The sun was fast approaching golden hour, but instead of fidgeting with F-stops and shutter speeds, I allowed myself the privilege of spectating on the play of light as the sun inched across the sky, and slide behind the distant skyline. How many of these splendid moments had I missed over the years, because of my cycloptic view? I could not begin to count, but I’m grateful I stepped aside that evening, and watched the sun clothe Mother Earth in a golden robe of light.
My observation lasted until Venus poked her shining eye into the twilight sky. Then, I packed my gear and headed home. Little did I realize this was the turning point in my struggle to generate extra money, as a means to subsidize a fixed, retirement income.
I grew weary over the years, holding out on prices, careful not to undercut others in the industry, and defending the value of my work. I found myself in nonnegotiable deals with non-profits, nickel-and-diming me until I couldn’t afford travel expenses. I received a myriad of requests to donate my work to silent auctions, and offers of nonpayment to “get your name out there.” Total sales from art shows and farmer’s markets didn’t cover the space I occupied. Friends became mere acquaintances after promising to buy a print or two, but never did. My strength of purpose weakened. My body of work suffered malnutrition, and I lost confidence in my ability.
The hunger in my belly growled so loud one night, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, until I remembered the evening of the golden sunset. The golden hour of revelation, when I realized the art I grew to love, was now an abusive affair. It no longer served the purpose of my dream, and the time had come to let it go. So, I capped my lenses, sat the camera down, and decided to step away.