All Good Things Must End

I have been privileged in this life to do work for and to become friends with some of the most incredible people on the face of this planet. As you grow older and begin to realize that you have fewer days ahead than behind, you come to appreciate just how much these relationships enrich your life. The true measure of a man is not how much money he makes but how many friends he can call upon when the #$%^ hits the fan.

This week a dear friend of mine sold his “small business” to a much larger company for a tidy sum of money. Now I’m not going to name names but if you read the business section of your local Texas paper or go online, you can figure it out. My friend has run this not so small business for the past 25 years and has grown the business tremendously during the past decade. I’d like to think that I had some small part in that success and I have enjoyed working with these folks more than I ever thought possible.

It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to do work for this company for the past nine years but alas, all good things must end. Sadly, the new parent company is really big, headquartered outside of Texas and won’t be needing my services any longer. I was a small fish in an already crowded pond but now I’m a minnow in the ocean and the sharks are circling. I’ve known this was coming for the past two months and was grateful that my friend thought enough of our relationship to let me know. But this does leave my personal compass spinning wildly at the moment.

The energy, oil & gas business in the gulf coast has been hit badly in the past year with the BP disaster, the moratorium on deepwater drilling and the glacial pace at which new offshore drilling permits are being issued. Most small to medium size businesses in Texas & Louisiana have been hit hard and aren’t spending a dime on anything right now.

I’ve worked in this industry for 27 years and I know that may make some readers uncomfortable, but the folks finding oil & natural gas are no different than you and I. Most work for small to medium size businesses and they have bills to pay and groceries to buy just like everyone else does. They do very difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs, hundreds of miles offshore, for twelve hour shifts, six days a week. When they return home, they kiss their wives, play with their kids and go to church on Sunday. They’re good people and I’m proud to call some of them my friends.

So I have some tough choices to make and I’m not quite sure which path I’m meant to follow.

  • My industrial & product work started our well this year but has almost completely dried up during the past six months. My oil field knowledge and small business background was a real plus in this market and I wisely stayed away from the larger accounts that other commercial shooters would vie for. (CON)
  • My landscape and nature photography print & web sales have grown significantly this year and I’m amazed at how many new clients found me “online” from my Blog, Google, Flickr and Twitter. And yet, some of my biggest sales were the result of word-of-mouth referrals. (PRO)
  • I’ve also been dipping my toe into the real estate and B&B (bed & breakfast) photography market outside of the Houston area. So far, it’s been a great niche market that’s been ignored by most commercial shooters. (If you’re a commercial photographer in central Texas I promise not to go after your headshot business if you leave the B&Bs to me. We all gotta eat!) (PRO).
  • Last but not least, interest in the Texas Landscape Safari workshop to be held next April has been incredible and I’m already looking at holding two workshops back-to-back to accommodate the number of folks planning to attend. (PRO)

So I find myself at a crossroads knowing that sadly, all good things must end.

All Good Things Must End

Endings – Kingsland, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 45mm, f/13 for 2 seconds at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

25 thoughts on “All Good Things Must End

  1. Jeff: Changes, sometimes I like them, but most of the time I don’t. There’s a lot of pain out there now because of the economy. It won’t make you feel any better, but I am having to sell some horses because of the numbers. I never thought I would downsize, but it has come to this. And, retirement looms ahead with no chance of another full-time job again. They are just not there for us older guys (I’m not including you in that category). I hope work turns up and is good for you. You have the talent and skill to adapt to changes and people recognize your talent. I’ll keep reading your blog as always and will enjoy your new postings and news of your work.

    • Jack,

      Its always a pleasure to hear from you and I certainly appreciate the vote of confidence. I’ve sold a few horses in my time so I understand how you feel. As for retirement, with a wife and four daughters I’ll need to keep working till I drop and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

      Jeff

  2. Jeff, good luck on the way ahead. Transitions are always tough as you deal with the unknown, but also full of new opportunities and the excitement they generate. I suspect you’ll come through in fine form. Hang in there. I’m looking forward to more great imagery and advice from your blog.

    Chuck

  3. Hey Jeff,

    I know whatever you set you sights on moving forward you will accomplish it hands down. I am with Ray, you need anything, say the word, and I will be there.

  4. It’s never easy when we come to a fork in the road and have to make a choice on which one to take. Follow your heart and you will find the right direction. Your photography skills are amazing. I know you will continue to do well… 🙂

  5. Pretty sure you know where I stand on all of this Jeff (right at your back). I am also pretty sure it will all work out as it should and for the better for you. If You need anything to help with the transition I am there.

    • Ray,

      I can’t express how much that means to me old friend. I feel like blind man wandering through a sand storm these days. I keep hoping that my commercial & product work in Houston will pick up instead of facing the reality of this current oil field “bust” and economic recession. If I’m to survive in this trade I’ve got to “go where the business is” rather than “hope something will change” locally. Enough procrastination & self pity. It’s time to saddle up, lock & load and beat the bushes like I did in my younger days.

      Jeff

  6. I can relate to what you are going through Jeff, having been there myself. I certainly wish you the best of luck as you go through the process. I have a feeling that you will land on your feet.

    • Thanks Terry.

      Next fall I’m heading up your way if there’s any way I can make it happen. I’ve just got to see those incredible places you hike to with my own eyes and camera.

      Jeff

  7. Jeff, I follow your blog regularly, I wish you best of luck for the future. Your pictures are great and I am sure you will move on to bigger and better things.

    Regards

    • Vik,

      Thanks for reading and for your kind words. I’m blessed to have folks like you that care. Right now I can use all the support I can get.

      Jeff

  8. I am sure many of us are wishing you luck! Hopefully this stressful compass spinning change will bring a fantastic opportunity that had yet to present it’s self!

    • Chris,

      I sure do appreciate the words of encouragement. I’ll be making my decision and changing my direction right after Thanksgiving once I’ve had the chance to talk it over with my wife and four daughters. At a minimum I’ll be traveling across Texas much more frequently in search of new photographic opportunities and honing my writing skills for a much tougher audience. Part of me is exhilarated at the prospect and part of me is nervous as hell. Much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands going on in my studio/office these days. 😉

      Jeff

  9. Jeff,

    Best wishes as you look for your future. I’m sure you will continue to do well. I am looking forward to your April workshop (hope it isn’t the first weekend, as I have applied for the Art Alliance show in Austin that weekend. Whether or not I get in is another matter 🙂 ) Anyway, best of luck to you.

    Wes

    • Wes,

      There’s always room for another person during the spring TLS (April 24th) and we’d love to have you attend. Details will be posted in January.

      Jeff

  10. Good post!
    Which road do you think you’ll choose to follow? I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
    I work another full-time job, but I would love to have my photography take off to be the full-time paying gig. It would take a lot of growth for that to happen. Right now, it is decent, but not as much as I’d like.

    Have a good day!

    • Bruce,

      My commercial work “was” a full-time gig but like many folks, the economy has hit me pretty hard this year. I’m still not sure which direction I’ll take but as always, when I know, so will you!

      Jeff

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