Ruminations - Part 2. Control what you can. Learn from what you can't.

'Rambling, long form, continuing blog posts of my personal discoveries... thus far.'

I’m trying a new, long form, blogging style in this post. I’ll be revisiting it often. I’m going to use it as a mental dump, a place to share some inner thoughts and discoveries. Although the topics that I’ll discuss here may not be purely or strictly ‘photographic’, they are deeper parts of me than I haven’t shared with the general public before. They do make me who I am today, as well as guide how I act in the future. Perhaps you will find some common ground with them, or something will resonate with you. If so, I hope you’ll chime in and leave a comment. 

Perhaps it is all TMI for you. That’s fine, I’ll have plenty of other blog posts with pictures of Alaska, tips, tricks, travel factoids, etc. that I think you’ll find fascinating. 
To each their own. 


One of the personal journeys I've been on over the past 1 & 1/2 years, is leaving jealousy behind.

Not in my relationships, but in my photography & business.

There are people out there that are doing 'better' (business-wise) than I was.

That bugged me.

Why are they getting all the attention? Why do they have more followers/fans/'friends'? They aren't that talented...

There are several reasons. Here are a few:

  • The work harder at it than I do.
  • They are that talented.
  • They were in the right place, at the right time. It doesn't matter if it was intentional or dumb luck.
  • They know people.

But this was when I was fixated on how I measured up.

As I wrote in a creative writing exercise that I self-assigned -

I found myself measuring my accomplishments with theirs.

An emptier game of comparison has never been played.

Ultimately, this envy became the driving force behind my lack of creative drive that lingered for over a year.

In the midst of it all, I realized a truth about art.

Creation for the sake of profit (or fame) is not art. It's marketing.

Creation for it's own sake, that is the basis of art.

Unfortunately, jealousy seems fairly prevalent in our industry.

It seems we have become very quick to judge the work of others, and the worthiness of their accolades.

This happens more frequently within the sub-genres of photography.

'Pros' have a certain knack for demeaning the work/experience/skill of 'amateurs'.

They condemn them for moving in and 'stealing' their livelihood.

This is usually followed by, "They are killing the industry!" and "They shouldn't even be paid for the work they do!"

Apparently, these 'pros' have forgotten that they too started their journey as rank amateurs.

Here's another truth.
You can't control what your competition does, or doesn't do.
You can't control how talented (or talentless) they may be.
You can't control how many followers/friends/fans they may have.
You can't control how the public perceives them.

But you can control yourself. You can control how you judge others publicly. You can control how you run your business. You can control how talented you are (or aren't). You can control your interactions.

Yes, there will always be people who garner undeserved attention.

I'm talking to you, Snookie, Justin Bieber, and Honey Boo Boo. (please send hate mail to link)

But how we react to someone else's success is what matters more.

So - control what you can. And learn from what you can't control.

And dump the jealousy. It smells awful. 

New image to share!

Speaking of bad smells. Yesterday, I began the photography portion of a new project I am working on. We've been working on the logistics portion for several months now, so it is nice to see the field work begin. Nope, I'm not going to talk about what the project is, or isn't. But I'd like to share a truly unique experience I was privy to yesterday.

This is an image of an Alaskan wolverine (Gulo gulo - Gulo is Latin for "glutton"). It is the largest of the land-dwelling species of the weasel family, looking more like a small bear. Like the skunk, it has potent scent glands that are used to mark its territory (hence it's nickname, the 'skunk bear'). It is one of the rarest carnivores we have up here. Over the past 9 years of being in Alaska, I have only ever seen 1 - before yesterday. The last sighting was a few years ago, in Powerline Pass - high above Anchorage. My good friend (Scott Slone) and I were hiking, and photographing bull moose during the fall rut (mating season). Yesterday, I was traveling with Kenai Fjords Tours, on my way to Northwestern Fjord. We received a report from another boat captain that a wolverine had just been sighted, and was dragging it's meal (a full grown harbor seal) over rocks, and away from the coastline. Needless to say, we made a beeline for the spot. When we arrived, the other small craft was departing to give us space. Along the rocky coastline, about 10 other harbor seals were hauled out - resting and warming themselves. Directly behind them, powerfully tearing into the flesh of a seal, was this wolverine.

I know people that have lived their entire lives in Alaska, and have never seen a wolverine. Now that I've seen two, I'm becoming kind of hooked on them:)

Wolverine - Gulo gulo