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Adventures from the Tripod June 2020

Off the Beaten Path

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How are you?

No, really how are you doing?

Me? I am just a little crazy, stuck in a little slump, caretaking for my mom, moved my office for the 3rd time in less than a year, no work, back problems, elbow problems (MRI being scheduled),  etc.

I have been in a creative slump and if you didn't notice Mays newsletter never happened. I am still In a little bit of a slump and struggling on what to say in this newsletter. With so many crazy things going on in the world it would be easy to jump on the doom and gloom bandwagon. 

STOP!  We all need some positive things in our life right now.

We got a new dog named Calvin for our cat Hobbes.

I thought I would share some short personal stories of some of my adventures in life and my path to full-time photography.  Did you know I worked in a florist and arrange all the flowers for my wedding?  I have lived out of the back of my truck several times in my life on purpose. My wife and I sold it all and bought an RV and traveled full-time for almost 2 years.

I've got some stories, so let's go on a short adventure.

Surprise Rapid on the New River, WV

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Guide Life

"The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are." 

Lynn Noel, Voyages: Canada's Heritage Rivers

With no restraints at all (wife, kids, money, etc.) what job from your past would you go back to and make it a life long career?

Please let me know in the comments or send me an email.

Above is a picture of me on a gear boat in Surprise Rapid on The New River in WV on the last day of a 3-day trip.  I was in my mid-twenties, a trip leader, and director of an outdoor education program in WV.

My typical week:

Sunday: safety meeting, river trip, customer relations, organizing a new group of kids in a 7 day Youth Program (troubled youth from inner cities), and some free time I spent kayaking or climbing. 

Monday to Thursday: I spent on top of a gear boat floating a 44-mile section on The New River with 15 to 25 troubled youth.  The youth ranged from minor problems in school to the hardened gang member from the Bloods, Crips, etc.  Believe it or not, overall it was very peaceful. 

Friday: A lot of the same old day in and day out type of stuff. If the week was going good with the youth program, I took a day off before the rush of weekend warriors showed up.  I usually spent the day with other off duty staff climbing, kayaking, and just a lot of nothing.  When we were working we were on the clock 24/7 for a week to 30 days at a time.

Saturday: Most Saturdays I didn't know what I would be doing until that morning. I was the fill-in guy since I was trained and qualified to run any of the programs we offered. Most of the time, I stepped in where I needed.  The kids in the youth program were set up to go climbing and rappelling for the day.  I could spend the day floating the Upper New, rafting class 5 through the Gorge, leading an overnight trip, or just hanging out at base camp greeting customers. 

I really did not care; I was living the best life in the world. 

One of the greatest highlights of the week was checking my spot on the bulletin board and getting a message to call someone, a note from a friend we are leaving at five to go to the river, or three notes that read call home, you better call HOME, CALL YOUR MOTHER NOW!   

This was my dream job.

In a lot of ways I have continued to work as a guide throughout my life and even today you can sign up for one of my guided trips, but that's not what this is about.  I am asking you to reflect back on a great time in your life and take that joy and express it in your photography.  Take the passion, the love, and the excitement you had every day in that job and tell that photographic story.      

Go follow your dreams and tell your story with photographs from your heart.  



On the river

ShuterLight Photo Club

I am now leading the ShutterLight Photo Club hosted by the Southern Arts Society located in Kings Mountain, NC 

The club is open to all photographers, including those using cell phones.  Please join us on the 2nd Tuesday of the month.  The doors open at 6:30 pm and the meeting starts at 7 pm.  The meeting consists of sharing your monthly assignment photos, education, hands-on, social time, guest speakers, planning outings, and events.  The meeting run until 8:30 or 9 pm.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or if you would like to be a guest speaker.

Gear, Tips, and Tricks

Clean your gear!  Get it all out and clean everything.  Don't forget your lens caps, cleaning cloths, and your camera bags.  The most important thing photographers forget to clean is your creative thinking.

This is what I do to help me reset my thought process.

Now that I have all this nice clean gear, I go on a photo walk.  I load everything up and head to a place I have been wanting to shoot for a while.  Once I arrive at my destination, I look at my gear, take a deep breath, and walk away.  That's right I take only mental pictures. I think about the photo composition, and that's it.  Not the lighting, setting, and all the other technical mumbo-jumbo stuff that can cloud your mind.  

Give it a try sometime, even if it's in your back yard.  I think you will find it very peaceful and without all the camera stuff you will see something new.

PS: If it is too hot in your car or you are worried about something happening to your camera gear, please leave it at home.     

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