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Wanderlust and Found

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Ashley Turner in the morning mist; Photograph by Chad Spector

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.

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Festival attendees; Photograph by Chad Spector

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.

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Shakti Sunfire in an orange glow; Photograph by Chad Spector

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.

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Ashley Turner stretches through a pose; Photograph by Chad Spector

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.

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Shakti Sunfire marks the sacred hoop dance; Photograph by Chad Spector

That’s really the Wanderlust experience, what you get from it will be directly related to what you are willing to put into it.