Do or Do Not

At work during New Employee Orientation, people from across the company are invited to stop by for lunch with our new employees so they can see who we are and what we do. We play a game during lunch where the trainer asks a question and we write down our answers on slips of paper that we then take turns drawing out of a bowl and reading aloud. The object is to match the answers to the people in the room.

This past Monday, our question was: You’re chosen to serve a year in space. You have all the regular necessities you need. What one non-necessary item do you bring with you?

It’s a variation on “your house is on fire; what one thing do you grab as you escape.”

My answer? A camera. If I’m going to space, I’ve got a chance to make photos that no one else has ever or will ever create.

If I were to do that right now, though, I’d probably delete 90% of what I shot.

White bison roam the range at Bearizona in northern Arizona.

White bison roam the range at Bearizona in northern Arizona.

I realized over this past weekend as PJ and I took our cameras out for the first time in a long time that we’ve been relying much too much on our phones for photos lately. We decided we needed to do something about that and we set out to refamiliarize ourselves with actual cameras.

I barely remembered where the blasted power switch was.

I shot many frames and got a few decent photos. I also got a lot of crap. Poor focus, lighting, angles, settings all wrong…

It reminded me that the most important thing you can do as a person who enjoys photography is to enjoy photography. Get out there and shoot! The best gear you’ll ever have as a photographer is experience. As with anything, your skills will rust away if you don’t use them.

Same goes for crafting, arts, reading, music, blogging… If you’re going to do it, commit to it. Use it or lose it. It’s as simple as that.

Chasing waterfalls

Hi. I’m Steve and I’m an artist.

There really should be some sort of support group for those of us with an artistic bent — or who are artistically bent — whichever.

I’ve been a photographer off and on for over 45 years. I have photos I composed when I was a child. Even then I was capturing the unusual like a cat stuck up in a tree (which you can barely see since I didn’t have a zoom lens), or a cat sprawled out on a screen door trying to climb her way into the house, or a different view of the house, itself.

Throughout my childhood I wrote fiction, acted and sang on stage, drew things that I barely recognized when I was done with them, played recorder and clarinet, and made photos.

Then, during my 20s, I put that all behind me. I stopped creating and performing. I’m still not sure why and I’m especially baffled as to why it took over 20 years to again spark my interest in expressing my creativity. Digital photography caught my imagination, and I started playing around with cameras again, getting a feel for sharing what I saw whether from a journalistic point of view or something abstract or just plain goofy.

Now in my 50s, I’m still a shutter bug. I’ve also started creating jewelry, polymer clay figurines, and I’ve started to paint. The waterfall below, now on display in my office, is my first ever artistic, freehand painting. While I was guided through it by a friend who is a painter, when it comes down to it, it’s what I was able to pull out of my brain and put onto canvas.


I don’t know what possessed me to jump at the chance to learn painting. I have so much to learn about jewelry making, working with clay, photography, and everything else I do, but I dived in on this without a second thought. Then again, I don’t know why it took until I was nudging close to 55 to jump at the chance, either. I’ve got nothing particularly profound to say about that, really, but the next time someone asks me if I want to learn something new, I know that no matter how it turns out, I’ll share it with you. And I’d love to see what you create, too.