A year ago on my birthday, 5January, I set out to make 2015 the best year ever for living and for my photography. The year was dedicated to my brother who lived more in his short life than most people truly live in 100 years!
I learned many things on this journey, especially about photography and making the most of every single day. The best thing I learned is to simply have fun, no matter what I’m doing.
My camera and I got to travel to many new places, visit state and national parks I had never been to before, and one of my photos received “judges favorite” for a contest I entered and I received a 3rd place award for another photo contest.
I vacationed in Costa Rica and had the thrilling experience of holding a baby sea turtle. I traveled to Yellowstone National Park where I photographed many different animals, including a moose, horned sheep, and a pouncing coyote. Other National Parks I photographed were Cuyahoga Valley and Concoction Mountain. There were several state parks I had never been to, like Elk Forest which was the first trip with my new 400mm lens (first time ever someone said to me they had lens envy as I’m usually the one to say that). In total I photographed four national parks and eight state parks. There will be more this year!
I also traveled through Montana where on the day we were there, stopping for gas & food on the way to Idaho, we got to see the Olympic Torch run through on the street we stopped for gas! Montana and Idaho were states I’d never traveled to until last May. While on same trip I got to drive a pickup truck for the first time, and then later I bought a new one. They are fun to drive.
My hope for this blog was to be seen by people other than my family and to accomplish 50 Likes on Facebook (look me up at Photo Life Journal). I exceeded my goal and got 53 Likes (thanks to all of you). But I never imagined this blog would be viewed in 28 States, 16 countries, and in 11 languages!! How crazy is that?!?! Thanks again!
I must say that most of these experiences and many firsts would have never happened if not for the best boyfriend ever in my life. We shared a lot of these experiences together. But what means the most is that we shared a lot of laughs and happiness along the way.
Much to my surprise I had a thought I’d never had before back in October. I was driving somewhere and thinking to myself that if I were to die at that moment I have lived a great life. Please don’t freak out – I don’t have a death wish. But there is peace in knowing that life is so good and well lived. Every day is great.
I believe my brother would be proud of me, of the life I’ve made for myself. He was well travelled and also enjoyed photography (I wonder what he would have thought of DSLR cameras?). He made his own trail through life and I guess maybe I’m picking up where he left off.
As we start 2016 and I celebrate my birthday on Tuesday, I now only look ahead. There’s quite a list of new places I want to photograph and I still want to share those with you. I’ll keep this blog going for as long as folks want to look at my photos.
Stay tuned for a website overhaul (time for a little change). Before I sign off today, here’s my favorite photo taken last year:
My wish for you is that you make it a great year, make it happen, don’t wait. Go do that thing you want to do. Stop putting it off until some day. Some day is today!
~ melissa michelle