…as long as I don’t get hit by a vehicle while out on the road, but I digress.
I have to say this year has been one of the most stressful years of my life, which most of you know. But for those who don’t here is the 50,000 foot explanation. March 20th of this year, the day before I started a new job doing some project management consulting work, my wife Caroline was diagnosed with breast cancer. I immediately found myself looking for ways to support her as she goes through the pain of cancer treatments, while at the same time learning the ins and outs of my new work situation. One of the things I decided to do to support Caroline was to participate in the LIVESTONG Challenge in Philly to raise money for cancer treatments & survivorship; basically because I couldn’t take Caroline’s place in her treatments and I couldn’t just stand around and watch. So I started riding my bike after work to train for the event.
Another thing that started to happen to me during this period is that I stopped taking photographs, not completely but MUCH less then I use to. Part of it was having less time but more than that I found the stress of what was going on in our lives was killing my creativity. My thoughts focused around 2 things; Caroline’s health and the normal trials of starting a new job, with one exception, when was I going to get to ride my bike next?
I started to notice that other than sleeping, cycling provided me an opportunity to escape the stress I was feeling. My normal cycling route is a 30 mile loop, which takes me about 2 hours to complete. That gave me 2 hours to clear my head, to be free of distractions of life, no radio, TV, cancer, job, everything. Just me and my thoughts (oh yea and NJ drivers but again I digress). Being alone without distractions for that long of time is something that is pretty much unheard of these days in our fast paced, electronic gadget, 30 seconds attention span filled lives. I also noticed I started to come up with ideas while out cycling, (2 hours alone leads to some interesting reflection) that is where I decided to give away my boat to help raise money for my LIVESTRONG ride. However I still wasn’t finding inspiration to photograph. So on one of my recent rides I decided I needed to carry a camera with me on the bike. Perhaps I’d find inspiration again in photographing the things I was experiencing while out on the bike. I knew I didn’t want to carry my Nikon D700 and my iPhone just didn’t give me the manual control I wanted. So I picked-up a Fujifilm X10 camera, it has the technical specs I was looking for plus it fits nicely in my cycling jersey pocket.
So that brings me to where we are today. Caroline is halfway through her chemo treatments and doing as well as can be expected and the prognosis is very good. I have learned the nuances of the job it is less stressful than it once was. I am out cycling 4-5 days a week training for my LIVESTRONG ride and trying to raise money for the cause. However now when I’m out on the bike, I always have my camera with me hoping that in the process I’ll find my muse…