10 Years!

Ron Niebrugge Canada, Photos, Travel 21 Comments

Pyramid Mountain and Patricia Lake during a foggy Fall sunrise, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Crazy to think, but ten years ago yesterday was the day I walked away from a good paying job, with great benefits and wonderful co-workers, to become an outdoor photographer.  Wow, what a journey it has been!

I still remember waking up those first few days relieved that I didn’t have to go to an office, but worried that we would have to rely solely on my photography to pay the bills.  If you told me then that we would still be at it 10 years later, I would have assumed that worry would go away, but I would have been wrong.  No matter how good a current month may be, the next month is always an unknown mystery.  I supposed that is common when you are self employed especially in such a competitive field.  I have concluded that this uncertainty is a good thing – I know it is a great motivator that keeps me pushing not only physically, but also creatively.

What no one knew at the time, is that my departure was part of a 5 year plan – a plan we had not told a single person about because we didn’t want to be reminded about how crazy and risky the idea was – we knew.  We attacked all our debt and expenses, gathered the necessary photography gear, added what we could to savings, and began building relationships with publishers.  Janine then left her job 2 years before I did, and worked full time at building the business.  Even though I was spending all my weekends and vacation time in the field, in those early years our biggest short coming was a lack of coverage.  So by the time I left my job, we felt like we could expand our coverage enough with me full time that we could make a go of it.

We had a small camper (still do) and after traveling around Alaska during the summer, I drove it across Canada into the Lower 48 passing through what would become one of my favorite destinations, Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada.  So I thought it was only fitting to share an older photo from Jasper – I really need to get back there!

So here is to the next 10 years!

Comments 21

  1. Ron, Congratulations! I loved reading your story, being self employed is a crazy month to month struggle, we go through this too, photography is creative and fun but you are right…it’s so competitive! I love your Jasper National Park photo…it is stunning and you are very talented! Always like browsing through your galleries to see what new photographs you’ve done.

  2. Congratulations Ron & Janine!
    I hope your next 10 years are as fun and fulfilling as the last 10 have been.
    Your photos are always an inspiration for me to improve my own photography.

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    Michelle – thanks you very much for your support and taking the time to comment! I look forward to finally meeting you.

    Bill Thanks!

    Richard Thank you!

  4. Congratulations Ron, certainly something you both can feel proud of. No doubt all of your hard work continues to pay off – even if it isn’t always predictable.

  5. Congrats on the milestone Ron! I am on the verge of making a similar move myself and your story is reassuring…I hope you have 20 more years like the last ten so we can continue to be inspired by your photography.

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    Thanks again for the great comments, I appreciate it!

    @QT Luong Great question – maybe the subject of a future post. I would love to read your post on the same subject. Does seem like the future is getting harder to predict.

    @Grant Good luck!

  7. Way to go! I hope the next 10 run even more smoothly! A toast to them and the decades to come.

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  9. Big congrat Ron!!! What a journey! I am so happy for you that it works out all good. Thanks for sharing so many fantastic photos and stories.


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  11. I live in Japan. It is very beautiful scenery.
    I would like to go to Canada very much.
    Thank you very much.

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  13. Congratulations! I am glad you made the right choice so that we may all enjoy your experiences as well. I feel as though I am embarking on the same path right now, so your story is very motivational to me!

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