Intro by Skip Cohen
Mark Gunter is a part time photographer from Yukon, Oklahoma, who I met at Skip's Summer School. In fact, after the 2013 program he sent me a guest post, which was later published. Mark, like so many of you is dealing with the balancing act between his full time and part time jobs. There's no question he's passionate about being an artist, but he's got a skill set unique to most photographers, Mark can write!
With this post, which I almost lost in my antiquated email system, he wrote:
"I was getting ready to post in the Skip’s Summer School group and figured I might actually have something worth submitting for a guest post. The events I write about happened this morning. While my part-time photography business is doing well, it is a struggle. I think I am at a tipping point and things could change, but only if I act. This has been on my mind for the past few weeks. My encounter this morning, among other things, helped me to reset my thinking."
The other day I wrote a post that started with a quote from Milton Bearle:
"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door!"
Half the battle of building any business is turning your dream into reality, but the other half is recognizing that you have the control to make it happen. You don't have to live by that old line of, "Jump and the net will appear," because life doesn't work that way when starting a new business. However, with a little planning and insight into understanding your goals, you can create an incredible career path.
I'm genuinely excited for Mark, because he's got the passion, he's part of an incredible photographic community and a great network and he's already recognized the initial responsibility is all in his lap, which hits on another important quote I use a lot...
"To thine ownself be true!"
The small suburban pond behind our house plays host to herons, kingfishers, mallards, and geese. We see the occasional, lone egret, but they do not stay for long. On this sleepy Sunday morning, five Great Egrets were wading near the water's edge.
Carefully sneaking out of the house with my camera, I observed the birds for about 20 minutes. The egrets on either end were trying to fish while the three in the middle discussed politics. As I observed the action through my lens, I caught myself reflecting on my experiences at Skip’s Summer School, most notably, words of wisdom delivered by Scott Bourne in 2012.
What was I photographing here? These shots had nothing to do with passion. They had nothing to do with hours of research. They had nothing to do with hard-fought patience. These images were due to dumb luck. Right place, right time. I barely had to crawl out of bed to get them.
In a sense, I was stealing. I was relying on happenstance to provide an opportunity. This moment had fallen into my lap. In fact, if not for the keen observation of my seven-year old son, I would never have known these birds were there.
I am a part-time photographer. There is no shame in that. But what am I doing to make the most of the time set aside for that endeavor? Am I relying on the same dumb luck to build my photography business as well?
As I worked through these photographs, I found myself asking one question: What am I doing daily to make my own "luck"?
I knew the answer before I asked the question: Not enough.
Luck has nothing to do with success. It is simply a word used to describe that moment when careful planning and a lot of practice come together to create the circumstance that leads to the desired result.
Set your goals. Create a plan. Practice diligently those things you know need to be done. Stop waiting for the lucky break. Make it happen.
Images copyright Mark Gunter. All rights reserved.