Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

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And scenery flies when you’re moving quickly. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I posted last on this blog. 2015 proved a transformative year, and when I look back through my photos over the last twelve months, there are far fewer than in years past. The focus seems more inward, more intimate, more immediate. There are fewer of the sweeping panoramas, and more of the photos of smiling sons, parents, and friends. There are photos of food, and warmth, and snow. Though I look back on 2015 and think of it as a year less about photography and more about Other Things, I find that I enjoy the photographic touchstones that I do have, hopping along from month to month, reliving memories and thinking about what the future will hold. But, to tell the whole story, I have to back up a bit. To explain where I’ve been, why the photography has changed, why I have changed.

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The View from the Currituck Light


Snowy Lake Elton, early 2015

Snowy Lake Elton, early 2015

Around the time I turned 35 last October, I stepped on the scale, and grimaced as it told me what I already knew: my weight was continuing to creep upwards. It started long ago, before my son was born, before I was married. A love of beer and overindulgence and cheeseburgers, combined with a slowing metabolism, led to an all-too-familiar story: I was getting more and more overweight, out of shape, and generally feeling poorly considering my age. I don’t know what happened when I stepped on the scale that day, but it was the tipping point–it led to a whole life change that is continuing even now, as I look ahead to what’s ahead in 2016.

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Hanging Rock, Early Spring

Hanging Rock, Early Spring

The short version is that I started walking, eating better, and losing weight, which led to running, and eventually, competition. In the same year I ran my first 5k and my first half marathon. I plan, possibly, to run a full marathon this year. Things are moving swiftly. A year ago I weighed almost forty pounds more than I do now. I am nearly a quarter of a person smaller than I was at the end of 2014. In my relentless pursuit of faster pace times, I sometimes forget to stop and think about that. The change has been profound. I have more energy, I hurt less, I get sick less, I sleep better (usually), and I feel more relaxed and even-keeled than at probably any point in my life.

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Wild Horses, Corolla, Outer Banks

Wild Horses, Corolla, Outer Banks

More than anything, 2015 was about confronting demons. Demons created in childhood when poorly-controlled asthma kept me on the sidelines of most everything, and led to me feeling like I couldn’t succeed athletically. It was a year of overcoming obstacles, of rediscovering myself, of strengthening connections and reaching out to make new ones. It was an immensely introspective year of finding a new person inside of me–discovering latent abilities, skills, and enjoyment in things I’d told myself I’d hate forever (read: running).

Fourth of July

Fourth of July

This change in focus, this shift in priorities, this fundamental disruption of the routines of life and the pathways of my brain, resulted in an entire year in which the blog lay fallow. I’ve still been taking photos along the way–both personal and professional–but the focus has been different, the lens turned closer. In some ways, I feel that many of the photos of 2015 are among my most important. Maybe not the best. Certainly not the most. But it was an important year nonetheless.

Self-portrait before my first half marathon at the OBX.

Self-portrait before my first half marathon at the OBX.

There are not a lot of photos from running, though that took the biggest chunk of my time in 2015. I appreciate and respect the folks who run with cameras and selfie sticks, who manage to make compelling videos while doing some seriously tough running. I can’t be bothered. I have my shoes, my phone, my headphones. Sometimes I run in silence. Sometimes to the soundtrack of a thousand cicadas buzzing in the trees on a muggy late summer day. Lately I run under the stars, watching my breath in the crisp cold air, enjoying the feeling of being outside and alive. I see foxes, opossums, deer. I see the full moon, heavy and golden, setting largely behind the houses in my neighborhood.

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I would love to share with you all the things I have seen. To photograph them in ways that make you feel like you were there with me. But I can’t be bothered. I have been too busy running, enjoying being in the moment, pushing myself further.

I have always been like this. I don’t do things halfway.

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I can’t tell you what it all means. I don’t have that perspective yet. I’m not sure that I’ve asked those questions of myself during the many hours I’ve had to myself, mucking around in my head, the cadence of my footsteps a distant drumming. I don’t know if I’m running towards something or away. I’m not sure what the metaphor is, or if there is a metaphor. I can tell you that it can be thrilling. It can be drudgery. It can be frustrating. It can be hard. A lot like photography, or writing, or anything worth doing in life.

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I have long tried resist being pigeonholed. I don’t want to be known as a Writer, or Photographer, or Runner, or Dad. Those are all parts of my life, all parts of my experience, all part of the whole. They inform each other, contribute to each other. Sometimes one passion waxes while another wanes, and then things switch back again. I can’t say what will happen next, but today, in this moment, blogging seemed important. There was a time when at least a couple of people read my rambling regularly, and I’ve been quiet for a long time. My prose is rusty, my Fujis (which I still LOVE!!!) have sat around more than they are accustomed.

It’s time to shake off the rust, to do a little dusting.

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No promises, but I hope to post more photographs and thoughts in 2016. I was content in 2015 with all of my Fuji gear, and don’t think I added a single thing, except maybe to re-purchase the 35mm f/1.4 that I’d sold and regretted (though that could have been in 2014, I can’t remember). I am routinely tempted by the X-T10, the X100T, and other goodies, but unless I start really throttling up again, the equipment I have can competently get the job done, and is generally a pleasure to use.

Approaching storm, Kitty Hawk, NC

Approaching storm, Kitty Hawk, NC

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I hope there will be someone reading, to follow along. And even if not, I’ll have this record here, like my photographs from the last year, marking time. Signposts of significance in my life. Moments of experience, of importance. Of love, melancholy, joy. Sunshine and steely clouds, whimsy and gravitas.

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  1. Monica on Jan 6, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I always enjoy your photos and your writing. Thank you for sharing this with us. What an incredible year for you. Congratulations!

  2. Megan on Jan 7, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve got to echo what Monica says above. I really enjoy reading your writing. It’s inspiring to see what a transformative journey you’ve been on.

  3. Neil on Feb 19, 2016 at 2:25 am

    I stumbled onto your blog while nerding out on gear, but ended up reading for hours because of the great writing style and interesting posts. Glad to see you posting again. Also, as a Tarheel living on the west coast, it’s really nice to see some familiar sights.

  4. Mike on Apr 6, 2016 at 11:00 am

    This shot is totally stunning:

    Could you tell us which focal length and aperture you used for this very interesting perspective?

  5. mschueler on Apr 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks, Mike. It was shot with the Fujinon 56 f/1.2 at f/1.2…. So 85mm equivalent field of view and f/1.8 equivalent depth of field.

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