Contemplating my future

May 31, 2017
Central Florida
Timothy Williams
At 2 months shy of 66 years old I have had some time to contemplate this. I can't go into what got me to where I am because that is definitely political. Just suffice it to say it has made me a very hard man. I'm sorry to hear about your situation although I believe this is posturing for position from both sides of our government and will pass soon. I have been wrong before. I lost the better part of a million dollars on a bad judgment call by me in 2008. I did not receive a check for a year. My wife died that same year and my youngest daughter graduated from High School. I have been lucky enough to land on my feet in a much lower paying position but I will retire later this year. I have had many life lessons taught to me the hard way.
Now, I have watched you post and learned anything I could from your landscapes along with others. Absolutely stunning at times. I think you sell yourself short on your photographic talent. You have vision that I try to emulate along with others. Visualization as Ansel called it. Me I have it at times but I see image after image of yours that is beautiful. All this is not enough do get the job done though. Ansel didn't know how to market his art until someone stepped in an got the job done. We're not all good at everything.
#1 You must desire what you want to achieve or it will be a failure no matter how gifted you are.
#2 Be willing to take steps to stay balanced and realistic in this venture
#3 Never let anyone tell you your not good enough. Be determined but flexible.
#4 Never stop learning. When I learn something new at my age I am overjoyed. But once I learn it, it's mine.
Hopefully this was not to preachy my friend and I'm sure you knew most of it anyway.
With much respect to you and your Family
Tim Williams
 
Apr 18, 2014
Boston Burbs
David
.....If you can establish yourself as a portrait photographer, life is a lot easier. Family and senior portraits can get you by pretty well. The downside is that you have to do a lot of them....
If you want to get into Senior Portraits check with your local schools first. While we have (or had) a law in MA prohibiting the practice, many schools use to have deals with yearbook companies that required all senior photos in the yearbook be from them. Last I knew many schools still "think" their yearbook publisher can still enforce this. Just something to check.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
Oh man, Tony, so sorry to hear that you are so frustrated. I'm a motorcycle travel writer and photographer. Been doing it for nearly 15 years. It's a side hustle for me and has been both very challenging and fulfilling and has made me a better writer and photographer.

PM me if you have any questions.
Although I imagine there are many times this can be brutal (Cold Rain!!!) it must really keep the blood flowing. I know that any worthwhile retirement plans will have challenges as well as rewards.
 
So many tough choices that only you and your family can make. Having two full-time photographers and one part-time photographer in the family it can be an exciting career, but also very frustrating.

Just remember though that most of those jobs should come back and you would get paid all that off time. I work in a DoD facility and several of my government contacts are not working. It has not made a direct impact on my job yet but there are some things I do that require approval.

All the best
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
So many tough choices that only you and your family can make. Having two full-time photographers and one part-time photographer in the family it can be an exciting career, but also very frustrating.

Just remember though that most of those jobs should come back and you would get paid all that off time. I work in a DoD facility and several of my government contacts are not working. It has not made a direct impact on my job yet but there are some things I do that require approval.

All the best
Thanks Dave. I have unfortunately read accounts of how it has already hit some families rather harshly; home loans lost or closings cancelled because certain agencies are shuttered, for instance. Regardless of what boasts the POTUS makes, this country and the many families affected will be seriously damaged if the shutdown continues for many weeks or even months. One can only hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail and some sort of agreement can be hammered out soon.
 
Thanks Dave. I have unfortunately read accounts of how it has already hit some families rather harshly; home loans lost or closings cancelled because certain agencies are shuttered, for instance. Regardless of what boasts the POTUS makes, this country and the many families affected will be seriously damaged if the shutdown continues for many weeks or even months. One can only hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail and some sort of agreement can be hammered out soon.
It's kind of a mess but one or two weeks off should not drive one to foreclosure. A few months, sure

Sounds like they were already living on the brink and this pushed them over.
Thanks Dave. I have unfortunately read accounts of how it has already hit some families rather harshly; home loans lost or closings cancelled because certain agencies are shuttered, for instance. Regardless of what boasts the POTUS makes, this country and the many families affected will be seriously damaged if the shutdown continues for many weeks or even months. One can only hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail and some sort of agreement can be hammered out soon.
 
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Les Klein

Veteran
Dec 10, 2015
Montreal area
I’ve been retired for eight years and a photography enthusiast almost my entire life. My advice:
What does the world need more: wedding/portrait photographers or aviation safety experts? Unless you don’t like your profession (perhaps “… I’ve long been ready for a new chapter in my life,” means dislike), go with what you know in a different setting and continue to enjoy photography as a stress-free endeavour.
 
Apr 18, 2014
Boston Burbs
David
I’ve been retired for eight years and a photography enthusiast almost my entire life. My advice:
What does the world need more: wedding/portrait photographers or aviation safety experts? Unless you don’t like your profession (perhaps “… I’ve long been ready for a new chapter in my life,” means dislike), go with what you know in a different setting and continue to enjoy photography as a stress-free endeavour.
I'd like to think travel and nature photography is different. But I can tell you that after a dozen years doing event and portrait work, for the last 3-4 years its been hard to want to go out and shoot for fun. I stopped shooting events about 6 months ago and I'm just really starting to really want to go out again.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
To be honest, for some time I've felt like I have been stuck in a rut, which is one reason I've spent so much time getting out and traveling around our state with my bicycle. A 2-3 hour drive and 8-10 mile hike or 15-20 mile bike ride plus return trip makes for a long day, but it also means I've experienced some really beautiful places. I hope to visit some more places I haven't been this year.

I'm not a social photographer. My people images are hit and miss, and I don't have the right gear to do events, anyway. I appreciate all of the comments. I just need to figure out my best path forward.
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
This is one of those conversations that would be best had face-to-face, over dinner or a beer.

Have you discussed this with your Supervisor at work? What can they do to retain you? "Aircraft Safety", like computer engineering, has dramatically evolved during your career. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than using an old skill to solve a new problem, one that may not get solved without the experience that decades in the field gives. Do you make an impact at work, or get "looked over" as the old guy? When I was new at work, circa 1981, one of the young scientists gave a briefing to get funds for a new project. One of the retired annuitants stated "we tried that in World War II, it doesn't work, here's why". No one listened, five years later- project failed, same reason.

If you leave, does all that experience vanish out the door with no one to retain it? Can you work as a "retired annuitant" to train up someone coming into the field? Is this something that your work cares about? If they do not- they should. That can be frustrating, I've seen many types of supervisor over the decades. I'm fortunate in my current position. I could have retired last year, and picked up a position with a contractor immediately.
 
I’ve been retired for eight years and a photography enthusiast almost my entire life. My advice:
What does the world need more: wedding/portrait photographers or aviation safety experts? Unless you don’t like your profession (perhaps “… I’ve long been ready for a new chapter in my life,” means dislike), go with what you know in a different setting and continue to enjoy photography as a stress-free endeavour.

And that is one of the issues with getting into the Photography business. In a major city, there are dozens, if not hundreds of very good photographers.

Being able to make a full-time or even a good part-time living takes time and effort to find your way through the hoards.

And then many get lost in the business side of running your own business. My Dad had his own company growing up and the amount of time he spent doing taxes, advertising, putting forth bids, etc, etc, etc can be overwhelming. I would never discourage someone from running their own business, but if you have never done it, you really need to take some classes. Many people are excellent at what they do, but not understanding business fail.
 

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
Another question is equipment. My current gear is primarily a G80 + PL 12-60. Great combination, but is it good enough for paid use? I briefly considered a D610 or 6D for the potential higher IQ, but I have always valued smaller and less weighty. Is there anything else that can give me better IQ per pound? My thoughts lately have been turning back toward Fuji. I am just not certain if additional equipment is necessary, but I’m willing to go that route if it will help my transition.
First up - I'm sorry to hear that you're one of the many who suffer more than indirectly from the current situation. I lived in the States, I love the country and hope that things get better sooner rather than later!

A lot of great advice already in this thread. So I'll just add an answer to your question about gear (since you asked about it in the other thread).
I think micro four thirds is excellent for most photography. For some areas it might hit the limit - but I think you'd know it if that was the case for you (for me it was specifically the contrasty, yet low light of a forest where I went a different gear route).

For most cases I'd value the portability and ease of use of m43 over any potential gains in image quality (which might end up being entirely insignificant - depending on your delivery format, e.g. web presentation)

Like others I'd recommend starting your "exit plan" before you initiate the "exit". That will give you an idea of how everything will work - including the choice of gear.

Good luck - whichever way you decide to go!!
 

JoeLopez

Veteran
May 18, 2017
How did you handle previous government shutdowns? i would expect this one to be very similar to the previous events we've experienced.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
First up - I'm sorry to hear that you're one of the many who suffer more than indirectly from the current situation. I lived in the States, I love the country and hope that things get better sooner rather than later!

A lot of great advice already in this thread. So I'll just add an answer to your question about gear (since you asked about it in the other thread).
I think micro four thirds is excellent for most photography. For some areas it might hit the limit - but I think you'd know it if that was the case for you (for me it was specifically the contrasty, yet low light of a forest where I went a different gear route).

For most cases I'd value the portability and ease of use of m43 over any potential gains in image quality (which might end up being entirely insignificant - depending on your delivery format, e.g. web presentation)

Like others I'd recommend starting your "exit plan" before you initiate the "exit". That will give you an idea of how everything will work - including the choice of gear.

Good luck - whichever way you decide to go!!
Thanks for the detailed reply, Tilman. I do agree with your "exit plan" statement. I've been discussing that very thing with my wife.

How did you handle previous government shutdowns? i would expect this one to be very similar to the previous events we've experienced.
Other government shutdowns had no effect on us, as they were brief. I expect this one to be very prolonged. I don't want to say why, because it delves into politics, which we've agreed to keep off of these forums, but I have a very bad feeling about this one. My wife and I took precautions because we saw this coming, but if it is as prolonged as I expect, we will definitely feel the sting. I can only hope that I am wrong.
 

JoeLopez

Veteran
May 18, 2017
Thanks for the detailed reply, Tilman. I do agree with your "exit plan" statement. I've been discussing that very thing with my wife.

Other government shutdowns had no effect on us, as they were brief. I expect this one to be very prolonged. I don't want to say why, because it delves into politics, which we've agreed to keep off of these forums, but I have a very bad feeling about this one. My wife and I took precautions because we saw this coming, but if it is as prolonged as I expect, we will definitely feel the sting. I can only hope that I am wrong.
I'd bet this is resolved quicker than you think. Best wishes to you and the family :)
 
Thanks for the detailed reply, Tilman. I do agree with your "exit plan" statement. I've been discussing that very thing with my wife.

Other government shutdowns had no effect on us, as they were brief. I expect this one to be very prolonged. I don't want to say why, because it delves into politics, which we've agreed to keep off of these forums, but I have a very bad feeling about this one. My wife and I took precautions because we saw this coming, but if it is as prolonged as I expect, we will definitely feel the sting. I can only hope that I am wrong.
I would caution you to avoid any rash choices but I get ya.

I lost a job directly due to the shutdown under President Obama so I know it can be tough.
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Aug 27, 2013
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Hey, Tony, first of all...no matter what you do...good luck! I think luck, and good luck, is something we can all use so I am wishing it for you. Secondly, I personally have to agree with Luke - I probably am the sort of individual who will never retire. Ever. But that brings me to my third point, just a general word, not so much of caution - because I have never been particularly cautious and don't advocate it for anyone else - but rather sharing with you my own perspective. I work as a writer. A freelance writer, actually...a freelance screenwriter. There are thousands of screenwriters and wannabe screenwriters, many of whom are superb storytellers, who struggle for reasons which have little to do with writing - but more with the challenges of trying to turn something one loves....into a paid endeavor. There is no one right way to go about it. But, in my own experience - I transitioned from a regular job with a regular paycheck...to becoming a writer - and there were a number of times I missed all that 'regularity'. It helps to be flexible, not just financially but psychologically and emotionally because doing it on your own, there are challenging periods. I halfway fit the definition of a 'successful screenwriter': the successful ones are only unemployed 90% of the time (grin). I'm exaggerating but the truth is, when you go indie, most of us have to weather some storms.

But it's invigorating and sometimes life-changing to put your energy into things you truly care about. It can and satisfying and unsettling at the same time. So...be prepared - not just photographically with the right camera and lenses and vision - but also for the kinds of changes that are hard to quantify.

It also really helps to have support and understanding. From a partner, a spouse, a close friend...even from a special quadruped. A little support and understanding can go a long way...and can help more than the best Zeiss lenses.

Someone said it helps to know what your strengths are so you can focus on them and maximize them. I have another opinion: as a writer, one of the things that's helped me most, is a willingness to take chances and try things I'm not certain about - instead of focusing on areas I felt stronger in. Allowing myself to try things - and the freedom of allowing myself to fail at the ones that don't work - probably has helped me more than anything else. I think it works for writing, and for photography too. Or in simpler terms - when you let yourself take chances...sometimes good (and really surprising) things happen.

And, really: good luck.
 
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Covey22

Hall of Famer
Feb 3, 2012
I feel for you Tony. I have many friends in Federal Service who are impacted by the latest shutdown. It's truly sad and frustrating.

I've managed to get published for writing but not for my photos. My advice would be to find a niche, get in early and monetize the living daylights out of it for as long as you can. It may just be the folks I've been hanging out with and speaking to, but the ones who have successfully sold writing and photos all tell me it's a really vicious marketing game out there. When you have Instagrammers and Influencers whose sole purpose in life is gathering tens of thousands of followers on their channels and they need to (I'm told) establish three to five photos a day, plus depending on which time zone their followers are in, establish a variable schedule as to when those photos go out - it sounds too much like work. Those IGs and Influencers - they're the main competition now. Hardly anyone wants to pay for good writing and photography. I'm really coming to the conclusion it's now 90 percent Marketing Hustle using the latest tools and distribution models, and 10 percent actual photography and writing. Which is totally insane, but the world moves on and doesn't wait.
 

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