Something to SEA: SoulSEAker’s Monthly Newsletter Reminder

I am pleased to share that SoulSEAker now has a monthly newsletter!  Newsletter content will be a bit more personal than what I post here on the blog.  Also, if you sign up, you will receive a free electronic copy of my new book, Escape: Lessons from the Sea, containing soothing beach photos I’ve taken over the years, along with tidbits of wisdom from the sea.  It will be sent as a .pdf file within 48 hours of signing up.

If you’d like to sign up for the newsletter, please click here.  The second issue will hit inboxes in early April.

I am looking forward to sharing this new venture with you.  As always, thanks for reading and for your support.

PS: Should you be interested in purchasing a hard copy of Escape: Lessons from the Sea, please click here.

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Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 3/5/3016

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Hello and welcome once again to the end of another week here on Earth.  An interesting week, with one extra day, snow, the return of Scott Kelly to our home planet after a year in space, the beginning of a new month, cotton candy sunsets, the budding of daylilies, and more. Spring is definitely coming, and one of the yearly signs of spring that I get excited for is the opening of a restaurant in my town called Shrimp Box.  They close before the holidays each year, and when Shrimp Box opens, it surely is a sign that warmer weather is on the way.  Another sign, not so welcome, is that free parking in the meters and town lots along the Inlet and ocean, which began November 1, ends on March 1.  But paying for an hour of parking is better than deal with freezing temperatures (at least to me).

As you check out this week’s roundups of interesting clicks, take a look around your physical world as well.  What signs of spring do you see?  I’d love to hear!  Leave me a comment if you’d like, and take note of the small transitions which will usher in the season of renewal and rebirth.

Despite Mainstream Attention, New Jersey Skateboarder Still Remains Ambitious – wonderful post about a former student, Rob Werner, who is taking the skateboard world by storm.  I love following his journey and the fact a student has turned into an inspiration.

Treasures of Ireland: Along the Banks of the River Shannon – by the Palladian Traveler…oh to return there again!

Only YOU Can Create the Life of You Truly Desire – good post by the Art of Simple

15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog – by Joshua Becker over at becomingminimalist

How to Focus on the Present Moment – some practical ways to be present

90-Year-Old With Cancer Chooses Epic Road Trip With Family Instead of Treatment – I would too!

How To Read the 3 Signs Telling Your Purpose In Life – from Time Magazine

What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed – by Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Nonconformity

From the Trenches: Phlogging the Cold War Surf Contest in Asbury Park, NJ – by Eastern Surf Magazine’s founder Dick “Mez” Meseroll (one of my inspirations)

How to Read More – by Austin Kleon

5 Minutes With a Photographer: Alex Strohl – from Artifact Uprising (great company for prints and photo books)

How a Small Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude – by Michael Hyatt

and finally,

Yes! We Did it! 198 Days! – The Curious Bohemian, aka Suanne Elisabeth, successfully walked from New York to Miami. Her journey was inspiring, and I hope to cross paths with her someday.

Have a splendid day!

Until next time,

Jill

Something to SEA: SoulSEAker’s New Monthly Newsletter

20160228 Blog Photo New Fonts

Fresh off the presses!  I am pleased to share that SoulSEAker now has a monthly newsletter!  Enjoy content that will be a bit more personal than what I post here on the blog.  Also, if you sign up, you will receive a free electronic copy of my new book, Escape: Lessons from the Sea.  It will be sent as a .pdf file within a day or two of signing up.

If you’d like to sign up for the newsletter, please click here.  The first newsletter hits inboxes this week on March 1!  I am looking forward to sharing this new venture with you.  As always, thanks for reading and for your support.

PS: Should you be interested in purchasing a hard copy of Escape: Lessons from the Sea, please click here.  Thank you!

Something to SEA: December Reflections is Back!

I was so excited to learn that Susannah Conway is once again hosting “December Reflections,” a photo-a-day challenge based upon her daily prompts.  It’s a wonderful way to end the year, both by reflecting upon the past 12 months and looking forward to what’s ahead in 2016.

I included her prompts and a link to her “December Reflections” page, which tells more about the event and how to participate.  I have a few friends participating this year along with me, and would love for you to join us.  I’ll be posting my daily images on my SoulSEAker Instagram and Facebook pages, and when time permits, will also post them here with perhaps some more detail and insight.  #DecemberReflections

It was just about this time last year that I happened to stumble upon her work, and I am so glad I did.  She has proven to be an insightful and inspirational role model, and while I have no idea how I was brought to her website in December of 2014 (I think it was the hands of fate), I am not the same person I was then simply because of her gift of words.

I am certainly entering the last month of 2015 with more confidence, joy, solace, and optimism about the future than I entered December 2014.  Susannah helped me find “my tribe” and “my voice,” and is one of a few influences who led me to learn so much about myself over this year.

I look forward to what December brings, to enjoy each and every moment possible, and to continuing to grow and learn about myself.

 

 

Something to SEA: A New Direction for Me

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

This week, I finally did it.  After hemming and hawing, weighing the pros and the cons, discussing it with treasured friends and family, I finally took action to alter the direction of my life, and I couldn’t be more relieved.

I spent almost 8 years as a part-time photographer, shooting weddings, portraits, events, parties, and more.  I always loved taking photographs, and I thought that the natural step was to take the plunge and go professional.  I had a good eye and people told me I was good, so why not?

I didn’t mind in the least giving up my weekends to document major events in the lives of my clients.  When I would get a new booking, I would be elated and share my joy with friends and family.  Sometimes there were over 4,000 images from a job to edit, yet I was excited while editing each and every one with care.

I thought I could do it all, while holding down a full time job as an educator (and with Lupus and Fibromyalgia in the mix, too).  I bought backdrops and lights.  I made sample cards and albums.  I joined professional associations and went to conferences because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.

And I did do it all, for a while.

But only for a while.

However, what nobody saw was how “photography” actually changed me for the worse.

First of all, I did not care for the business end of it.  I quickly learned that while I might have a good eye, I did not have the persona of a savvy businesswoman…and if you are a savvy businesswoman or man, may I say that I admire you!  My ethics and morals came before the prices I charged, and I always put my client before my profit, no matter what I had to give up.  Believe me, I know what other photographers charged for their work, but I could never bring myself to that level.  Perhaps it was because I didn’t feel worthy, or that my work was good enough.  Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter now.

Secondly, it became more and more difficult for me to properly do the job of a photographer because of my health.  What most people don’t know is that after every wedding I shot, I was laid up for two or three days afterwards and could hardly walk.  The sudden increase in activity, the stress, the long hours on my feet triggered my Lupus and Fibromyalgia symptoms terribly.  Thankfully, my health never resulted in me having to cancel a gig, and I always let my clients know of my condition and what Plan B was beforehand.  Even an hour long beach portrait session took a physical toll on my body.  Exhaustion, headaches, and leg pain are the norm on a good day, let alone on a day when I have extra activity.

I began to realize the sacrifices I was making in order to record someone else’s life events, and I no longer wanted to compromise my health for someone else.  I no longer wanted to miss my family events to photograph someone else’s family event.  I wanted to live my own life, not document other’s lives.

Additionally, as the list of professional responsibilities as an educator has exponentially grown over the past few years, I had less and less time each year to not only accept photography gigs, but also to edit the photos, design albums, market my services, attend trade shows, and more.  I could not keep up with other area photographers who were able to pursue photography as their only career:  their marketing, their equipment, their editing, their studios were always superior because they had the TIME to dedicate to their craft, time which I did not have.

The personal frustrations of turning a loved hobby into a career, at times, resulted in me actually hating photography, something I never confessed before now.  But it wasn’t photography that I hated; it wasn’t putting the view finder up to my eye and capturing what I saw.  Instead, it was everything else having to do with the “photography” end of it.

And I gave into that hated and put my camera down for a long time when it came to taking pictures of people I care about, or of my own life events.  And at what cost?  Not having my own photos of, say, my father and I at Thanksgiving, or my father in law and I at Easter…photographs that can never be taken again because both passed away last year.

I hate that I let that hatred affect my life.  I hate that instead of real pictures, I have to rely on mental photographs of many people I love and care about who have passed on.

This week, like I said, I finally took action.  First, I deactivated my portfolio site, which hasn’t made a sale in over 3 years.  I cannot not justify paying a pretty hefty yearly fee in case someone might want to buy one of my photos for cheap.  Additionally, I deactivated the url address I used for my business.  Again, no hits in a few years, so no justification to keep it.

It was time for me to do this. And as I read both cancellation confirmation emails, I was filled with reassurance and contentment.

I am eternally grateful for the clients who put their trust in me to document their weddings, their milestones, and their events.  Words cannot express how flattered I am that you thought my work was good enough for you. I am who I am today because of all of you.  YOU are what brought me to this epiphany.

Today, I am MORE than just a photographer. And “photographer” is no longer my sole identity.

I will still photograph school events and get excited when, for instance, I capture a soccer player mid-air with a soccer ball pressed up against his head, the moment a baseball player makes impact with the baseball while swinging, or a cheerleader in a perfect layout more than two stories up in the air.

I will still educate my students about photography and techniques they can use to capture similar images.

I will still photograph my niece and nephews, from being silly and selfies to milestones and card-worthy portraits.

I will still take photographs of where I go, who I am with, and what I see.

I will still share my photographs with you.

Not because I am a photographer.

But because I love photography.

And I will photograph and document MY life as I live it:  MY travels.  MY celebrations.  MY sorrows.  MY days.  MY sights.  MY memories.

MY LIFE on MY TERMS.

What a sigh of relief.

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Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 7/18/2015

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This weekend is supposed to be very hot and humid here along the Jersey Shore.  As you find yourself seeking some relief inside, perhaps you might like to visit some of these interesting links from the week.

Some great words of advice from Wil Wheaton

Who are you and what do you want?

This Kit   |   This Necklace  |   These Lights

Inspiration from Mallika Chopra

How Susannah Conway shoots with her iPhone

Spread some kindness!

and something for fun:

Which Disney hat should you wear?

Enjoy your day, your weekend, and your life!

Until next time,

Jill