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View from Chimney Tops, Smoky Mountains

Ever have one of those days when you question eveything you're doing as though it might not be right? You wonder if you're really making progress or just coasting along a path that seems to have its own direction?

Well I just had one of those days recently and it was not a pleasant experience. To be honest, I have those days more often than I care to admit. I've had them all of my life. I've always assumed that those feelings were just the result of pursuing a creative life, whether as a musician or photographer. When you define your own parameters for how you're going to measure success, there's going to be pushback – from society, family, friends, and your own fear.

I hear people talk about a safety net. I've never had one. At least not in the traditional sense. My idea of a safety net was my resolve to do whatever it took to get me to the next gig, or assignment, or rent/mortgage payment. To me that was much more reliable than a promise from an employer that I was secure. Because I was responsible for my own security, I took it upon myself to make sure I was prepared for any situation. Learning as much as I could about photography, the business, the pitfalls, and never standing still. Pushing forward, climbing up the mountain even as it seems to get steeper.

If a new technology comes along, I learn it. If a new way to market my work comes along, I find out how I can take advantage of it. And most of all, if I have an opportunity to do something that seems out of reach, I take a leap of faith.

I've worried about the same things for 20 years. But as my wife likes to point out so calmly, I'm still here doing what I love.

Don't let the bad days become a problem. The fear is usually not real, and it certainly isn't insurmountable. Some days it just feels like it is. It's time for a good day, and I'm ready, are you?


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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Excellent post. I like how you often take the gloves and masks off and are very frank about what you are thinking and experiencing. It is true, we all go through those days, especially in this competitive art. You’re right about the fear though. Most of the time it’s just imagination working in the negative. If we can let it go, then we have less chance that the potential negative outcomes will become real.

    1. Hi David – thanks so much for the thoughtful comments and feedback. I’d fill a book with my struggles and bad experiences, but ultimately that is what makes photographing nature so special and unique – it brings a perspective I have not found any where else in life. And that helps with letting go of the fear as well. I also believe mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools in this regard, but that’s for another post I’m working on. Thanks again!


  2. I have experienced those same feelings and sometimes for weeks on end thinking that Im never going to move past mediocrity. In time however, I begin to pull myself out of my slump and look for ways to re-invent my creative thinking skills. I appreciate your willingness to share those difficult times in your life as it helps me realize that Im not alone in my thoughts.

    1. Thanks Tom for the candid comments – yes I have been there and know the feeling well. The important thing is to stay motivated, positive, and not dwell on the past. Tomorrow brings more opportunities and we can only affect the present moment. Realizing that you have choices and possibilities is a win, the rest is just negative thoughts.


  3. With the pure beauty of the photos you take …. you would never think you ever have bad days 🙂 I absolutely love your work. It always makes for a better, brighter day for myself. Thank you

    1. Hi Helen – thanks so much for the feedback and for taking the time to read the blog. We’re all struggling through life, I suppose it’s just a matter of our perspective. Yes I often think I’m crazy to think I can have this type of career, but the opportunity to experience just one more sunrise keeps me positive and focused. When I can share that with others and brighten their day as you describe, it makes those bad days MUCH easier. thanks again.


  4. Robert – Alone in quiet contemplation awaiting the “light” many thoughts flow through the mind. It is a blessing and a curse to be listen. The image, that darn car, this cold rock, a new location, mortgage payment, fog on the water, am I a good father? husband? brother? son?, how should I…, what did ….. mean. It’s the quiet that brings fears, unknowns, challenges, questions and yes – answers. The absence of fear is a potential problem, for one doesn’t question, contemplate, puzzle, or even wonder. Embrace fear, welcome and thank it for helping you see, become stronger, wiser and open. We see your images through our lens’. I gave the gift of your Breakneck Mountain to my sister who stood in tears. Yes, it was beautiful, but her tears were of joy for having remembered a hike with her children and husband and the lovely day she spent there so many years before. This I did not know when I chose it, or should I say it chose me. Thank you for your eye, your talent, your love and your fears.

    1. Thanks for the beautiful and eloquent words Amanda – and yes fear is not to be ignored, but seen for what is is, and usually it is not based on reality. When it is, then it is wise to listen. I continue to struggle with the distinction, but it gets easier with time, and my work as well as my life benefit from it. Thanks again for the support.


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