I have been interested in photography since I was a teenager. However, as so often happens to all of us, life gets in the way of our interests and passions sometimes. Jobs, mortgages, kids, and family responsibilities become our priority in what I have come to call the “First Act” of our lives. Having successfully raised two children into adulthood and recently retired from our jobs, my wife and I have now entered what I refer to as the “Second Act” of our lives.
I am in my fifties now, and in 2014 I retired from a career of being a police officer for 29 years. Being a police officer had also been one of my passions since I was a young man. During my 29 years of law enforcement, I always felt privileged and fulfilled to be doing the work, and I enjoyed every moment of it. However, at times it was tough, because as a police officer you can see some of the more sad and tragic sides of life.
Having completed that phase in my life, I turned my time to enjoying my family and grandchildren. I also turned to my photography with enthusiasm like I had never been able to do before. As those of you who are retired know, there often is a need to fill the void left from a successful career once that career has ended. Enjoying family and photography has become an important part of that fulfillment for me in this second phase. Through photography, I am now able to see more of the positive and beautiful sides of this world and life.
I enjoy all types of photography, but especially enjoy landscape photography. Since retirement, my wife and I have now been able to travel more often. In addition to seeing some amazing places here in the U.S., I am able to work on my landscape photography skills. However, you don’t have to travel to enjoy photography. There are often many things to photograph in your own life, community or backyard. The key is to always be working on your photography and to want to get better at it.
I am continually learning how to become a better photographer. I am also learning how to become better at editing my photographs. I have even taken my photography to the next level by starting to print my own work myself. The learning is endless and should keep you challenged every day.
If you are like me and photography was not your career, or the time wasn’t always there during the busy First Act of your life, know that it will be waiting for you. No matter whether you are retired yet or not, take time for your photography when you can, and keep your excitement for the Second Act. In many ways, this time of your life may be the exact opposite of the “previous life,” including the time you get to spend on photography.
Thank you to Photography Life reader Todd Ehrat for this essay and photographs, shared as part of our 2018 guest post contest! You can see more of Todd’s images on his 500px page.