First, I have to say that I'm not one for tooting my own horn. I generally try to stay more humble. However, I find myself being overly critical of my work. Often times, I'll stop liking something soon after I shoot it. There doesn't have to be anything wrong with the photo, but I'll just look at it and think to myself "I can do better." This usually stirs up an inner conflict which makes me think that I'm not living up to my potential, that my work is garbage, that I shouldn't be taking pictures. It makes me wonder if I will ever get to the point where I'll consider myself "good."

For today only, I've decided not to let it get me down. I've decided that for now, I'm proud of what I've done.

What sparked this change? Well, I recently had a conversation with my wonderful wife, Cathy, about my work and my plans for next year. I told her that I wasn't happy with anything I'd done in 2010 and that I'm attacking myself with a vengeance in hopes that it will give me the motivation to continue and grow. Cathy turned to me and said:

"I may not say it or say it enough, but I am proud of you. You started with an idea of photography and came from nothing to being where you are at today. You started with a hobby camera and now look at where you are. You are so motivated and driven unlike anyone I ever known. You set your mind to things and you make it happen, it is a quality I admire and wish I had. You don’t let anything stand in your way and even though you still fight, you continue to grow more in your talents and skill. I know you will soon be greater than you are now and this dream will be your reality! I look forward to never ever having a weekend with you!"

This floored me, and I finally realized that she was right. I was looking at everything all wrong. I began to think back to the first wedding I did. I was so nervous and I had no idea where to be or what was going on. I struggled constantly with the fast paced action and the changing light. I thought to myself, "There's no way I can do this." As time went on and I got more weddings under my belt, everything faded away. I began to nail shots more frequently. I learned where to be and started anticipating moments. I found myself being comfortable and actually having fun.

As I said, for today only, I'm proud of myself for coming such a long way in 1 year. Sure, I can do better and I will do better, but that's for tomorrow. Today, I'm happy. I can't wait until wedding season starts again. I'm excited to get off the bench and back on to the field. Bring on 2011!

grass poking through snow in the East Village, Des Moines, IA