It’s good being older and retired professionally. But, not necessarily enjoyable. Things get in the way. Health issues, lack of resources (like time), and simple laziness. Also, while carrying around an aging body, regardless of the positive motivation provided by health trackers such as Fitbit, we realize we’re just getting old and no matter what we do, our legs ain’t gonna function as they once did. I’ve learned a good way to make things better, however, no matter how creaky old my body is. I’ve found one thing to keep me fresh and motivated every day. It’s photography.
During a second professional career I had to learn how to become a good photographer. I had to learn how to use top level cameras and computer software such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Lightroom. I worked hard and became pretty good, even if I do brag a bit. It was all fun, and I gained a lot of satisfaction when people responded favorably to my graphic design and photo compositions. Over the years I sought better tools and techniques to improve my work. I was quick to upgrade software to the latest version, quick to buy a newer and “better” camera, and spent many hours engaging in online discussion groups seeking the views of others similarly motivated. Slowly I became a “gear freak” and for instance would order a new camera bag right away after reading an enthusiastic review. There always seemed to be an illusive “something” out there I needed, but hadn’t yet clearly defined.
The ultimate result of all my activity back then turned out to be a storage closet full of items either obsolete or no longer used. I never sell anything “old” because I’m a sentimental collector. I’ve gifted some of my old gear to family and friends, but now most sit stored away in their original packaging. That doesn’t mean I’m no longer making photos and sharing them with others. On the contrary, I’m more active photographically today than I was then. The difference is I no longer yearn for a new or better camera. I have two I’m pleased to say I use daily. What brand/model they are isn’t important, but I’ll say they are fairly small, light, and exceptionally good. My point is that I’ve personally experienced a span of time when we went largely from Nikon or Canon film SLR cameras and professional level lens, to digital models with excellent lens, to lighter and equally good mirrorless cameras with their own smaller lens. Now, we have crazy good “phone” cameras perhaps better in some situations than any of the above. And then there’s the software involved. It’s an “App” world now and I’m thankful for it. I said farewell to Adobe many years ago. You were great for a time and I relied on your products every day. Now, you are no longer relevant. I’ve found much better (for me) computer, tablet and smartphone programs that get the job done faster, more enjoyably and easier than I could have imagined just a few years ago.
It’s great being fully retired and able to spend most of my time out looking for photo opportunities rather than messing with them digitally, hour after hour, to give me just the “right” look. My stuff winds up only on my Photoblog, and if people don’t like what they see that’s fine with me. I’m no longer getting paid for what I do. But the deal is, I’m feeding my passion and that’s all I seek.