Several months ago I received a facebook message from a long time family friend, who I had not seen for many years. On this particular day, I had taken the kids to swimming lessons and being hot weather, had put the togs on and had a dip myself. Normally when I’m on a day off and am spending time with the family, I try to avoid facebook and messages on my business page too. I once heard that a bow that is strung too tight will eventually lose its tension. Hence, the reasoning for me to put work down totally when I am having a day off.
On this particular occasion, I was intrigued as to this out of the blue message from this lady, who lives right across the other side of the world and who I have barely seen in years. When I opened the message, the first phrase I read was “I don’t know if you can do this or not”. This usually isn’t a good sign for a photographer and business owner. Usually, it means can you do me a favour, something like swap the heads on these two photos for me in photoshop or some other unusual and unpaid request.
As I scrolled quickly over the remainder of the message, I became quite pleased with what I was reading. The request was to travel to the USA to photograph a Wedding. I asked myself can this be real? During the past 15 years as a practising professional photographer, I have travelled to some amazing places because of work. I have accepted commissions in New Zealand and Bali, ran Safari’s and tours in Africa and India and dozens of times I have photographed weddings interstate in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and beyond. One of those still to add to my bucket list is to photograph a wedding in the USA. In fact, travelling in the USA has been a dream for many years. Growing up watching NBA basketball and falling in love with the Rocky mountains and the rugged and diverse landscapes had always been on my mind.
Could this opportunity eventuate to fulfilling all these dreams? Wow, I was in a daze trying just to comprehend all of this. My mind raced into overdrive. Ok, so I might get the chance to go there as part of my work, but could it be possible for my family to come? and what would we need to do to make it happen? And of course, how can we do this with such little time ahead? All these questions flooded into mind at once. I thought to myself if there is a way to do this I will make it happen.
Fast forward 4 months later. Today I sat on the beach at Santa Monica watching the waves crash into the pylons. My children happily splashed away with some kids they had met who were on vacation from St George Utah. They had enormous smiles on their faces. The moment was priceless. The entire day to that point, we had spent exploring the Santa Monica Pier. What a fabulous attraction, with so much to do. As I reflected on this moment, I recalled the facebook message I had received all those months ago, and I thought about the hard work and sacrifice we made so that we all could enjoy this dream together.
In a few weeks time, another dream will be fulfilled. A young lady will marry her sweetheart in Oakland California, and I will photograph their amazing day. Many times I have envisioned what pictures I will take and how I will become involved in the most magical experience of their lives. I love having the opportunity to do this for people. It gives me the self-rewarding feeling that I am contributing back to the world with a gift that I have been blessed with.