How to Stay Motivated

Today’s post is about how you shouldn’t look at likes, and comments as a level of status. I can say that I have too fallen in this abyss how social media can swallow you whole. This addiction of checking your phone on constant, when “likes” don’t stack up to other posts, or against other IG users who in comparison, make your accomplishments seem dismal. It is not what it’s all about. You might say, “You get this X amount of likes, comments, and this amount of followers compared to mine - how do you know how it feels like to get three likes, compared to your hundreds, or even thousand plus likes?” The thing is... I do. I started with zero, and I kept working at it, and my audience grew. After some time, it started to pick up.

Moving on, there are a lot of times I’ve noticed people who followed my work for years, and then all of a sudden, unfollowed me. I have said to myself plenty times, and you (the reader) might have too, “What did I do wrong?” These are the same people who I had great conversations with, or had some sort of connection in the art world. It all can be very disheartening. The hours you spend on your free time just getting to know someone is heavily frustrating when they move on without closure is a huge bummer. The human touch isn’t there like years ago. It raises concerns with anxiety, trust, and how to keep these people wanting more, and why the support is no longer there? Also, the walls build higher, and it’s like, “Why should I keep taking time out of my day to talk to everyone who might just not be there later?” Is it worth it? Yes! Move on, and keep going.

They always say all publicity is good publicity, and that’s very true, because an audience will always have good and bad - positive and negative, and why the hell not... let’s throw a neutral in there kind of feedback to stir up the pot. Social media is like the stock market, it will always be up and down, but you have to realize that if you want to share your story with the world, and make a name for yourself, you have to keep going, learn and be able to take critique. It’s how you get better. Never quit. 

5 Tips To Keep In Mind

1. Always be ready to accept failure.

2. Always treat people the way you want to be treated.

3. Get out there and study what your audience wants. Take action and start asking questions, and get creative with it.

4. Take a step back when you feel that you are on your phone/computer way too much.

5. Find motivation, and inspiration from everything, and everyone. Art is everywhere. It can be from working out, exploring, taking walks around your town, studying a favorite artist(s). Talk to your friends, family, and those who support you. It could be a humbling experience.

 

Just remember, you will fail every day, because it is how you grow, and how to accept your faults. It’s a much more humbling experience when you realize that. Hope you all have a great day and I hope this helped.

Source: How to Stay Motivated in Social Media

West Coast Road Trip Day 5 - Death Valley National Park

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Let me start by saying that Death Valley is one of my favorite parks in the country. Something about its desolation and away from people drew me here. With many years of turning pages in National Geographic magazine, it was that moment of driving into the park that finally came true. The trip was an easy two and a half hours from Las Vegas. With no traffic, the Sun was trying to heat the land below, but it was a comfortable 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit here for most of the park.

First stop: Zabriskie point

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Here in this photo at Zabriskie Point it is geologically crazy. This was created by violent water, and volcanic activity. Three to five million years ago before the deepest part of Death Valley was formed, this used to be filled by shimmering lakes with a long mountain-rimmed valley here. Driving past Furnace Creek seemed that there were lakes, but it was just a mirage from the heat. So weird how distance, and heat waves can make you believe that there is water.

Wildflower at Zabriskie Point

Wildflower at Zabriskie Point

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Driving to the Visitor Center is always a must to stamp our passport book, and learn more information and long history about the park. We now entered an area where we were once 4000 feet up a few miles behind, we are now 190 feet below sea level and the temperature went all the way up to 96 degrees. Not hot in this dry climate, but you still have to have plenty of water in this park.

I learned so much. This park has so much life. From coyotes to an endangered species of fish that still live here. Since the park has been going through a drought for centuries, this species once had vast numbers. We also learned about the Timbisha Shoshone Indians who have lived here for centuries and the artifacts collected here.

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The Furnace Creek Visitor Center had a huge theater, and played a film about the park but with time ticking by, we decided to leave and explore more of the park. With Charlotte not feeling so well from the night before in Las Vegas from two very strong vodka cranberries, she stayed low and tried to keep cool in the air-conditioned rental car, while I ventured out to the sand dunes.

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The Sand Dunes here in Death Valley National Park are so massive, compared to the people in the distance. Even though the temperature was an up and down ride given with the dramatic elevation changes, the car said it was around 90F (32C) here and 70 degrees back a few miles prior, It was a perfect day to walk around and explore the Dunes without being torched to death.

Here in the shot below, you might think that Death Valley National Park is full of nothing, and lifelessness, but it's actually full of life. Wildflowers were blooming all over here during the spring. These two shots below are by Rainbow Mountain, and it exceeds its name as the sun was ready to set in the next hour.

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Mother Coyote in Death Valley National Park

Mother Coyote in Death Valley National Park

Soon after leaving Towne Pass , there was something prancing in the distance. A car in the distance was braking according to their red lights, so I then decided to drive much slower at 20 M.P.H. Trying to figure out what this thing was, and as it got closer, it clearly was a mother coyote. The temperature was dropping, and being that this is the time when they come out of their dens to go hunt, and scavenge for food. This was normal. Not exiting the car, I was able to shoot this shot from my window. Such a cool experience, but I had to quickly close the windows, because you never know with wild animals. Remember to never feed the animals. Keep them wild. After the encounter, I kept driving out of the park with so many views, cool rock formations, and overlooks to check out. With time alluding, and rest room breaks needed, we stopped at this ghost town rest stop. I was trying to find a Joshua tree to photograph around the park, but luckily there was one right here. Woohoo!

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

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Information:

Death Valley is the largest U.S. National Park outside Alaska at 3.4 million acres. Nearly 1000 miles of paved and dirt roads provide access to locations both popular and remote. Even so, 91% of the park is protected as officially designated Wilderness. That wild country includes low valley floors crusted with barren salt flats, rugged mountains rising as much as 11,000 feet, deep and winding canyons, rolling sand dunes, and spring-fed oases. Whether you have an afternoon or a week, careful planning will help make your visit safe and enjoyable.

What to expect:

Death Valley is generally sunny, dry, and clear throughout the year. Winter and spring (October through April) are mild with occasional winter storms and a chance of spring wildflowers. Winter requires warm clothing and light to medium jackets. As the temperatures rise in spring, shorts and light clothing are enough, but higher elevations can still be chilly. Summers are extremely hot and dry. Daytime temperatures may exceed 120°F and nights remain hot with overnight lows in the 90s. Outside activity is not recommended at that time of year, except in the mountains. Plan to keep to the main roads and use your vehicle's air conditioning. It is very important to drink water year round. Always carry water with you and keep an abundant supply in your vehicle in case of emergency. 

West Coast Road Trip Day 3 Part II - Zion National Park Adventure

Right before leaving Bryce National Park, I saw this huge raven walking around, and jumping up and down this pedestal at the Ponderosa Point overlook. While other people were taking photos of him, I noticed that he seemed relaxed around people, and was strutting his stuff as if he were a movie star.

I got out of the car and began taking photos of him with the canon super telephoto lens. He was probably the best model I have ever worked with in my career! This raven had manners and did not make a fuss - which was a surprise because they are loud. Ravens are my favorite birds and one of the smartest animals on planet Earth so this was a pleasure and a cool memory to share here.

Afterwards, we jumped back in the car, headed down the mountain, and drove out of the park to go to Zion national park. It was only a two and a half hour drive over there and luckily, it was calm and not very hot that day. In addition, there was some lush green scenery on the roads ahead in some residential areas. With fifty-five minutes left on the drive, I was beginning to feel a little tired with the sun taking it out of me, and the elevation probably was a contributor as well. So I out threw some heavy metal on to wake me up. Charlotte didn’t mind so I rocked out to All That Remains with my devil horns up high.


 

 

 

 

With the excitement of us like coffee dancing in bubbling hot water, we made it to the east entrance, and making it a tradition of taking a picture of the sign, it was a must!

A few hundred feet later at the east entrance, a flood of cars created a parking lot for about 30 minutes. Little did we know, there was a very scary, but cool tunnel ahead that you have to drive really slow around and through the mountains. Speed limits were about ten to fifteen miles per hour, so that explained the traffic jam. The GoPro video camera died right before heading into the tunnel, so that was a bummer. First, let me tell you about this tunnel – it is a two-lane road cut right into the mountains with no lights, or reflectors on the road for safety. You have to have sharp eyes, and try your hardest to not get blinded by the headlights on the opposite direction passing in front of you. I felt that some people had their high beams on, and that did not help the situation. Alas, we made it through and sighs of relief later; I was able to grab a couple shots here on the first overlook. 

Moving on, we decided to go to the visitor center to grab an insight what to do, but it was too late (as usual) and we noticed some shuttle buses that run throughout the park. We then hopped on the bus, and the bus driver was really nice, and gave us a lot of information about the park with how often the shuttles ran at the park.  Since the sun was going down, we did not have much time to explore so we took some photos of the area.

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After it got dark around 9:30 P.M. we decided that another day was a must, and to start looking for a hotel around the area. After the forty-five minute shuttle ride down to the visitor center parking lot, quite a few campers were around, and the smell of campfires in the air, the bugs came out to play. Charlotte, being a person who cannot stand bugs, ran to the car. I took my time soaking in the whole experience. Why the rush?

Hopping back in the car, searching like madmen, there was one vacancy left! Hoping that the weak cell phone signal cooperated, we were able to book something, and ended up finding a cheap hotel for the night at the Days Inn in Hurricane ,Utah. Once we arrived, the concierge told us that we were really lucky, because a man was booking a room at the same time we were, and we snagged it first! Phew! Our eyes lit up, because we would have been shit out of luck! He was very nice about it while setting us up with our room. With key-in-hand, and walking toward the room, this Days Inn had a real southwestern vibe. Used to modern accommodations, this was definitely a cool change. The room was clean and everything we needed with two full size beds, a fridge (hallelujah) and a very clean bathroom. A+ in my book.

View from the Days Inn. Hurricane, Utah

View from the Days Inn. Hurricane, Utah

Going through our food supply, we needed to replenish a few things, and we hit up a grocery not too far down the road. Pretty basic, and business as usually, I did notice they had a lot of fresh fruit and dried chilies! I was ecstatic for those, because you can’t really find those chilies here in the northeast so I bought two bags of ancho, and Chile de Arbol. The ancho’s are moderate, while de arbol is on the same level as cayenne chilies. Also picked up bananas, pepper jack cheese for sandwiches, fruit, water, and not sure where we found all this energy but we were there just browsing for about an hour. Typical shopper syndrome.

This concludes the third day on this two-week road trip. Day four will be up soon! Stay on the lookout for a complete day at Zion National Park.

Road Trip Day Two - Arches National Park

Day two of this two-week long road trip began early around 7 A.M. Dropped off the room key at the office, took a few pics of the surrounding area at ponderosa lodge, then we were on our way to Arches National Park in Utah. From google maps, the drive is around seven hours to get there.  It was a pretty drive, but being from the east coast still haven’t adjusted to the faster speed limits of 80 M.P.H. compared to a usual 55 M.P.H. on the highway in Philly is pretty scary.

In between the many miles that were ahead, we made a stop in Boulder to feed the howling wolves inside ourselves making all sorts of racket. Filled up on Starbucks, and a rare Einstein Bagels was a total surprise, because I haven’t seen one in like 15 years back home. A little nostalgia was going on and I had some stories from High School with friends from that joint. After we loaded up, there was a homeless person sitting outside the building in the parking lot. To be honest, the frequent begging back home desensitized me, but this was different. He looked like he really needed a hand, and Charlotte said to me help him out. I got out of the car, reached into the cooler and gave him a bottle of water, protein bar, and a fresh sesame bagel to hold him over. He was more than appreciative and then began to eat. The man said, “Thank you so much, I really needed this, and I appreciate that you helped a stranger.” I then said, “You’re welcome man, its nothing, and be careful out here.” I then made my way back to the car, and set off. Four hours of fast going traffic, the sun was getting to me and I was feeling a bit tired. Stopped at a (I shit you not) a Kum-and-Go. The endless raunchy jokes followed! Fueled up on gas, checked the map, and then made our way to Arches without stopping.

Riding on the last stretch of highway in Utah was purely amazing. I cannot express how cool it was to see this landscape for the first time with the snowcapped Manti-La Sal National Forest to the left.

Once passing the mountains with about 30 more miles to go, the scenery was spectacular!

Without having cellphone service for most of the day, we wanted to find out more information about Arches NP, and curious to know when the visitor center closes. There was still around fifteen, or so miles to go and we were cutting it super close. Within fifteen minutes of arrival, the visitor center closed at 5 P.M.  It wasn't the most important thing to do and see, but having the official national park Passport book, (right) I wanted to have the official stamp marked in there, but this will allow a future visit to the park with more time to explore. Also, more stories to share with family, and friends later. As we got to the gate, The park ranger informed us that the park will be closing in a couple hours, so we had to see the main attractions, but there was one road in particular that was closed.  The Devils Garden area was closed due to flooding, and with a very short time frame deciding that the Windows Section of the park was a good amount of things to see and do.

Driving up the mountain

Driving up the mountain

Walking towards the Windows section of Arches National Park, crowds started to diminish with a storm brewing above. I took the gamble of sticking it out with little rain drops falling and the cold wind followed it. This moment seen here was epic. Silently standing before the second window here, all I can think of how amazing this place is, and how many millions of times the earth had to spin for this to naturally form. Time and erosion will happen, but remember the moment you had, before it’s lost forever. 

Looking past the ancient petrified sand dunes with snow capped mountains to the east, the Manti-La Sal National Forest literally took my breath away. The sheer silent winds brewing storms miles away during the sunset made this scene here one of my favorite moments of this trip.

With the park closing at 7P.M. and only 30 minutes to go, we hopped back into the car, taking a few pics from a few overlooks, and made our way with another 3-4 hours to get to Richfield, Utah. Finally arriving to the motel, it was a little too quiet in this town. Suspicions running amuck inside our heads like a dog chasing a rabbit in circles for hours, the Motel 6 sign above us was brightly lit up, but weirdly enough below it was an inverted restaurant sign. Weird right?! After the brief dirty looks to each other, we were greeted by a super friendly Indian couple you runs the place. They made us feel comfortable, while getting squared away. The room was really clean, affordable, and relaxing to charge up our batteries before making way to Red Rock Canyon State Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park in the morning. Apparently the inverted backward letters were only visible during the night time, and not the Day time. (see below)