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Reflecting on St. Patrick's Day

As I reflect on this St. Patrick's Day, it marks a significant milestone in my life—a transition from one chapter to another, twenty years ago. In 2004, I bid farewell to my role as a graphic artist at Val-Pak and embarked on a new adventure: selling my photography full-time at art shows.

The evolution in my camera gear and workflow since that time is profound. Back then, I captured moments with my trusty Nikon FM2n, a fully manual camera that required precision in every shot—manual focus, manual exposure, and every detail meticulously considered. While my experience with Photoshop at Val-Pak provided some digital editing skills, it wasn't until two years later that I embraced the digital age with my first autofocus camera, the Fuji SL2. Since then, my journey through various Nikon models—D300, D500, D750, D850—culminated in my recent acquisition of the Nikon Z8, my first venture into mirrorless technology.

The advancements in camera technology are staggering. Today, my camera feels more like a sophisticated computer with a lens attached, boasting an array of 15 autofocus modes. While these innovations have undoubtedly streamlined the process of achieving optimal exposure and sharp focus, the fundamental principles of photography remain unchanged. The responsibility still lies with me to understand my equipment thoroughly, to know which mode suits each scenario best. I recall my Antarctica expedition, where 50% of my shots demanded manual focus due to the whims of falling snow, challenging the autofocus systems.

Change is inevitable, and I strive to embrace it, constantly adapting to the most efficient methods to achieve my desired results. Yet, amidst debates surrounding Artificial Intelligence, I find myself pondering its role in my craft. Much like autofocus and autoexposure, AI can serve as a powerful tool, enhancing efficiency and precision. However, it must always remain just that—a tool. I am steadfast in my conviction that the essence of my artistry lies in human creativity and intuition. AI may aid in realizing my vision, but it will never replace the artist's discernment and decision-making.

As I contemplate my future in the art show business, I am filled with gratitude. Despite the challenges and occasional frustrations, I am blessed to pursue a passion that ignites my soul. To all those who have supported me along this journey—whether through purchasing my work or simply offering words of encouragement—I extend my heartfelt appreciation. Your support not only sustains me but also guides me in refining my craft.

St. Patrick's Day holds a special significance for me. As someone with Irish heritage and a middle name, Patrick, I find joy in celebrating this vibrant holiday. It seems fitting that I chose this day to mark the beginning of my journey as a full-time photographer, a decision I've never once regretted.

So, on this St. Patrick's Day, I raise a glass to new beginnings, to embracing change, and to the enduring power of creativity. Sláinte!

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