitter accounts. When I am thinking of things that I can be doing, opting for nature is generally the most appealing.

In 2015, REI launched #OptOutside. On Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, REI decided it was going to close their stores, pay their employees to get outside and invite everyone to join them. Since then, hundreds of companies and organizations have joined in, and every year since the number of people and companies participating has grown.

#OptOutside isn’t just about Black Friday. It is a mindset. It is about choosing life outdoors. And it has become a way for people to share who they are and what we believe in. - REI

I’m sure many people that are reading this have seen a great number of articles promoting and discussing the benefits of getting outside and into nature. Some of these benefits include:


Vitamin D: Sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D
Eye Health: Letting your eyes rest from your screens, and away from artificial light
Improved Sleep: Being outside will help recalibrate your sleep cycle.  
Fresh Air: Breathing the air of the forest is so much more satisfying than the musty, recirculated air of an office.
Exercise: It’s hard to get outside and not exercise. In my experience, I get more quality exercise when I am outside than in a gym.
Psychological Health: If you are feeling down, depressed, stressed, anxious, being outside has been proven to boost serotonin levels  in the brain. Getting out into the sun and nature will help you feel better.

When I notice that I am getting frustrated, or stressed, I know that I need to get outside. Many of life’s problems and challenges can be dealt with just by going to the woods. Time in nature gives me a break from the rest of the world, and allows me the time I need to work things out, or just let things go.

I know this is true for many people. The calmness and peace that the outdoors brings cannot be substituted. I hope that you were able to get out today, and reconnect with nature. If you didn’t, there is still time this weekend. Take some time to #OptOutside.

Check back next Thursday for: Getting Ready for an Overnight backing trip: What gear should I take?

Remember to Follow theDerickBlack on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates and photos!

4.15mm, 1/30 sec f/2.2, ISO 100, iPhone 6s

4.15mm, 1/30 sec f/2.2, ISO 100, iPhone 6s

Thursday Photo: Enjoy the Moment

I try to take a wide range of photos. Some subjects do get more attention than others. Trees, forest paths, and my dog are some of my favorites.

The photo that I am sharing today was taken at the Milo Mclver State Park, located near Portland, Oregon. It was a cool morning, with just a few patches of fog. We were enjoying a family walk around the campground when we started down this path. What I love about this particular path, besides the colors of the moss, trees, and how peaceful the area was, Is that it reminded me to enjoy the present moment. You don’t always know what you are going to find on the path ahead. By focusing on the present, you can at maximize the enjoyment of the scenery around you.