Updated: Apr 14, 2021
Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021
My #dream has always been to be a #travel #photographer. For me, my #happiness is #being on the road, #experiencing new #places, #connecting with #nature and #people, while capturing #colorful #moments with my #cameras during #sunrises, #sunsets, under the #stars and more. There have always been #challenges while #traveling on the road, but even more so since I got hurt at work and ended up being #disabled. Over the last 3 years going from #crutches, #wheelchairs (motorized & manual), rolling #walker, #cane…to being back on my feet for a little while, has shown me a #world that is not #accessible to everyone, but that hasn’t stopped me from following my #passion, my #purpose or living my dream!
This past week, I went on an #adventure from San Diego to #Utah, Arizona, Vegas and back. When I heard about a #park with #Petroglyphs right in the middle of a neighborhood in Utah, I added it to my things to do list while staying in St George. I wanted to not only see the petroglyphs, I wanted to find out how #accessible the park was. My mission with my new “How Accessible Is Accessible” #series is to #show the challenges I face as a disabled photographer when it comes to having #access to places like parks. I hope that bringing #awareness to these #issues will help bring #change for the better for disabled people like me!
Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021
Bloomington Petroglyph Park is a small 1/2 acre park that showcases large boulders with petroglyphs. When we arrived at the park, I was excited that I was able to see the boulders from the side of the road as we pulled up on the street to park the car, but at the same time I was disappointed to find there was no parking lot, no disabled #parking spots, and no paved #trail. We were lucky that we came early morning during the week that we were able to park on the street right in front of the entrance, because as we were leaving I noticed the park started getting crowded, and there was no more street parking spots available.
In this #video I discuss what I #discovered at the park: I carefully #walked the dirt trail around the boulders and found the ground to be uneven and rocky which would make it difficult (not impossible) to get a wheelchair, crutches or rolling walker, or cane around the rocks. If you do decide to venture in the park, make sure you have someone with you to help if needed, take your time and be very careful. I feel fortunate that I had my partner with me to assist me by carrying some of my #camera equipment and offering me a hand when needed. Thank you Randy!
As I mentioned you could pull up in your #car & see the boulders from the #road, but my frustration as a disabled photographer is that I want to be able to see things up close…I want to have the option to #photograph things from different #perspectives without worrying about tripping, falling, or getting hurt…I want more than experiencing parks from the side of the road & parking lots, basically, I want to have #equal #opportunities.
I had my two #Canon #cameras with me on Peak Design Straps, my Canon 6D Mark ii which had my #SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 DG Art Lens on it, and my Canon 80D with my Canon 70-300mm 1:4-5.6L IS USM Zoom lens, which comes in handy sometimes I can #zoom in to get the #photograph I want for the hard to reach #places that I don’t have access to.
Being disabled has not only changed my #perspective on #life, it has changed the way I approach my #photography. When it comes to not having access to places, the barriers put before me doesn’t stop me from taking #photographs, it challenges me in a different way. It challenges me to slow down, stop, #breathe, take in my #environment while being #mindful & seeing what colorful moments I can capture with my cameras from where I stand or sometimes sit, and It challenges me to share how I see the world from my unique point of #view.
It was really amazing to be able to see the carved #art on the rocks up close that share the stories of #ancient peoples. I hope that by sharing this video, someday this park will be made accessible for everyone to experience it up close. In the meantime, enjoy my video & photos.