I’ve been feeling a lot of burnout lately and I’ve been trying to figure out ways to combat it. When I am extremely busy or overwhelmed, the first thing I do is drop the time I spend on myself. This might help in the short-term, but when I get out of the habit of making time for my own interests, everything eventually suffers.

If there’s one thing I’ve truly missed, it’s photography. I used to have a goal of taking a photo every single day (that’s actually why I started the Daily Photo section on this site!), with the majority of the photos to be taken with my DSLR camera. But slowly, I started using my iPhone camera more and more, giving myself the excuse that I didn’t have time to develop my DSLR pictures (I shoot in a RAW format that has to be converted). I realized the other day that I miss the control my DSLR gives me. I enjoy the challenge of shooting in manual, and while my iPhone photos are great, they can’t compare to the quality I can produce on my my giant digital camera.

I started a photography certificate program at UCLA five years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!), but thanks to babies, pregnancies, and moving, I never finished it. At this point, I’d have to start over, which would be fine in theory but I have no interest in commuting to UCLA. Instead, I’ve been looking into advanced classes closer to home, and I’ve been really pleased with what I’ve found. However, most of the classes I’m interested in require a portfolio. And so, I’ve been picking up my camera again…and it feels good.

santa monica mountains


Annabel Violet

I’m definitely rusty. When I look at these photos I see all the improvements I should have made in-camera, but I’m still pleased with how they turned out. It’s a low-pressure situation for me. My classmates at UCLA were all interested in becoming professionals in fashion or wedding photography. I just want to get better for myself. I want to fill my house with photos I’m proud of.

I’m going to be 36 in a few months, and while I may not be college-student young I’m not going to let that stop me. I also want to take creative writing classes, and I want to start taking sewing classes again. I especially need to let go of the guilt that the time I’m in a class could be “better spent” at home or work. These are the kinds of things that will improve my mood and my work, and when I’m in a better place my whole family is better for it. I hope you’ll indulge me as I start posting more landscapes and macros. I’m looking forward to being behind the camera again!