I used to chuckle at all the articles I came across about the x number of ways to overcome loss of inspiration and/or creativity. How could someone lose the drive to do something they love? I thought it largely impossible. But, then again, I had experienced some mild burn out as a younger athlete, so, I guess I was just brushing it off as not going to happen to me.
Getting outside onto a trail somewhere beautiful has never been an issue for me. Give me two pennies to rub together and an opportunity and I’m excited to see something new. However, I found myself in the early months of this year (2015) for the first time feeling a bit trampled and beaten. I decided to shift an avid hobby–outdoor photography–into the realm of full-time earning vocation in January of 2014. Since that day I’ve been sprinting to keep up with the tremendous amount of information and knowledge that I was lacking (and continue to figure out that I’m lacking!): federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes, business personal property taxes, licenses, insurance, websites, blogs, galleries, licensing, prints, workshops, books, calendars, social media outlets…it doesn’t end! I’m constantly trying to cobble together some combination of income streams that will allow me to continue doing this thing for another month, another quarter, another year. And somewhere in the midst of it all, I still have to get myself outside at the right times and in the right places to capture new work in order to feed the machine I’m working so hard to create. A little over a year after taking this photography thing to the next level, on a March morning overlooking the Potomac River at the entrance to Mather Gorge, I finally understood why so many people wrote about (and read about) how to re-fire the passions of photography, or whatever for that matter. The “stuff” of life and business can monopolize your mind and your energies–just that simple.
Luckily, I’m still indescribably excited when conditions align and color begins to form on the horizon, like on this morning at Mather Gorge. I still have the ability to shut everything else down and focus completely on interpreting and capturing that which is in front of me and my lens. However, I find myself more and more cognizant of the possibility of the opposite. I find myself intentionally feeding my passions regularly, even when I don’t want to get out, or go hiking, or haul gear around, because I know that no matter how important the task at hand may be–whether it’s social marketing, blogging, website design, etc.–it all falls apart without the root drive to get outside regularly. On this particular morning, it all made sense. The Universe tossed me a bone to chew on. Other mornings are not so fulfilling but they’re just as important.
Mather Gorge is located along the Potomac River fall line about fifteen miles upstream of Washington D.C. In this area, the Appalachian Piedmont gives way to the Coastal Plain, resulting in a number of rapids and waterfalls, as well as the dramatic cliffs of Mather Gorge. To read more about the Potomac River Gorge, check out my “On Place” article here.
Nikon D700; Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8, 20mm, f/16, 0.5 seconds, ISO 200, 0.6 GND
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