As I look back at 2009, I realize that it was a jam-packed year with tons of different types of activities. Here some of the high points:
- I spent 11 weeks out on safari, splitting my time between Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana. 11 weeks is a significant amount of time to spend away from home, however I did come home with amazing photographs and memories.
- Hiking and photographing with wild chimpanzees in Tanzania's Mahale Mountains National Park. Wow. Talk about a fun trip! Mahale Mountains is an extremely remote area of Tanzania, and borders Lake Tanganyika. Lake Tanganyika is the second largest fresh water lake in the world, and borders many different countries. Photographing wild chimpanzees is an experience that I will never forgot, however I am working on returning again in the next few years.
- John Paul Caponigro and I co-led a trip to Namibia, and it was my first time to visit the Skeleton Coast National Park. Although I had been to Namibia before, it was my first time to visit this very unique park. I also ran another trip in Namibia that same month to some other locations.
- I had excellent African wild dog sightings in Botswana in July, and witnessing 13 pups was a wonderful experience. I also came home with photos that I am happy with.
- Michael Clark and I teamed up for a workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico and combined field shooting at the Hot Air Balloon Fiest with indoor lectures on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and fine art digital printing (we are doing another one in October, 2010).
- I continued my consulting work for Moab by Legion Paper, and had some lectures at places like B&H were I met new friends.
- Gura Gear really took off in 2009, and we are happy that we have many many happy customers using our first product, the Kiboko bag.
- I gave the keynote speach this year for the PDN Virtual Trade Show on digital printing, all conducted over the web.
- Troy Covey started working for Gura Gear and also my photo business, and he is an excellent sidekick and all around great guy.
- I expanded my offie space to 1,000 square feet, and now the place really looks like a better place to work.
- I setup a scholarship fund, and have already sent my first recipient to college. His name is Boniface Dallan, and he is attending wildlife management college in Tanzania. He will graduate in 18 months, and I couldn't be more proud of everything he is doing for he and his family.
- I added new technology to the studio, and now print on Epson, HP and Canon printers.
- I started offering one-on-one digital printing and workflow sessions in my studio. I had numerous appointments in the first month that I offered it, and I already have repeat customers.
- I watched our oldest son, Christian, successfully make it through potty training. :-)
- I watched our youngest son, Will, start walking and talking.
- I had my 40th birthday. Yes, I am now officially over the hill, even though I don't feel like it.
2009 was an excellent year for me, despite all of the world economy doom and gloom. All of my African photo safaris were completely sold out, my other workshops also had waiting lists and I leave behind a year that I am quite happy with. Gura Gear really surprised me, as we had a difficult time keeping up with demand for our bags. 2010 will be a great year for Gura Gear, as we have been working on some more exciting products that we will be bringing to market.
Here are some specific items that I want to accomplish in 2010:
- Spend more time with Leslie and the boys. I want to do a better job creating memories that will last a lifetime. I think I do a good job already, but I know that I can always do better.
- Expand my African photographic safari business to include new destinations. 2011 is already being planned, and I have some new locations on my schedule!
- Push my print sales business higher and higher and attract more art buyers and interior decorators.
- Write more, both for the blog and also try to get a few e-books published. I have some great knowledge and experiences that I need to share.
- Continue to learn new technologies and push myself and my own boundaries.
- I still need a personal project that I can sink my teeth into. I don't feel like I am creating much these days, and I need to make the time to create something more long-term.