Long exposure, bouncing through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on May 2nd
You may have noticed that some of our posts aren’t about travel per se. Although Brian and I are on a round-the-world trip, we’re still on our personal journeys through life, independently and together, and we’ll be posting about those here as well.
We are what you you might call seekers. Of course we are, you could say. Who else would leave behind the comforts of home and the safety of good jobs to see the world and discover new things? Well, that’s just the beginning.
We both left our careers in Silicon Valley. Brian is fairly certain he’s identified his life’s work, but he’s not sure what direction he’ll take to pursue it. Me, I have no clue about my life’s work or what’s next for me, career-wise. I guess you could say I have clues, but either the big picture isn’t clear or I’m being willfully obtuse about it. I have too many interests, possibilities and ideas to settle just yet. Brian has three years on me, though, so maybe everything will become blissfully clear when I’m 35. I can always hope!
For the past several years, we’ve also been working to improve our health and fitness. Thanks to a healthy eating workshop we took in 2009, we generally eat local, organic foods with simple ingredients (bye-bye, high fructose corn syrup and incomprehensible additives!). Brian also runs regularly and is currently training for the Kona half-marathon, I take zumba classes and we share a regular yoga practice. At 6’4″ and 180-ish lbs, Brian is almost at his target weight. I have a little more work to do, but I’m working toward my goal.
Spiritually, we’re also seeking. We want to know the meaning of life and how the universe works, which has led to our study of metaphysics and the law of attraction. The latter was a big eye-opener for me! Anyone who knew me in college could attest to my general negativity (which, of course, I claimed was realism at the time). I’ve worked hard over the past several years to recognize and come to terms with how my attitude (ahem…vibration) drew certain people and events — both good and bad — into my life. As little as three years ago, I had a basic understanding of the secret, but I still thought that bad things were happening to me not because of me. Although I’m not perfect at maintaining alignment with my conscious intentions even now, I am able to take responsibility for everything that happens in my life, even when I don’t like it. This is huge for me!
As we continue our journeys, we’ll be updating you on our progress and new ideas. And, although we’re pretty committed to metaphysics, we’ll try not to get too woo-woo on you. We hope you enjoy the ride.
We’d love to hear your story as well, so share away! Are you a seeker? What are you exploring in your personal journey?
Last Thursday, Brian and I drove up to Honoka’a Public Library on the beautiful Hamakua coast for a free class on origami, the art of Japanese paper folding. We read about the class on an awesome local website: Big Island on the Cheap. Coincidentally, we also met one of the website’s founders at the class. The Big Island is a small place!
Our class of eight was taught by Deb Pun Discoe of Aloha Origami. Deb and her husband also have an egg and tea farm nearby.
Our project was pretty involved for this first-time origamist, but Deb was always there to lend a helping hand. We each made two tulips with leaves, a frame to back the tulips (more complicated than it sounds) and a small, scrap-paper box. Here are my efforts:
Pretty good for a beginner, I think. Anyone else do origami? What is your favorite thing to make?
Five years ago during our honeymoon in Hawaii, Brian and I stopped at a little restaurant on the way from the Kona airport to our first rental cabin in Hamakua. It’s name is Cafe Pesto, and it’s located in the tiny village of Kawaihae on the Kohala peninsula. Remembering the place fondly, we visited it again last week and were happy to find it still in business. As we recalled, its walls were decorated by the Harbor Gallery next door, giving patrons something to gaze at if conversation lags.
You know if there’s a gallery in sight, I’m headed to it. We spent at least an hour wandering through the koa creations, photos, jewelry and other artwork. Upstairs at Mountain Gold, we struck up a conversation with proprietor and jeweler Moses Thrasher, who has specialized in creating custom jewelry on the Big Island for more than two decades. He told us that he was the original creator of Hawaiian whale tail jewelry and other island-themed charms. I personally love his tiny honu charm and have added it to my wishlist.
After wrapping up our conversation with Moses, we headed back downstairs to talk to Harbor Gallery owner Gunner Mench. As I mentioned, I’m a fan of the work of Victoria McCormick and I inquired if she had any numbered prints available. Although she’s no longer issuing them, Gunner helped us dig through his inventory and we found several older limited editions. We liked what we saw, but I mentioned that what I really wanted was one of my favorite images of hers, even though the limited edition had long since sold out. To our surprise, Gunner immediately picked up the phone and called Victoria to ask if she had any numbered prints remaining from the extremely popular series. She did! She had reserved a small number of artist proofs and was willing to sell us one at an excellent price. “Done!,” I responded. He arranged to pick it up from her and had it for us at his gallery the very next day. What amazing service!
Big thanks to Victoria, Gunner and Harbor Gallery for adding to my photography collection. As a result of Gunner’s efforts, Brian and I are now the proud owners of a one-of-a-kind print of The Journey Home and a limited edition of Point of Tranquility. It really pays to ask for what you want, doesn’t it?
Do you have an example of a time when overcoming fear and asking for what you really wanted landed you something great? Please share! We love hearing your stories.
P.S., I know we’re on a world trip and I wrote a whole post about not acquiring any new stuff, but when it comes to art, I have very limited control. What can I say, I’m a collector! When we’re done in Hawaii, we’ll send the prints home to be stored safely until our return.
One of my favorite working photographers recently posted a list of “20 perfect things” on his blog, recognizing the simply perfect, small pleasures in his photographic life. His #19 really resonated with me:
#19. Photographing what you love without regard for what anyone else thinks. Sure, it’s nice to hear people rave about your images, but at the end of the day the only thing that really matters is that you love them and loved making them. Being a so-called amateur has this strongly in its favour. Don’t ever forget why you do this. — David duChemin
For the past several years, I have run my own wedding and portrait photography business. What started with an intention to shoot exactly what I wanted, how I wanted — which for me meant purely candid, artistic images of people in the moment, laughing, loving and being themselves — over time morphed into a conglomeration of other people’s advice, desires and expectations.
Here are just a few of the suggestions I’ve gotten over the years:
- People prefer tender images of their children looking into the camera. What you want to shoot doesn’t sell. — Photographer
- Photojournalism is for lazy photographers. You need to pose your clients. — Photographer (Note: If you’ve ever seen a photojournalist in action, you’ll know this is hilarious!)
- Photojournalism is dead. It’s all about fashion photography now. You need to continually update your style. — Photographer
- You need to diversify and provide all types of photography: head shots, commercial, portraits, wedding, etc. — Business owner
- You have to do in-person sales consultations with a projection system in order to make money. — Industry expert
- Never sell the digital negatives. — Industry expert
- Never post your prices on your website. — Industry expert
- I love your style but can you change [insert fundamental aspect of my style] just for me on my wedding day? — Prospective client
I think you get the picture, and there are dozens more where those came from. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not pointing the finger here and I take full responsibility for my predicament. I got wrapped up in the well-meaning advice of people who were older or more experienced, and I discounted the advice of my own heart. But here’s the secret no one cops to: Even if the advice given was truly the “secret sauce” for that person, I am not him or her and I can’t replicate another person’s success by doing exactly what he/she did. So, what now?
I’m commencing a personal detox program:
- First, I’m going to take some time off. Although I’m taking gear on our trip, it’s going to live in its cozy, little bag until I feel inspired to pull it out.
- Then, I’m going to take some time to shoot what I want, when I want and how I want in order to rekindle my love for photography.
- After some time has passed, I will revisit whether to keep my love private or go public with it (i.e. to keep photography a hobby or to put my shingle back out).
If the latter wins, I will define very specifically how I work, and I will make that clear in all of my promotional materials. I can’t do everything well and, more importantly, I don’t want to. I resolve to be true to myself going forward, and to develop selective hearing loss to ensure that well-meaning advice and suggestions no longer make me second-guess my convictions. Probably easier said than done, right? Well, we all need goals. 😉 Stay tuned to see how I’m doing.
Is there anything in your life that you loved but have lost passion for? What happened? What are you doing to reconnect, if anything? Inquiring minds want to know.