6 Months – Time to Re-Examine

It’s been 6 months since my decision to recreate myself, retake control of my future and chart my own path. While I have been sick this entire week and that may have been clouding my mindset, given the not so positive thoughts in my head, it seems it’s time to Re-Examine and take a step forward. There are a few themes I want to dig into today.

This past month I have come to a significant realization. Something significant has changed in how I am working and dealing with my own thoughts and behaviors. One of the significant things that I am recognizing this month is that I am not judging myself for mistakes, missteps and falling into traps as much as the past. Rather, I am observing and recognizing the behavior and patterns. I am seeking the positive in those situations and identifying what I have learned and if it is new or different from the past. Removing that judgment allows me to simply acknowledge what I am experiencing and recognize that this is a pattern instead of a fault. Removing judgement allows me to be OK with whatever it is and creates a positive state to start addressing it, or if it is a repeated thing, to assess and try a different approach.

The other thing I am recognizing right now is simply fear of failure and how that has impacted me in my life. As I scheme and prepare for taking a next step towards my newly crafted future, I gotta be open, I am fearful I might fail. To be honest, that is actually one of the reasons I am pushing forward. If I flip this situation and vision I am creating on its head and simply see the positive, focus on what I will learn, and believe that even if it doesn’t pan out the way I scripted it, this pursuit will open doors, bring me to new places and introduce me to new people and opportunities. In many ways, I think the pursuit of something and the journey that comes with that pursuit is the thing I miss the most. It’s the thing I need and crave.

Lastly, I want to share something I have written about in the past. Change the conversation. In those moments of recognition of falling into old traps and habits, it’s time to change the conversation. Quit trying to deal with them the exact same way as you have in the past. What is a new approach? Is there a different viewpoint to approach the conversation? We as humans have proven the past two years during the global pandemic that we are far more capable of adapting and changing than we ever thought? What if we allow ourselves to simply look at a situation differently or try something different in hopes of getting a different result.

Thanks for sitting with me through these thoughts. Maybe you are wondering where this is headed? As I prepare to head out next week to learn some new skills, re learn something I learned 30+ years ago and test some ideas, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit nervous. In this process to push and learn, those old, negative thoughts of failure and should I just go back to work for some business or business owner somewhere crept into my sick and fatigued body & mind this week. Thankfully the past 6 months of work on my mental and physical development have given me the tools and capability to push beyond and not fall into those old traps. Will this new adventure I am on be the one? Who the heck knows, but its gonna be fun proving it out either way.

Have a good weekend. It’s time for me to go play in the fresh snow a bit and take some pictures.

Bikes, Bikes and More Bikes

I have been meaning to write and share this post for a while but it never came to fruition. I guess being home and sick for the past three days is making me dream about feeling good, adventure, riding bicycles and thinking about bikes.

As of yesterday, it was exactly 6 months since I left QBP, my former place of employment for the past 25+ years. One of the reasons I left was to prioritize myself and my well being and to hopefully regain my fitness. I’m happy to say that all of those things are in process and I have one added benefit that wasn’t on my original list; I have re fallen in love with the bicycle and all things bikes.

My purpose in leaving Q was not specifically to find my passion for bikes again. It was really more focused on health and well being. However, I quickly became consumed in building bicycles, riding them and photographing them. I sold a bunch of my old stuff and purchased some new stuff. I often rode alone as I worked through changes and focused on building up some fitness and mental toughness. I also had a blast riding with friends. In the past 6 months I have spent a fair amount of time on the following bikes.

  • All-City cross & gravel road bike
  • Salsa Cutthroat drop bar mountain bike
  • Salsa Horsethief mountain bike
  • Knolly Cache gravel bike
  • Ibis Ripley Carbon mountain bike
  • Surly Wednesday fat bike

I also found that selling my old Q branded bikes helped me with closure so I sold both my Salsa Cutthroat as well as my Salsa Horsethief, two bikes I really loved. I also have two new bikes ordered to come in and build sometime in 2022. I’ll reveal those as they get built.

While my fitness is taking longer than I hoped to regain, I am once again in love with the bicycle. Honestly, for me, nothing even comes close in freeing my mind and helping my body feel freedom like a bicycle does. True freedom. Nothing helps me work through challenges and problems like a bicycle does. Nothing helps me focus my energy and thought like riding a bicycle does. Nothing helps me feel better about life and myself like a bicycle does. Hard to believe, but after 40+ years or riding bicycles, I still feel like a kid pedaling my 1st, 20″ wheeled, red Schwinn around the family farm.

And with that, here are a quite a few pics from last 6 months of riding my bike. No particular order to this gallery. Just pics as they appeared in my digital catalog. Click on any of them to go to slideshow mode! Enjoy!

What is a Cycling Photographer?

The other day someone asked me What is a cycling photographer? Does that mean you just shoot cycling?”

Well…No. I had to think about that a bit. Just what is a cycling photographer? I like cycling. I shoot cycling. I shoot while cycling. I cycle to inspire me to shoot photographs. I photograph cycling experiences and events. I photograph bike races. I photograph bike rides. I photograph cyclists. I capture cycling moments, both in victory and in defeat. I photograph cycling in hopes of inspiring others to get out there and experience the world by bicycle. I’d like to think the definition of a cycling photographer is all of those things.

The road to Wonder Lake, Alaska – That’s Denali in the background – 1995 or 1996

That image above was taken by someone at a campground on the road to Wonder Lake, in Denali National Park on my bike tour from Alaska to Utah. My friend and tour mate John made it the Eugene, OR while I travelled all the way to Moab, UT to meet some friends and do a Canyon Lands bike and 4×4 tour. It was on this trip that I married carrying a camera with me while cycling.

To help define and answer the original question, I want to share a number of images that I have shared on Facebook over the years. I have thousands of images from around the globe like these in my catalog. These are low res, un edited from how I shared them originally so I apologize that they are not a uniform set. I think they will help add some definition and support what I am trying to say. For me, seeing this stuff together cemented the definition of a cycling photographer. I love cycling. I love photography. I love anything that puts those two things together. There are 50 or so of them so I hope you enjoy the slide show and then head outside to ride your bike or book a trip to plan your next tour or ride.

Click on any image below to go toea Lightbox Slide Show Mode!

2021 – My year in photos

It’s that time of year again where many look back and prepare for a new year. I am one of those people. This activity is really hard wired in my brain. I need to look back not only to learn, but to truly put the year to rest and file it away. This year was a big year for sure. At times it seemed like it screamed by, but when I look at these images it seems that the year was never ending. For me, the year was filled with so many great moments. As I put time into this post, it is also clear that in addition to great moments, there is progression of my personal direction, well being and creative growth.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and consider this the great 2021 catch up post. I am highlighting some of the significant moments & memories as well as my favorite images. Don’t hesitate to reach out to GNAT at LIVE dot COM if you so desire or leave me a comment.

January 2021

Little did I know that this trip short trip to KC to visit friends would change the outlook on my year and my future. It was on this trip, alone in my car on I35W South, that I made a commitment to myself to prioritize me, my well being and my health. It was also on this trip that I started seeing and experiencing some creative freedom and direction. Below, is my favorite shot from that trip.

January also included a ski trip and family visit to Steamboat Springs. This was a trip we had planned last year but cancelled due to Covid and the ski resort shutting down. Lucky for us the passes for 2020 were honored and my brother and his wife were able to join us this year. Bonus!

March 2021

As the world began to open up again, we embarked on a final, family spring break. With our kids off to college in the fall, we knew we this was likely our last chance as a family unit of four before our kids head off to college so we went all in, went through all the safety protocols and testing, and ventured to Hawaii! It was truly magical and a great time. Lots of pics to share here. I am only going to highlight a few here.

A Covid Spring Break!

I love this image and how it reflects the challenging times we were experiencing. These kids are part of history and this image cements the time period we in. This was a whale watching tour with friends. And yes we saw whales. Lots of whales. Everywhere! See below.

It was on this trip I captured my favorite image of my son as well. This incredible young man has so many facets and is a thinker and lover of both fashion and art. This shot of him looking out into the distance in his hand painted shirt he purchased from a local artist captures that spirit exactly and perfectly.

Oh the places you will go and the things you will see in your lifetime!

May 2021

In the final days of my twins’ senior year, I was called into dad photo journalist role one last time for senior year prom. This was a prom like no other. No event. No dance. But our girl and her friends made the best of it. No dates and a boat cruz on Lake Minnetonka! What an incredible group of girls. Honestly, this may be my most fun photo shoot of the year!

This photo shoot for Senior Prom also gave me my favorite image of my daughter and maybe my personal favorite photo of 2021. Just like the photo of my son above from Hawaii, this image captures my daughter perfectly. Happy. Beautiful. Inspiring.

My daughter. Happy. Beautiful. Inspiring.

June 2021

June marked the a significant milestone with high school graduation for our twins. It was a joy to see my kids endure the crazy year, the changes in our society and the challenges in our eduction system. So proud of them. It also gave me my favorite dog & pet image of the year. So proud of these kids and check out our serious and scholarly dog Odie!

July 2021

July marked the decision to leave my place of employment of the past 25.5 years. We also visited grandma, family and friends in Colorado. Again, with our twins leaving for college, we took advantage of those last moments before they flew the nest. A side note here, Colorado and especially Estes Park area often make my wife and I contemplate life’s choices. It was also the low point of fitness in my entire life and was even more evident at 10,000+ feet! This year that was especially strong given we knew we’d be empty nest in the fall. No decisions made, but someday we hope to have another house or property somewhere. We love Minnesota, but we are growing not so fond of our winters. Just sayin’!

August 2021

August was highlighted with a visit up north enjoying my brother’s new cabin life. He bought an old, beaten down property and has spent the summer rebuilding. It’s not done yet, but it was great to be there and be together. I often miss the whole group family photo and this trip to the cabin was no exception. I did capture the dogs though!

We also dropped Nathan off at the University of Minnesota. Fun fact: He is staying in Frontier Hall, the same dorm I stayed in as a freshman when I attended the University of Minnesota!

September 2022

September marked the reality of empty nest life. We dropped Natalie off at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I am sure any parent reading the next line will understand what I am about to write. It is incredible to see your kids off on this new and incredible journey. It is also incredibly heartbreaking and difficult to imagine relearning and letting go of the incredible 18+ years a family unit and pod. We were far from perfect parents, but this family is the best thing in our lives. So grateful and thankful for these two kids.

Leaving Nathan the prior week and dropping Natalie off in Wisconsin hit us pretty darn hard. While you prepare for these moments, you don’t really know what to prepare for. It hit us pretty hard and to combat that, we made our selves really really busy with friends, activities and travel. We capped off the month of September with a trip to Maine with our friends. I have so many images and thoughts from this trip but I will only share a few. One note, if you ever have the chance to visit Maine please go! It’s incredible.

October 2021

We were jam packed with stuff in October. A few highlights include seeing both Nathan and Natalie, lots of bike riding and out door activity as well as my birthday. I did not have my best photo month in October as I was focused on other stuff. But here is a fun one from my birthday outing with Nathan and Jen where we visited the Van Gogh Immersive experience. If ya look closely, you can see my self portrait and Jen and Nathan sitting on a bench in the background. Fun night!

Self portrait at the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit

November 2021

Two highlights to share about November. Both Jen an I traveled independently to Chicago to meet friends and we had our kids home for Thanksgiving. I even snuck in an extra short trip to Milwaukee as part of my picking up Natalie for break.

A night in Chicago!

Chicago – Here’s my favorite image from my Chicago with friends trip. I had this image in my head. I didn’t want to leave Chicago without capturing it.

Milwaukee Art Museum at Sunrise

I snuck in a dinner with friend and a Lake Michigan sunrise before picking Natalie up in Madison for Thanksgiving break.

Morning Trail Run – Turkey Trot 10K

This Thanksgiving, Jen and Natalie ran the Turkey Trot 10K together. It was a highlight for me seeing these two run together. Sorry, no pictures of Nathan as he was sick and in bed almost the entire Thanksgiving break.

December 2021

And to close out the year, December brings us the holidays, the ending of fall semester for our kids and road trips to visit family.

These two got through their first college semester and courses. It is a big transition and the first of many life changes for them. We are really proud of them. Minot delivered on the snow and the cold. Nothing like spending the day digging out of a fresh snowfall with Jen’s dad. This image has a real vintage feel to it and brings back a ton of memories for me.

And while 2021 is not officially over, that’s my year in photos review. I will have one more look back next week digging into my bikes, my riding and my photography!

Thanks to everyone for their friendship, their love and support during this fun and at time challenging year. I hope your holidays has been spectacular and may 2022 be your best year yet! Love you all.

Welcome Back to Imaginegnat

It is with great joy that I am reactivating this site after almost 2 years in hibernation. The reactivation is symbolic of a mental, physical and creative rebirth for me. I don’t want to re hash my last 2+ years of my life, but I do want to highlight a few things from 2021 that I think are important and share a little bit about the future of this site!

In January of 2021 a lot was going on in the world, in my work and in my personal life. I took a road trip in January to escape. I was alone in my car driving to Kansas City to see some dear friends. Somewhere in Iowa on I35W I made a commitment to myself that this was the year I was going to make the changes I needed to feel good and take back control of my life. At that moment, I did not have a specific plan, just elements of what I wanted to prioritize and work towards. Looking back, it was this very moment that my life changed for the better. I was on a new road and journey. I was in control, or at least starting to take control.

Fast forward to today and here are are few high lights and significant changes in 2021. My twins’ graduated high school and went off to college leaving my wife and I as empty nesters! I quit my job of 25+ years. I started riding my bikes again and have re found my passion for bicycles. I have focused on learning, seeing and creating in my photography. I understand the deep rooted motivations behind my love for travel and adventure. I am seeing more clearly and prioritizing what is important in my life. I am finding deep satisfaction, comfort and inspiration in my personal relationships. I see my creative potential and realize that creating things, both physical and digital, are pieces of my identity that will create meaningful work and purpose for me going forward.

Over the coming months I am going to be sharing more about my future. I’ll be adding a formal photography portfolio, a storefront for digital media and art print purchases and cleaning up the archive to make this site more manageable. Lastly, I will be getting back to travel, photography and adventure.

For now, that’s all I am ready to share. I just wanted to wish you all well this holiday season and invite you to come back and follow along! I have a lot planned for 2022. Hope you give me a follow!