Family isn't always blood.
It's the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.
The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.
I was recently asked how I keep coming up with something to write about each day. In all honesty, just like many of you who are constantly in search of the ultimate image, I'm no different with topics to write about. It really comes down to loving what I do.
As photographers, at least those of you who have been at it a few years, you love what you do. Images often come together naturally. Your creativity starts to flow, and you begin framing a new subject and composing images in your mind's eye long before you click the shutter. Well, it's no different with those of us who love to write.
It's a typical Sunday morning, and I had no idea what I wanted to write about until I sent a text to a terrific friend, Suzette Allen and at 4:00 am her time she responded. That set off a hysterical volley of text messages that started with me asking, "Why are you up now?" And, it gave me the perfect topic for Sunday Morning Reflections.
This isn't a new topic for me, just a reinforcement about the best part of this business, that aspect of our friendships where we help each other. Helping each other, contributing to each other's lives and watching each other's backs is all part of being in this industry, and the longer you're at it, the better it gets. You eventually get to a point where it just becomes part of your daily process.
At the risk of embarrassing Suzette and husband, Jonny Yoshinaga, here's how it's all rolled up into one terrific friendship over the years:
Suzette and I have known each other for probably twenty plus years, but the friendship was just a friendly hello at any conference we were both attending. The friendship started to ramp up when I got more involved with Panasonic, and she was one of the first LUMIX Ambassadors.
Then we were all teaching in Nebraska at Marathon's MAP Getaway. More quality time together and the first time we were all able to have dinner together several times, including the night after the conference was over when Bruce Hudson was also there, adding to the mix of friendship.
Last year we started working on a project together, sharing her photography tips, especially on hybrid videos for Photodex here on the SCU blog.
If there was a turning point where she and Jonny became "family," it was last year when, after a conference in Florida, she and Jonny finally accepted an invitation for the weekend at "Skip and Sheila's B&B."
A couple of years ago I made a new year's resolution to get more quality time with good friends and getting them here for the weekend was all under that umbrella. Well, this is where Jonny and I got our first quality time hanging out together too.
During that weekend I released a post featuring Molly the Wonder Dog in her own short 4K video, thanks to Suzette filming. And, just like they say you become a better tennis player when you play with somebody better than you, hanging out with Suzette and Jonny at the Saturday night drum circle on Nokomis Beach added another dimension to the friendship.
Since then we've worked together on the LUMIX Ambassador Album - a stunning oversized album thanks to Marathon Press. Each double page spread features the work of another LUMIX Ambassador, and there are twenty-five in all.
And that brings me full circle and finally to my point this morning; great friendships are a testimonial to the individual investment of time we all need to make more of. Your network is essential, but it's the people in that most inner circle you're closest to where there needs to be a little more care and feeding involved. Life often gets in the way, but if you make a stronger effort to stay in touch, it's amazing how rich your life can become.
Wishing all of you a wonderful Sunday and one filled with time with those people most important in your life. It's those friends who have become family who give our lives more substance, meaning and plenty of smiles. Take those eleven-second therapeutic hugs whenever the opportunity is there and don't waste a minute today thinking about Monday morning - this is your day to kick back and chill!
Happy Sunday everybody!
PS The reason I sent a text to Suzette was to help another good buddy, Kevin Gilligan, who had a question about LUMIX cameras and 4K video. I consider Kevin a very good friend even though we have yet to meet face to face, but enjoy a friendship that's been built on a foundation of phone conversations, emails and his support of SCU with several terrific guest posts. We're an industry that revolves around each of our extraordinary friendships.
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Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.