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Hello everyone. I know a lot of you have emailed and messaged me, wondering where I've been and why I've not been posting photographs. There is a short story to that, one that ends in a horribly. I'm sure you all know I've been doing photography going on 5 years now. Like many of you I can't wait to get off work and spend as much time as I can out there shooting! I used to spend nearly 360 days out of a year for a minimum of 4 hours in the field, 4 hours post processing at home. This plus working 7 days a week at my day job with no break or pause. Itís been such a fun hobby I didn't realize somewhere inside I was burning out. Then it hit me all at once, that the spark was not there anymore for some reason. I needed a break. I couldn't explain why.
I just needed time to recharge my creative batteries. I needed to distract myself in other ways. Well one of those distractions turned out to be fixing up my car. Everything was going great. I successfully turned my truck from looking plain and factory-stock, to something completely different. Sort of like David Banner turning into The Hulk. Hours were spent researching different ways modding could be done, and triple those hours were spent putting my own spin on those mods. The results were enthusiastically applauded by my fellow automobile forum buddies.
The best part was, it seemed to be just what I needed to get back into photography. I found myself pulling my dusty lens and camera out and taking a few pictures. These fresh files prompted an urge to organize, edit, and back up older files. So I gathered my three hard drives, laptop and headed home. Unfortunately, contained inside these electronic devices was stored every single photograph I have ever shot and shared in the last 15 years. One hard drive was the back up for the next newer one. I know it is a terrible system and is technically not a true backup method for data. I don't own a desktop and use only a laptop because I travel extensively for my day job.
Well you can imagine what happened next. I stopped to get Chinese food and was only gone for a few minutes. When I returned, BOTH of the windows were smashed in and all my computer gear and work tools were gone. All my original files were gone forever. Hours in the mud, rain, sun, brush, thousands of dollars spent on traveling to exotic places to get just one shot of something special, notes, maps, images, all gone. The only evidence that I ever took them are files sized less than 500 KB on my website. I just drove home in shock, only barely grateful that the thieves didn't gain access to my camera and lenses.
I struggled to find the spirit to get over this. I felt like selling all my gear and doing something less potentially devastating for a hobby. Equally devastating was the loss of my work documents. The last year of hectic travel did not allowed for any time to off-load my notes, reports and work files up to my work's server. They disappeared along with my laptop. So that is over $100,000 worth of business documents and chicken scratch which only I can decipher and turn into what my clients have already paid for, which I now have to re-create from memory. 100+ reports, from memory?!? Yeah right.
I shared this story with friends and family, as well as on a couple of social sites, and was overwhelmed at the sheer generosity and support I got. The well wishes were so relentless that after a couple of months of moping around, I made plans to recover, and hopefully, exceed in file count and quality, my lost files. So now itís a mad scramble to scrape up my pennies so I can start booking flights! I have since picked up a new laptop (itís pretty bad-a$$ by the way) and am trying subscriptions to a couple of auto-backup services for my future files. I still have some of my main gear - Canon 1DX, 600mm f/4, 16-35mm f/2.8 and a medium capacity tripod. I guess that's really all I need! I am looking forward to hitting the road and doing my best to replace what I lost. I have been told I'm crazy for planning it this way, but I hope to re-visit every place I've shot at in the last 5 years, all within ONE year!! I lost over 20 Terabytes of data or about 800,000 files, spanning 13 countries and 30 states. So like a crazy man, I hope to have a million files this time next year and if I fail in this quest, hey I know it be fun trying. So far, the places already carved in my stone calendar include:
1. Northern Minnesota - Snowy Owls, Great Horned Owls, Northern Hawk Owls and a Wildlife Game Preserve. (Completed Ė results to follow below)
2. Budapest, Hungary - Hortobagy Preserve promises 25 or more species all at one of my most favorite countries on Earth. I literally live on Goulash the entire time I'm there.
3. Seattle, Washington - Eagles, Short Eared Owls, and who knows what else, all with the company of great friends.
4. Sarasota, Florida - best place in North America to eat authentic Cuban food while photographing all manner of critters!
5. High Desert Landscapes - a whirlwind spin around the southwest area of the US. I just gotta get my landscape fix in!
6. Long Island, New York - one of the best places I've shot for shorebirds on the cheap!
7. Coastal Texas - so much action here, you better consult your doctor first to make sure you're healthy enough to have this much fun haha!
Iíd like to start with a couple of brand hew shots from this day.
My first Rufous Hummingbird.
Northern Hawk Owl
Great Grey Owl
Mountain Lion (captive)
Black Timber Wolf (captive)
Yellow Billed Magpie
My bird-photography mobile!
Edited on Mar 23, 2014 at 11:49 AM · View previous versions