Blessed Thanks…

Every year it’s become tradition for me to write a blog post giving thanks for all of the things I think that are wonderful in my life. Sometimes there are lots, sometimes there are just a few. It’s tough to really figure it out honestly, except that I feel like honestly there are always lots of things everyone can and should be thankful for. I’ve had a lot of big changes in my life this year and while on the outside some may seem bad, some have been incredibly wonderful. I’ll get to any of that in a bit, but honestly like many in this world I have been blessed this year and I hope that anyone reading this can also find ways that they too have been blessed by the year.

Photo by Tom Klubens

First off I want to say that I am thankful for my incredibly wonderful wife Shannon. We got married in May and couldn’t be happier. Well ok, maybe we could, but that’s only if I can fix some of my bad habbits and possibly clean up after myself a little better around the house… I digress though as she is my world. I think about her on while I’m at home, on the road, while I’m asleep. I’m thinking about her right now, as I type this up on my iPad sitting at my Uncle’s island in his kitchen. I always wonder what she is doing, and she is always ready to roll her eyes when I accidentally face time her with my iphone from my pocket going into a job. OK that last one didn’t actually happen, but it almost did. I caught it before it connected, but she called me back anyway. Because she loves me. I am so incredibly blessed and thankful for her. She is my light through the storm, and my rock when the tide gets tough either by life, by my own silliness. I am thankful for all those who made it to our wedding, and am sad about the fact that including us there were less than 50 people we were able to invite. There are lots of friends out there that we would have loved to have seen, but honestly the 200+ attendee wedding wasn’t for us. Lots of people understand that, and for that I am also thankful.

I am also incredibly thankful as always for my family who has supported any decisions I’ve made over the years whether good or bad. (Yes dad, we are aware that feeding the stray cat outside so many times legally makes him ours. We are ok with that.) My family has its quirks like anybodies does, but they are mine and I love them. And am very thankful they have been there for me my entire life through the good, and the not so good.

I am thankful for the Indianapolis Star where I got my big shot if you will. I shot for Purdue while I went there, but it wasn’t until the Star that I was a real full time pro. The photo above was from the Annual Cancer Survivors walk from a few years ago, and it was just one of many things that I shot for the paper. Along with the journalism I shot even more commercial work and really I wouldn’t be the photographer I am today if it weren’t for the Star. In July of this year I found out that they were laying me off. I was part of a worldwide reduction of 300+ people. You may be wondering why am I thankful for them then? Because I survived. I’ve picked up other jobs and I have done what I have watched many attempt to do over the years, and that’s start freelancing full time. Its a scary place to be, the freelance photography world. I’ve read Joe McNally talk about how he will be on a job and start thinking to himself; “well, this is it, this will be my last job because I’ve F@$^@)@&ed this up so bad nobody will ever hire me again”. It’s exactly like that. You get done with a job and can only hope for the best sometimes. You do the best you can, and do your best to make sure the client is happy. It’s a tumultuous and yet very rewarding job and I’m incredibly blessed and thankful to be a part of it in the way that I am. I am thankful that I have recently been able to partner with Roberts Camera in January to do a Sports Photography workshop where we will be photographing a Indiana ICE hockey game. It doesn’t look like it’s on their education calendar yet, but it will be soon so stay tuned. I will also be teaching a speedlight intensive class for them in a TBD location. Both are a very exciting opportunity for me, and whomever signs up and I look forward to seeing where this opportunity might go. Those, among other opportunities that have come up since being out on my own, have been a wonderfully humbling and honoring experience that I am exceptionally thankful for. I’ve been shooting non stop since leaving the Star. I’ve started shooting more sports, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but the paper would never let me. Since September my sports work has been picked up by Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine most notably in print, and umpteen other places online including both previously mentioned websites as well as the Big Ten Network and the I’m incredibly thankful that my work seems to be well received since honestly I hadn’t shot sports consistently in years before September. It’s funny how sometimes things change when you least expect them right? I am so incredibly thankful that my grandfathers up above who got me into photography in the first place must be looking out of for me.

Last but certainly not least, thank you everybody who reads this blog. In almost all cases I don’t know who you are, but if you have been here even once it gives me a reason to write. If you were hoping in this post that I talked about being thankful for my Nikon D4, or Nikon 200-400 I apologize. While those are both great things, there will be other cameras; other lenses in my bag over time. While I am thankful for them, they are things of the moment. My wife, family, friends, skills, and hopefully any of you will last much longer than any gear. So, THANK YOU. Because of you I push myself to work smarter, not harder and that is no easy task. I joke around about having about 8 readers, but the truth is that at the time of this writing the blog has had almost 40,000 unique visits since January. So again, Thank you. Thank you for being inspirational even though I don’t know your names or what you’re looking for, and for helping me to think of new things while I am shooting, and write about them here. I hope nobody took time away from their family to read this today and if you did get back to them. They are important. For goodness sakes though, save any shopping you have to do for tomorrow. Enjoy some family, enjoy some turkey, take a nap. Thanks again and as always; More Soon