This morning, I got yelled at.
As I sat down at my desk with my first cup of morning coffee, I changed my status on Facebook to “Brian is up & watching the snow fall with the chillin’s…” Shortly afterwards Sue Henry commented, verbally harassing me for not only getting the snow she wants, but also for not being outside taking photos. Now… to begin with, I’m not a snow person, so I sat for a few moments, trying to figure a way to switch places with her. But I realized that she’d have to take it as a whole package deal, which included watching The Hulk cartoon my son was watching, for about the 300th time since I picked him up on Friday, and that might be a deal breaker.
I’m exaggerating her, as I sometimes do, Sue didn’t yell at me, more like politely asked in her typical, glass of lemonade, southern-belle way. But either way, she was right, and it was my new year’s resolution to get out and do more, so I was pretty happy when my folks agreed to change plans from going to a museum with the kids to just frolicking in the snow like a bunch of juveniles.
We dragged out the plastic sled from the basement and headed to the local park, or as my kids call, the “Big Hill Park” and found that there were a lot of others with the same idea. The first run was a great one, but ended with a collision between James and another sledder which turned him off to the whole idea for the rest of the day. He spent the rest of the time throwing snowballs and playing with Grandma.
Jack, on the other hand, became a sledding fool. The second the pull of gravity released him at the bottom of the hill, he was off, and climbing back to the starting line for another race to the bottom.
The snow was light, and soon the grass on the hill was starting to show, and the bite to the air was getting a little stronger, so we decided to head back indoors for some hot chocolate… and besides… Jack wanted to show Grandpa the new Hulk cartoon.
Only one single thought went through my mind in the few milliseconds that I was airborne.
Protect the camera.
In the past two weeks, I’ve seen two fellow photographers Brody Grant and Sue Henry endure the anguish of a broken camera. Thankfully, both of them survived, and they lived to shoot another day. As gravity sucked me down I freaked that I would suffer the same fate. Acting on instinct alone, I tucked my camera into my chest and rolled so my back stuck the ground first.
It worked, and as I lay on the patch of cold wet ice that caused me to fall in the first place, I held up my camera to make sure. As I did, I felt the consequences of my great defense maneuver, and a pain ripped through my back. Thankfully the pack on my back took most of the force, but I still kinda hurt. Ahh well, no pain no gain, right?
I got myself back up and navigated safely towards the steps that I was heading to. I took some photos and continued on my way.
The “Blizzard of ’09” that the weatherman predicted was pretty much a dud, but there was a fine covering of snow and ice over much of Queens. I headed to where I knew the snow and ice would be most untouched by shovels and rock salt, a cemetery. Apparently I was the only one with this thought, because I found a quiet and peace I hadn’t really seen before. The air was crisp and it blew through the leaf-less trees. On the ground were tracks of cats and either a few rabbits, or one amazing active one. Almost every where I walked, my footprints were the only human ones left behind. I raised my camera, trying to capture the stillness, but knew that no matter how good the shots were, they would never be able to capture the tranquility I was feeling.
I continued on until the pain in my back and the numbness of my fingers drove me indoors.
The night before I was sitting with an old friend, a person I have undying respect for, but unfortunately I haven’t seen a lot of in recent years. I showed him the “2008 yearbook” of my work. When he was finished he handed it back to me and said “Ptchfork, you’ve really found that thing you’re meant to do it life and I’m proud of you brother.” His words went right to my heart, and thought about them as I warmed up with a cup of hot cocoa and processed the photos I took. I’m pleased with the outcome and I don’t know if was his words, the beauty of my surroundings or my crash on the ice, but I feel like I might have busted through the funk I’m in.
Time will tell though… we’ll see when I post again.
Well, now that 2008 is over, and good riddance, it’s time to get my big ole butt in gear.
2008 was a year of personal challenges, and I’m really hoping to avoid that kinda crap in the new year. (Yeah, I know, let’s just pretend, ok?) That will leave me plenty of time to focus on my professional life. While my number one priority will remain to find a day job, there are a number things I want to accomplish in my hobby of photography. As the ball dropped the other night I reflected on them, and thought I should write them down, maybe writing them down would force me to accomplish them. But then I found the loophole that if I lost the paper I wrote them on…. which is why I’m here posting a non-photography related post on a PhotoBlog .. how ghastly!!! I mean what’s the chances of my losing the entire internet, right?
So, this is what I want to do this year….
Resolution # 1 – Sell – I never wanted to make a million dollars off my work, and I never want to do it professionally, but I’ve got all these images sitting around, and maybe there’s a little old lady in Kansas who would love a photo a graffiti covered staircase in her living room. I’m going to use sites like Ebay and RedBubble to sell a print here or there. I’m also gonna actually listen to my sister, and try to find out about art fairs. Might not sell a damn thing, but I’ve got learn that for myself. I’ve got to learn the fine art of tagging my photos and I’m currently brokering a deal with a brilliant mind that will be paid in slices from Carlos. Wish me luck.
Resolution # 2 – Upgrade – Santa didn’t bring me all the nice shiny gear I wanted for Christmas, which means I’ve got to go out and buy it myself. Well… maybe if I do a good enough job with resolution #1…
Resolution # 3 – Keep Up With My Blog – Dawg was right, my blog is horribly erratic, but unfortunately it mirrors my current life. That shouldn’t be the case & I promise to do better. By the way, thanks so much for the recognition, I’m shooting for making the list next year too. I’ve joined PhotoBlog community to draw traffic to my blog, but how interesting will it be if there’s never anything new? In short, I’ll write more.
Resolution # 4 – Keep Up With My Comrade’s Blogs I know so many amazingly talented photographers who go out of their way to share their great art with the world and I should be paying attention more. I promise to keep up with the going on’s of my granny, Sue Henry, Jen Rinaldi, Heather McCullah, Julie Lawson, Scott Bulger, Lincoln Palmer, Jake Easley and more. I should also be keeping up with the wealth of advice and knowledge give by Damien Franco on Your Photo Tips and great blogs like Lightroom Killer Tips, Pro Photo Show and Epic Edits. All of these site mentioned, and any I may have forgetten not only entertain, but inspire me, and help me better myself and my art. I’ll be more active in 2009, reading and commenting.
Resolution # 5 – Keep Shooting All of the above will seem pretty silly and pointless if I have no new material. I need to get out more, see more, shoot more. I’m gonna promise to work harder on the A to Z Challenge at YourPhotoForum. I’ve drawn the first work of 2009 and it’s staring at me from my desk. I’ve got no idea where I’m going in 2009, but I promise to bring my camera with me… and thus, all of you.
So now I need your help. Basically, I need you to break my balls every day. Hey – it’s leap year, you even get an extra day to do so. If you see me slacking, yell at me, slap me in the back of the head, call me at 4 in the morning and scream obscenities at me. It’s ok, I probably deserve it.
2009 will be a year of moments, and I promise to grasp as many as I can.
I still scratch my head when people say my photos are good. Ok, yes, I’ll admit even I think some of them are, but I think it’s tough for me to accept the fact that something that brings me such peace and joy is also something that could touch others.
This doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling I get when I get positive remarks on my work by other photographers. I’m the past few months I’ve begun to follow work of photographers that I basically idolize. I get advice and pointers from brilliant minds like Chiller, Lincoln Palmer, Sue Henry and of course the amazingly talented Jon Mikal who have become a real a “photographic family” to me at YourPhotoForum.com.
Each month at YPF there is a Photo Of The Month Contest. The really unique aspect of this contest is there is nothing submitted for it. Instead any member of YPF can nominate another member’s work for the contest.
The first time I was nominated I was blow away. I didn’t win… hell, I didn’t even vote for that photo! The winner that month was well deserved but then the next month, I was nominated again and this time I won! I still don’t think I’ve gotten over the shock of that!
Well last month I was nominated again and I was ecstatic. Then… another photo was nominated. Then… another!!! When voting began last week I had 3 entries in the contest and I’m proud to say I won. (LOL.. had good odds, right?)
and the winner…
So if you’re a photographer, and you’re looking for a great forum with some real supportive and encouraging people – not to mention the most amazing collection of talent I’ve ever seen, stop over at YourPhotoForum.com. Hope to see you there!