During this time, we were (and still are!) running “The Photo Shootout” photography festivals in both the Black Hills of South Dakota and in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. We developed a relationship with Tamron as a sponsor of these events, I had a familiarity with the brand before this since I already had one of their macro lenses and a wide angle I liked. But at our events, I came to know a lot of the great people associated with this company, and got to try out all their lenses. The lighter weight designs and much more attractive prices, considering all our medical bills, fit my new reality. My days of lugging a photo store around on my back were done. I learned how to be a photographer all over again, discovering a new level of creativity and joy in the art.
Before getting sick I had labeled myself as a wildlife photographer, loading myself down with big heavy gear to go in search of animals. “Settling” for other subjects only between each wildlife encounter. When I was sick, I labeled myself as a photographer who couldn’t do photography the way I used to, so I didn’t do any. Coming out the other side of the medical merry-go-round I was on gave me a new found burst of creativity, one that I found went beyond the narrow label of wildlife photographer I had stamped on myself. In the process I learned that I had a new reality, new interests, and a new outlook that reflected both my journey and hopes for the future.
I “unspecialized”, and become a photographer without labels or creative limits. I have a small case that goes with me everywhere with my go-to lenses; the Tamron 150-600mm, 70-200mm, 180mm macro, and 15-30mm. I can shoot anything that walks, flies, or appears in front of my camera with this kit. With this line up of lenses, over the past 12 months capturing images of anything that caught my eye and imagination, from rainbows to railroads, cowboys to cars, water lilies to wild horses.
I made a complete break with what I used to do and started using gear that fit what I needed for my photography now. This has helped me bring to reality the images I want to create and am able to express myself as the artist I want to be, instead of worrying about the things I could no longer do. I am having more fun and success as a photographer than at any other point in my career!