As my alarm went off at 4:00 am – the first thought in my head was why do I do this? As I kissed my sleeping kids and wife good-bye so I could get to the airport, I wondered, why do I do this? I loaded my bags in my truck and headed to the airport, had the whole road to myself, still wondering why do I do this? Shared the airport shuttle with a couple heading to Utah for a week of skiing, they asked where I was headed, “Santa Fe, NM, skiing they asked? No photography workshop. So you’re a photographer? I am, Wow that must be a great job. It is.” With that, I started to realize why I do this. Being a photographer IS a great job. I get paid to do what a lot of people consider a hobby. I get a unique reaction when I tell people that I take pictures for a living. Not sure if I’m alone with noticing this but it’s been fairly recent that I’ve noticed people’s response, perhaps that reaction has been there all along and I’m just seeing it now”¦not sure. Perhaps it’s because there are so many digital camera owners today, that everyone thinks they are a photographer. It would be really cool to tell people; I’m a test pilot or rodeo clown or something truly distinctive like an astronaut.
I think the best parts about being a photographer are venturing out on excursions like I’m doing this week. Spending a week with a great shooter and teacher like Joe McNally and I get to spend the whole week taking pictures, not sure of what we will be shooting yet, but I get to take my craft to another level. As Joe said to us in our first gathering, “we get to make photos for a living, how great is that? Some people have to sit in a cubicle crunching numbers all day.”
As I finished the first part of this post on the first leg of my flight out to New Mexico, I was trying to figure how to wrap it up. Then I sat next to Ed on the connecting flight from Chicago to Albuquerque. Ed is a semi-retired, very well off restaurant owner from California. He saw me reading my Joe McNally book and asked if I shot for a hobby or a profession, when I told him I shot professionally, that kindled a three hour discussion about photography. As it turns out, Ed loves photography; in fact he loves it so much he spends months at a time traveling the world taking pictures. We talked about cameras, lighting, funny photography stories and unique challenges. As we gathered our things to leave the plane, I thanked him for a great flight and the perfect closer to why I do this.