In just a few weeks we pack up and move to California (Bay area) to relocate for Brian’s new job at Google. I’ve lived in a lot of places over these past five years, from Monterey, California to Salt Lake City, Utah, then Seattle, then Portland, and now back to California. It’s somewhat sad that I have started to become accustomed to this constant state of movement and change, something I’ve been desperately trying to avoid after separating from the US Navy in 2007.

It’s pretty apparent that I have lived in and visited some beautiful places, but it wasn’t until recently that I knew I should start taking advantage of what I have in front of me as much as possible. I was always a “photographer” in the sense that I enjoyed it as a hobby, but I was also wasting some amazing opportunities to photograph the world around me. Then, in 2006, I discovered the world of stock photography while living in Hawaii, an endeavor which is now a large part of my income, but I had tunnel-vision and only photographed images I thought might have a chance at selling. Unfortunately that did not include landscapes, and so my collection of beautiful Hawaiian scenic photographs is pretty much nonexistent. The same goes for my time in Monterey, and then again in Utah. I was not a landscape photographer, or so I thought, and I was often blind to the amazing photographic opportunities that were staring me right in the face.

Then, just a few years ago, everything changed.

I’m not exactly sure what it was, or if it was a combination of little things grabbing my attention, but I finally decided that it was time to start photographing landscapes. I had a bunch of beautiful photographs in my portfolio, but most of them consisted of people and food, images that, for the most part, I was unlikely to print and hang on my wall. I had also just acquired a 10-stop ND “Big Stopper” filter, a piece of glass that allows you to drag your shutter for a very long time (several minutes, in fact). This is a great tool to use when photographing certain landscapes, such as waterfalls and running water, so part of playing with my new toy was to seek out opportunities to use it. And then, I fell in love.

If you follow my feed on Google+ or Facebook, you’ve probably noticed that most of what I share is some type of landscape scene, with the occasional food photograph making an appearance from time to time. I finally realized that I need to really take advantage of my surroundings and and not take it for granted; as often as possible I would go out with my camera, usually with friends, but I never let an opportunity pass me by. I thought I would live here in Portland for as far as I could see into the future, but my time here was cut short, just like nearly every other place I’ve called “home”. I am so I’m glad I didn’t pass up the chance to photograph one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll find beauty in California to photograph, and I guarantee I won’t take my time there for granted. I doubt I’ll ever find forests filled with mossy trees as green as they are in Oregon, or be able to drive a short 30 minutes to a secluded waterfall with gorgeous surroundings, but instead I’ll find new beauty on new adventures … and I cannot wait to go searching for it.

For more inspiration, check out my new eBook: The Inspired Photographer