Going Pro

I have decided to become a professional photographer so I can better develop my blog/magazine; it seems like a natural progression to enhance my words by adding photos. Even though my phone’s camera works very well, it is not satisfying my artistic vision, especially when it comes to taking pictures of wildlife and nature.

I see stories everywhere I go, some that I would dearly love to unravel through the eye of my lens, and the words of my interpretation.

The idea of leaving for the day with my camera-bag slung over my shoulder, to wander the forests, rivers, fields, and trails of all the beautiful places I love to visit; sounds like an adventurous dream to me. I would also enjoy taking photos of old buildings, gardens, design ideas, and to capture candid snapshots of daily life.

Just yesterday while on my neighborhood walk, an elder man was carefully making his way up the street, pushing a small shopping cart with a few grocery bags. Appearing out of nowhere, several miles in any direction from a store, there he was walking right past me. Dressed in winter-wear from head to toe, elegant in his movements, he seemed to step out of a scene from another place in time. He had stopped to fuss with his bags, and as I drew near we both smiled and greeted one another. I was filled with curiosity and wanted to ask him so many questions, like…was walking to the grocery store something he did often… how much further did he have to go…does he have a wife waiting at home ready to help unpack their supplies…or did he live alone with his cat…how pray tell, has he been holding up during these difficult times?!

Note* Any photos I take of random people are from a distance, and do not show their face out of respect for the individual’s privacy, unless I otherwise have their permission to do something more formal.

Luckily for him I was feeling quiet and asked none of these things, although most people are charmed by my friendliness, and usually responsive to my chattiness — I was too comfortable in my solitude to say anything beyond hello. Understandingly, by his age he has lived through the after-effects of the Great Depression and several wars. Perhaps this is why I perceived a certain easy-going-travel-weariness that enveloped him like a cloud. Having already endured so much, his suffering through a pandemic, insurrection, domestic terrorists, combined with political corruption, was nothing more than a regular day in his life. In my imaginings, (because at the end of the day that’s all I had, having no real idea who he is or how he thinks) I admired his savoir faire attitude. Maybe in the future I will be the same way, unmoved by outside chaos, and no longer surprised by the fall of man.

You can’t say *savoir faire* and not also be reminded of this!

I consider myself a visual storyteller, teacher, and inspirational writer, so I think adding photography to my repertoire is the next step. It’s hard not to be intimidated by the cost of a good camera, not to mention needing to buy a new computer that is able to handle editing programs crucial to my expanding career.

I am trying to justify spending such an exorbitant amount of money while I am currently unemployed and living off of prayers. It would be a gigantic leap of faith to believe I could become skilled in something so technical. I am an artist, so hopefully photography will come easy for me. Although I am able to self-learn, I will most likely have to take a few classes, and maybe find myself a willing mentor.

Either way, I believe it’s never too late to begin something new. I have been lost in the land of despair for so long it feels good to be inspired again with my writing and now perfecting my use of photos/videos.

When I lived in Southern California, for several years as a young adult I lived within feet of the boardwalk in Mission Beach. This was back in the early 80’s, I didn’t know it then, but those were my glory years. Too bad they were also filled with so much angst, but I still had some of the happiest and most memorable times of my life there.

My daughter and I went home to San Diego to visit my family in 2018, and it was such a joy to revisit my youth.

Back then, being a little more daring than I am now, I would get up every morning and walk to the boardwalk, coffee in one hand and roller skates in the other. Outfitted in my beach girl uniform; mini skirt, bikini, favorite Grateful Dead t-shirt, my Sony walk-man and headphones, I would lace up my skates, put on my music and fly down the boardwalk. I averaged about 60 miles a week, and would skate both day and night. I loved those times and smile in my memories to see myself navigating around bicyclists, surfer boys, scantily clad girls, skate boarders, and a myriad of other fine characters….especially because I wasn’t the greatest at stopping or going over curbs. It’s a miracle I survived.

Me, probably around 22 years young, when I lived at the beach. Thank you to my friend Russel for taking this photo!

To this day I can feel the sunshine, cool wind in my hair, and the sound of Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Eagles, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, and all of my favorite bands blasting in my ears. Never have I felt so free!

On quieter nights, I would walk along the boardwalk with the Pacific Ocean to one side, and the wealthy beach front owners, or those who could afford summer rentals, on the other. I loved looking in the windows (not in a creepy way) but to catch casual glimpses of people going about their daily lives. I have always been fascinated by the mysteriousness of how others live, which is one of the reasons why I like to write.

If you have ever lived at a beach in Southern California, you would know that most people tend to enjoy a life of celebration, especially on the weekends. I would see versions of this playing out everywhere, some functions private and small, others grandiose, with families and people of all ages and backgrounds. Often we would find ourselves pushing our way through a sudden crowd of keg drinking party goers spilling out onto the boardwalk, dancing to some live band tucked tightly into a corner patio. Obviously we didn’t have cell phones back then so I never really had a camera handy. Too busy making memories, but I wish I would have taken more photos.

I looked up, “How to be a Professional Photographer” which was slightly discouraging. The first thing I read was that since we all carry a phone with a built in camera, almost everyone has illusions of being a photographer. This sort of brought me down a peg or two, as I know I have an incredible amount of information to learn, but I am determined to begin my journey either way.

Like I mentioned before, I wasn’t the most creative of roller skaters. Some people could literally dance circles around me, many could skate backwards, and leap over curbs with such dexterity I would be in total awe.

Here is a local legend, filmed on the exact same boardwalk I spent years on. I love what he has to say, this video is totally worth watching.

Nonetheless, I had the most wonderful time being the best I could be. I understand there will always be amazing photographers better than me, most who have studied for years, with experiences and equipment I may never have, but I won’t let this prevent me from following my dream.

I will do it my way, and on my roller skates!

In Professional Peace, Raven

These are actually my daughter’s skates, hers are much more modern. Back in my day the stopper was in the back, which always made me feel like I was going to fall over backwards. Never did I wear a helmet, that absolutely did not go with my California beach girl outfit!

2 thoughts on “Going Pro”

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