Welcome to the April Community Spotlight. This is the place where we learn more about the people that make up this incredible community.
This month we want to introduce you to Doug Smith. You have loved his photos and appreciated all the love he gives each and everyone of us. Now's our chance to get to know a little more about this incredible man.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My love of photography and travel adventures started with my grandfather who taught me to love and shoot wildlife. Being born and raised in Klamath Falls, a small town in Southern Oregon, I grew up surrounded by wildlife refuges, magnificent forests, spectacular mountains, wild rivers, and beautiful lakes with endless opportunities for photography. My outdoor adventures continued with my Aunt and Uncle who cemented my love of nature and landscape photography as we traveled and hiked the wilderness trails and climbed many of the mountains on the west coast! MY 43-year career as a public-school teacher, administrator, and father limited my time to be as active in photography as I would have liked. However, retirement has allowed me to spend more time enjoying photography while traveling across the US and venturing into Canada and Mexico. One of my greatest joys is having my daughter Danta join this group of amazing people and photographers in 2020! And so, my journey continues, as a humble man, who is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, a father, a grandfather, an educator and an avid traveler who enjoys sharing his landscape photos, portraits, and pictures of everyday life.
How long have you been doing a 365 project and how did you get started?
This will be my fifth year with the 365 project. I completed all the prompts in 2017 and 2019, but I was pretty sporadic in all the other years. It all started when I took a class from Katrina Kennedy and discovered the group.
In March of 2017 my wife and I had business on the east coast, so I contacted some of the members and met them face to face. It was life changing. We met Kay & David Lucien and Ami Obi in Virginia, then traveled to Pennsylvania and met and stayed with Leslie Druschel, Bill, and Anna. Leaving Pennsylvania, we traveled up to Canada to meet with one of our former students, and with Quidee Mann and her family. It was an adventure I will never forget!
A return to Virginia in May 2017 for the photo walk led by Kay Lucien and meeting so many more of the 365 group, left me hooked for sure. It was an amazing four days of shooting with some of the best people ever! I still regret not making the Canada gathering, but next time here I come!!
What do you love best about doing a 365 and what do you find is the biggest challenge of a 365 project?
I have found a daily challenge, motivates me to keep learning, and pushes me to pick up my camera and shoot on a very regular schedule! The best, however, is the group of people who hang out here, a kind, loving, caring, supportive, motivating group, who create a safe place to share photos. I am inspired daily and enjoy getting to know people that make up the best in our world. The biggest challenge for me is to post and comment daily on as many photos as I can. The great thing is, even when you miss, everybody welcomes you back with open arms.
How do you overcome a creative slump?
My number one way of attacking the slump is to get my camera and get out of the house on a walk, single day road trip, and/or hike, or even better take a multi-day trip and explore new areas. I also like to use Creative Live for classes to improve my skills, which in turn motivates me to get moving!
What advice would you go back and give yourself when you first started a 365 project?
I would remind myself to relax and just shoot on prompt if possible, and if not, just shoot a photo I like and post. Having a plan for organizing, posting, and commenting ahead of time would also really help. Most of all I would remind myself each and every day to just have fun!