Fear and Consolation

“Being frightened is an experience you can’t buy.” Anthony Price

Do you ever think about your fears?

I feel like lately all I do is think about the things I am afraid of or afraid to do. What’s wrong with me?! Building a business scares me. I tell everyone I don’t have anything to sell. I tell everyone I don’t know how to sell even if I had something to sell. People around me have really good ideas, tangible goods, sound plans, and I have…nothing. Honestly, I’m just not looking hard.

I write every day, but this is certainly not a daily blog. I’m struggling to get my thoughts transcribed once a week. Driving to Birmingham two weeks ago scared me. What if my car breaks down? What if I have a seizure and my family has no idea where I am? What if someone in my family gets ill, and me coming to comfort them will save them, but I can’t get there fast enough because I’m 5 hours away? What if? What if? What if? Luckily for me, my desire to get to these images is stronger than my desire to stay in the house and be safe.

Driving to Tennessee this weekend scared me for many of the same reasons. But I wanted to get to those waterfalls. So I went. It’s shockingly easy to get to most places from Atlanta. This time I was on 75 N. Just driving. The cool breeze circulating through my car. I find it truly enjoyable just to drive and be. I listened to a few podcasts, but mainly Sean Wes again. I like this podcast a lot. It’s not necessarily about business alone, but everything all together. The back and forth between Sean and Ben is so much like a conversation I have had with one of my really good friends; it’s just comforting. 

Anyway, I found the first set of waterfalls at Rock Island. Word to the wise, don’t drink 20oz of coffee then pass the Hardees thinking there will be more stores or restaurants once you get closer to Rock Island. There will not be. You have been warned. So the first thing I had to do was run into the campground restrooms. Lesson learned.

So. I get out of the car and was so elated. The first set of falls are right down the steps of the parking lot. Easy peasy. But being the first person there, I was a little afraid to go down the trail because you couldn’t see around the bend. I decided there would be a crazy wood man waiting to knife me, or otherwise harm my delicate being. But I sucked it up, and went into the woods. And this is what I got. Awesomeness. I left pretty satisfied with myself. 

Waterfall at Rock Island, Tennesee. Using slow shutter speed, water smoothed out. Lush greens
Waterfall at Rock Island, Tennessee

Then I traveled on to Fall Creek Falls. Smug as I was I ventured down the path in search of Buzzard’s Roost. I did not know that its not there. It’s in the Fall Creek Falls park, but not at the actual falls themselves. No worries, I was there, and I knew I was close, so I decided to walk down the path to the nature center to find out where exactly this mysteriously beautiful tree was. From the parking lot of Fall Creek Falls, the nature center is .8 miles. Not a terrible hike but it lies at the bottom of the gorge across….a rope bridge. Ok, no problem, I thought, I had to cross a suspension rope bridge at Tallulah Gorge so I stepped on, and no sir…it was totally different. This bridge swayed and bounced, and was just the most terrifying thing I’ve ever been on. So I got off and went back to the bank. Soon enough there were plenty of people I could let in front of me trying to get to the water to swim.

Finally, there were only six of us left. No one left to get in front of me and enjoy their day. The family who was in line started on the bridge, then they all stopped and turned around motioning for me to join them. I stepped onto the bridge and the combined weight of the family and their exuberance started bounding the bridge. I lost my shit. The mom of the family then came back and took my hand to help me across. I was crying walking over this bridge. Crying! Ugh, so embarrassed.

At least I got to the nature center. Had I surrendered to the fear I would not have known that Buzzard’s Roost was nowhere close to where I was. Great. Then I found out I had to go back across the bridge to get out of this part of the park. And I lost my shit again. And again, had to accept help across, tears streaming. Embarrassed twice in a day! Hooray!

It was worth it. The picture in and of itself isn’t great. But I can see what I’m going to do when, yes when, I go back once the leaves have fallen off. It just looks ominous.

Buzzard's Roost. Fall Creek Falls, Tennessee

I’m left with a lingering question, though. What will happen if I ever go back to Fall Creek Falls and trek to the gorge? Did I conquer my fear like the sweet mom told me as she helped me across the first time? Have I strenthened my resolve? I don’t know. Is it worth me driving 3.5 hours to find out? Well….I guess we’ll see what the future holds.

They want me to give up

Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.
~ Napoleon Hill

I’ve been looking for a manufacturer for my calendar base. For the last 3 years, I’ve had to make due because of necessity. Now, I need this base, and I see companies that have them. But they won’t divulge their secret providers. I’m not giving up, though, because if they could find them, I can too.

I’m also procrastinating. I can make do without the base, but I think if I’m going to sell these this year, it should look nice. But I’m using this search in place of actually trying to find someone who is willing to sell these. I have not validated this idea yet. I mean, I like it, so that’s enough, right? I’ve learned enough to know that is sadly not the case. I have decided on a price, only because other calendars are selling at this price, so its a good start. Now I need to see what the margins are. But, math. Ugh.

Today, I’m feeling a little discouraged because I’m not quite sure why all the companies are refusing to tell me their providers and I feel like throwing a fit.

Better subjects, better pictures

If you want your pictures to be better, stand in front of more interesting stuff    ~ Jim Richardson

I read this quote in Joe McNally’s book, Sketching Light. I read that quote a year ago and never put it into practice until I retired from UPS. Now I’ve been actively seeking new and interesting places to get my camera in front of. Also, I love driving so road-tripping is an added bonus.
I had never even heard of Sloss Furnace before four weeks ago when I attended my first meeting of the Roswell Photographic Society. After my second meeting Tuesday, I am just so grateful that I’ve been able to start attending because I’ve only benefited from the knowledge and hospitality.

Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s a quick two hour drive right down I-20 West.  On my way down I listened to episode 101 of the SeanWes podcast, How to Find Your Passion. There’s Sean and his co-host Ben Toalson. Sean is a very established, very successful entrepreneur and Mr. Toalson acts as kind of a straight man who pings questions off Sean as if he were us; very new, aspiring entrepreneurs even though I think he does pretty well for himself. I like this approach, its a very relaxed conversation about escaping the cube farm and all the psychological blocks that go along with that. This week the topic was how to find your passion. A few questions from Sean to help us figure some things out.

  • What do you focus on? What channels do you subscribe to? Pin?
    I’ve been intensely focused on photography for years, and lately dedicating more of my time to learning the basics of business.
  • What are you about? In one sentence.
    All I want to do is find the most beautiful, obscure and interesting things to photograph, but I need to build my life to support this goal.
  • What do you do when you procrastinate?
  • What would you do if you weren’t being paid?
    Road trip and take pictures!

Here is the play by play of my trip…

8:01 Stopped at RaceTrac for a coffee. Wish I had stopped by Hardees. Late
8:49 Found a Hardees!
9:16 Welcome to Alabama! Central Time Zone…wait, wat! So I was late, and now I’m not late!! Already having a great time!
9:30 Lost. Stopped by McDondalds to GPS myself.
10:03 Well I’m here, on time and the gate is closed?
10:14 Somebody lets us in (yes, there is line now) But he can’t let us in the park…what the heck is going on here?
10:28 Finally get in….um ok, so welcome to Sloss Furnace?

The trip was well worth it. I walked the area for a while then start to explore. I gained a little courage from some other tourists and went into a pitch black room. I snapped a few images w/ my on-camera flash because when they went back up the stairs so did I. I went into the main building and had to give pause because of the realization that these old, dusty machines used to be in operation. I imagined the noise, the bustle, the heat, the activity that used to take place. I just retired from UPS and I feel like I stepped back into my shift for a while. I was surreal. Documenting this place was relaxing. It’s quiet there, unlike a lot of tourist attractions. The visitors come in, look around and take it in, and there’s ample time and room for everyone to set up and take their time photographing. I used my new remote to make sure everything was tack sharp, and because it’s relatively dark I needed a longish shutter speed coupled with my depth of field.

I processed these using Nik (Google) SilverEfex Pro 2, of course, and decided to treat them with a slightly warm tint. I might actually print three of these four as a triptych. We’ll see. I’ve been trying to print more lately.


I have not planned a trip for this Saturday, because I’ll be visiting my family in SC, but I’ll be sure to make up for it next Saturday and Monday!


Well. Who am I? In the grand scope of the internet a neutrino. But I’m here anyway. I quit my night job almost a month ago so I could concentrate on starting a business and taking more photos. I have a bit of a scattered brain and shiny objects are constantly grabbing my attention. What kind of business would I start? I have no idea. I have one thing to sell, but we’ll see. It’s seasonal, so that project won’t be “launched” til Black Friday (stay tuned)!

I’ve been fascinated by starting a business for a while. I listen to so many podcasts and occasionally I’ll talk about them, b/c they’re awesome and you should listen to them too!

My sister-in-law lit a spark under me this past weekend and suddenly I realized I could help her start her own business. B/c I listened to all these podcasts and read these blogs for so long, I knew how she could start her own business w/ out even having one of my own! So now here I am.

The first step was to try to make my website…and carnage ensued. I was not prepared. It’s so easy!! Except for me, b/c I went down the most impossible path, as I usually do. So prepare yourself.

More to come