August 19, 2009

What’s Now

I sat in the back of the Mini holding a vanilla latte in one hand and my iPhone in the other. The caramel colored leather seats were sticking to the back of my legs in the steamy 80 degree heat of a West Virginia summer, and I peeled them off one after the other as my Dad and Justin chatted in the front seat. They were quite the sight this pair in front of me, these two men in my life, as my dad’s towering build hunkered down to fit inside the Mini and his grease stained Mountaineers hat grazed the roof. We drove. And they chatted. And I stared out the window past the british racing green paint to the mossy emerald mountains in the distance. Actually, mossy emerald green doesn’t quite cut it. No, I’d say if those mountains were a Benjamin Moore color, they would definitely have to be called Mountain Mama.

I’m just saying.

I glanced down at my iPhone one more time only to see that it was still giving me the spinny wheel of death as we weaved in and out of familiar roads. “Connecting….” I rolled my eyes and sighed as we motored on. As we approached the top of a mountain, I looked once more as I prayed silently that a 3G signal would suddenly beam down from outer space and bounce around the mountains a few times before landing square in my lap. But alas, the wheel continued to spin. Right round, baby, right round, like a record baby. And I took a big drink of my latte in exasperation.

It was right at that moment and with no explanation at all, that an email popped up on my phone that made me nearly spew that big gulp of latte all over the back of my Dad & Justin’s heads. Honestly, I’ve never really understood the whole milk through your nose phenomenon until that moment.

Right there staring back at me in my brown and blue clad iPhone was an email from the oh-so-lovely Shauna Harris of WPPI fame telling me that Justin & I had just been picked for a platform class at WPPI 2010. I laughed out loud. Blinked emphatically a few times. Said “wait, wait” to myself. And then read it approximately ten more times before I could find the words to explain to Justin what was going on.

Now it is no secret among the people who know me best that I am a “What’s Next” kind of girl. I put my head down and barrel through, working my way toward the next goal and the next and the next. And then when I finally get there, I am very guilty of not taking the time to enjoy it but instead saying “Ok good….now what’s next?” And here’s the problem: I’m always so focused on What’s Next, that I forget to enjoy What’s Now.

But every now and then an email comes along that stops you in your tracks. It forces you to stop and look around and for just one second see how far you’ve come. It makes you spew milk through your nose. It makes you stop the car on the side of the road at a one pump gas station that hasn’t worked since 1962, and jump up and down hugging each other and screaming like crazy people while the gas station attendant (who probably also hasn’t worked since 1962) stares at you with a cigarette hanging out of this mouth. It makes you get back in the car and drive and order ice cream for dinner to celebrate. It forces you to take it all in.

Thank God for emails like that!!

Next month, it will be three years exactly that Justin & I decided to go for it and start this business together. We had one D100 camera between us and not a penny to our name. The only thing we did have in fact, and when it all comes right down to it, was an idea in our head of what it could be. Of what it would be like when What’s Next became What’s Now.

Now believe me I know, that blatant self horn tootage is about as attractive as Britney Spears’ shaved head (oooh or is there a better pop culture reference I should be using right now. Note to self: must catch up on US Weekly reading), so I will keep this short and sweet. But every once in a while you’ve got to look up and take it all in. So pardon us for just a second will you, if I kick off my shoes and dance barefoot & crazy and Justin fist pumps the sky a la Mr. Bon Jovi in Living on a Prayer. Because for just this minute, this minute right here….

We’re soaking in What’s Now.

***Also as the extra bit of buttercream icing on the cake, kymberli q was just our lucky number 6,000th commenter!! She will be receiving a $50 iTunes card for her super nice comment on Tiffany & Dan’s post!! Seriously, thank you guys for being so awesome to us!!!

  1. Ali Fitz


  2. Amanda Bachand

    Congratulations! That’s huge! You guys deserve it.

  3. Kellan

    Is it rude to reach over and toot someone else’s horn? TOOT TOOT from Virginia. That is awesome guys, you deserve all that this crazy industry can hand to you. You’ve earned it!

  4. Ray

    Congrats! And I had no idea that you’ve only been doing this for three years, because you guys are SO GREAT at it. Hopefully that’ll be me one day. ;o)

    Take, care.

  5. kymberli q.

    First of all, thanks so much for the gift card! I can’t believe that! Second, I can’t wait to take that class at WPPI…Congratulations! That is soooooo awesome!!!!!

  6. Val McCormick

    WooooHoooo! That’s awesome you guys. This time I will stay far away from any building not on the strip so I won’t miss a thing! ;-) Can’t wait to see you there and support you two and all your awesomeness. Ok sounding corny now, lol.


    Oh and a shout out to my girl Kymberli Q! Congrats girlfriend! :-)

  7. GrayPhotography - Zach & Jody

    HOLLA! You guys SO deserve it! Toot away, girl! – JG

  8. Leslie Bull

    Congrats- you guys deserve it!!

  9. Katie

    Congrats guys!!! This is SUPER awesome!!

  10. Stef

    Ahhh-mazing!!! I just might have to get my behind to WPPI 2010!!! Congrats, you two ;)

  11. Chris Young

    Congratulations!!!! That’s a huge endeavor and a huge honor, you so deserve it!
    Mary, I am the exact same way of barreling on through life and thinking ‘Ok, what’s next?’ only I thought of it as my checklist. Graduate-check. Career=check. Marriage-check. Launch photo career-check. I’m so glad to know that you are too! Though I didn’t get invited to speak anywhere I definitely had a life changing moment recently and it really makes you wake up and really try to live for the day and enjoy every second.
    Congrats to the both of you!!!

  12. Michelle Sidles

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Do your dance and pump your fists PROUDLY and don’t apologize for tooting your horns! You have done something AWESOME and AMAZiNG and your blog readers want to celebrate with you!!! Yay for NOW!!!

  13. regina

    YAY!!! Jumping up and down in my seat for you! You so deserve it! *hugs*

  14. Amy Clifton

    Ooooh! That’s exciting–congrats guys!

  15. Gwendolyn Tundermann

    Congratulations! That is such wonderful news! I am so excited for you and that gives me another reason to look forward to WPPI! : )

  16. Amanda Herzberger

    Woot woot! SO excited for you both – I’ll be there with bells on :)

  17. Vanessa Millecam

    Ok I am SO THERE!!! I love you both and think you are more then AMAZING!! I know I will walk away more than enlighten!!! YEAH!!!

  18. meredith

    congrats! you guys are amazing & truly deserve it. :]

  19. Christa

    How cool is that? Congrats. Wish I could make it this year

  20. Terry

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, but I know it’s good and I think you’re great – so Congratulations to you both. You deserve all the recognition you get. You’re awesome!!

  21. Jil Simon

    congrats!! definitely deserved. :o)

  22. Lindsi

    I’m so excited! My friend and I will be there! I look forward to meeting you!

  23. Nancy

    wow! very inspiring!

  24. Ryan J

    I’m so proud of you two. Thats truly amazing. What an accomplishment. You take it all in!

  25. Rene Tate

    Wahoo!!! Congrats! I’ll be there like a fat kid on a ham sandwich. :)

  26. Leandra

    Wow, congrats! If we make it to WPPI this next year, I will definitely be trying to snag a seat in your class!

  27. Holli True

    #1 Goal for 2010- WPPI!! I’ve never been and I am dying to go! Your class would be vital for me!! Hope to see you there! :) Congrats!!!

  28. Marissa Rodriguez

    Loved reading this! Congratulations! I hope we can make it to WPPI next year! And I can’t believe that it’s been only three years since you started your business! You guys are truly an inspiration and great example.

  29. carla ten Eyck

    ok. wait. wait. really?!! I am So proud of you and so excited for you guys! Remember last year?!
    Being a ‘what’s next girl’ really works for you Mary, and I am so incredibly proud to be right there with you watching you both shine up there in Vegas!

  30. Tira J

    Congratulations to you both! Wow! I knew when I first heard your interview with Ron Dawson a while back, that you really hadn’t even gotten started on this incredible journey! This is huge news and I am so proud of you both. If I make it to WPPI, I hope to meet you guys. Unless you get to the West Coast before that. Hugs and Congrats!

  31. Kara Hicks

    wow. what a great post. I am in the super beginning stages of starting my business, and this post is CrAzY encouraging to me. I totally do the "put your head down and go for it" mode. Just last night, as I was trying to figure out how to get my very first photo blog up and running….feeling very frustrated that I was super lost…I kind of stopped, looked up and thought about the fact that just a year ago I was thinking about purchasing my first DSLR…and here I am now. Crazy. Thanks for the encouragement. I love following your blog! :)
    Blessings to you two!
    -Kara, trusty blog follower. :)

  32. Ashley Smith

    Congratulations!!! I can’t wait to meet you at WPPI 2010. It’ll be nice to finally meet you guys who have inspired me so much. aloha!

  33. Brianna Phelan

    Congratulations – awesome news :)

  34. Marcin

    Rock on guys! Hope we could make WPPI next year.

  35. Robin Dini

    Holy cow! congrats guys.

  36. Karen (Mikols) Bonar


  37. Scarlett Lillian

    Ha, I’m so a "What’s Next" kind of girl too.. Thanks for reminding me to stop and remember "What’s Now". And hello, SUPER congrats on being chosen at speaker at WPPI! I can’t wait to see you guys again at PartnerCon for a long overdue hug! Tell Justin I said hi!

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