All Things Must Pass

Photograph of a bull moose in Colorado
Bull Moose Grazing in a Water Lily Covered Lake

 

I’ve been offline for a few days, recovering from a marathon June and July in Northern Colorado. As usual, my photographic attention this summer has literally been focused on moose. With August still ahead, I’ve accumulated around 5,600 moose images this year. Last year’s harvest was over 8,000 moose shots. I’ll probably be close to that amount by the end of the season. These are edited keepers mind you. I normally weed out the unusable stuff. All of this makes for good mining for stock photos and this year has been no exception. The moose photos have been selling well so there is no reason to change course on subject matter.

I’ve been hosting moose photo tours since 2013 and I’ve decided that 2018 will be my last year of actively pursuing clients for tours and workshops. It’s been a fun ride; however, the logistics and rigor of doing these trips have been a challenge.  Being semi-retired, I’m not really needing the income so much as I have been enjoying the challenge and making new friends along the way, but it’s time to change gears to a more sedate and personal approach to my photography.

I have a Facebook group, North American Nature, Wildlife and Landscape Photographers Association, which has about 1,100 members. I founded this club in early 2013. It’s an online photography club of sorts and I personally know many of the members. Instead of hosting paying photo tours in the future, I’m going to begin organizing annual moose photo trips for the group. As time has progressed, I feel that I would enjoy making my knowledge available to like minded photographers, be they professionals or amateurs and sharing the experience with those interested. I’ve even given some thought to making the group an actual hands-on photography club based here in the Denver area. I’m a bit leery of this idea, as my experience with other photography/camera clubs in the area has been a hit and miss. I’ve never enjoyed the cliquish atmosphere some clubs have and quite honestly, the local clubs aren’t all that diverse. A lot of the same people are in different clubs and most clubs are focused on competition and not so much the art of photography. It feels repetitive and sometimes even boring.

What to do, what to do? Well, we do the next thing. I’ve always been prone to throw noodles at the wall and pick the ones that stick. I’m constantly cleaning noodles from the floor beneath that wall though. That’s okay, I have plenty of noodles. I’ll throw more.

I’ve been organizing my catalogs these past few days. With close to 30,000 moose photos, I’ve been stressing the limits of Adobe Lightroom so I’ve broken them down to separate catalogs based on the year. Lightroom likes this approach as once the photograph count gets around 10,000 images in a catalog it tends to slow things down on the computer. What this has done is force me to examine each year’s images again. I’ve got a lot of stuff that’s never been edited and I’m finding a lot of gems sitting in that pile of images. By keeping the catalog sizes down to manageable counts, I’m spending more time examining these previously ignored photos on a year by year basis.

At some point, I’ll drift from the realm of professional towards the realm of retired enthusiast. Well, I’ve kind of been doing that anyway, so this is in tune with my overall thinking these past few years. These down periods have a way of changing the mindset and my thinking is pointing me more to the art and enjoyment of photography and away from the art of business. I’m also getting back to writing more. I like writing. Now if only I can keep thinking of things to write about.

As George Harrison once wrote, “All Things Must Pass.”