Monthly Archives: January 2017

Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 18 of 100

Lake Mac (1 of 1).jpgToday Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Not long after that happened, I took my girlfriend to the airport so she could visit family on the East Coast. It was a rainy day here in Los Angeles. The highways to LAX were terrible, but I couldn’t help but think how beautiful the mountains must be right after a good snow storm, especially Yosemite. I need to make up my mind on Saturday whether I want to brave the road (and incur the cost) of heading up north to capture some amazing shots of the famous National Park. One factor that plays in my decision is whether I should first upgrade my camera gear before taking another big trip. I’ve had my eyes on the Nikon 800, along with several lenses that can accommodate a full format sensor. The cost will be a cool $2k at the very least. I haven’t justified that sort of expenditure just yet. I keep telling myself that when I get my photography business completely up and running with consistent profits, I can feel confident that upgrading my camera makes sense. I have no idea if that is really just an elusive target.

Whatever the case my be, I’ll either be thinking about the Nikon 800 in Los Angeles or in beautiful snow-covered Yosemite.

(Vincent Lowry – Author of American Vineyard and #LucysLetter)

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 17 of 100

dc-nightToday I closed on three fine art sales. It provided a much needed boost to my confidence on my dream job’s long-term viability, as I was beginning to wonder if there was a market for my product. As I suspected, a market exists. The trick, of course, is to find the customer who is looking for what I’m providing at the exact moment they need it, and to do it better than everyone else who supplying an alternative. The masters have this nailed down. I think all photographers (and writers) have a list of their favorite successful mentors, dead or alive, who have exceled at their craft to the point of financial independence. These mentors are the ones who keep the fire bright within our creative hearts during the difficult days, the moments when it seems impossible to pursue the vision because of internal or extra barriers. These masters show us that it can be done.  They prove that the barriers were largely self-imposed, and that confidence is always forged from within whether you are paid or not for your innate talent.

Who is on your mentor list?

And are you on someone’s list, too?

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 16 of 100

Sonaleena Shot 2 (1 of 1).jpgI thought my art show today at Redondo Beach would be about meeting many strangers to discuss all things photography, but I found it was to talk to a few important connections about opportunities for future events. I won’t get into details about it, because it’s not very interesting as a blog subject. I will mention, however, that I was most surprised by my girlfriend. She looked absolutely beautiful in her pink dress, and I was lucky to have her by my side supporting me at the show. She hasn’t been feeling well for the past few days, and yet she got fixed up so she could help me as best as she could. What an amazing woman! It is because of her that I find today a success; how lovely it is to have that feeling no matter what happens with sales/connections/results.

(Vincent Lowry – Author of American Vineyard and #LucysLetter)

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 15 of 100

 

manhattan-beach-2-1-of-1

From my notes on the 10 Reasons Why You Should Purchase Metal Prints:

#10 – Moisture Resistant! Great in kitchens, bathrooms, outdoors, etc! They will not warp or ripple like paper prints!

#9 – Bye-Bye Frames! Welcome to the modern age! Why spend time on the hassle with frames? Do built-in hangers!

#8 – Save Money! No frames means you won’t have to pay hundreds for quality framing!

#7 – Longer Durability!  Paper prints are easy to tear and stain. Metal prints won’t tear, and you can easily wipe stains off!

#6 – Brighter Colors! Colors pop off the prints when exposed to sunlight or indoor lights!

#5 – High Detail and Resolution! Metal prints look like paused HD TVs! It’s almost 3D!

#4 – Minimize Sun Bleaching! Sunlight does not bleach metal the same way as paper!

#3 – Easy to Transport! Simple to move from place to place!

#2 – Great Conversation Starter! Tell your friends and family about the new metal photo!

#1 – They Relax You and Beautify Your Home or Office!

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 14 of 100

 

Dr. Martin Luther King Statue (1 of 1).jpg

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – MLK

I think that quote can apply for many situations, especially when taking a leap of faith on choosing to follow a dream. I can’t imagine many people taking the first step to pursue their passion without having faith that the remaining steps will come after that initial one. And I’m positive few (if any) ever see the entire staircase. It’s impossible. There are too many moving parts…too many variables to know with assurance what the future will hold. We are blind to our destinies, and yet we are certain of its existence. Our purpose beats silently in our hearts. When we stray from that purpose, something feels off center inside the core of our being, reminding us to get back on track. To follow the dream.

And we should. Follow it. Trust it. Let it guide us on a glorious path of self-discovery and renewed hope.

Have faith.

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 13 of 100

Mono Lake Field (1 of 1).jpg

In LA, you can run into celebrities at the most random places. It could be Pierce Brosnan at a beach, Jennifer Aniston at a parking lot, David Grohl at a mall, or Kim Kardashian at a restaurant. I know because all of those scenarios happened to me with those people. It’s a part of the daily life in the City of Angels.

Sometimes I’m thrust back into the busy metropolis, and celeb culture, right after a relaxing photography vacation in the same state, just a few hours north of LA. It’s an odd feeling. It’s like I was on a different planet just hours ago, and that I’ve traveled millions of miles to now be on one surrounded by endless freeways, buildings, cars, and people. When taking a look through my pictures (such as the one posted above), it’s hard to believe that it was me who took the photo in the first place. I feel like a thief. I must have grabbed the wrong camera on the subway, discovered some cool shots on it, and claimed them as my own. My world is the city. That beautiful planet on that camera is light years away.

But it did happen. As strange as it may be, it’s all in California–the celebrities, the skyscrapers, the coastlines, the mountains, the forests, and the desserts. I have to remind myself that it’s not just about the traffic and high prices, which is not easy when traveling on the 405 at rush hour and discovering I need to refill my gas tank. I have to revisit my pictures to refresh my memory that the state has a lot to offer as long as I’m willing to invest the time to see it. It’s always waiting and available.

And it won’t take light years.

Just another tank of gas.

(Vincent Lowry – Author of American Vineyard and #LucysLetter)

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 12 of 100

Convict Lake (1 of 1).jpg

I created an ad today on Facebook to draw people to an art exhibit/seminar that I’m hosting at the Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach, CA. I haven’t had much success with Facebook advertising (or any online advertising for that matter), but I’m more optimistic this time around because of some marketing tips I discovered thanks to my girlfriend. I plan on doing a second ad tomorrow for a separate teaching course I’ll be putting on sometime late next week or the week after. If these marketing tips work, I’ll share them on my blog. If not, there’s no need to mention them and force other readers down the same rabbit hole. While one could make the argument that mentioning ineffective advertising will at least put the reader on notice so they can avoid it, I disagree. As I said, I’m not a pro at marketing. I could just be following the advice wrong, or using the wrong strategy or product, so telling others not try what I’ve attempted isn’t a wise course of action.

I’m crossing my fingers I get to tell you something about it.

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 11 of 100

pacific-sunsetIt took me two hours to drive home today on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. I would have been driven to madness from the frustration of endless traffic had it not been for the spectacular view of the vibrant clouds during sunset. The sky went from yellow, to pink, to purple. I saw flocks of birds dot the horizon as they soared westward toward the Pacific. The view was a stark contract to the bustle of the city. For a moment, it seemed like I wasn’t driving in LA, but out on a country road.

Of course, nature’s show didn’t last forever. The horizon darkened, and the full weight of the endless gridlock fell upon my shoulders. It reminded me how quickly the colors could vanish, a transformation that is somehow both subtle and abrupt when paying attention to it.

Now, if only traffic could move at that same pace…

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 10 of 100

final-cover-ebook

My 2017 blog entries so far have focused mostly on photography, so I think it’s about time I wrote one about the second goal of my creative dream: becoming a full-time writer. I’ve been creating stories ever since I moved out to California, about seventeen years now, and I’m currently editing my newest fiction novel American Vineyard. It’s a coming-of-age mystery about friendship, bullies, and growing up in the 80s. I wrote the book fifteen years ago. I have no idea why I decided to wait so long to finally publish it (it must have been God’s design), but I’m pleased I’m finally taking this crucial step to now see it in print. The story is probably the best piece of art that I’ve ever created. I suppose my critics will say that statement doesn’t mean much, but I’ll just tune them out like I’ve always done through the years (with both writing and photography). I’m proud of this novel. Really, really proud. I reminds me what it was like to be a kid, the beautiful and awkward moments alike, and it teaches me something new no matter how many times I’ve read it.

It’s my hope American Vineyard does the same for others when they read it. I hope the story sweeps them away on an unexpected journey, and brings them back with a vision of the world that’s a little brighter than the one they’d had before opening the book. And maybe they’ll turn to the first chapter again after finishing it, and take the journey one more time.

And become a kid again.

(Vincent Lowry – Author of American Vineyard and #LucysLetter)

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 9 of 100

salton-sea

I made a sale today! While it was to a customer who had purchased art from me in the past, I’m not going to pout about that fact. Businesses have repeat buyers all the time, so it’s foolish of me to be looking for new buyers every single day and ignore the customers who already enjoy my artwork. I must focus on both groups. Success will never come otherwise.

The piece I sold today was a shot I took a few years back of the Salton Sea with an Egret posed atop the remains of a destroyed pier. The scene struck me with a beautiful sadness. The town of Salton was flooded and destroyed many years back due to an engineering disaster, and the lake has suffered extreme pollution from agricultural runoff and abandoned garbage. The smell is awful. Fish bones, from countless poisoned species, now cover the recreational beaches where tourists used to bask in the California sunshine. And strange relics, such as a smashed out TV set, litter the edges like something out of a warzone.

In other words, it’s not a place to take your family or friends for a vacation.

But the place is a visual feast. The water is amazingly calm, almost like glass. The skies are often clear and blue. And the wildlife that survived the slights of the past, such as the Egret in my photo, carry a peaceful resilience that I find both mystifying and inspiring. It’s a timeless place. Salton Sea’s past, present, and future somehow seem all rolled up into one, and if I were to use one word to describe how a photographer can best capture the spirit of the site, it’s patience. You have to ignore your other senses which tell you to immediately leave (the sense of smell shouting the loudest) and let your eyes take in the uniqueness that surrounds you. Only then should you take your photo. Let the mood properly settle upon you.

You’ll be surprised by the result.

(Vincent Lowry – Author of American Vineyard and LucysLetter)

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