There's a saying in Japanese that goes something along the lines of 'The lighthouse doesn't light the base of the tower'. Of course I probably totally murdered the saying but what it means is this.
We don't tend to notice what's right at our feet and I am probably more guilty of this than anybody. My whole photographic life has involved trying to get to the farthest corners of the earth to document the most difficult places to get to.
The farther away I was from home the better. The more off the beaten track the happier I was. A year on the road was nothing unusual. But then you get married and you have children and your perspective on life changes. And you find yourself sticking close to home.
I'm betting a lot of stay-at-home Mums can relate to this. You have a couple of little ones to look after and no time for photography. Well I'm here to tell you I can relate. For the last twelve months I've been a stay at home Dad looking after a 5 and 3 year old and fitting in my business around that and my wife's work. She works for a major international airline and spends 3 or 4 days of the week overseas during which time I look after the two little munchkins.
At first it was a major shock to the system. I was totally lost and at sea. I suddenly went from being Paul Dymond the peripatetic snapper to get breakfast, change the nappies, drop 'em off at school Dad. Of course I was concerned about what would happen to my work but these are the things you do to keep both partners in a marriage happy.
Anyway to cut a long story short, heading into another year at home and I'm loving it. I have photographed my local area more in the last 12 months than in the last 10 years of living here! I've come across cassowaries in the rainforest, beautiful sunrises silhouetting palm trees and scenes of natural beauty that up until now I'd just driven by. And I've re-discovered my passion for photography because I have to make the most of limited time.
So heading into 2009 and another year of blogging you'll be hearing from me on how I manage to fit travel photography into a busy stay-at-home Dad schedule. It's not easy as I'm sure many of you know but hopefully you'll be able to relate as I try to find a balance. Last year was one of finding my way to a certain extent and working out which way I wanted to take my business and how I was going to make it work. This year is going to be about making the most of local opportunities and actively looking for great stories and subjects to photograph.
For many of us trying to balance photography with a working life is a real challenge and we tend to ignore our local surroundings to our own peril. So what I'd like to impart this year is a little inspiration and a few tips on how to get inspired by where you live and to realise that you don't have to get on a plane every month to be a travel photographer.
Although big discounts on plane tickets means I won't be home every weekend. :) Sorry honey seeya in a couple of days.