On February 14th, 2009, I arrived in Santa Fe for a week-long workshop on landscape photography at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops campus, taught by Eddie Soloway. The workshop was a wonderful experience and the facilities are both beautiful and first class. The experience in Santa Fe deserves a separate post. It had a profound impact on my approach to photography.
Today, one year later as I write this post, it is interesting to take a look back at the past 365 days. One lap around the sun brought many changes to my life. The sum of those changes are weighted towards the positive. It would be tedious to get into the details. You can breathe easy, I am not going to get into the journey at that level. To try and prevent losing subscribers by boring them to death, I will just hit a few of the bigger events. The funny thing about the bigger events is that they didn’t take place in isolation. A series of moments, some interesting, some mundane, some happy, and some sad are the elements of any lap around the sun. As a photographer I have the gift of capturing some of my moments with a camera, freezing and preserving them.
From the day when I arrived in Santa Fe last year to today, the following is a short list of highlights and lowlights. As mentioned, the week in Santa Fe will get its own post at some point, it was an experience that will stay with me for a lifetime. Almost one month to the day after arriving in Santa Fe, I was “downsized” from a job I had help for nine years. Unfortunately it was an experience I shared with many people all over the United States. At the end of April, I became a grandfather for the first time to a beautiful baby girl born to my oldest son and his wife. So many people have asked me some version of , “What’s it like to be a grandfather?” It still amuses me that I am the father of three sons, so adding another level is more amusing.
Sidebar: If you don’t know me, you very well might misinterpret what I mean by being amused about being a father. I have three of the most incredible sons anyone could ask for, I have tried very hard to be a good Dad, but I am still me and it’s my nature to laugh about life. Clearly it’s more complicated than that but you know that.
In June, my middle son got married to a wonderful girl/woman. They are happy and doing well. My youngest son is attending college and doing well. In the grand scheme of things, I lost a job of nine years but have much to be happy about.
My search for another job was an interesting journey that resulted in me deciding to pursue photography as a career. The bubble wrap is barely off that decision, so it’s too early to tell how it will go. In the course of seeking a job in my former career path (my degree and the last 15 years of my life had been spent in information technology) I met some wonderful people. One of those people is Tina Westbrook who is a talented photographer. She is also a talented writer with a major book release coming up next month for “Letters from Alcatraz, Forty Years Later” which is her first book that is not about photography. It’s going to be a huge success and she has asked me to photograph the events surrounding the release of the book. Tina also writes a blog (Eastcreek Photography, Where Thoughts and Images Collide) which I recommend.
In addition to Tina, a very good friend of mine introduced me to another talented nature/conservation photographer, Beth Maynor Young. Beth invited me to the initial meeting for a group called Conservation Photographers of Alabama and I am honored to have a chance to contribute through my photography. It’s an important cause and close to my heart. Beth took an interest in my photography and I appreciate her help more than I can say.
Over the past year, I have become friends with a successful and talented fashion photographer in Los Angeles, Melissa Rodwell. Clearly Melissa and I are in different areas of photography but I have learned a lot from her and appreciate her support and encouragement. Melissa writes a blog that I recommend to anyone interested in photography (Fashion Photography Blog). She is a tremendous resource ad a wonderful person.
Over the past year I have photographed many beautiful locations, including parts of New Mexico as well as the natural beauty in my home State of Alabama. The locations in Alabama featured Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, Perry Lakes Park, and Ebenezer Swamp.
In December I published my first book that features a collection of my photographs of water lilies. You can see it and buy it here (“a collection of water lilies, part one” by Gerry Daniel). As I write the post today, the Dream Hat Photography Blog has been revamped and relocated to its own domain. The new website for my professional work (Gerry Daniel Photography) has been created, is live, and is not complete, but it should always be evolving. Last week I sent out my first newsletter. In a moment of shameless promotion, please subscribe to my blog, my newsletter, and recruit others to subscribe. It would help me very much to expand my subscriber base.
The span of a year included the support and encouragement of so many people in my life. The group includes my inner circle of friends, my family, and my friends from SmugMug. My thanks to each one of you for being a part of the continuing saga of Gerry. Traveling along my road is not always the well traveled path and I have been known to wander. I’m lucky that some have chosen to take the chance and be a part of the ride.
What about the next 365 days? Hopefully I can carry the positive momentum forward and follow my dream of being successful with my photography. My work needs wider exposure and I am looking for opportunities to exhibit my photographs.
Of course, there is always the blog post music selection. The song is “Rave On, feat. Zooey Deschanel” from the album “Hold Time” by M. Ward. It’s a great cover of a Buddy Holly song, listen to it, you’ll be glad you did.