Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Journey is the Destination

So it didn't turn out the way you thought it should!

What were you expecting?

Well I was expecting to see the same kind of photography opportunities that I had become accustom to.
I mean wide rivers, plenty of rock outcroppings, clear, smooth water, 10 to 12 miles of paddling a great river. I did my homework and studied the landscape and found the terrain I was looking for.
I drove 5 hours to the northwest corner of Connecticut to Bull's Bridge. This trip I
 invited Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker to join me. He rode in the CD player and encouraged me the whole trip. Along the way I passed through the Delaware Water Gap and noticed the water was high. I hoped that the torrential downpour that we experienced in Pennsylvania had not reached Connecticut. Not to be. The white water guys in Connecticut were all smiles. The roaring and rushing white water eliminated the photo op that I was expecting to find.

Now What?
A bit discouraged I drove north to Kent, CT and walked around asking the locals if they knew of rocky shores farther north on the river. The answers I received were not favorable. The previous storm raised water levels and knocked the red fall foliage off the trees. As I walked around the town I started to notice the large bronze sculptures dotting the town lawns.

It was late in the day so most of the shops were closed and not much was going on. I decided to drive farther north along the river hoping to find my photographic subjects. About 8 p.m. I came across a place to eat with a wifi connection to check mail. I heard from some locals that there was a possibility of reflections on a lake farther east. I traveled to Colebrooke Lake and looked for a place to camp.

My "Now What ?" turned into a different adventure. On my bare-bones trips grilled tortillas and cheese are the main stay and sleeping in the well padded van are the quarters. About 10:30 p.m. I pulled into a small town hoping to find a camp ground or Walmart. Instead I found a small grocery store still open.  I met an employee, Terry, stacking shopping carts and asked about sleeping in the parking lot. I told him  I was in search of rocks and rivers to photograph.  He invited me home to meet his family and discuss art. We drove to the  cross roads called Pleasant Valley, just south of Riverton, CT. This journey led me to some fine folks, Terry and Darlene (Pouchy) with some northern hospitality who allowed me a nights stay and some fine dining along the beautiful Farmington River.

 Early morning fog shrouded the wading fly fisherman, as I drove north to the lake where I had hopes of my finding my assignment. More disappointment as the lake did not hold the images I had hoped for, but many beautiful backroads and ponds with fall colors.

 I had to readjust my plan and recognize that this did not work out like I thought. I was feeling a bit discouraged in my quest. I felt this nagging like being skunked after fishing all day without a hit.

 There was something about the Kent area that I couldn't shake, I felt that I had to go back.  Even though the town was small, there was a hugh potential.

As  I walked around the town with my large portfolio, people would ask what I had and wanted to see some art. The conversation was always encouraging. I stopped by the coffee shop in town, where some locals were ending their day. After asking questions about directions to a certain gallery, a local guy asked what I had in the case. As I showed him some "fine art prints" photos he made some comments and a small crowd started to gather in the cafe.  One guy got up from an easy chair  in the back of the shop and handed me some literature of the art scene and said, "Welcome to the area, I'm Pete". I may be in the right place after all, I don't ever recall being welcomed into an area like that. Our conversation centered on the arts of that area, galleries and how I might fit in.

This is not what I expected to find, art galleries that housed famous artist whose paintings were about the 100k price. Fine furniture that sold in the 10s of thousands. I was able to transfer the purpose of the trip from photographing the area to marketing fine art prints. This was a new experience and purpose for this trip. I had the desire to travel thinking that my purpose was to get photos, when actually it turned out to be the marketing for art.

I have heard it said that "the journey is the destination."

Looking back I realized that I had allowed some disappointments to throw me off track for a period of time. I was stuck on a perceived failure instead of seeing new opportunities.
My weekend trip didn't turn out the way I thought it would but I see things differently now and can go with the flow a little better. I met some wonderful folks and got acquainted with an area that values art. I acquired a deeper appreciation for art and gained a better vision for what I could offer in my own work. I also realized that there can be hidden treasures within disappointment. I have an idea I will be back in that area to visit and hopefully establish some art connections.

Still learning to look at life from different angles.



  1. Nice blog Steve! I think some of your art is also what whirls in your mind so getting it out in a post is yet another way of expressing yourself well. It's fun to find pockets of people who you don't have to explain yourself to and just accept you as an artist with no questions asked. The journey IS the destination and the view from the path is breathtaking!

  2. Thank you for sharing that wonderful adventure. I did something similar on my artist trip to California. It was all an unplanned adventure to see if I could find what I was being pulled to do. It's exciting when you finally discover things that you hadn't planned on finding. I think it is really gift to have the sensitivity to be open to that longing and do what it takes to find out what the mission is all about.

  3. Steven -- Great story/blog. I was challenged one day (while walking at Longwood Gardens) to stop every 2-3 minutes and take a photo of something around you. No great photos that day but a wonderful adventure to notice your environment. It sounds as if your journey was truly an adventure.

  4. Hi Steve, sounds like a great weekend and you have a wonderful addition for your portfolio.

  5. Steve,
    Life is how you deal with Plan B, right?

    Great job on your thinking and your photos!



  6. Steve,

    Looks like the Canada trip was a success. I really enjoy all the pictures and narration with quotes and quips. I didn't even have to paddle.
    Ever wonder if God got the idea for insect faces from rock reflections?