A Solitary Business

I’m going to Namibia. I can’t believe I just said that. I’m going to Namibia! Thus, begins another adventure. The dust has yet to settle from Patagonia – my rib will probably hurt for another 3 or 4 weeks and surgery for my torn meniscus is scheduled for July 18. Nonetheless, I’m off again to another continent. I’ve had Namibia on my list for many years. I’m very excited to finally take care of that check box!

Namibia offers many many outstanding photographic possibilities. Dunes, cool trees, night skies, more cool trees, wildlife, and deserted buildings. It’s like a photography smorgasbord! My options for shooting include hiking, helicopters, and motorized hang gliders. It’s all very exciting and it requires some serious planning when it comes to gear. In the last two weeks, I’m made more decisions than I can count. Yes to that item, no to that one. Maybe, I changed my mind, oh! What about this? In the end, I have two cameras, 5 lenses, and more than a hundred pounds in two checked bags and two carryon bags. And my plan is to get all that and me more than 8500 miles away onto a different continent. Hmmm. Photography is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure!

Traveling the way I do can be a lonely business. Airports, lounges, and planes are all filled today with bustling Memorial Day travelers. It’s super busy. The Atlanta airport is crazy with family travelers getting an early start on the weekend. It reminds me that photography can be a solitary pursuit. Shooting, traveling, getting up early, staying out late—I do all these things while most normal human beings participate in normal human activities like sleep and housework and pets and family stuff. I don’t do much of that kind of stuff. I was recently reminded of this during dinner with some friends as I struggled to identify with the conversations and just to fit in. Let’s face it, most people don’t identify with my lifestyle. The only person who identifies with the solitary photographer is, well, another solitary photographer. And, by definition, those solitary photographers are often off doing their own thing. So, here is to solitary pursuits! There are many rewards in such pursuits, and I’m off to explore them in this trip. Wish me luck!

While I’m gone, please have a great Memorial Day weekend. Here is an image from a Memorial Day a couple of years ago that I’ll never forget. It features Sgt. Ben Miller, who reminds us in the image what really matters. I shared this image before. Here are a couple of links if you’re interested in the story behind it. Thanks Ben!

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