Seasons change, people change, our needs change.
On November 5th my brother and I headed out at 6:30am. The air was crisp and the skies were clear. Our destination was Blakeney Rapids located just under an hour’s drive west of Ottawa. This trip represented a return to regular weekend outings for Dave after a difficult year for him on a personal level. I’m glad to have him back as frankly morning outings are not quite the same when you go solo. The gap in active photography had an impact for Dave, in a sense he’s relearning stuff he knew quite well in 2010. I’m going to help fill that gap as a mentor of sorts. We’re still working out the details but I’m already discovering the role of a mentor can be beneficial in two ways. One way is for the recipient and you’ll find lots on that subject on the web, the other is for the mentor him/herself – besides the satisfaction of seeing someone grow in confidence and skill but also I think it helps keep the mentor current on the craft and challenged to be innovative with problem solving.
I am close to deciding that it would be a good idea if I had a mentor. The first step, of course, is knowing what my needs and expectations are. I’ve given some thought to that, and doing some research as well. David DuChemin writes about the concept in his book Vision Mongers and his advice has helped me focus on some personal goals.
I have at times thought of my involvement with photography as being like some one who is late to the game. I’m a couple years from retirement and only a few years into learning this craft. I know if I’d kept at photography over the years and learned more about art and business I’d be in a very different place right now and I don’t think I’m that different from a lot of people my age; office workers and family men who find they have more time and disposable cash available to begin pursuing something new – taking and selling quality pictures, perhaps ones that could be considered art. This part of the baby-boom wave has helped grow a new industry of on-line photography lessons, workshops, weekend retreats, books etc all offered by people with varying levels of skill as writers, photographers and teachers. I suspect the quality or those offerings may have inspired a recent post by Ray Ketcham when he wrote about the Myth of the Muse. I believe his message is inspiration grows from work and not from some divine or other mystic intervention. But what about time, and the lack thereof?
How does the middle aged person make up for decades of missed opportunities to learn the arts, to be observant and creative? I can’t accept that it’s too late. Perhaps a mentor can help fill that gap, can help guide me across the river to that distant shore. That’s what I hope to explore next.
The picture at the top was taken at Blakeney Rapids with a Canon Xsi. ISO 100, f/22 and a 13 second exposure with a focal length of 36mm. I used ND filters to achieve a long exposure.