New Beginnings

What a year! In 2011 I covered 70 races (and countless other events) … what will 2012 hold?

That will all unfold in due time, but what I really want to say right now is thank you. Thanks goes out to my customers, as always, for allowing me to continue doing what I love. But this year is a bit different. The hard drive crash I suffered in November is a catastrophe I never want to see again. After losing more than 30 races worth of work — just over 40,000 photos — I optimistically continued to accept orders, thinking I’d surely be able to recover the files. When the dust settled, almost 1% of the files were saved, which meant I’ve spent more time refunding orders this month than processing them. With Christmas looming on the horizon, the combination of data recovery expenses and lost revenue was devastating.

That’s where you came to the rescue. When a customer suggested setting up a “Dead Drive” fund to accept PayPal donations, I went ahead and did it even though the idea of asking for handouts really rubs me the wrong way. In fact, I nearly shut the whole thing down when I learned that someone had called Playmakers asking if it was a scam. It made me feel sort of … dirty. My friends at Playmakers talked me down and said, “let’s just see what happens.” What happened was more heart-warming than I could’ve imagined.

I received donations from “Top 10” customers and occasional customers, from people I’ve never heard of, and from anonymous donors. I received a phone call and a donation from a man who’s had his eyesight and his home taken from him, saying he was sorry to hear about my troubles — talk about perspective! I received emails and letters from people, mostly runners, thanking me for all I do and wishing me well.

These gestures weren’t enough to offset the loss of revenue I’ve suffered, which will continue well into the new year. They didn’t even cover the cost of the data recovery efforts. But they were immeasurably valuable in two ways. Firstly, they eased the financial burden I faced. In a material sense, they allowed our kids to have a Christmas this year. That meant a lot to my family. Secondly, they affirmed my faith in the basic kindness and generosity of the human spirit. The gist of the notes I received was, “What you do matters to us, and we appreciate it.” Can’t beat that, can you?

So, whether you provided financial or emotional support: thank you. What you’ve said and done has meant the world to me.

As time allows, I’ll be contacting donors individually in an attempt to show my gratitude, and then it’s off and running into 2012. I hope to put this whole mess behind me as quickly as possible and move forward into an exciting new year of opportunity. If you see me at a race — even if I’m busy shooting — feel free to nudge me and say hi. And if there are any photographic needs I might be able to help with — weddings, seniors, food & product shots, etc. — please keep me in mind.

One last time: thank you. Have a happy new year!


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