I'm big into reflections. I use reflections in my photography because they can make dramatic photographs. Lately however, I've been reflecting on a personal level because I keep thinking and reflecting about these past few years, my first years as a photographer.
Photography, although my love and my passion, is not how I pay my mortgage. I work as a Nurse Practitioner at a local hospital in San Francisco. It is incredibly high demand, stressful and draining, days filled with a sea of ICU bells and whistles.
One of the advantages to my career is that the days are long but few and there are long stretches where I'm not working, leaving me with a bounty of time to explore. Armed with our newly adopted yellow lab, Luna, I sought out to learn this foreign land of San Francisco and all the beauty it contains.
Throughout my first few years of photography, I began to learn not only the art of taking a photograph, but the art of nature, the cyclical rhythm that beats and repeats quietly in the background.
I learned that a full moon rising is always coordinated and connected to a setting sun, every month, year round.
I learned that contrary to commonly thought, San Francisco does have seasons. They're subtle and not as dramatic as the leaves changing, or blizzards measured in feet not inches, but if you focus on the weather you can see them ever changing around you.
A San Francisco fall, the days will be long and warm but the mornings will be filled with beautiful low lying fog that just barely covers the Golden Gate Bridge, only being held back by the sun breaking the horizon.The winter rains can produce crystal clear skies, allowing you to peer out to the edge of the continental shelf, the Farallone islands, some 23 miles in the Pacific.
As the winds change and the winter showers begin to bleed into spring, it creates spectacularly vibrant green rolling hills where once was brown, draped in infinite spring flowers, but only briefly.The seasons in Northern California are that the inland summer desert sun heats the air causing the cool waters of the Pacific to condense into a perpetual Fogust.
This year as a photographer I learned about the art but also the business. That sales and respect are not expected but earned. That 'Likes' are flattering, but prestige is honorable and much more difficult to obtain. I learned that there are many, many good photographers, but very few Masters, yet many self-proclaimed, ironic because the true Master knows his talents and is humble.
But most importantly, more prominent than the lessons of nature and the lessons of man, was what I learned about myself and my family.
This past year, I saw more sunrises than the first 34 years of my life combined. I watched the sun rise and set with my dog, and if it wasn't too early, with my wife as well.
Looking back, at my reflection, I can't tell you whether the sky was pretty. I can't tell you if I captured the photo or not. But after reflecting for a bit, I realized it was never about creating a photograph. It was about the time that I create for myself and the time that I create for my family.
And the patience that there will always be another sunset tomorrow.