Thankful (9 Years)


Nine years ago today I photographed my friend's wedding as a favor and my life changed course in ways I couldn't even imagine at the time. Sometimes just saying YES to an opportunity is enough to lead a person into their destiny.

Anna, Asher and I recently went to Yosemite, shot a wedding on a Friday and did an incredible family hike to Mirror Lake on Saturday. The trip was a good wake up call for me. Sitting in the sand at the waters edge, gazing at majestic mountains on every side, my gracious wife helped me see that I haven't exactly been falling in love with the every day moments like I should. She told me that she doesn't want me to miss this. This. Right now.

You see, I'm a dreamer.

Dreamers live with their head in the clouds and their loved ones tugging at their ankles.

Lately my mind has been swimming with not only all of the things that I have to do, but also the things that I want to do. The ideas and visions that burn bright spots of excitement into my heart. And unfortunately as a dreamer I can live so much in the future that I disengage from the present. As a photographer I can live so much in the memories of the past, that it's as if it didn't happen unless it was photographed, published and tweeted for all the world to see.

There must be balance in everything.

As I've been contemplating the secret to contentment these past weeks and days my dreaming mind has sobered up. In that Yosemite lake bed Anna asked me if "9 years ago Cameron" could see my life now, what would he think? My mind spun...

I would be amazed by the fruitfulness of my life, work and relationships. I've fulfilled my life long dreams of marrying my best friend and starting a family. Since the start of my business in 2003 I've photographed over 250 weddings. I've traveled back and forth across the country and into Canada and Mexico to shoot weddings for beautiful people I would've never had the privilege of knowing. I have a team of creative artists working with and for me to make my business a thriving success. I've got an office in the heart of downtown where I get to go everyday to work on photos because that's my job. That's my job! I'm making a living doing what I love and am truly best at.

As I looked at my wife sitting next to me in the sand with our sleeping toddler at our side I realized that I'm here. I really am living in the dreams that my 9 years ago self went to bed every night with. And I had no idea it could be this great. Thankfulness filled my heart and I found it.

The secret to contentment.

Thinking back over my life's journey I remember that the times I've been the most happy or satisfied have not been those days where I've accomplished some thrilling feat, taken the perfect photograph, or been featured by the coolest wedding blog or magazine. It's been those days where I've said "thank you" more than I've said the words "when?! I want... if only".

I remember the day that my business started 9 years ago like it was yesterday. I was shooting Darren and Jessie's wedding at a private estate in Santa Ynez. My fanny pack was loaded with 30-something rolls of film and my Canon Rebel was fired up and ready to go. Before the ceremony even was underway, I was filled with joy, anticipation, and excitement. I stopped what I was doing for a moment, soaked up the warm rays of the sun and said, "thank you God." He replied, "I want you to do this."

My dreams back then were so limited by what I could imagine. As they I know they are today. But as I continually put my faith in the one who gives me dreams, I'm never disappointed; just amazed.

So thankful for today. Thankful for yesterday and yet... dreaming for tomorrow.