A New Direction

My interests recently have started leading in a new direction, if not a new evolution, from what they have been in the past. But first, let’s recap.

Two Years Ago…

It was right around this time in 2007 when I was hitting my stride on the creative aspect of my web development. Up to then, most of my web work was related to coding and application development, while the launch of Ka’anapali Dreamin’ was my biggest effort put forth in creating a content-rich site.

I was just back from our second visit to Maui, swamped with tons of photos I had taken, filled with the Aloha Spirit, and inspired to spend every waking hour I could on building a great online resource sharing our experiences with the Valley Isle. I like to think it was a success, and regardless of how many visitors there were and where I was in the search rankings, it was a labour of Aloha and a ton of fun to put together and maintain.

Yes, the site is still live and needs a fresh coat of paint here and there, but free time hasn’t really been in my favor for doing some of the site maintenance and enhancements that I had originally planned for by now.  Which leads me to the next stop in our time capsule journey.

Last Year

By this time last year, I was in full swing on Twitter (@webnelly) and earning a tiny spot in the totally cool Hawaii social media ohana. Blogging is where my free time was now being spent, and I was setting goals for myself to try and write on one of my blogs at least once a day. Again, like working on and expanding Ka’anapali Dreamin’, blogging was a ton of fun, taught me a lot about myself, and fostered connections with people across the world.

For me, blogging always was a two way street, with about 80% of my time reading and commenting on other blogs and 20% writing for myself. With so many neat blogs and designs, topics covering all ends of my interests, and interacting with some great people made it very engaging and yes, addicting. My peak blogging rate was about 2-3 posts per day up to our annual trip to Maui in February (2009). There were a few mind/life changing realizations and moments during those 2 weeks in paradise that I won’t go into here, but my writing started to dry up to make way for a newer obsession.

Leading up to…

The Now

Don't Tell MomAll signs seem to indicate that my newest passion started when we first stepped foot on Maui, but it took 3 more trips the islands, a handful of weekend drives up to nearby Door County, WI, some professional hockey games, our cute little rabbits, and a helicopter without doors to realize what was next in my life.


That seems like an odd segue, doesn’t it? For the most part, that really sums it up, though. My first serious camera was a Canon EOS 20D DSLR that I purchased prior to our first trip to Maui in 2006. It was right there in paradise where I first fumbled with the controls and still managed to capture some great memories of our trip.

And that really was the initial intent of buying that camera, just to capture memories. Yet, after a few more trips to Maui, and finding more places closer to home to shoot, it became less about capturing memories and more about capturing images. Like other hobbies that have I have found challenging, I began to dive in deeper, read more, practice whenever I could, and push myself to get better.  Which is really where I am today.

While I put up a small photography portfolio, Kris Nelson Photography, last year, it’s only been since last February where my seriousness and focus in this craft has taken off. I now had enough (in my opinion) beautiful images of Maui to start a “photo memory” site, Maui by Photo in July, and worked my [you know what] off to find and manage a second job over the summer to afford another trip to Maui for the Maui Photo Festival and Workshops just last month. That was it, I was officially bitten by the shutterbug.

What’s Next

My goal now is to just keep shooting, and practice, practice, practice. Stopping to think about it, photography fits nicely into many of the aspects that my other hobbies have also occupied.

  • I seem to have a knack for it, and really enjoy it
  • It’s challenging, and something I can continuously push myself to improve on
  • The technology and techniques are constantly changing and there’s always something new to learn
  • There are great communities around it, both online and in person
  • There are a ton of cool gadgets (okay, not a key aspect of all my hobbies, but fun none-the-less)

So now, instead of planning for site upgrades and blog posts, I am planning my own photo shoots and equipment budgets. Much like my the other hobbies listed here, I’m already immersed in photography to the point of saturation, and the feeling of being overwhelmed is pretty much an everyday reality now. On any given day, I have a ton more photos to go through, edit, and post than I ever have time for, and trading sleep and other activities for time in front of the computer is a regular negotiation in progress.

How Long Will This Last?

Seeing that I’ve been doing some sort of programming, either software or on the web, for more than half my life now, I’ve been known to stick with these types of things for the long haul. I can see photography making a strong stance in my daily activity for quite some time. At least for all the time, money, and effort I’m investing in this relatively new hobby of mine, it better stick around awhile.

If you’d like to tag along, or just read a little bit more of what I’m doing with a camera, head over to Kris Nelson Photography and check out my photostream on Flickr. Those two places promise to have a lot of activity in the coming months and years as I embark on this new journey of my free time.

Here’s to making a good run at it.

– Kris

About Kris

Programming since age 14, professional software engineer Kris Nelson practices his life motto of "Never stop learning" by developing websites and Apps around his passions, while staying current with trends in technology and social media.