There is No Trail

My hiking experience usually  goes like this: I wake up in the morning and decide that it would be a great day to walk somewhere.  I love  doing things like that, completely last minute.  So you would think that I would be flexible about it,  be zen , go with the flow.

Not.  At. All.

I need a GPS everywhere I go.  I need my maps, directions, and even then I am known to call my friends to ask them if that place that I know is still where I think it is.  I never hike alone, always with Brian, so I don’t have to pay attention and just follow him everywhere.

This morning I decided to go for a hike, alone somewhere.  So I downloaded an app that has trail maps and I asked 4 people where to go, and how to get there, and if there were arrows along the way.

Apparently, the Royal Arches trail at Chautauqua was IT.  So off I went!

What a beautiful, well planned day 🙂

But the trail was closed.

So I picked a random trail (well, there was only one other option which made me very happy because you see, there was no way to get lost with only one trail).

But then it looked like this.


What a sucky turn of my day.

Do you see a trail?  Those stairs on the left led to boulders, the path on the right led nowhere. I turned around in a circle and was about to give up when I met a very relaxed hiker who told me with a great laugh: “There is no trail!  You just sort off hike through the trees, you just go wherever”.

‘Scuse me?

I need maps, and GPS (mine was useless by then), and arrows.  I need tracks.  I need the beaten path.  But there was no path.  I had to make mine.  And then I realized the connection to what I am trying to do with my business — how the path I am trying to get on doesn’t really exist.  Fine Art portrait artists have their work hanging in galleries.  Portrait photographers shoot portraits for clients.  I want to create gallery type, artistic portraits for clients, which is something that is really not done, not often at least.  There is no trail for this.  It brought me back to one of my first blogs.

So I started climbing, and the discomfort of not knowing where I was heading turned into the exhilaration of letting myself be carried by my instincts and be guided by what felt right and not by what someone had drawn on a sign.  There is no arrow nor GPS, no one to hold my hand, and I realized today that this should free me from any expectation of what’s right or wrong.  I can create my own path between the trees!

I was all proud of myself, hiking away, basking in my great discovery and feeling super-wise with my new found life lesson when I hit a wall.

IMG_2197 That picture was taken from some distance, but trust me when I tell you: it was a wall. And the only way to get to the other side of this wall was to be a pro climber,  a spider, or maybe a goat.  Since I am none of those, I turned around and retraced my random steps and found some cool places in the process.

There was a wall, so what?  There is always a wall somewhere!  I will decide later on if I want to work hard to find a way around, or maybe go on a different trail, or maybe just forget about it.  The wall is unimportant, it just gives way to more fun choices along the path, or lack thereof.

The beauty of art work

6 years ago I had a photographer come over and photograph my new born baby. The pictures are now safely stored on my hard drive, somewhere.

3 years ago I had a photographer take pictures of our family. She did not let me purchase the photos as digital image files. My pictures are now safely stored on her hard drive.  So what did that leave us with?




(all those images were taken by Monika Michelle Photography, she also handled the printing and delivery of my prints)

I look at those images every day. I love them so much in fact that I have no desire to take them off my wall.  I love them so much because someone made them for me with great care and all I had to do was pick my favorite ones. The funny thing is that I think it cost me less money than the digital image files I purchased 6 years ago.

Then I started my business, and because everyone is like me, everyone wanted digital files. So I just sold the digital files.  And when I go to my clients house I see mostly: poorly printed images in an 8×10 frame or no images ever printed. It didn’t use to bother me until I became burned out last year after editing 1000s of images, and very few were ever printed at all.

Everything changed for me after I went to Vegas for a photo conference. I looked at prints. Touched canvases, metal, wood base, flipped through albums. I was in a place where photography was valued, not only as a service to people, but as art work.

What does it mean for you as my clients ? It means that there will be a session fee as before. But instead of me sending you the digital files for a fee, I will have you come over (or Skype if you live far away) and select your images with me. I want to hold your hand as you decide what kind of art work you wish to see on your wall. And then I will take care of editing everything to perfection and print everything exactly like you want it. I will do a quality check on every single product and then deliver them to you, ready for hanging on your wall.

The two questions I get are: yes, but how do I share my pictures with the family? Don’t worry about it. I will give you the right tools to do it. Your pictures with be on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest even. Your family still has the option to order small prints at a low price. My goal isn’t to make money off of small prints. My goal is that you get a huge canvas or a beautiful metal image for your wall, or that you make a gallery with cool images that create a story.

I also offer albums and folio boxes if you prefer the pictures to be seen only by you.

The second question is: How much more expensive is this going to be? Not much more than the digital, if you consider the fact that you will spend a lot less time, energy and money trying to find ways to print your pictures. And you will have something gorgeous to look at every day.

I have a lot of samples in my office and you will be able to see and touch and have a good feel for what you want to get.

I took this image last year at the Wise Homestead Museum.

The piano

I think it deserves better than being on my hard drive or somewhere on Facebook.  I want this to be printed on metal, I am thinking of a 20×30 metal to have on my staircase  🙂