Everybody Has A Game Plan Until The Green Flag Drops

During the Daytona 500 pre-race events last month I heard a quote in the opening comments, “Everybody has a game plan till the green flag drops.”

When I made the decision to retire and I sat down with my former manager to discuss my retirement she asked me what my plan was after I retire?  Would I use my time to pursue my photography?  My response was “I’m not sure but I would let it tell me where I was going.”

After a very long and busy winter of 2017/18 I was lucky enough to have worked my last shift as the weather had begun to really get nice. In addition I was finished 6 weeks earlier than my husband Pat because of the configuration I chose for vacation time.  This provided me time to get caught up at home and re-find myself.

Rest Stop

In the first few months I spent time getting acclimated to my new situation.  I was out hiking, walking and shooting every day.

I attended a planned 3 day long workshop in Wawa, ON at the Rock Island Lodge on the beautiful  and picturesque shores of Lake Superior.  The workshop was led by James Smedley  – a fellow photographer and writer.

Rock Island Sunset

The focus of the workshop was Superior Rocks and Waters with a flavor of The Group Of Seven.  Great history was taught and appreciated.

While at the lodge I had a great three days.  There was lots of yummy food, I met and made great friends from all over Ontario; to whom I remain in touch with today and I learned so much.  It was an experience that did not disappoint and  won’t soon be forgotten.

Catching The Glow

Free now to be more heavily involved with Sault Photography Club I planned for many more outings.  I’ve made a lot of great friends over the years since  starting the club in 2017.  That summer we visited and photographed at locations such as Fayette State Park, Katherine Cove, St. Joseph Island Museum, Whitefish Island and Chippewa Falls to name a few.  I even managed to rally the troops and acquire enough photographic art pieces to host our first show which was held in August and September of 2018.

One of my favorite things to do has always been to watch people.  I have learned so much by seeing some of my colleagues blossom to greater potential.  Its amazing to grasp the changes and interactions that potential brings in their photographic world.  It makes me feel good that I have been a part of it.  Together we have seen many other activities and are in the planning stages for our third show.

In addition I was given the opportunity to participate in outings with Sault Naturalists, Algoma District Birding and the Kensington Conservancy.  We have so much to be thankful for including the guiding services of Carter Dorscht who is a wealth of knowledge, and uses his expertise to educate.

As December of 2018 rolled in I enrolled in The Photography Institute of Canada where I did a full year of Basic Photography. The course encompassed basic theory, history and practice.  I graduated some two months early with my certificate and enrollment into my advanced studies.

It’s been a lot of work but very rewarding.  The build of my website which houses this blog is the first in the series of advanced modules.  I really have learned much and still have an excitement and a thirst for more knowledge.

My favourite photography forefather is Ansel Adams as you might surmise by some of the aspects of my website.  For anyone who doesn’t understand or know the contribution Ansel made on the birth of post processing or seeing the light I would highly recommend reading up on his history.  Photos are not for taking they are for making.  Although I have my own style it is being shaped and developed by what I have learned through information gathered from the history of those forefathers like Ansel.

At the start of July 2019 I branched out even farther with an opportunity to freelance photograph for SooToday.  Since I was able to pick and choose what I wished to photograph for them I got my feet wet while meeting and talking with the public and moving forward with the craft I love.

Looking back I shot anything from people to pets to locations.  What I did find was that my previous work experience with the public likely helped me to draw out and gather the facts about my subjects.  It’s not easy to make that contact or strike up the conversation to get to the point.  That communication is an art and keeps you grounded.

Leading into early 2020 I really jumped out of my comfort zone after taking on an opportunity to do a bit of writing in addition to my photography.  English class was a long time ago but I’m really glad to be given the opportunity.

Presently I am writing two small feature articles which will amount to once a week eventually as things begin to align.  The first is for the feature called Bold which encompasses local outdoors and eco-tourism.  The second feature known as Let’s Eat encompasses food related stories.  Both features are sponsored by The Community Leaders Partnership.

My New Office

All this being said and truth be told where does that leave me?  I believe in order to advance you have to step out of your comfort zone, your fate is in your hands, and things don’t happen unless you make them happen.

I am so glad that someone saw something in me and opened the doors to new opportunity.  Has the checkered flag waved?  Not yet nor have I been black flagged.  At times I feel I am operating under the yellow.

There is still more potential opportunity out there however.  I’m not sure when this race will end but I am sure enjoying the ride.  Where ever the next lap takes me I’m ready.  Are you?

written by


A privileged descendant of immigrant settlers to Turtle Island who makes home on Robinson Huron Treaty Land which was lovingly nurtured and respected by the Anishinabek nations of the Ojibway, Potawatami and Odawa peoples.  She is a graduate of The Photography Institute of Canada and currently completing advanced studies after retiring from her working career in healthcare. Professional Photographers of Canada Accredited her in - Ornithology / Bird Photography (2021), Fine Art (2022), Pictorial / Scenic (2021), Wildlife (2022) as well as Animals (2022), Nature (2023) & Night Photography (2023). She has also been a National and Regional Award recipient multiple times over in 2021 and 2022 having images chosen to exhibit in Professional Photographers of Canada's prestigious National Exhibition 2022, Ontario's prestigious Regional Exhibition 2021 as well as British Columbia's and Eastern Canada's prestigious Regional Exhibitions 2022. Operating out of Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada Violet has been a freelance photojournalist for SooToday in the past and still takes on freelance projects today. Her specialties include Wildlife, Landscape and Fine Art Photography, with special interests in Food Photography and Urban Decay but practices many more well-rounded photographic skills.
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