Monday, December 31, 2012

The Illusion

On the road again. One of my favorite places to be and heading to a new location to photograph.   Adding a Winter portfolio with new locations, testing out the new camera and another year under my belt of experience. Most importantly, I wanted to see Zion and Bryce in a full-blown Winter.

Winding back roads of Southern Utah, snowy white carpets and quaint farm scenes, little towns, pickup trucks and the smell of fireplaces.  Christmas lights reflecting soft and muted in snowy lawns. Holiday wreaths adorning the street lamps. Warm diners and coffee.  This is part I love about landscape photography shooting.

Long stretches of highway. All conducive to some heavy pondering. What did I want to accomplish this year? After all was said and done, what or whom had the greatest influence on my photographic life.  This was a big year for me photographically.  New camera and filters, 3 lenses now, adding Adobe Lightroom. Traveling further and shooting new locations. Reading, studying, spending time with the Pro's. A productive year that I'm very happy with.

Fortunate to be fluid in riding the tide of social media, my photography gained some exposure this past year and became featured and recognized in some interesting places. I'll spare everyone the details but nonetheless some proud moments for me this year. 
All of which I'm extremely grateful for. 

Being catapulted into a faux limelight came with it offers of sponsorships, gallery space, prints, and workshop positions. All of which I declined. I recited the same story to each.  My goal has never changed, to pursue photographic excellence (defined by myself). In other words, I'll know it when I see it.  I'm not even close yet.  It's just a personal choice to devote my time to the art, not myself.  I'm a student of photography with a long way to go. 

It would be easy to believe in the illusion of the social media world. To buy into the hype and the larger than life portrait of oneself, but there is a price to pay when you choose to accept that world as reality.

Although it may have looked easy on the outside, this past year, I worked hard. I spent almost all of my free time (aside from a full-time surgical position) devoted to being a better photographer. 
Studying, watching, making mistakes, up in dark early hours, hiking for miles, unbearably cold, wet, muddy, tired, scared, bitten, hurt, emotionally drained trying to find my position in it all. This year, I walked the walk. 

 Social media: I understand it's power, it's an incredible tool, my photography would never have been "seen" by so many if not for social media. I will continue to document my travels and share my photography as I alway have via social media and other avenues.  I wouldn't have met some of the amazing people that I met in real life this year without it. My blog would not have an international following, if not for social media. Don't get me wrong, I owe a lot to the exposure and the people who have supported me through it all. 
 I'm humbled by it all, really. More accurately, perplexed by it. 

 Make no mistake, there is an illusion to it, 
an addicting, self-absorbing, 
competitive biting edge that to me often screams
 "the emperor has no clothes"

I'm not a page or a status, I'm a person. 
 My touch should not be labeled by the media scientists as an "engagement",  
It should have the warmth of a human hand.
How many times I'm "liked"
will never take the place of those I love, real life friendships and earthly interactions.
Give me the mud!

No regrets really this past year. I will venture into this New Year a bit ...differently.
I will choose to spend more time touching the planet, 
cherishing and cultivating the relationships and friendships 
of the people I love and admire.

A little less illusion