Somewhere along the way I became a "professional photographer" for income tax reasons, and many of my habits lent in that direction. But instead of a goal of supporting myself fully from my landscape photography, I opted for living, as an artist, a life of photography. Raising a set of triplet boys (now 13-yrs old) influences that "life of photography" a bit, but working halftime as the university's darkroom tech keeps me centered. A lot of good students pass through the program...and since I am not a professor, I tend to work with students who come to me for help or to bounce ideas off of. It keeps photography fresh. Finding images and making prints are my primary focus, but I like the balance I have struck.

Giving workshops reminds me of my years building and maintaining wilderness trails. Up at first light, turn the mules out to graze, get the fire going for coffee and breakfast. Work for 8 or so hours with pickaxes, crosscut saws, McLeods, shovels, Polaskis, pack saddles, and mule-headed mules -- then make camp, turn the mules loose again to graze, get a fire going, cook dinner, and wash the dishes just before the sun sets. A long day, but a lot got done. It is satisfying work and at the end of the day, one can turn around and see the progress and achievements of the day. And I will no more be rich from giving workshops than I would by packing mules and building trails. But they are enjoyable ways to live, and in both cases one works hard -- both are worthwhile work, and worthwhile things are worth doing well.

My present circumstances dictate that I increase the amount that photography contributes to my overall income. Fortunately, those present circumstances also have given me every other week to concentrate on my photography. For the last 4 months I have been able to add (after expenses) about 50 percent more to my usual take-home pay through workshops and print sales. I do not expect to keep that up, but I won't complain if I do.

Like they say, it is not just the destination, but also the journey that is important. So I figure a job/profession is not just the path to retirement.

Vaughn