At first blush, the cynic in me questions why there has to be a singular day where Americans acutely focus a laser-like concentrated beam on being thankful. Why do we have a federal holiday devoted to expressing thanks? Isn’t one of the hallmarks of being a genuinely humble person to be thankful every day? Maybe so. But then the optimist in me comes out and asks, “What’s so wrong about spending a day with loved ones to be jovial and take stock of not only what we have but, more importantly, why we have it and why we’re thankful for it all? I am really thankful for this dichotomy in my personality. It is through this internal debate with myself that I audit the machinations and dealings of 2014 and shine a bright light on how my life has been enriched by the people who occupy it and the places where I’ve lived it. And I’d like to share some of these thoughts with you now.

I’ve traveled more in 2014 than I have in all the 35 preceding years of my life combined. I’ve experienced new cultures, foods, and people. I got to see lightning strike Uluru, cradle an infant kangaroo, and snorkel alongside the Great Barrier Reed. I’ve taken on new friends and further cemented paths with the old ones. I’ve certainly had my share of challenges and, so far, it’s looking like I’m on my way to overcoming and growing from them.

So far in 2014, I’ve taken a little over 12,000 photos but the year is still young. :) I have had the fortune of embracing new camera technologies and putting them to use around the world. I’ve traveled with good friends, shared lots of laughs, and have been a part of my fair share of toasts. I’ve had amazing experiences and opportunities working alongside some of the most brilliant minds on the planet.

I am so thankful for this opportunity to share my life the words, the imagery, and the emotions here with all of you. Between Rich, Melissa, and my fellow Photofocus authors, I am truly lucky to be surrounded by this breadth of creativity. I am certain that I speak for this aforementioned group when I say that we are immeasurably thankful for you, our readers. We do all of this, truly, for you. You are all such a wonderful cadre of people who share the common denominator of photography. The irony isn’t lost on me that the very subject which can create such polarizing rifts between people is the same one that binds us all together. While we may all be at different stages in our journeys as photographers, we are all still growing together and being able to have a role in that adventure for so many of you is a gift that I do not take for granted and am thankful for beyond words.

Now it’s your turn. Before we turn the page and look to 2015 and what adventures it will bring, please take a few minutes to share what you’re thankful for in the comments. We’d all love to be a part of that.

And to everyone, please have a safe, warm, and happy Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble!

Featured Image Copyright 2014 Nicole S. Young

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November 27, 2014

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