As I had mentioned in my last post, I have moved back to San Diego for good.
I still have to come back for some photoshoots and a weddings I have booked, so I will have a chance to hang out with some of you Austin-ites again.
I just wanted to share a few things
- Why I moved and why it was so sudden
- My journey out to San Diego
- My future here in San Diego as a wedding and portrait photographer
~There are a couple reasons for leaving Austin. I had a chance to take stock in my life, where I wanted it to go, and where I was. The truth is, I was spending my time trying to make money so I could visit back to San Diego more than I was. I was also using a consulting job I had and the economy as an excuse to not move back.
But what I was really hiding to myself was the strong desire to be close to my dear friends, and be able to surf every afternoon I wanted.
And when my divorce to Heather became final on July 15th, there was one less thing keeping me from moving back. From the beginning, I think we were really just trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. It’s very unfortunate and sad. I wasn’t happy trying to fit that mold. Through it, I’ve found a profound respect for honesty with oneself.
And with that honesty, I saw that if I didn’t move back I would only hurt myself more. And that I would constantly be living a life ruled by my circumstances and excuses. So I took back my life two days before I was supposed to leave on vacation. The next day, I started getting things lined up to move out.
~With Austin in the rear view mirror, I set out to climb a mountain. It was a metaphor and an actual physical challenge. A new beginning in life seems like a spiritual and emotional mountain to ascend.
Sierra Blanca is the highest mountain in Southern New Mexico, as well as the Southern U.S. I had first learned about it back in ’98 or ’99. But then it was only the backdrop to the Spencer Performing Arts Center in Ruidoso, NM. It was designed by Antoine Predock, who, as a Architecture student at the time, I had a major crush on. One year on a photo trip through the Southwest, I made sure to include Ruidoso on my itinerary to see the building up close.
Since then I have had an unquenchable desire to climb a mountain. And Sierra Blanca was a good one to start with. 12,000ft, easy trail for most of the way up the 2,500 foot elevation change, a little scrambling before the summit, but nothing technical. So that was the one
I tried on my last trip to San Diego over Christmas, but the mountain was covered in 24″ of fresh powder which denied an attempt at the summit.
But on my way out this last time, I had beautiful conditions. And I did it!
It was the most physically challenging thing I’d ever done in my life. The altitude punished my lungs and consequently my oxygen deprived legs. Even the slightest uphill slopes would have my sucking air. There was a smaller peak to the North of Sierra Blanca called Lookout Peak, and as I rested at the top, and saw my goal in the distance, I knew nothing was going to stop me from achieving what I wanted to that day. The ascent up the saddle was the worst thing I had put my body through, but an hour later as I scrambled over those last few boulders and I walked out 12,000 feet over New Mexico, it was the greatest feeling of accomplishment in my life.
~Taking the metaphor of the mountain to my new beginning here in San Diego, it is very much like looking out at that big peak, knowing that this is something I will do. It will be very tough, starting a business in this economy is a tough prospect. But I know that I am a gifted person, I know that I can provide an amazing service, and I have a tremendous amount of faith that my work will spread and the business will grow. My goal is to become recognized as one of the top 10 wedding photographers in San Diego.
It will be tough, but I am already hot on the path, I have an appointment to be voted into the Professional Photographers of San Diego County which is the local PPA affiliate, and seek out possibly becoming a board member, I am lining myself up for the big bridal shows, and looking for any and every opportunity to promote myself and my photography. My days, inbetween hunting for a real job, has been market research and putting together product offerings. I’ve never been more motivated to make this work.
~Things have been a bit of a whirl wind the past couple weeks. And, I had a photographer friend from England ask how I continue to photograph people being so expressly happy on their wedding day, while I go through my divorce and a big upheaval in my own life.
It’s quite easy for me actually. I’ve been photographing and surfing since before I was 14 years old. I’m happiest in life when I’m doing one of those two things.
And knowing that we all are not perfect, that we all have some form of crap to deal with in our lives, documenting an occasion when everyone takes a break from that stuff in life, to honor and celebrate two people’s love for one another is just the tops for me. I couldn’t be happier.
…Well maybe if the wedding took place on surfboards.