Goals and Milestones

Photograph of a Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron Hunting in the Shallows.

I’m in a contemplative mood this morning so this post is going to be a little more from the heart. Hope you don’t mind the ramblings of a man who is trying to grow old gracefully.

I’ve rationalized just about every aspect of my life over the years, justifying to myself and to others, my reason for existing, my motivations, my mistakes and my successes. Most of those rationalizations bring me back to who I really am as a person and the self realizations that spring from these ever changing thoughts. I reckon that I’m not unique in this regard.

One thing I’ve rationalized as an important aspect of my life is always finding something to look forward to. My most depressing moments have been in times when I felt there was nothing to accomplish and my motivations in life have generally been based on this simple self observance.

As I’ve grown older, my motivations have seen an obvious shift and an overall simplification of what I believe to be the things I want to do to stay happy and stay engaged with life in a positive way. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I find that word to be the main pivot point of my thinking.

Of course, everything isn’t going to be simple. I don’t shrink from complicated things, my mind won’t allow that, but I always find a way to trim away the fat of what I consider meaningless attachments to anything I do. As time grows shorter for me, not wasting that time on life’s baggage seems to be goal.

Long gone are my aspirations of fame and fortune. I served my country, I did my corporate ladder climb to middle management, I’ve married and divorced and remarried and friends and family have changed over and over again. No regrets, but there is still a candle burning in my soul and that candle is used to light my next path in life as it always has in the past, with a low, flickering flame that can’t be extinguished by the actions of someone else.

Find something to look forward to. That is the simplified thought that drives me from day to day, and I have indeed found a way of having something to look forward to doing. Simple things usually.

After a lifetime of ambition and service to my employment masters, I started a small photography business and I’ve successfully kept it alive for over 12 years. I’ll continue to keep it alive as long as I’m physically able to do it.

My secret of keeping motivated is that I always find something in photography to look forward to doing.

Well, today I’ve reached another small goal, a small milestone and set a new goal and milestone to replace it.

The goal I set for myself in 2018 was to have at least 2,000 images on sale at the stock agencies before the end of the year. Nothing monumental in the grand scheme of things, but to me, it’s an accomplishment. This morning I had my 2,000th stock image approved and it’s now online with the others. It won’t make much money over time, maybe five or ten dollars a year if I’m lucky. But, when  I look at what it cost me to take that 2,000th photograph, it adds up to about 3 dollars in gasoline and one hour of my time. I’m certain that I’ll profit for having taken the time to look forward to that next photograph. The next photograph has value beyond the few pennies it will make me. It keeps me motivated, it keeps me engaged and it pays for itself in the long run. What could be more simple than that?

Today’s photograph is of a great blue heron. It’s my 2,000th accepted stock photo and I’m quite proud of it.

Today, I’m sharing it with you too.

It’s Worth The Price

Yellow -headed Blackbird by Gary Gray
Yellow -headed Blackbird

Feathered Friday.

Still not much happening with my photography these days, so I’ll share some older stuff until the new stuff arrives.

There is a area near Walden, Colorado where these Yellow-headed blackbirds often gather. They are not easily spooked and make good photographic subjects. I think they are lovely and enjoy finding them.

Things are beginning to green up here in Colorado, at least below 6,000 feet. It will be another month before the high country sees what we have down here in Denver.

This is the time of year we do out house repairs and we just finished installing a very long stretch of privacy fence. Once I get through with the maintenance stuff, I’ll be heading up north to get the cabin opened for the season. The cabin can be hit and miss. About half the time we have a plumbing problem with the water pipes. Winter runs long and is harsh in the Laramie Mountains of Northern, Colorado. It’s worth the price.

Until I’m Gone

Photograph of a misty fog over a lake in Colorado
Dawn in the Rocky Mountains

A much needed dose of peace and tranquility.

Some mornings you wake up and the world’s conflicts are thrust upon you.

I’m cognizant of the fact that I’m far more fortunate than many to be able to experience peace and beauty in my life.

This photograph is a reminder that not everything in this world revolves around politics and war.

May you enjoy peace and tranquility in your life.

I hope I can keep it this way until I’m gone.

Daydreaming of The San Juan Mountains

Panoramic photo of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado
San Juan Mountains – Colorado

After three weeks of website work, I’m taking Friday off. My mind is burnt and I’m daydreaming about getting into the mountains.

Today’s photo was taken near Ridgway, Colorado a few years back.

I’ve visited this location many times over the years. It’s a grand view and the variation in weather, sky and autumn color from year to year always makes for a new and interesting scene.

I’ll be working in the San Juans this Autumn and taking bookings for private photo tours. Check out my main website for more information.

Wednesday’s Photograph

Sunset on the windows section of arches national park
Arches National Park, Utah

I’m still holed up in my office working on Internet stuff but this warm weather is calling me to get outside.

I’ve started a new project helping a blind friend build a website and that to me seems more important at the moment than more photos of Blue Heron.  I have photos of Blue Heron.

I’ll be patient until spring is in full swing.


Sunday Morning Deer Action

Wildlife photography by Gary Gray
Mule Deer Doe

Out to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR this morning.

There have been news reports of newborn bison at the Arsenal so my buddy Tim and I made a run through the arsenal this morning.

Lots of bison, lots of deer, not a lot of photography as the animals weren’t exactly in good light for most of the morning.  Still, we managed to spot three newborn bison calves. One looks like it was born in the past 24 hours as the mother was looking quite raw and low on strength.

Bison photograph by Gary Gray
Newborn Bison Calf

The placenta is still fresh and hanging from the calf and the mother is on her feet.  One of three calves we spotted.

Fleeting Moments

Wildlife Photography by Gary Gray

Today is Thursday. By 6:30 am, I’ve fed the dog, loaded the dishwasher and greeted the new sunrise on the porch. Everyone else is still sleeping. Fifteen minutes later, I’m sitting in my office holding my coffee mug, staring at the computer screen.

“What to write today?” I’m thinking. I sip more coffee. I think this same thought every day that begins in front of the computer.

I’ll start with a photograph. That usually gets the chocks removed from the wheels.  The fox activity in the neighborhood has been picking up, I’m thinking a fox photo might help direct my mind.

I find a photo of a Red Fox running across an open field near Red Feathers. In it’s mouth is a field mouse. A fleeting moment, out of the blue. I’m lucky to have witnessed it and even more lucky to have photographed it. The moment came and went in less than 30 seconds.

Sipping my coffee, I’m down to the last and it’s no longer warm.

“I have something to work with” I’m thinking. “Fleeting moments. Yeah, fleeting moments is a good theme.” My thoughts progress as I scoot away from my desk with coffee cup in hand.

As I walk downstairs, the front door comes in to view and I see the bottom half of my daughter-in-law’s car in the driveway. Trudy has been watching the kids this week but I wasn’t expecting them today.

“Oh, surprise. Always the last to find out.” I’m thinking as I open the front door to let her and my grand-daughter in.

As they enter the house, Trudy appears from the kitchen. Doobie runs to the door and tangles himself in the group trying to coax Ava into playing. The noise went from silent to a crescendo of confusion in less than 5 seconds.

I’m receiving fragments of the conversation at this point so I decide to proceed down the hall into the kitchen to refill my coffee mug. Doobie and Ava dart by me. Trudy and Chelsea are right behind me. The noise level hasn’t decreased.

“Do you have your wallet?” Trudy directs her attention to me. I’m in my sweats and my hair looks like I’ve slept in a wind-tunnel.

“Ahhh, no. It’s upstairs.” I reply.

“Chelsea needs ones.” Trudy says.

More sentence fragments enter my ears, thoughts are coagulating. Something about Chelsea needing three, one dollar bills for Noah at school this morning, which apparently wasn’t known about until Noah got to school.

No worries, three dollars should be possible. The school is a couple of blocks from our house, so coming here is a lot easier than driving to a bank machine and getting $20 and then trying to break it. School is starting.

I return to the kitchen with my wallet which contained a single dollar bill. I proudly pull it out and hand it to Chelsea.

“If you ever talk about me behind my back Chelsea, please tell them that I’m the kind of guy who would give you his last dollar.” I grinned like a hobo who just found a bottle of whiskey.

Trudy and Chelsea continue talking. More fragments assemble. Chelsea is embarrassed. Doobie is still running and jumping, tipping the trash bin, smacking his head. Ava is somewhere down there tangled up with Doobie.

Trudy takes the dollar bill from Chelsea and hands her a twenty.

“You didn’t have enough ones?” I ask. “I only have the one.”

Trudy stares at me for a second and hands me the dollar bill.

“Here, give it to Chelsea” Her hair is in worse shape than mine.

“I just did.” I say, wondering what just happened.

“Oh. Well, she probably won’t need it then.” She says

I place the single bill back into my wallet and move towards the coffee pot.

Fifteen minutes later.

Chelsea and Ava and Doobie are all about their business. Mom is downstairs getting her coffee. Trudy and I are sitting on the back porch enjoying the nice morning, waking up from our stupors.

“So, you take the dollar from Chelsea, give it to me and tell me to give it to her?” I said in a low, almost laughing tone.

“I don’t think my mind was working yet.” Trudy replies. She starts laughing and continues laughing.

“This may be the all time best blonde moment you’ve had.” I say.

She laughs harder. I laugh with her. The sun is up. The coffee is hot.

Fleeting Moments.



April Fools

Photography by Gary Gray
Doobie And His Stick

Happy Sunday, Happy Easter, Happy April Fools Day.

Did I miss anything?

Yeah.  April Fools Day awareness.

Trudy is the Queen of April Fool jokers.

I thought I’d get her first this morning. Aiming for the right benign moment to lull her using her own type A personality traits. I went to the front door to open it for the day and just sorta blurted out. “Someone’s parked in our driveway.”  I unlocked the door and walked outside into the empty driveway and waited for her to appear at the front door.

She was on to me when I first opened my mouth. A swing and a miss.

Two hours later

I’m in the kitchen sorting my weekly pill container (old folks favorite pastime) when Trudy comes bolting through the back porch door with a horrified look on her face.

“Dooby caught the rabbit, Doobie caught the rabbit, oh my God.” She runs to the cupboard to get a trash bag and starts looking at me like she was going to cry.

I’m sitting there and now thinking…

“Great, now I have to go out and finish off the mangled Easter Bunny on Easter morning”

I rose from my chair and started out the door. I did not notice at first but it occurred to me, Doobie was right behind me following me outside. He wasn’t the least bit excited, just following me. I’ve been had.

The last thing I heard before the porch door closed was…

“April Fools”