|"Lurch," my camper, in a glass ball|
A layover day is a beautiful thing. In the Kofa National Wildlife Preserve last week, I loved my camp spot so much that I decided to spend a second night there. After a morning shoot and a walk to scout, I had some glorious time for relaxation. It was perhaps my last chance to enjoy desert camping before temperatures soar. I sat in comfort reading in the shade of the camper, napped, and shot some mid-day macro with a diffuser. Things are coming together for summer road trips, some with friends and others in splendid solitude, and I did some planning for that as well.
I also put some energy into contemplation, revisiting thoughts about the nature of success.
Too often we define ourselves with monetary achievements. It is certainly delightful to be paid for my work, but not sufficient to sustain passion.
Validation and recognition are lovely as well, but sometimes the treadmill of social media acknowledgement, for example, is an unsatisfying drug. The opinions of others are a dangerous way to define attainment.
I'm increasingly enjoying lending my photographic skills to causes that are important to me. I'm photographing for Cooperative for Education to support our educational goals in Guatemala and I create a scenic calendar each year to sell as a fundraiser for Peoria North Rotary, my club.
|My first TEOE Meeting|
I'm thrilled, as well, to have recently joined Through Each Other's Eyes (TEOE), a nonprofit which creates cultural understanding through photographic exchanges. As board member Art Holeman says, we need this more than ever. Already our class of new associates is sharing ideas for the organization and has enjoyed hosting two photographers from Hermosillo Mexico. I plan to help create an exchange to Guatemala, involving some of my “Chapin” friends.
The big contributor moments which feel successful, though it might sound rather trite, is personal satisfaction. This process of waiting for sunrise in a beautiful place, exploring, learning, and even processing images on the computer is fulfilling. These are profound, interior experiences. I find, too, that I put my images in private places like my phone screen, desktop, and journal app. There's satisfaction in that far beyond the self-congratulatory.
|Backlight in the Kofas|
Guy Tal writes inspirationally about this, saying (to paraphrase) that nature photography can be very personal. He’s also asserted that a great wilderness experience without photography is successful on its own merits.
Ultimately, we define the word for ourselves. I appreciate the opportunity to dedicate some "layover time" to these thoughts, and other aspects of the big picture.
More images from the Kofa trip are in the Desert Gallery on my website.