Thursday, September 24, 2009

plan revisions and life thoughts

Well like all plans that I seem to make they often need revisions. After checking the cost of travel to Europe (especially Paris) and the room rates of hotels, I will not be doing that leg of the journey, at least not for my sabbatical. I would love to see Paris in the Spring time and maybe before it is all over I will. This change of itinerary is in a way a good thing because it will keep me focused on the Parks here in America. So much to do and consider for this project. I need to stay focused.

On another topic my friend and colleague at The Art Institute is not winning his battle with cancer. This event saddens me and causes me to think of my own mortality as I am 13 years his senior.

I can't help but think of the value of this life I have. How lucky I have been to avoid so many pitfalls that living seems to place in our way. Gratitude for my modest successes in my art and teaching bring me to appreciate the choices I have made. The benefit of not smoking over a lifetime now supports my healthy later years. Living an active life with focus on right eating and surrounding myself with loving and positive people. After all health is the foundation of pleasure. To be active and thriving in actions and thoughts, to continue to grow in these years that I have is truly valuable and I am blessed.

Don't we owe it to ourselves to be the best we can be? The only problem is we struggle to define what our best is. Half the battle is knowing yourself, how do I identify my feelings on those topics that are meaningful to me? Am I working to live or living to work? Is the work what I am supposed to be doing or have I become sidetracked into what might be the easy path rather then the one I really need to be traveling.

All this can be scary to contemplate because it means that we might need to change many things that we have become comfortable with.  We need to evolve the couch potato into the athlete, the dim wit into the intellect. All this seems like such work, all this seems like it is to difficult, to much to ask, to hard to achieve. But if we give in to these barriers to growth what will be our outcome? When if not now will we rise to our potential? Today is the only day, now is the only time, here is the only place. This life is precious and not to be wasted. What will I do with today?  What will you do with it?

Friday, September 18, 2009

The plan unfolds

I think it is time to start thinking about the upcoming sabbatical.  I have never been good about planning trips. I am more of a spur of the moment and lets see what happens kind of guy. But this time I think real planning is called for. The original idea was to visit the parks in different climates to shoot HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography but that will not be practical. Instead, I will focus on HDR images based on observing the contrasting content of subjects found in very different locations.

I will start in Washington State with some of the inspirational vistas only Washington can provide it's mountains and forests are among the best in the country. At Christmas my wife and I will sail through the Panama Canal, presenting an opportunity to capture the light of Central America and it's unique places, marking phase 2 of the work.

Then the parks of Zion and Canyon Country for Phase 3, to bring the fabulous content of the desert in glorious color to the project. Next, in the plan is a trip to Paris, France. Need I say more? Paris will add old world charm and an experience I have not had yet, yes it's true I have not been to Paris! To balance out Europe, images from Italy will also be included.

Finely phase 4, back to America and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tenn. for the forests and spring blooms of eastern landscapes. If there is time I will finish the journey at the Atlantic Ocean for a lighthouse or two.

I know this sounds a bit scattered but my intent is to create contrast in content, to make each image group a unique experience not based on the one before or the one to follow, chapters of images on a journey.

I am looking forward to the challenges that each location will provide to test my skills and artistic vision. I am grateful for the support and feedback I am getting from those of you who are following my blog. I will keep trying to add great content as we go.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Going to Extremes

     It's not easy to get out of my comfort space. Often I like to sit within what I know as familiar. I rest in the knowledge I have obtained and practice that which I have learned works well. I get really good at repeating known practices. Hurdles are often sidestepped whenever possible. Now I don't mean this is the state of affairs for everyone or even for me to any meaningful depth. But sooner or later we all fall into the trap of the easy way out. I have been guilty of this from time to time, as I am sure these words ring true for most. This does not happen often but when it does it's depressing, just getting into a routine and going with the flow becomes annoying, not exerting more energy then needed, not going the extra mile says I am not involved. Comfortable makes me uncomfortable!

     As I am getting older now and my years seem to have limits, I wonder if I have been doing this a bit to much. I want to create new pathways, change my thought patterns, make new synapses in my brain.  I think 2010 will be my year to challenge myself again. Check of some things from a long bucket list.  I am beginning to plan an adventure that will force me out of that comfort zone and place me squarely on the edge of my capabilities as well as my fears. Travel and adventure to new places I have not yet seen, to start with.  Discovering the beauty of seeing something for the first time again, this excites me. I know you are wondering where this might be, but that 's not the point. It's more about the new... not the exotic. Obviously exotic has it's draw but it is often remote and beyond most of our resources. Far away places can be an excuse to do nothing.

     I am thinking of some places that are far away, but also many that are close to home but overlooked. Some of these places I can reach in a weekend, others I may need longer. Some I can find by driving others by flying. All will be new all will hold a mystery I am searching to reveal. Some will be explored by day and others by night.  I am use to being up in the day so I will also stay up at night. If need be I will watch the dawn sun unfold the day.

I will document my new discoveries with my digital camera. I will learn again what a good photograph is. I will do things differently. Change my creative routine and use my new digital camera in new ways. Exploring High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a photographic approach I need to know better. This is a perfect match for this exploration. Spring will mark the start of my journey, Cool weather giving way to spring, new plants spring from the ground animals give berth and nature awakes,  I will let you know how it goes.