My camera and me – chasing the dream
Hi! My name is Rhonda Coe. I am a FT mom, FT employee, and wife to the most wonderful husband who I have been blessed to be married to for a little over 2 years. Life for me has had its share of ups and downs, but I have always striven to keep my head up, and my eyes looking forward to new beginnings. My dreams and aspirations have changed over the years as much as I have.
When I was young, I wanted to be a marine biologist. When I was in my 20s, I wanted to bartend forever and open my own restaurant. When I had my first child and got married, my dreams took the back burner, and I was just focused on raising her and building a career in a corporate setting to provide for my family.
Many things changed over the next 20 years. 3 more children, I became a widow, and my future for the first time was a blank slate that I could not figure out for the life of me. That is when my current husband came along. He opened my eyes to so many new possibilities and brought out a whole new set of dreams that I never knew I had in me, which brought me to my newest dream of becoming a photographer. I am still rocking the 9-5 career in corporate America, but my free time is just my camera and me, and is all about capturing life and its infinite beauties.
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The joy of photography – like unpacking a Christmas present
Photography for me, was never about making money, or being famous. It is not tied to the amount of likes or followers I obtain on social media. It is the feeling I get whenever I get my gear together, a euphoric feeling, like you used to feel on Christmas morning as a child. Full of excitement and giddiness about what could be in the presents under the tree.
My presents are found in nature. It is the sound of crisps leaves under your feet while hiking a trail. The mist hanging low between the trees, with the sun shining through in beautiful rays. The changing colors of the leaves in fall and the majestic mountains rising above casting reflections in the cool streams. It made me wonder, how have I never found this hobby before?
My husband gave me my first DSLR for Christmas in 2017. He had seen me searching for a hobby and never finding anything I was passionate about or would stick with. I tried working out, making jewelry, writing… None of it worked. None of it made me want to get up early in the morning to do it or stay up late at night to finish it. I would lose interest so quickly.
He saw that every time we took a trip, I enjoyed taking pictures on my cell phone and creating memory books. He saw something in me that I had a hard time discovering myself. He found my passion and for that, I will be forever grateful.
Full immersion – fearing the judgment
I spent hundreds of hours honing this “craft”, this “hobby”. Watching YouTube videos, buying photography books, studying the pictures of professionals, to see if I could duplicate what they could do. I wanted to learn EVERYTHING there was to know and be the best at it. But by doing that, I forgot why I started doing it in the first place.
I lost the joy photography brought me. It is funny, since I got a “real” camera, I have not printed any of the memory books I used to love. For a while, I even lost the happiness I felt when out shooting. I was plagued by questions like “is this composition perfect?” “Will the viewer find this subject interesting?” “Is it sharp enough? Does it have enough bokeh??”
I was terrified of posting my first picture for friends and strangers to see. Horrified that no one else would see the beauty in whatever had caught my eye that day. Scared that I would not amass a following of people on Instagram. Without all that I would be a failure, right?
Back to the roots – sharing my passion, enjoying life
It took me a while, and only recently, until I decided that all that did not matter to me. It was not why I loved photography in the first place. You see, I am a bit of a loner and an introvert. I do not want the fame and fortune that some of the professionals have. I do not want to do work shops or travel to promote products. I want to find happiness in every shot and share it with other people.
If they like it, great! If they do not, well…. So be it. I enjoy a hobby that keeps me alone most of the time and that is okay. That alone time is what sparks my creativity and allows me to detox from the toxic world we live in today. I love that I have met new people both online and in the flesh. I have made many new friends that share this passion as well, and it has helped me appreciate other people’s company a bit more.
I am still not making millions and I still do not have thousands of followers on social media. What I do have, is something that gets me up for sunrises and keeps me out later for sunsets. Something that will get me out hiking for miles, just to reach a waterfall that may or may not be flowing. And something that teaches me every day that there is beauty all around us, if we just take the time to see it.
Thank you for taking time to read my piece. If you want to see more of my work, then please follow me on Instagram