Saturday, April 19, 2014

Life lessons on getting older and wiser

Lately, I feel that every year or so I have come to a place in my life where my priorities are changing. What was important last year isn't important now and what I thought I needed last month, I've realized I can do without. Is this what getting older and wiser is all about?

That moment when you realize there is more to life than what you've been doing ...

Looking back and wondering where did the time go?
Time is running out. My baby is almost a teenager.

I want to leave the rat race and go far away from it all. Far away from Facebook and Twitter. They can suck the life right out of your life if you aren't careful.

I want to read a book. Play a game with my son.

Have a real conversation with a friend ... In real life ... Not by text or instant message.

Get outside and see the world.
Go explore what Mother Nature has to offer and yes, photograph the heck out of it!

I think the most recent change started when my computer crashed. It forced me to take a good look at the people around me and opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't like. Life has a funny way of letting you know what's really important.

I will still be writing, but maybe a little less frequently. At the moment I am thoroughly enjoying my decision to slow down and take whatever life has to offer me. Fewer deadlines means less stress and more time with my family.

If I only knew in my 30's what I know now in my 40's ...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

If You Dream It, You Can Be It

Nothing makes me happier than being able to share a story through photography.
Sometimes the pictures come out crystal clear and sometimes they are a bit fuzzy.

Just like life, the story isn't always clear, but somehow we manage to get the message.

I'm gonna be a mighty king, so enemies beware!

I'm gonna be the mane event, Like no king was before

I'm brushing up on looking down

I'm working on my ROAR

Oh, I just can't wait to be king!

It's never too soon to start dreaming of what you can become ...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Endangered Species Monday - African Lion

Lions are amazing animals that have become iconic symbols of the African plain. Through movies like The Lion King, children have learned that lions are looked up to with great pride by other animals. Lions are often one of the first animals a child will learn about. Of all the big cats, lions are the ones most often associated with a roar. A roar that can be heard up to 3 miles away. These majestic cats are not listed as endangered by the IUCN, but as vulnerable - only in West and Central Africa are they classified as endangered. This status will not last long at the rate humans are killing lions.

Lions have vanished from over 80% of their historic range. The lion population is listed as decreasing and on more than one occasion, lions have been labeled on the brink of extinction.  Aside from the fact that humans are overhunting the lion's wild prey and destroying their natural habitat, humans are also illegally killing lions for trophies to hang on their walls. As horrible as this sounds, it is true.

Dr. Guy Balme, Panthera's Lion Program Director said, "Lions have slipped under the conservation radar for too long. If we do not act now, lions will find themselves in the same dire predicament as their Asian counterpart, the tiger."

African lions live about 10-15 years in the wild and have been known to live up to 30 years in zoos. However, the average lifespan in captivity is 20 years.

The lioness pictured above is Tango. Tango was a Transvaal lion who was born at the San Diego Zoo on August 12, 1992. She and her sister Mweezi lived at the Safari Park for a while, where Tango gave birth to a litter of 3 cubs in 1995. Shortly after giving birth, Tango and her sister came back to the zoo where they both lived out the remainder of their lives. Mweezi passed away in 2009 and Tango left us January 20, 2013 ... she was 20 years old.

Although Tango was born and raised in captivity, she never let anyone forget that she was a wild African lion at heart ... Her roars could be heard on a daily basis. Lions are social animals and it was obvious that Tango missed her sister.

Make your voice heard and Cause an Uproar with National Geographic's Big Cat Initiative or join the fight with Panthera on Project Leonardo. Whatever you do, however you chose to create awareness for these magnificent big cats, just remember that you can make a difference. Lions deserve to roam the African plains without the fear of being killed by man. Africa is their home and we should respect that.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Day My Laptop Crashed

It is one of those things you say will never happen to you. It only happens to other people.

It is the reason we all backup our pictures, but really, that is just a precaution, because like I said, it will never happen to me. 

And then the day comes when you turn on your computer, your trusted friend who has been there for you day and night, the one who got you through so many college papers, and they greet with you a black screen. Not the award-winning picture of a tiger you expect to see, just a black screen. No icons, nothing. 

Yes, this happened to me. 

I can't even begin to tell you how may times I tried turning the computer on and off. Taking out the battery and putting it back in, thinking surely this would fix the problem. To my dismay, nothing was working. The hard drive was gone. Ka-put. Nada. And my life was quickly spiraling out of control. How would I write? How would I edit all the photos I had uploaded from my camera?

Oh no, my photos? 
Wait. Yes. I had just done a full back up 3 days prior. My photos were safe.

This was almost three weeks ago. Three long weeks of limited social media and basically no photography. Sure, I could access Facebook and Twitter from my iPhone, but it just wasn't the same. I have a Chromebook, which I love, but it just isn't the same. Since it was the only working computer, Dylan pretty much had it all the time for his school work and games. I know, the sacrifices we make as parents are rough.

Ironically, after a week or so I wasn't really missing social media like I thought I would. I was actually enjoying the break. It was nice not to worry about deadlines and scheduled posts. Nice not to think about writers block or whether or not people would even read the post I was writing. The only problem was I really missed my photography. I missed seeing my pictures in Lightroom. It wasn't that I missed posting them to Facebook or sharing them on Twitter, what I missed was the photography itself. 

To me, photography is not a competition. It is not about being the first to get the shot. Photography is an art form - a creative outlet that has become part of me.   

Today my new computer arrived. The first new computer I have had since Dylan was born. Once the basics had been set up and the internet connection established, I had one very important thing to download. I felt a sense of joy come over me as I double-clicked that little icon. Lightroom was back. Oh, how I missed her. 

Moral of the story... the day my laptop crashed may have been a blessing in disguise. I learned that the art of photography itself is more important to me than sharing the pictures on social media. Sure, I love having people like my pictures, I would be lying if I said that I didn't, but there is so much more to life than how many likes a picture gets on Facebook. 

So friends, back up your photographs on an external hard drive ...
because this can happen to you.