It's finally starting to feel like a new year. I know, I know, it's officially been 2011 for more than two months now, but it's finally starting to feel like it, at least for me. As the days get longer and the sun starts shining brighter, I'm actually starting to believe that the promise of spring really is just around the corner; it seemed so unlikely. It's been a hard winter here. We're ready for spring, for something new and green and alive.

I'm also ready for a new direction in my work, a new kind of focus. Last year was incredible in a lot of ways. I was busy all the time. I travelled all over the country for photos. I shot jobs on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts, not to mention the beautiful shores of Lake Superior. I don't even know how many thousand miles I covered to do it, but, simply put, it was a lot. Maybe too much. I want this year to be different.

This year I want to work more in this community. And not because I don't want to travel. I love traveling. I want to do more work here because this is the community where I live. I want to see this area be successful. I'll admit that's partly for selfish reasons, but I'm not sure that's bad. I want the businesses here to flourish, I want the people here to have good jobs and make a decent living. I want this to be a place that rises up from an economic downturn to find a new, more stable economy based on a local market, not distant Wall Street. And I see ways that I can help to make that happen.

I'm not saying that a few good pictures and some graphic design will make this area into a bustling metropolis. In fact, even if they could, I'd rather they didn't. But I am saying that I want to focus more of my energy here. I want my work to have an impact on the people and businesses I see everyday, not just cities and people somewhere else. I'm not sure what that all means yet, but I'm figuring it out. And for starters it means meeting more people here. If you own a business in this area, send me an e-mail, call me, meet me for coffee. Let's talk about what we can do together. It couldn't hurt.