IT WAS one of those days you hope never ends. One whose details you do your best to commit to memory: hiking the Lost Valley trail with friends from college, swimming in the Buffalo River at Steel Creek, watching the sunset from Hawksbill Crag. But for Fayetteville-based photographer Taylor Piva, it was more than just a lovely day outdoors. It was a sign.

The previous couple of years had been a period of drastic change. She’d left her native Kansas after graduating from college, moved to Missouri and eventually Arkansas for work. But she’d just made one of the boldest decisions of her life: She’d quit her full-time job to pursue her passion for photography. And that day, looking out over the canopy of the Ozark National Forest, the realization that she was about to start a new adventure, a new chapter in her life, fell upon her like a warm blanket. That view was all the affirmation she needed.

Taylor and her friends cooked dinner over the open flames that night before bedding down in sleeping bags under the stars without even a tent above their heads. And as she closed her eyes to sleep, she did so with the knowledge that, in that moment, she was exactly where she was supposed to be.