Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Hobby Refit

You cannot go against nature
Because when you do
Go against nature
It’s part of nature too
– Love and Rockets, “No New Tale to Tell”

IMG_0532_sm_blogI’ve never been much of a specialist. I dabble in lots of different things, and although I try not to do anything half way, I wouldn’t throw the word “expert” out there without giving it some very serious thought. That’s fairly clear from my posts consisting of written words, pictures, videos, and sound clips.

In photography, I always have leaned toward natural scenes. As a result, I haven’t developed (pardon me) my photography skills much in other genres. I’m okay at photojournalism because I’ve done it as a job, and I’ve shot several weddings that turned out pretty well. Through all that, Nature was the only one whose countenance inspired me to wake up before sunrise or to backpack to a rugged locale with the lows dipping to 15 degrees.

I try to keep my pics out here fresh instead of rifling through my archives, but in summer 2005 we moved away from the scenic places, and historically that’s where I did most of my photography. I like to think I did it hysterically, too, but that’s wide open to interpretation.

Once you get past the grueling backpacking part, capturing Nature’s hidden gems seems pretty simple. For me it’s mostly a craft. I know how to use the tools and the media, and most landscapes don’t move a lot, so it’s a matter of avoiding the blatant “me too” photos. Some sites have been photographed for so long and so frequently that it’s hard to come up with something original.

Unless, like my photographer friend Tim Ernst, you happen to have a knack for it. And, it doesn’t hurt to live within rock-throwing distance of the shot you’ve been wanting, and then running out to get it when the conditions are right.

He put in his time as a people photographer and now makes quite a living at his passion — nature photography. Check out his site if you haven’t, to see how a nature photographer/outdoorsman lives. His online journal often includes his latest photos, many quite spectacular. His calendars and photography books are best in class.

Living at the opposite extreme from Tim, but still wanting photography as a hobby, I’m trying to shift a bit. I realize that instead of letting my environment stamp out my photography hobby altogether, I should adapt my focus (ahem) to fit where I live (and work) now, while somehow keeping it interesting to myself and others.

A job that takes me to new places has facilitated this change almost perfectly.

The Firefly Grill shots and the confounding utility knife are good examples of early efforts. The covered bridge, too, if you count Nature in concert with humans and a little photo-chop action.

I hesitate to say this is the opposite of Nature photography. As the song verse opening this post suggests, humans are part of Nature, so anything we do is natural. I don’t buy that completely, but it’s an interesting notion.

I haven’t had much experience at this, so bear with me as I jump on this new ride. And accept the fact that I’ll still pull out an archive shot when the timing’s right.

Have you ever adjusted (or dropped) a hobby to fit a change in your life?

Cross Words

8 Responses to Hobby Refit

  1. My whole blog came from my life adjusting to London….so yes, I have…then it became a passion, then a business. Crazy. I am excited to see what is coming next from you….

    I love to look at it as a new challenge…do you remember your challenge to me when I moved back to the States? You wondered if I would keep up my blog here…

    It was an adjustment but I think I have done it. And had a lot of fun at the same time!

    I like that bottom pic as well!

  2. It’s ahrd to motivate myself to get out there with my camera when I don’t feel that I live in a particulalry beautiful stretch of Earth. But, as you said and as Anna has proven time and time again, beauty can be found just about everywhere. It’s just a matter of looking for it. And so far, I’ve been impressed with you efforts in that direction so far.

    I like the bottom picture. I didn’t notice the second person’s arm at first, it changes the photo when you see it. I’m assuming from the ashtrayed armrest that this is on a flight?

  3. Squash. (The sport, not the gourd.)

    That’s what I dropped to fit a change in my life. Kids, you know? I played squash upwards of five or six days a week. Sometimes morning and evening on the same day. I traveled to two or three tournaments a year around the province and got to perform pretty well in my skill category. Then the first boy was born and extracurricular activities that require over an hour of time away from home sort of fell by the wayside. Entirely my own fault, you understand. I don’t like doing things half-assed either, so there was this part of me that got convinced since I couldn’t keep up the pace I had with the sport, I’d just drop it.

    I’m sorry I did that, and I do intend to get back into it, albeit with far less regularity for the foreseeable future. Still, I was in the best shape of my life then and got that way by having fun. I can totally relate. Adjustsments need to be made, but those are far better than ditching a favourite hobby.

  4. Great post. Wonderful picture. Did you get a model release from those old people (whose hands look like mine)? I’ve had many changes in hobbies and avocations as my job, family, geographic, physical, technological and health situations have changed and evolved. Look at what I’m doing now. I’ve been using a personal computer for much less than half my life and I was an “early-adopter.”

    The quote at the top is profound, and expresses my view of the world more succinctly than I could. It is relevant now because of the “debate” over the environment and man’s negative (and potentially, well, maybe not positive, but hopefully less negative) “impact.” Many biologists think that we are witnessing one of the great mass extinctions (remember the dinosaurs and the asteroid) of the history of the earth, except this time it’s not the natural phenomenon of an asteroid impact that’s killing ’em off, it’s the natural phenomenon of an incredibly successful organism whose population and nests have grown to dominate and push out other species. Bleakly now – sometimes I believe that the trajectory of mankind on the earth is no more “intelligent” than that of an asteroid drifting in space.

  5. I would love to see the hand and puzzle up close. :)


    You know me….the closer the better!

  7. Anna – I’d say you’re doing very well at adjusting to life back in the U.S.A. Also, I would have loved to get closer, but the guy sitting next to her was already wondering about me. They were across the aisle from me, and I had only my point and shoot digital. It could have looked like I was taking pictures through her window. I would have had to ask to take her picture if I had my D100 (digital SLR for all those who don’t know those model numbers). It’s very hard to point it at someone without looking suspicious!

    Moksha – Ummm… St. Louis!! You could have a field day (though maybe not literally in a field).

    There were two versions of this — one that showed none of the other person and a little bit of the window, and the one you see here. I liked this one better, because the very bright window in the other distracted the eye, and here the arm added foreground.

    Pops – No, but maybe I need to start carrying some model releases with me. I’ve considered it.

    Great points on humans. We are very successful — perhaps too much!

  8. Nice entry Markus. I think there are ways to change hobbies, and to alter them to fit your schedule in most instances.

    I play guitar FAR less than I used to, but when I do play, I tend to work on something new. Consequently, my playing has actually improved just from making different movements.

    In golf, I used to practice all the time, but I was always working on changing something in an effort to get better. Then when my golf time was cut more than in half, I didn’t have time to work on things. Somehow, I’m better now than ever before, and I’m sure that stems from better focus, and not trying to always change something.

    So…my thoughts are that you should be able to take plenty of pictures of different interesting things, and still enjoy it.

    Plus we still need to plan a spring trip to nature, so you can fire away then.

    Pops post was great. Throughout history, the earth has had many different drastic climate changes, and temperature variances. But the evidence continues to mount that at least some of the cause of the warming trend seems to be caused by humans. I think one major cause is population. I predict something sinister….a massive outbreak, plague, or something dreadful within the next 30 years. I hope I’m wrong, but eventually our population will make it inevitable.


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