2014.  A New Year.   

A few years ago I decided to stop doing resolutions.  They have always felt like societal pressures to have me change to what "I should be":  skinnier, fitter, etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah….  

To live my life to the fullest is what I always strive for and that is enough.  The older I get the more I am not afraid to take risks and challenge myself.

In 2013, the biggest challenge I made for myself was to do more Cinematography and Still Photography.  I've always had a phobia about shooting.  Even though I have a degree in Film and have taken countless cinematography and photography classes, the complexities of a film camera and lighting have always stumped me.  I know how to shoot and compose a shot, but I always felt like I never knew enough to succeed at it.  I understand where this fear comes from….

When I was a teenager, I begged and begged my Step-Dad for a still camera.  For my 13th birthday, he finally bought me one.  It wasn't anything fancy, but I loved taking pictures with it.   His explanation on operating it was:  "press this, this and this and you'll do fine."  No explanation of shutter speed, aperture or anything else.  When I got my first roll of film back from the developer, his response was how awful the shots were and that I'll never be any good.  He always expected a grew deal from me as a child.  He expected perfection.  And being the shy introvert that I was, and still am, I internalized the criticism and never felt that I was, nor ever will be, good enough.  

At the beginning of 2013, the thought of shooting never entered my mind.  In May, Aimée Barry Broustra asked if I would do some shooting on "A Horseback Ride to the Soul."  So it was with great risk, nervousness and anxiety that I picked up a camera and started shooting.  I am thankful to her for giving me the opportunity to be second camera on the documentary.  In working with her, I was introduced to Kelly Wendorf and then to Ginger Gaffney, both of whom gave me a chance to improve my shooting skills even further.  I will forever be grateful and appreciative of these wonderful women.

Recently, I began reading Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In" (thanks go out again to Aimée for loaning me the book).  In one chapter, she challenges the reader, "What would I do if I weren't afraid?  And then go do it."  It is always difficult to take the plunge and follow a dream, especially one that has been squashed and hidden for so long.  It sounds cliche, but it is true, fear is always the thing that holds us back.  It strangles our potential, and does not let us shine in the world.  

What will you do this year if you weren't afraid?

Whatever it is.  I urge you to take a deep breath and take the plunge and show the world your brilliance.

Here is to a brilliant 2014 for all of us!

Peace and Love,