In late April, and especially in May, here in Mid-Michigan, things finally begin to “pop.” It starts with the Forsythia, and then our American Redbud, Bartlett Pear, and even the occasional Dogwood can be seen dotting our forests from the highway. In rapid order, those blooms give way to green everywhere. By the middle of May, Daffodils have bloomed and gone and Tulips are one the wane. Everything is green and lawnmowers are running in every neighborhood. In the woods and bogs, the Spring wildflowers bloom.
At this time of year, after my gear has often had a long period of hibernation in the camera bag, my thoughts turn to photography again, and the many subjects which will present themselves over the coming months.
I describe my photographic “place in life” as an advanced hobbyist (I don’t like the word, “amateur” as a juxtaposition to “professional,” as I see that word as more befitting a “beginner” with developing skills). I don’t regularly sell my work (though I am happy to do so), nor do I aggressively market either my work or myself as a for-hire photographer. Nor do I have any aspiration to do that at this point in my life. I have often remarked that if I had to make a living at photography, I am not certain it would have the magic or draw for me that it does. I have the highest respect for those many, talented professional photographers who are successful at their craft.
However (lawyers love that word), there are times when I am slightly envious of both working professional photographers and perhaps retirees who are avid hobbyists. Those are days when I sit in my office and see a perfect day happening outside my window. Or when I wake up knowing I have to get ready for an important meeting or just to be at work during the time I would really rather be out catching the sunrise, or that magical light just before and just after. The feeling can really be exacerbated when I see perfect morning skies and realize my own backyard is just not quite the foreground to capture my vision of their beauty and that I really should have been in place, with my tripod set up, somewhere an hour ago!
In spite of busy working lives, those of us who view it as a hobby can find (or make) times when we can get out and capture. We just have to make the most of that time. This time of year, I wait anxiously for the weekend, so that I can devote at least part of a day to local opportunities. At least once a Spring, I try to devote a long weekend to a more remote place, to photograph a particular subject.