Every year around this time families get together and give thanks for all of the things, opportunities, and each other that they have. Usually it’s by breaking bread and or Turkey of some sort along with lots of other various kinds of either healthier or junkier food options depending. Tradition varies from family to family obviously but the punchline is the same as generally folks eat too much, sometimes drink too much, and in a few cases spend more time in the car than enjoying the day. I was always one of those kids as every holiday was spent with a minimum of 2 hours in the car to family A, with a hour in the car between families, with 3 hours home after it was all said and done making for somewhere along the lines of 6 hours in the car on thanksgiving day for me and my sister. Made for a long day for my mom and dad, dealing with my sister and I along with both sides of the family. Now that I am on my own, I recognize that my sister and I chanting “are we there yet” in the car didn’t make the trip go any quicker for anybody. In fact, my 87 year old grandmother must hvae asked me this question 87 times on the way to thanksgiving this year and it made me realize not only how much terribly slower it goes, but how much of saints my parents were for not just leaving us someplace on the side of the road.
A long time has passed since those days and I now recognize what this holiday is truly about. Not in the literal, we are here in this land and stealing it from the Native American’s kind of way; but the sense of being thankful for what you have in your life whether it’s large or small. Everyone in life is dealt a hand of cards and sometimes those cards are good, and sometimes the are not not. The cards themselves are not important, but how you play them is what matters. The fact that one person owns a Corvette, and you own a Kia doesn’t really impact how your life is. It is what YOU make it. There are always things to be thankful for regardless of what they are, or how large or small they might seem. One persons crumb is another persons cake of sorts; and I feel that as a photographer I’ve been been blessed and exceptionally thankful to have been on both sides of that equation. I’ve had some jobs that mean the world to me which mean absolutely nothing to others while there has been the vice versa as well where I have done jobs that have been small to me, that others would have harmed small animals to have been doing for less than I was making. It’s funny how life and the world works.
This has been my first year as a full time freelance photographer and I am incredibly thankful that my love, my rock and my everything; Shannon. She has stood with me for this and everything else life has thrown at us. I could not do what I do without her, and I am not sure things like breathing would be possible. I’m so thankful that she has stood by me, and supported me in this venture, and I’m not close to giving up yet. I was put to the ultimate test earlier this year Shannon as was unemployed for a few months. I am exceptionally thankful for the things that photography has given me, and my family because the lights stayed on, the bills stayed paid, and the 400F2.8 stayed in the cabinet. We were fine. I have no way of saying how much it means to me, and trust me; I have tried. It’s been a tumultuous road for the past year, there is no denying it. In fact, 2014 has been a very difficult year to be flat out honest. For Shannon and I it has been a year that’s all recovery and no getting ahead. Things like my office taking on water last winter, or each of our cars having needed major repairs in the last year. Or not the discovery that the two Drobo’s that I use to house my life’s work are at their end of life cycle meaning that Drobo will no longer support or repair them if there is a problem. (More on this at a later date). It’s just one thing after another, and you know what? We’ve made it. I’m not saying that I don’t greatly look forward to 2015 starting to get out of 2014, but at the same time life has moved forward, and we have survived all while I am working on this great experiment called Freelance Photography.
I am thankful that my hair brained ideas haven’t scared off any clients too. Getting someone to stand up on a ladder, so you can stand up on a ladder to shoot a photo of them with a specific background and such. Showing people results on the back of the camera can be a powerful motivator. If you get them excited you’d be shocked as to what you can convince people to do in order to make a great photo. I am thankful that I have had lots of folks recommend me over the last year either because they like my work, or because I have done good work for them. It’s been very humbling. The thanks can really expand quite a bit though as i am also thankful for all of you reading this blog. I have done quite a bit of work for Roberts Camera over the last year, and it has truly opened some interesting doors for me. All of YOU made that possible, and I am eternally grateful. (You being the 50,000 unique visitors to this website over the last year).
Sometimes being thankful is the big things like family, friends, food, or warmth. Other times it’s the little things like finding your car keys before you’re going to be late or convincing the folks at a venue the day after thanksgiving that you were in fact supposed to be credentialed to shoot a game so you can get in, do your job and go home to your family. (Which may or may not have been exactly what happened in the case of the shot below).
So no matter big or small be thankful folks. For photography, be thankful if you own a Canon Rebel film camera, a Nikon D4s, or even have a prototype camera that doesn’t exist yet. It’s all incredible, and there are people in your life to help you out as you need. Be thankful for your friends and family as no matter what camera you own, they will always be more important, and helpful in your life than any amount of ISO sensitivity. Lastly be true to yourself. Had the newspaper not layed me off I’d have been there forever. I could have gone back to school and learned to do something else, but I knew I didn’t want to and my incredible Shannon has encouraged me to push forward in photography. I’m much happier now, and even though 2014 has been a tough year overall. I am thankful for what it has done for us.
So take a step back. Look at the hardships, and I bet there is a positive side of it. No matter what. Be thankful for those who have been there for you on your journey. I am. And as usual, thank YOU for reading. More Soon.