Submission to Light and Landscape magazine for possible publication: A Clear Focus

It was about the time I sold my financial planning practice, at the age of 62, when it became clear to me that a focus on one's priorities was the most important part of financial planning for people; or for that matter, the most important part of planning life itself, and all we desire. I mean a clear focus and not just a casual walk by. I was so stunned by this revelation I wrote a book talking about the importance of values-based priorities planning and how to do it, using my self-proclaimed principles.

A lot of my thinking had evolved over the more than forty years planning with individual clients. I felt compelled though, to be clear with former clients and associates before I closed my professional planning chapter. They deserved it. It is like it hit me.....Hey....wait a minute, I shouldn't go away yet. I have some new stuff; I don't see planners using these principles and processes and they are so important.

It is probably not in the cards for me to have much influence on future planners of the world. I have to let that go. Someone else will undoubtedly figure it out and evolve the same principles for the profession. In fact it will even come out a bit sideways with former clients and associates that read my book, without the benefit of me evolving the practice from theory. Maybe that is the reason I intend to continue connections with former clients and associates, as well as making new connections, professing people's passion pursuits including my own photography passion to capture the image of a lifetime, that when printed large and on a wall will hold the attention of all who look at it.

Now, that I use my priorities planning process for myself with my fifty year personal advocate, Patty, and my professional advocate planner, Cathy, I feel the process is working most effectively - helping me optimize my self-realizing, connecting and giving, to my enrichment. I am retired from professional planning, but not retired from life. In fact, moving into what I call "The Third Period" is most exciting, especially as it relates to photography possibilities.

Being a photo enthusiast for forty years with a desire to better master the craft with my new found time, partially explains my use of photography as an analogy in my book on values-based financial planning, which I titled ADVOCATE PLANNING: To Do What You Love To Do. Another reason is that photography is my passion and I use myself as the main example in the book to explain principles and processes. A third reason is that a number of photography principles apply so well to priorities planning. For instance, terms like focus, center of interest, clarity, simplicity, directional vectors, emotional impact intent, conflicting elements, balance, etc. Feel free to download a free copy of the book right here on this website — just click on "book" in the navigation and look for the download link at the bottom of the page.



I fell into the Lake Champlain photo passion project, as I call it, because my wife, Patty and I fell in love with the lake, and Burlington, Vermont, the Champlain Valley, and the surrounding Adirondack and Green mountains, while following our professional photographer son Michael's move to Vermont from Minnesota and granddaughter Avi's birth, more than thirteen years ago. Now it is our primary home and my New England base to capture images involving water, my clear photography subject focus.

We look across the lake, from our condo, at one of the most beautiful mountain ranges off a lake site in the world. We live on top, what is called, the Burlington Hill-Area, stretching from the waterfront through the popular Church Street downtown to the top of the hill, where you'll find the University of Vermont (UVM) and UVM Medical Center. You can arrange a spectacular view from many points on The Hill during all four seasons. What I find most interesting is, being on a hill and looking straight forward, you most frequently are looking out at the sky above the Adirondack mountains and Lake Champlain. You notice light changes and cloud formations, particularly at dawn, dusk and stormy weather. Often, I have seen something cool coming from the west, grabbed my gear and ran to one of my favorite vantage points to capture yet another look over the same terrain. It is a never ending story of beauty over historic Lake Champlain.

I have well over 10,000 images in Lightroom categorized under "Lake Champlain" and many have common content yet are completely unique captured moments with a unique feel.

There is a great canvas in my backyard to paint with light. It is never blank. The possibilities to interpret, isolate and catch fleeting light on a subject of interest at just the right time are endless, challenging and exhilarating. My main approach is getting out at the right time, with the right equipment and be patient, open with belief that I will see something that says to me "capture this beauty at this moment" so I and others can feel what I am feeling, while viewing the image, large and impactful on a wall.

I know that with attention to my photo priorities I will continue to learn and contribute. I do love it and I will do it. The necessary ingredient here is passion. The best is yet to come. It has only been recently that I decided to focus my photography on water. I also, not too long ago, clarified my target as a 30"x40" high resolution print. This almost throws me back to needing to use my large-format film camera in order to get the quality. My alternative, with much pleasure, is to push to the limits the PhaseOne IQ180 medium format digital camera, with enough pixel capacity to get the job done. This is the way I figure it: 40 inches x 260 dots per inch = 10400 pixels long side and 30x260dpi = 7800 pixels short side. The overall pixel count being 10400x7800 equaling about the 80MP the camera has. I know this is large and costly. Further, that printing software extrapolates pixels and can, in affect res-up images to look better. I also know that the print might look just fine with less than 260 dpi.

Mostly though, I know that my passion to capture that photo of a lifetime that when printed large and on the wall, to keep the attention of all lookers, will have to be perfect. So, to get there I want a clear focus, attention to priorities and a serious hard-fun ethic!