Really? 50 images? You couldn’t narrow it down any further? Sure, I probably could have, but I didn’t want to.
As of this posting, I’m about to head down to Salt Lake City to board a train bound for New Orleans where I’ll be staying for both Christmas and New Year’s. Just a few months back, there was no conceivable way I could even get two days off to go see my family for Christmas. So what happened? To put it simply, I stuck with my goals, and I achieved them.
At the end of a calendar year, I (as with most people) reflect back on that year. I personally like to take it one step further and see where I am in regards to any goals or accomplishments I might have set out to fulfill at the beginning of the year. A lot of people look at the end of a year and think, "There it goes. Another year already flown by." Many of those people will set goals for the next year that they don’t truly believe they can accomplish, but because it feels so good to dream about those goals playing out, they’ll go ahead with them, only to fall back into the same patterns within months. Several months later, it happens all over again, and another year has gone by and not much has changed.
One thing I’ve learned this past year is to enjoy how it feels to imagine that goal being fulfilled, and using that as the fuel to keep it active. If we pay too much attention to what’s going on around us, we tend to get sucked right back into that. If we live in our goals, we tend to find the motivation to keep going after them.
The major, albeit vague, goal I had at the beginning of 2010 was to begin changing certain aspects of my life in regards to my photography career for the better. I hadn’t yet identified too much specifically that I wanted to change, I just knew I wanted to shake things up and see some definitive growth. Over the year I began to pinpoint exactly how I could move in that direction.
The first thing that came to mind was to take a successful photography road trip. Successful for me meant more than just coming back with good photos. I absolutely love taking road trips, but for whatever reason, stress has always crept up in one form or another on each and every road trip since I’ve really learned to use my camera. So this meant having everything budgeted out right, not stressing about getting to one location from another and having enough time to explore areas that I had never been to before. All this played out perfectly on my road trip to the desert southwest last April. I was really hoping to repeat it this past fall, but ironically, accomplishing another goal got in the way of that.
I had identified that full-time work was getting in the way of what I really wanted to do: photography, plain and simple. I wanted to create a way to phase the job out, but wasn’t sure how it would happen. I simply set the goal to put in my notice before summer of 2011 so that I could open up my spare time to putting more focus into my photography. Sometimes, however, goals tend to happen quicker than you anticipate. September rolled around and all of a sudden web design projects begin picking up. I’m then approached by PhotoShelter to be a part of their Certified Consultants Program. Right at the same time, another photographer and I began teaming up to offer wedding and portrait photography to the Jackson Hole, Wyoming region under the name Shot 22 Photography. From out of nowhere doors began opening up where I never even knew there were any. I then went into work one day in mid-late September and realized that my full-time job was actually getting in the way of all these other things. That was when I learned that taking a risk like quitting your full-time job should be taken when it doesn’t really even feel like a risk. It felt like the next logical step, and so I took it as such. Another goal accomplished, this one much sooner than expected even.
With more free-time and better pay coming to me, I was able to just recently complete yet another goal: purchasing a new Canon 7D. Ideas were flowing and my old 5D was beginning to show its limitations against its modern competitors. I upgraded earlier this month, and so far have been amazed at the leap between the original 5D and the 7D. It’s catalysts like that that get me really excited to see where I can take myself in 2011.
Despite not getting the 7D until the end of the year, I was still able to capture most of the photos I wanted. While I was able to whittle 2009’s best photos down to just five photos, this year I really feel like I crossed a threshold with my photography and feel like there are so many more images than ever before that really produced the results I was looking for. Many of them are favorites for sentimental reasons, others because they’re just technically good photos that I still enjoy looking at. I was able to take better advantage of wildlife situations, hiked more trails in both Grand Teton National Park and the Gros Ventre Wilderness (among other places), and was able to really explore new areas, as mentioned above.
I set out to make 2010 a year of change, and it has been nothing but that. It’s been exciting and eye-opening and I now feel like I’m ready, both mentally and with the equipment I own, to make 2011 a wildly successful year! If you’re looking for success with any goals you make, just keep in mind why you’re setting that goal and never lose sight of it.
Also this past weekend, I was finally able to complete my first time lapse video, shown below. I still only consider this a test so there’s no music to it, but you can expect plenty more in the future!
Thank you to each and every one of you, whether I interact with you or not, for making 2010 such an amazing adventure!