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Love the Journey

A little over 3 years ago my wife, Angela, was offered an opportunity to pursue a PhD in physiotherapy at the University of Otago. After many months of deliberation, we decided to make the leap, and move across the world to New Zealand. Both of us left our jobs, and families, behind to pursue this dream of Angela's.

Fast forward 3 years, and we have just reached the milestone we set out to conquer. Angela has completed her PhD! What a boss! There was never any doubt in my mind she was going to finish on time, though she may have had her reservations, at times. We both walked her bound manuscripts to the clock tower building, and dropped them off. She was given chocolate fish, and two posters, in return. What a fantastic accomplishment. I couldn't be more proud of Angela and the effort she put forth during her time at Uni Otago. Not only was she a dilligent student, she was also my insta-model and adventure buddy!

We have both agreed, this move was the best decision of our 8-year relationship. There have been so many barriers unlocked by this undertaking, and we lived in another country for 3 years! New Zealand will remain a part of us forever.

The moral of this story, follow your dreams no matter how grandiose, or out of reach.

Peace and love.

 

Sony A7r2 - 16-35 f4

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Supporting Your Brain Growth - Links of Knowledge

Since leaving graduate school, in 2002, I have always done my best to continue my pursuit of knowledge. Whether it be of a practical nature, or academic, I often seek out those who are an inspiration to me and the dreams I am pursuing. The links aren't in any particular order, just as they have been remembered.

For those looking to build a business in fine art photography, or photography in general

Brooke Shaden - Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Life lessons from some of the world's most influential people

Tim Ferriss - Tribe of Mentors

Discussions of conservation, hunting, land management, and tales from the American West

Mountain & Prairie podcast

One of the best explanations of Bitcoin I have yet to hear - Highly recommend subscribing to the Kevin Rose podcast, as well

Bitcoin's true promise, with Andreas Antonopoulos

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A year ago today

It seems I forgot to heed my own advice last year. If you break away from your current job, and pursue your passions, the life you truly want to live will await you. I kept telling myself, my wife, and my family this was my path, the part about passions, that is. I think many of us, in our own mind, truly believe breaking away from our current vocation is as easy as saying it aloud. While that might be the first step, and one that is needed, the second step (breaking away) requires much more effort.

Is it that the passions I thought I was pursuing weren't a strong enough motivator for me to move on? It is hard to say, and something I struggle with on a daily basis. Photography is a passion, fitness is a passion, mentoring others is a passion, outdoor therapy is a passion, conservation is a passion. Combining them into one singular passion would seem simple, but as of yet it eludes me.

My hope is that in putting it in writing on my blog, it will motivate me to take the next step in my career evolution. Time will tell.

Time to get outside and play!

Sony A9 - 24-70 - 2.8

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Gratitude is a life choice

Simple, but at times not the easiest mantra to adhere to. There is no doubt I have so much in my life to be grateful for. Being born in the US, as a white, middle-class, male would all but guarantee I will have access to all I could ever need to live a fulfilling life.

My youth was spent growing up in a very loving household, one with its foundation set in the Lutheran church. Approaching life with grace, and humility, was not a birthright, but rather something I was fortunate to cultivate through my teenage years. Throughout high school, and into college, quite a few did there best to take advantage of these virtues I held so dear. It wasn't until I broke away from the "traditional" path that I fully started to build my life of service. Whether it be in a clinical setting, or a sport setting, I aimed to offer my whole entire being to those I was entrusted to serve. This worked all the way up until I stopped taking care of myself. After a major battle with a staph infection, I started building a service program for myself. I was still able to serve others, it was now not in spite of myself but in addtion.

While I know its not practical to think everyone can offer unconditional gratitude, it is my life goal to pursue this endeavor. Ideally this pursuit will be one that allows for my own self-preservation.

Giving thanks (Thanksgiving) shouldn't be confined to one day out of every year. It should be the mindset that guides the art of life.

Peace and love to all.

Sony A9 - 24-70 f2.8

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The need for artists, and their art, in today's world

It seems every other news headline these days is in reference to a negativity that persists throughout the world. The current US political climate, and the earth's climate, are both subjects that have been hotly debated. Both are quite disturbing, but the sheer negligence exhibited by some US lawmakers, towards the needs of our planet, are just downright criminal. Frustration grows amongst all those who are doing their best to make climate change their personal battle, but without our political leaders taking up the initiative it could all be for naught. With that being said, fighting the good fight is always worth the effort. We have another election coming up in less than 12 months, which will allow us a platform to voice our concerns.

Throughout history artists have done their best to influence how we perceive the world, most often keeping us more informed and mindful of the fragility of our planet . During tumultuous times, like the ones we are currently experiencing, this is more important than ever. It is not meant to be a distraction, like sporting events, but rather inspire conversation and provoke emotion. Those two can then be utilized for the betterment of the human condition and could lead (hopefully, with targeted work!) to the preservation of our natural world. The hope is for a positive emotional response, and a move to action.

The time for art is now. A force for good, and inspiration. Focus must be maintained for we are all needed now to fight the good fight.

Light and love to all!

 

Sony A9 - 16-35 f4

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Lifelong love of the natural world

Ever since I was a young boy growing up in semi-rural Wisconsin, I've always had a fascination with the natural world. From collecting turtles, frogs, and snakes at the local creek, to fishing with my dad at a nearby lake, wild places, and the animals that live there, had always been a part of my life. I often had multiple buckets, or an old kiddie pool, with turtles, fish, frogs (the ones that would stay), or snakes in them. I never thought of becoming a veterinary, conservationist, or zoologist, but thinking back now there is a chance I may have missed my calling.

During my 20s, and 30s, I interacted with the natural world, but it was different. It was mainly approached from a utilitarian standpoint. A means of getting fitter for a particular sporting event, or as part of a work obligation. I truly hadn't immersed myself since I was a teenager. Why? I guess because I was too busy, which is a very sad excuse. Unfortunately it's all I can come up with, and have tried to rectify as I've moved into my 40s.

Breaking away from a job that reinforced these bad habits was the first step, and took moving to New Zealand to accomplish (thanks to my very intelligent wife, soon to be PhD). The natural world has been a major part of our lives for the past 3 years, with a significant improvement in mental health, and well-being, rising out of the experience. Though, I will say, the one big difference I've noticed is that the lake/pond life is almost non-existent aside from water fowl. There are no turtles, snakes, frogs, or salamandars to be found. If they are here, I have never laid eyes on them. The fish are plentiful, but quite a few have been introduced. I know this doesn't seem like much, but having lakes/ponds without wildlife is a bit eerie.

The photo below is from my first hike, after having broken my ankle. It was a little uncomfortable climbing up to Diamond Lake in an orthopedic boot, but the reflections we saw were well worth it. Thankful to have had Angela by my side the whole way.

Get wild!

 

Sony A9 - 16-35 f4

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Still of the night - astrophotography = outdoor therapy + meditation

I long admired the night scenes I saw on popular photography websites like Flikr and Google+. It was early on in my photography journey that I came across these wonderful depictions of the Milky Way, and other celestial bodies. While living in North Carolina, the work responsibilities I imposed on myself prevented any exploration in this area. Fortunately, moving to New Zealand not only afforded me the time, it also has some of the darkest skies on the planet (minimal light pollution).

At first it was purely an exploration of the technique it requires to shoot a beautiful night scene. Once technique was established, then it was a matter of finding compelling night compositions. The process has become almost all but automatic, and therefore I can spend more time truly exploring the surroundings and partaking in the stillness. Being outdoors is therapeutic, but being outdoors at night is a whole new level. There are many a back road in Dunedin where ambient light is non-existent. I do my best to keep my headlamp off whenever possible (even when it costs me a broken leg). There is so much to experience when one's sight becomes less sensitive. In a country like New Zealand, with no dangerous predators, being out in the dark is extremely safe (even in the middle of the back-country).

If you are in North America, always be mindful of your surroundings when shooting at night. I wish it were as safe as New Zealand, but that is, unfortunately, not the case. This doesn't mean astrophotography is unattainable, it just means one has to work harder for a unique shot.

If you'd like to learn how I captured the shot below, and the editing process behind the final image, please reach out to me on the contact page.  Coaching, and teaching, are my passion, along with photography and outdoor activities!

Sony A9 - 24-70 f2.8

6-shot panorama - stitched in Adobe Lightroom

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Springtime snow

We have been thoroughly spoiled with warm temperatures in Dunedin over the past week. When heading to Queenstown we expected more of the same. The weather pattern had a little something different in mind for us. Island living is a beautiful thing.

 

Sony A9 - FE 24-70 2.8

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