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Being a photographer is mostly an irresponsible pre-occupation. Responsible people do not waste time waiting for the sun to peak through the clouds. There are more important things to tend to. And while you are waiting for the sunset, the responsible thing to do is make dinner and feed yourself. Unlike the photo buff with an alarm clock, responsible people wake before the sunrise to get to work on time. A photographer might skip a couple of semesters to travel across America and take pictures. An avid photographer will skip college altogether and spend 6 months bagging the National Parks system for timeless images. Coherent individuals will purge their desire to continue along this path while the creative soul will never tire of even the same location just to capture the right light. In my life I have attempted both lifestyles. Being responsible enough to take care of the important things satisfied many others but left me feeling empty. Bushwhacking across mountainsides took care of nothing accept my selfish desire, making me feel whole, as if everything was going to be just fine as long as I came home with the winning image. It is just insane to spend large sums of money on camera equipment when a simple point and shoot will do just as well at family functions. There is simply no stability in risking limb and life in the wilderness and any sane person will tell you it is obviously more comfortable sleeping in a bed than on the cold hard ground. What do I know? Life lessons are as individual as the humans who realize them are. My life lesson has nothing to do with any applicable wisdom. Only a lunatic would share the same important lesson I have come to know. It simply relates to my photographic passion. No matter what I know or what I possess, none of my precious images could ever materialize if not for being there. Being there despite the constant tugging of responsibility, being there in spite of others wishes, being there even when being there was not the most sensible thing. The most important asset I can now claim as a photographer is that I was simply there. While this seems obvious to most, I believe it to be significant considering all I have forsaken just to make sure I did not miss the fall colors in the Smokies. Other than self-satisfaction, I don't really know what all my precious snapshots are good for. I am quite certain, however, that they are deeply rewarding to my soul. And after all, someday that is all that will be left of me.
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