2023 – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Foggy and misty morning view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado. (left to right) Ellingwood Point, Blanca Peak, Little Bear Peak, Hamilton Peak.

It’s mid-December and I’m wrapping up my photographic exploits for the year, remembering the highs and lows of 2023. It was truly a good, bad and ugly year for me, but I’ve made it to the end and can only hope for better things to come in 2024.

The Good

Based on a review of my Adobe Lightroom master photography catalog, as of the time of the writing of this blog entry, I have made 9,711 photographs on 124 different days in 2023. I haven’t made this few photographs since 2010, but that’s okay. Any day I can pick up a camera and take some shots is a good day, so I had no less than 124 good days this past year, despite life’s best efforts to put a damper on things. I also count as good days, any day spent editing photographs. I don’t know that I have an actual count for that, but I’m guessing it was twice the number of days making pictures, as I usually spend more time editing than I do making photographs. Any day spent editing is a good day in my book.

Also, looking over my Stock Photography efforts, I created 64 new stock photos in 2023. Again, this is my lowest total of stock images produced since 2010. In a normal year, I’d produce at least 300 stock photos. Yet, my sales receipts for 2023 were my second highest on record, second only to 2018 by a couple hundred dollars. My sales on Adobe Stock were the highest they’ve ever been. It was a very good sales year, despite my reduced output.

Another thing I’ll throw into the “good” category is buying a new 2023 Toyota Tacoma for my photography vehicle. The old 2010 Ford Explorer saw a lot of miles and served us well, but it was time to treat ourselves to something new and potentially better. The Tacoma saw quite a bit of action in the last half of the year and proved to be worth every penny we spent on it. I can’t wait to get back behind the drivers wheel and do more road trips in it. Plus we have a new game to play while on the road. We count the Tacoma’s we see on the road, blurting out “Taco” every time one appears. By my estimates, there is about 1 Toyota Tacoma per square block in Denver. There are three (not including mine) in my neighborhood alone. Weird.

Additionally, I was able to make several photography trips throughout the year with my friends, though one was cut short by COVID.

Also, Trudy and I both quit smoking in May. Cold Turkey no less. We’ve decided that we’d like to live more healthy and possibly longer. We are both now non-smokers.

The Bad

On the “bad” side of things, I started off 2023 sick. I’ve been diabetic for a few of years now, but this was the year things went full-tilt boogie with the disease. Things had been bubbling up for a few months before it all came to a head in March. Long story short, I’m now taking medications including twice daily insulin shots. Since there is no known cure for diabetes, I’ll probably be taking the insulin shots for the rest of my life. I’ve adapted, it’s no big deal, other than having to poke holes in myself about 5-6 times a day. Why do I drag my medical issues out into the public? I don’t know. I don’t think I’m seeking attention, it’s more or less in hopes that other ageing photographers out there who experience health problems don’t feel like they are alone. I’m ageing and having health issues too. We are birds of a feather. The diabetes is under control and I’m not suffering in any significant way.

Another “bad” thing was having to do major plumbing repairs to the cabin in June. Expensive and distracting to say the least. We normally expect to have minor repairs each year when we fire the cabin up for the summer, but this year required a complete bathroom and plumbing rebuild. It’s over now. The cabin is on the market, so when it sells, we’ll get our money back. It’s getting too expensive to keep it. We’ve had a great run in Red Feathers for many years, but it’s time to let go of what is turning into a major reoccurring expense.

The Ugly

We lost two immediate family members in 2023. Trudy’s mother, Gertrude, whom we had been caring for in our home for the past 20 years passed away in late July. She was one month away from her 96th birthday. Then to add to the tragedy, my only son, Ryan,  passed away at the end of September. He was 45. We are still grieving the loss of both. I don’t know that we’ll ever get over it, but we are coping the best we can under the circumstances. We miss them both very much.

The New Year, 2024

As for next year,who knows what life will have in store for us? We make our plans but as always, life is what happens while you’re busy making those plans. As I mentioned earlier, we have our cabin in Red Feather Lakes on the market, and I expect that we will sell it by the end of summer. We have already begun an exercise regimen of swimming and weight training at the local recreation center. We’ll intensify our training schedule in 2024. Right now we are getting exercise at least 2-3 times per week. No more couch potato for us. We plan to end next year in better health than we started it. We were able to do that this year, I plan to keep it going.

I’m planning my next photography trip for March. Sandhill Cranes in Monte Vista, Colorado. I do that every year. I will also continue on some other photography projects I got started on in 2023, such as Ghost Towns of Colorado, Fourteeners, and of course Moose in the summer months, along with what ever else comes to mind.

With some luck, 2024 will be a less stressful and more healthy and productive year for me and my wife Trudy.