I've been thinking of writing this post for a while now, but always thought I would make it like I’m just being a big sook. I guess it has been a while though, long enough that the OG’s of this forum will know me and forgive me, and the newcomers probably won’t know me and/or care For better or worse, I used to post fairly prolifically around here. Photography was a huge part of my life, and not only do I feel like I was pretty decent at it, but I also had a huge amount of enthusiasm for it. I loved the tech side of things (from geeking out over new sensors, to the chemistry of the darkroom), I loved that it took me places (sunrise beach shoots with Mel and Kane, to urbanex with Dsankt), that it taught me new skills (from motorsport, to macro) and even loved that it practically paid for itself when I started doing professional work as a side-hustle. Lots of past tense in that previous paragraph, and its for a reason – in the past 4 years I couple of things have happened which have not just dampened my enthusiasm, but actually made my connection to photography quite painful. In early 2015 a woman who came to be one of my best friends (she was originally the photography friend of another one of my photography friends who I met here on OCAU) passed away unexpectedly. Aside from being one of the most amazing, talented, beautiful, funny and smart people I have ever met, she also became my muse. She was incredibly fit and active, and loved being outdoors and getting amongst it. I taught her everything I knew about photography, and in exchange she motivated and inspired me to be better. I took her in as an official partner of my little business, and with her keeping me organised we rocked everything from MMA events to weddings. She was the inspiration behind the most favourite picture I have ever taken. She died of brain cancer, and only told her husband and her mother that she had a terminal illness. She was tough and fierce and didn’t want anyone to see her at anything less than her best, or worse still, to pity her. Her death broke my heart. Her husband gave me her camera equipment and said that she wanted me to have it. I have never taken it out of the bag, and I didn’t pick up my own camera for about 2 years after that. Friends and family all told me that this isn’t what she would have wanted, and I know that that is true. So eventually I picked my camera up and started shooting again, this time only things that mattered to me – my kids, my wife and friends and family. I thought that at the very least I should document the important events in their lives. With three kids, I had plenty of opportunity. And while I didn’t break out any of the big studio gear, which I once might have, I enjoyed documenting ‘life’ with a humble 50mm. One thing that I wasn’t doing though, was processing the images I was taking. I decided that as long as I had them, I kept the master images, I could always process them when I was truly out of my glut. I did my homework and bought two separate NAS drives (one at home, and an identical one at my Mums house for safe keeping). About 2 years ago I had the two dives together for the first time to update them etc, and was transporting them in the back seat of my car with some other equipment. As I arrived home and was unloading, I must have had my back turned for just a few short minutes and the car was stolen – with both the NAS drives inside. They caught the person who did it, a 14 year old and his mates. They had been at a party on my side of town and couldn’t be bothered catching a train back home so thought they’d just steal a car and drive home… The car was found, and written off (they thrashed it). None of what I had left in the car was recovered, including the NAS’, and legally the police could not demand an answer as to what he did with them from him as he was a minor. I spent the next 6 weekends calling and driving around to every pawn broker I could find in his area asking if anyone had tried to sell one. The net result was that I lost every photo I had ever taken, with the exception of what I had hosted or put on forums (mostly at max 800px). That was pretty much the final straw for me. I have started taking pics again recently, but I barely even take them off the memory cards anymore. I even bought a couple of drones to try to promote myself to try something new… again I have a dozen or so full memory cards. I am at a point where I basically log in here every day or so to moderate and lurk, but I’ve given serious thought to selling everything… more that once… in the past couple of months. I thought about going the other way too, maybe a new camera will reignite my enthusiasm? Maybe rejoining a local camera club? I don’t know. Anyway, this isn’t meant to be a call for help or even a sob story. Shit happens, I know it, and for the most part I am really enjoying my life and family. I think maybe I just have a lingering sense that I didn’t go out on my own terms or something… unfinished business maybe. I welcome any suggestions, comments or shared stories, if anyone has them. Holly would have just rolled her eyes and said ‘harden up pussy!’ … so feel free to do that too I guess deep down I am maybe hoping that writing all this down will help me push through it. Thanks for your time, and I do still love f=48! -Steve. TL;DR – just an old man with a sob story, nothing to see here!