Thursday, May 29, 2008

A change of course...

Many things have changed dramatically since I last weighed in here, nearly two months ago. My apologies to all who were living vicariously, or watching hopefully, through my blog. I'll summarize a bit, but there will still be a lot of stuff here.

When I was posting avidly, daily or more, my work schedule at the real job was 10am to 8pm, which allowed me to stay up until all hours of the night writing about my photographic endeavors. This changed in late February, roughly a week after the eclipse and just before the Feb 29th wedding. I was transferred to day shift, which starts at 4am at the plant, and for a supervisor, often extends until 6 or 7pm. 14 hour days, as you might imagine, pay well but severely limit one's free time to pursue hobbies, business launches, or for that matter, family.

I had submitted a request to drop my supervisor position and return to my tools, to do the job I loved and was damn good at for a more reasonable 8-10 hours a day, but that request was ignored. The company was under no obligation to allow me a demotion, and they elected not to. At the same time, I began to experience serious pressure to separate my work and photographic activities. My blog had been found, and my lack of discretion regarding work-related issues (and photographing an eclipse from the roof of the plant) were rather sternly frowned upon.

The combination of a total lack of personal time, the need to preserve my job, and desire to see my kids once in a while conspired to reduce my time spent posting on the blog to virtually nothing. I continued to do some photography when I could, mostly events through the school and other minor things of that nature. An attempt to gather the Bay Area DPR crew fell flat, but I hope they made it up to Yosemite as they were planning this month.

Financial considerations forced me to unload some of my less critical gear, quite to my dismay. The F4, a few lenses, and a flash and Pocket Wizard went to Craigslist. I still have the trusty D200, a pair of PW's, an SB-800, and an umbrella/lightstand. I find this can suffice for 95% of what I'm still doing, although I mourn the loss of the F4.

Then, in the space of perhaps three weeks, everything turned upside down. I had become increasingly disillusioned with work, mentally wandering from resentful to hating every minute I was there. I spent as little time there as I could, and consequently fell far behind on my responsibilities. I spoke to the manager repeatedly about giving up my desk and returning to my tools, to no avail. It was not difficult to sense that things were not going well, but I dealt with it by looking the other way. I spent weekends and evenings riding my motorcycle around the local hills and canyons, alone and often with local groups. It became an escape for me, because you can't ride a bike and think about anything else. You focus on the ride, or you don't ride. So I rode. Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, called in sick and traversed the Sierra Mountains one day, I just needed to be away.

So they sent me away.

Out the door Friday, May 16th with enough of a severance check to meet the family's needs for a bit.

Naturally, I went for a ride. Down Highway 1, through Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, almost to the fabulous Hearst Castle I rode that afternoon, just trying to forget the world with each bend in the road. And no, I didn't have my camera. Sorry.

I returned home late that night, spoke to my wife of what had transpired that day, and went to bed. Enjoyed the weekend with no worries of work or anything, and then went camping with the kids for a few days. Good times.

I have since gotten my job search into high gear, and although I don't have the money to sustain me until I find the perfect job, I think I'll be able to find a much better balance between work, family, pleasure, and business. I have made many friends in the local motorcycle community, and I am excited about the possibility of shooting at the local tracks, at races and events. I need to visit this further, but there are those making a living at it.

Cycle 61 Photography is not dead.

I just needed to go for a ride.

I make no promises of daily posts, as I find myself prone to spending far too much time on the internet and not enough focusing on my real life. I love my kids and family, and I have to remember that I'm doing this for them. I'll soon have another job, hopefully now for 40 hours a week instead of 80, and the photography will continue. Perhaps I could have borrowed many thousands of dollars, launched a Craigslist ad blitz, painted my car with the company logo, and found myself a full time photographer by now, but I have a household to support, and that (for now) still requires a paycheck.

Thanks to all who have been so encouraging along the way, please keep an eye out for me, because I will be here.

And I finally got the nerve to carry my camera while I ride, so although I may occasionally digress, at least the pictures will be good.

And on we go.....


Anonymous said...

Good to hear you're still around, and even better that you're finding a better balance between work, play, and family (so many people don't!).

Don't keep us hanging for so long next time! :-)

Dunc said...

G'wan yersel. I'm sure you've done the right thing and I wish you and yours guid luck for the future.

kenteroo said...

Hey Nick,
Sorry you're seeing some rough times (I'm not too far behind you) but it will all be OK in the end. Your heart is in the right place. Jobs come and go - family is forever.
We're not in the same industry but I have a decent network. Please shoot me a resume if you want and I'll do what little I might be able to do.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can shoot a wedding or two? Do some senior portraits? I'm pulling for you!

Anonymous said...

Nick, I must say I was enjoying your journey and was sad to see where you currently are.

I too have juggled family, full time career, and side business for a number of years and understand how difficult it can be.

You seem to have found the key though - balance. Most people can really only have 2, MAYBE 3 things they are really passionate about and give the time to those things that they need to truley be given the chance to be all they can with you.

Find your balance, but don't give up on the passion you have for photography. We can all see it in your writings and in your work.

Life's about the journey my man and the up's and down's along the way! I'll be rooting for you, keep us updated!