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12 Years and Counting!

That is me looking down on my hometown from Mt Marathon last summer.

That is me looking down on my hometown of Seward from Mt Marathon last summer.

This is a significant day that I haven’t written about in a couple of years.  You see it was this day 12 years ago that I walked away from a great job with wonderful co-workers, to begin life as a full-time outdoor photographer!  Janine had left her job a couple years earlier to build the business and we felt it was time to take the plunge!

It was both the most difficult and best decision I could have ever made!  At times I do look on with envy at those with a predictable monthly income, and nice benefits, but then I remind myself of the wonderful life photography has given me over these last 12 years and I wouldn’t trade it for the most predictable financial security.

Yesterday I picked up my old truck from the auto dealership where it was getting some work done.  This same dealership played a significant role in our lives some 16 years ago.  You see we stopped in to look at new vehicles to replace our little car that wasn’t very Alaska worthy.  Long drives can be some of the best times for talking about the future and planning, and it was on the long drive home that we realized buying a new car would keep us in the endless cycle of borrowing and paying that would prevent us from fulfilling my dream of becoming a professional outdoor photographer.  I am forever grateful to Janine for bringing up this discussion.  It was that evening that we wrote out a detailed plan for attacking debt, simplifying our life and working towards our ultimate goal of becoming a full time photography business.  The plan ended up taking a year longer then anticipated, but has certainly worked out for the best.  That old goal sheet is still taped to the inside of a cupboard in our office.  So here’s to 12 great years and counting!

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About the author: Ron Niebrugge is an Alaska based outdoor photographer specializing in landscapes, wildlife and travel photography. Ron shares his travels and adventures here on the blog. To see more photos, or to learn about Ron’s photo tours and workshops, visit our main photo website.

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Richard Wong May 15, 2014, 11:02 am

    Congrats Ron! What a milestone and couldn’t happen to nicer people. I feel the same way about debt when I bought my house this year. Living in California is really tough when you have certain lifestyle aspirations but at the same time most of our family and friends live here so we can’t imagine going elsewhere at this time.

  • Bill May 15, 2014, 11:32 am

    Congratulations Ron & Janine.
    You’ve made a wise decision to quit your jobs and follow your dreams.
    As you sometimes envy those with steady incomes and benefit packages, keep in mind that MORE people envy your lifestyle.

  • Ron Niebrugge May 15, 2014, 1:31 pm

    Thanks a lot guys!

  • Wesley Picotte May 15, 2014, 3:36 pm

    So awesome, Ron. Kudos to you both for making it work. I’m raising a glass to another 12 years of great images and business success.

    Cheers,
    Wesley

  • Tom Dills May 15, 2014, 6:40 pm

    Congratulations, Ron. Even though I don’t share the dream of being a full time photographer myself, your story is an inspiration just the same. It takes a lot of courage to do what you’ve done. And your accomplishments are a testament to the decision being the right one for you and Janine.

  • Ron Niebrugge May 15, 2014, 7:39 pm

    Wesley, Tom Thanks, I appreciate it!

  • Mark May 18, 2014, 3:09 am

    Congratulations Ron & Janine. I think you two are a great example of the dedication and spirit it takes to make something like this happen. Wishing you both many years of success to come.

  • Ron Niebrugge May 18, 2014, 10:00 pm

    Thank you very much Mark!

  • Ray May 19, 2014, 10:31 am

    Congratulations. I love your images and following your blog.

    You are a blessed man to have such a wife and that you heeded her feedback when others might have ignored it.

    Proverbs 31:11-12
    The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.

    May God bless you both in your journey, Ray

  • Ron Niebrugge May 19, 2014, 10:50 am

    Thanks Ray!

  • Nina (UK) May 20, 2014, 7:44 am

    So pleased you made that decision.

  • Ron Niebrugge May 20, 2014, 8:32 am

    Thank you Nina!

  • Gary Crabbe / Enlightened Images May 27, 2014, 11:27 am

    Late on the congrats, but a sincere and heartfelt one at that. Uber-Kudos to you & Janine. :)

  • Ron Niebrugge May 27, 2014, 6:45 pm

    Thanks a lot Gary!

  • Patrick Myrick May 27, 2014, 7:28 pm

    You are doing exactly what you should be doing. You have a very good eye for the camera.
    I was born in Seward and left Alaska while still young. Want to go back some day. Well, all the best!

  • Ron Niebrugge May 28, 2014, 1:58 pm

    Thanks a lot Patrick! You need to come back for a visit!