Thankful for my family
Like many of you, I am thankful for my family, my friends, my health, and my job. If it wasn't for my family, I would not be able to do the things I do. People think that I am the creative one in the family, but if they know my wife, they know that she has more creativity than I ever will. My son is growing up fast and has become the video expert in the family, exploiting my 5D Mark II cameras like never before. My daughter is now second shooting with me and learning the craft quickly at the young age of 16. Our dog, Cooper, is the only one in the family who is not part of the photo business, other than being one of my models, but we are working on that.
Family is the most important thing in my life, but I feel like I have many photography things to be thankful for as well.
Thankful for capturing history
Whether I am photographing someone's bar mitzvah, wedding or the Olympic Games, I am so thankful for the ability to capture history. For those of us who shoot professionally, we should remember that we are not just photographers, we are historians. I feel honored to photograph people during their special occasions.
Thankful for the people I have met
Thankful for being able to influence others
It was about 3 years ago that B&H Photo asked me to come speak at their store in New York City. I did a couple of presentations for them at their location, and then they asked me to fly back to present some more, with them capturing the newer presentations on video for their YouTube channel. I had no idea whether anyone would watch the videos, and honestly did not think twice about having the videos posted on their YouTube channel.
Here we are a couple of years later and the videos have been watched almost a million times. Why is this so exciting and what do I have to be thankful for? I am thankful that I get to spread the passion of photography to so many people!
The last couple of years have been strange for me, as my life's experiences are being shared across the world, with more than 30,000 people reading this blog every month. Oh...and I am very thankful for all of you who keep inspiring me to continue the blog posts. The blog started as a way to share my photos and stories with friends and family. And now with so many people reading along, I sometimes feel selfish, as I write about me, my photography, and my exploits. But, I am thankful for having something to share with you all.
Thankful for your feedback
From the B&H videos, this blog and my posts Facebook page, I have have received countless email messages from people who have been influenced by my teaching. People are surprised that I read every message and respond to everyone who writes to me. There are times when this gets overwhelming, but when reading these messages, it is so inspiring for me to see what others are doing with their photography. Thank you to all of you who have written to me with feedback.
Here are some samples of recent emails:
"You did not take my photo, We haven't even met but I wanted to thank you for everything you've taught me! I have learnt SO MUCH from your videos on YouTube and cannot thank you enough."
Haytham - Cairo, Egypt
"I just thought I would take a moment to tell you how much I enjoyed your B&H video about the 15 tips to become a professional photographer. I woke up at 4 am ( couldn't sleep) and watched the entire video! I have to tell you that I was inspired after watching your presentation to dig deeper into my Mark III to learn more on the photography side of things which I know will help in my video production! What you do is great and inspiring and has lit a fire under my ass!"
Andy - Ontario, Canada
"I just wanted to let you know you have made a big impression on us people just getting into the fun of photography. Thanks for all you do and the affect on people's lives that you don't get to see."
James - location unknown
"I have just started with a DSLR, and thanks to your lectures, I was able to take my dream nightshot in my hometown, Budapest, Hungary. Thank you so much for all your efforts in making photography enjoyable for beginners. You are absolutely the best teacher on the net."
Gabor - Budapest, Hungary
Thankful to see the world in a new way
I have been traveling around the world for almost 20 years now, but it wasn't until I started photographing that I truly saw the world. Photography has opened my eyes to the world and let's me see the beauty in my surroundings.
I look back at my photo collection and I see images from China, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Chile, Korea, Canada, England, France, and cities all around the United States. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to see so much of the world, far beyond what most people ever see.
Thankful for life's experiences
As I make my final plans for the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, I am reminded of how lucky I am. People think that I get paid a lot of money for shooting the Olympics, but the truth is, I am usually lucky to break even on this endeavor. I shoot the Olympics, because of the experience, not the pay. I always thought that experiencing the Olympic Games would be a "once in a lifetime" opportunity. And here I am, about to be a part of my fourth Olympic experience. I am very thankful for this opportunity.
I hope that all of you have a lot to be thankful for, and for those of you in the United States, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday!