It is August are you going back to school?

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/11, 1/250 – Alienbees B1600 for fill flash]
It is back to school this week for college students and other schools in Georgia. Monday morning my drive in the morning took longer because all the school buses were out picking up children to take them to their first day of school.

In many ways this feels more like the beginning of a new year to me than New Year’s Day. There is such an excitement for everyone.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/1000]
It is something new because so many students are going to a new place. They are moving down the hall to the next grade wing or they are moving off to college.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/14, 1/250 – Alienbees B1600 for fill flash]
For most of my career I have been covering the back to school story and also helping private schools and colleges with the public relations and marketing materials.

[Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/5, 1/100]
We moved our daughter in last week to her college dorm. We are starting a new chapter in our lives now with our youngest off the college.

[Nikon D3, 70-200mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/2.8, 1/250]
The first part of our life for 18 years is where each fall we enroll in classes and then each spring we are tested on what we learned. If we prove we know the new material we then move on in life to the next rung on the ladder. Once you rise a few rungs up the ladder, life becomes easier.

[Nikon D3S, 14-24mm, ISO 4000, ƒ/2.8, 1/250]
Until you graduate high school most every year is planned out for you, with little options. You only need to navigate the halls of the school to get from one classroom to the next.

[Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/100]
What about the rest of your life out of school? When you stop learning you stop living. You are only letting your mind and body start to slow down and finally quit on you.

“When did you become such a know it all?,” is something we have all heard, but really I am asking this question to myself as much as for you. If we stop learning haven’t we declared that we know it all?

[Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/6.4, 1/170]
Each year, maybe like now in August, pick something that you are going to learn more about. Maybe buy some books or take a class at the community college near you, but make a commitment to learn something new.

One of the best ways to learn is to travel. Even if it is just around your own city or town, go and explore. You get a lot more out of travel when you read about the places you plan to visit and study about what there is to do in those locations.

This year I learned about the Balkans. Last year I went to Togo, West Africa and Nicaragua to explore and learn about the people.

Every time I pick up a book, take a class, visit a new place I learn something new. I also most every time my previous knowledge is modified. You see learning more helps us to process what we already know in a new way.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/250]
While reading a book is learning, I suggest doing something with a group of people. The relationships you form bring a great deal of joy to the process of learning.

I love to teach photography and storytelling to groups. If you have a group of friends that just wants to learn how to get better photos of your friends and family I can teach you skills to elevate your photos.

If want to tell stories for a non-profit where you volunteer, I can help teach you how to capture the story more effectively to engage an audience.

No matter your age be sure you are going back to school this August.