Wow, where to begin? I've been staring at this computer for quite some time now, trying to just collect all the amazing moments in 2014. I guess there's no better way to start than in the beginning!
After photographing for about 4-5 years, I never really stayed super consistent. I never photographed from October to March. I'd pick up my camera maybe every other weekend and just take it wherever I was heading and snap a sunset. Or research Google Maps on locations to shoot and new bodies of water to explore. As 2014 started, I've never been more motivated and focused on expanding my photography skills. With the help of many friends, they always strive for me to shoot more and to just get out and think outside the box. It was unbelievably awesome to see people so interested in seeing me succeed. The drive, motivation, and genuine love people expressed to me, really made me feel like I could literally do anything in the entire world, regardless the obstacle. Without them, I would still just be shooting sunsets and being okay with my progress. Thank you guys!
If you have read my first post, About Me and Why Alaska post, you saw that Emily and I took a 12 day vacation to Alaska, where we drove over 2,400 miles in 12 days. The trip couldn't have been anymore amazing. So, while preparing and planning for Alaska, I spent hours researching great shooting locations. What part were the thousands of Bald Eagles? What are some of the precautions while camping in Denali National Park surrounded by Grizzly Bears? Lots and lots of time was put into researching wildlife for photography reasons, as well as our relaxing vacation time. Prior to our trip, I told my Mother that going to Alaska will start my career. I would now have the opportunity to photograph extreme dangerous wildlife and experience the millions of miles of Alaska mountain ranges. It's giving me the chills now just thinking about how beautiful Alaska really is.
As a child growing up, my mother was always into arts and craft shows, however, I hated them! I was a Boy Scout, as well as a Girl Scout growing up, so maybe that's why I hated arts and crafts so much. As cliché as it sounds, I actually really really enjoyed Anchorage's weekly downtown market. It was really nice to see so many hand made items, that were created from many of the wood and minerals from their own land. Oh, and there were about ten extremely talented wildlife photographers there as well. (You don't see too many of those around here in New Jersey.) It was extremely inspirational. I wanted to try it out myself. I had no intentions in making money or selling x amount of prints, I was in search of face to face reactions and feedback to my work. If you went on Google and typed in “Grizzly Bear,” you will see hundreds of thousands of amazing photos. However, in person, looking into art with your own eyes is a totally different perspective than images on a computer. I wanted to hear the feedback in person. If I sold 2 images, I would be ecstatic!
Printing photographs has never really been an interest of mine. I don't like hanging photographs, especially my own, and never thought to print any. What was the point? Sit in a poster tube in my closet for years? If I was going to get into an art show, I had to experiment with printing, right? After processing about 40 photos from Alaska, I went ahead and test printed a bunch as 5x7's. They came out really really awesome. After researching art show setups, I went ahead and decided to go big or go home, regarding the prints. I order about 30 16x24 prints! I can't express how amazing these high resolution large prints came out. The detail was immaculate. The photos looked ten times better on print, than on my Mac. I suddenly wanted to print everything!
My first show was not what I expected. It was not an “art” show, rather it was more of a street fair, where families take there kids and eat junk food. Few people stopped by and wow'd my photos, but that was it. I was a little discouraged, but I later realized that that I signed up for the incorrect type of show. The following week, it was the complete opposite. Chatham hosted the “Fine Arts and Crafts” show which was exactly what I was looking for! Smaller show, lots of handmade products, amazing talent and passion, few food stands, no rides, and just talent everywhere. I shared my story with countless adults and children, had other photographers compliment my work, and even sold out on many photos! It was an experience I will never forget. Again, this just fed my motivation and drive for more.
I guess you can say my 2014 photography year really revolved around Alaska. I came home in debt after Alaska so I wasn't really able to travel somewhere else to shoot. I have also learned to open up a lot with photography, for example: shoot everything, experiment, learn new techniques, think outside the box, and don't stop. Photography for me isn't just snapping a photo and being happy I captured that moment, now it's a lifestyle. My goals and intentions have shifted from snapping landscapes for fun to photographing wildlife and this beautiful planet to raise awareness that things are going downhill. If you spoke to me about birds a year ago, everything was a Robin! I had no interest in these damn things. As we continue to grow, we view things in life differently. I now have such respect and appreciation for all life, not just wildlife. People are aware of animal extinctions, yet don't think much of it. Just to throw a few statics out there, there are more tigers in the state of Texas than the rest of the world and our children or grandchildren will not have the opportunity to see many many animals, whether it's in the wild or in a zoo. I do not believe that people are fully aware of the consequences, if we continue to live the way we currently are. It might not be a paid job, but I see it as my job from here forward. And I can't wait for adventures of tomorrow, as well as 2015.
everyone for your feedback, motivation, attending my art shows, purchasing prints, comments, likes, re-shares, and love. By simply clicking "like" does more than just give me a notification on my iPhone, it shows me that you care. You are interested in my love for photographing this amazing planet and the beauties within. The road to success is a long curvy one, but you are telling me I'm heading in the right direction. Can't thank you enough!!
I have or currently work with many skillful and super knowledgeable people. Seeing the motivation and passion they have for life, truly drives me to push for more. They have helped me in many ways from assisting color correction to website layouts. Without my team, I wouldn't be where I am today.
Mom- aye ma! Thank you for passing down the color deficiency from your father! I'm starting to really enjoy the challenge of color correction, rather than getting upset and giving up. Thank you for motivation when you tell me to move to Alaska and chase my passion. We are both aware it will be extremely difficult, so thank you so much for understanding.
Dad- Natgeo! I wouldn't have picked up a camera if it wasn't in my blood! Thank you for passing down the skills of photography. It blows my mind how much we agree and disagree on certain things within an image.
Bryan- my man! Thank you for educating me on everything I know about the environment. You have a huge successful future ahead of you, brother. "Change the world, one idiot at a time"
Gabby- homeslice! A routine night at the office turns into one of the best friendships. I can't thank you enough for stopping me as I was leaving. This website/blog wouldn't have even been a thought without you and your inspiration.
Ken- Bro! Thank you again for the awesome logo homie. I knew you would pull through with an awesome design and I don't think it could have been better. Those are my mountains!
Emily- I theiiiiiiiiiiink (inside joke.) Thank you for always pushing to shoot more and just being super happy if I was happy for capturing a sick shot, even if you weren't into birding. Seeing you happy for me, really made me feel like I was doing the right thing. And Alaska.....Wow. Thank you for the amazing memories.
Ray- Thank you for all your help with moving to Alaska, as well as being a virtual tour guide during my vacation up there. Looking forward to shooting together!