Over 50 & Thriving Series Over 50s Lifestyle

How Photography helps me to Thrive

August 9, 2018
How Photography helps me to Thrive

Do you have a hobby?  Having a passion or doing something that brings us pleasure is one way to help us Thrive in life.  This week in my Over 50 & Thriving Series, I’m delighted to introduce Suzanne Vosbikian from Picture Retirement You can find Suzanne’s links to her website and social media at the end, so don’t forget to pop over and connect with her.

Suzanne has found a way to combine her love of travel and photography to thrive in retirement.  I recently discovered Suzanne’s blog and her photos of her recent trip to Europe were wonderful and I felt I was actually there.  Today, Suzanne shares with us her love of photography and how it helps her to Thrive.

How Photography helps me to Thrive

Most of us are likely to have had an interest or hobby that we set aside during our working years due to any number of reasons that seemed to apply at the time. Our time and energy was directed toward more important priorities like making a living, maintaining a marriage and raising children.

At this stage of life, there are no more excuses to be made, and we have nothing but time. Why hold back now?

I asked myself that question a few years ago when my husband gifted me with my first ever digital camera. I have always had an interest in photography, but I never took the time to study the fundamentals and experience photography as an art form. Point and shoot pictures were good enough.

Back then, I honestly did not believe that I had the patience or ability to take on a time-consuming hobby. I was wrong to doubt myself.

Age, maturity, desire and confidence have made the difference between being satisfied with good enough and striving toward being better. It also helps that as a retiree, I now have time to pursue a hobby that has quickly grown into a passion.

How Photography helps me to Thrive

Photo credit: Suzanne Vosbikian

I realized that to become a better photographer, I would have to take the same approach that I had throughout my adult life when I needed or wanted to learn a new skill – hard work. I took lessons from local professionals, watched endless “youtube” videos and practiced by taking hundreds of photos per week.

When I couldn’t find a local photography club, I formed one.

It attracted both novice and professional photographers and we learned with and from each other. For months, I took two steps forward and three steps back as I struggled through the learning curve to get myself past the Automatic setting on my camera, but I did it

How Photography helps me to Thrive

Photo credit: Suzanne Vosbikian

My photography falls into the category of hobbyist, but I have received pay for some of my work. I regularly contribute my time on behalf of local charities and am called upon in my community to photograph special events. It is rewarding to do something that I love and have it appreciated by others. Having my circle of friends expand just because I pursued a new hobby has been an added bonus that is immeasurable.

How Photography helps me to Thrive

Photo credit: Suzanne Vosbikian

What I learned from this experience and why I am thriving over fifty sixty, is that when you set aside self doubt, judgments and negative thoughts, and simply trust yourself, it is possible to create a new dimension to your life, at any age.

Photography is my new passion. Have you discovered yours?

Meet Suzanne

How Photography helps me to Thrive

In 2006 my husband and I sold the family business that we had run for twenty-two years and relocated two hours away to Palm City, Florida. As a native Floridian, I cannot imagine a more perfect place to spend our retirement years. I enjoy an active lifestyle which includes volunteer work, outdoor sports, photography, travel, cooking and social time with friends and family.

Now in its second year, I started our lifestyle blog Picture Retirement, for two reasons – (1) chronicle our adventures and (2) inspire and serve as a resource to other retirees. It is rewarding on many levels, but mostly because of the connections I am making with people all over the world.

Just like me, it is a work in progress.

My philosophy for living a contented life is to maintain balance within the day to day, (health, fitness, leisure time, hobbies, family, volunteer work, etc.) always have something to look forward to and begin each day with gratitude.

Connect with Suzanne

Blog: www.picture-retirement.com
Instagram: Picture_retirement


If you are Over 50 and would like to contribute to the Over 50 & Thriving Series, I would love to hear from you. Send me an email at sue@womenlivingwellafter50.com.au and I can provide more details.
Click here to catch up on my previous guests in Over 50 & Thriving Series
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  • Reply Donna August 10, 2018 at 03:43

    Hi, Suzanne – There are so many important takeaways in this post. My absolute favourite is: “When I couldn’t find a local photography club, I formed one.” When we put aside our self-doubt (and fear of failure), it is amazing how many different things that your statement can apply to — with remarkable results! Several months ago, our Walking Club changed policies (without notice) and no longer allows dogs to be off-leash on walks, even in off-leash areas. When bemoaning this fate with two other members, a similar statement to yours came up, and we formed our own group. It is now running strong and has over 50 members.
    I greatly enjoy your photography, and your blog, and look forward to more.
    Thanks, Sue for featuring Suzanne today.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2018 at 08:09

      Good for you Donna to not take the Walking Club’s new policy. It shows what we can change if it is important to us. I’m enjoying introducing everyone in my Over 50 & Thriving Series. Each woman brings so much to us all to learn and enjoy life. Suzanne’s photos are stunning. Enjoy your weekend, my friend xx

  • Reply Suzanne August 10, 2018 at 05:17

    Hi Donna, kudos to you for creating your own “leash free” walking group. Maybe it is a “coming of age thing,” but I do find that I challenge the status quo more often than when I was younger. I have finally learned to make myself a priority. I am glad you enjoy my photos. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Toni Pike August 10, 2018 at 06:50

    It is fantastic to read about someone who is fulfilling their dreams by making the most of their hobby. And what wonderful photos!

    • Reply suzanne August 10, 2018 at 11:11

      Hi Toni, Thank you for your lovely comment.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2018 at 08:05

      Isn’t it great Toni. You are like Suzanne but as an author rather than photographer. You have fulfilled your dreams and showing us we can all achieve our dreams if we try. The photos are gorgeous, aren’t they? Have a beautiful weekend and thanks for stopping by to comment. 🙂

  • Reply Karen Hume August 10, 2018 at 10:03

    I hadn’t anticipated this quality of photography. They are exceptional Suzanne. Congratulations on taking on the challenge and succeeding. Sue, thanks for sharing Suzanne’s beautiful work. I’d love to see more and will check out her blog.

    • Reply Suzanne August 10, 2018 at 11:19

      Hi Karen, thank you for your very generous compliment. It is an evolving process that I find both challenging and rewarding and I still have a long way to go. You can see more of my photographs by clicking on the Instagram link that Sue provided at the bottom of my post. So nice to meet you.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2018 at 08:04

      Hi Karen, I’m loving my series because I’m meeting new and interesting women. Each has their own story and Suzanne’s photography is stunning, isn’t it? Have a beautiful day,my friend. xx

  • Reply Dr.Amrita August 10, 2018 at 14:34

    The last picture is my favourite.Whenever I visit your blog I tajeaway something exciting to do.I just gifted a Dslr and this made me excited to try more.Is it possible to join your club online?

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 11, 2018 at 06:59

      Hi Dr. Amrita, Unfortunately our club does not have an on-line presence. We are very much a hands on group and like to get together to shoot and share information. Too bad you don’t live in So. Florida. I am very sure that there is a similar club in your area. Do a Meet-up or FB search and see what turns up. That last photo is special. I do not know the little boy, but he and his Dad were having the best time tossing the reel that night, so I had to Capture the Moment!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2018 at 08:02

      Hello Amrita and I’m so pleased you stopped by to comment on Suzanne’s beautiful photography and also were able to learn something exciting to do. Have a beautiful weekend and enjoy x

  • Reply Barbara Radisavljevic August 10, 2018 at 16:02

    I love photography. Like you, I’m a hobbyist. I After a major life transition, I put photography away for a while. When I started blogging I got a digital camera and started taking photos to better illustrate my blog posts. A couple of years ago I became more interested in experimenting with editing software to make the photos more artistic.

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 11, 2018 at 07:05

      Barbara, I use PhotoShop Elements and NIK for post processing. I too like to tweak my photos, just a bit. For example, in the case of the Ibis, I highlighted the reflection slightly to make it stand out. To me, the most interesting part of that photograph is the reflection of the head and beak. I got started because I wanted to improve our travel photos, so I can relate to your comment. Good photos on Blogs are sooooooo important. I will pop over and read a few posts later today. Be well!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2018 at 07:59

      Hi Barbara, lovely to meet you and aren’t Suzanne’s photographs beautiful. Photography is a wonderful art form isn’t it especially in the digital age. Glad to hear that you were able to return to your photography and delve deeper into the artistic side. Have a beautiful weekend and thank for stopping by to comment. x

  • Reply Gilda Baxter August 10, 2018 at 18:41

    Suzanne, this is a great post. Your zest for life, enthusiasm and passion shines through. As we get older we realise that we need to fill our lives with things that make our hearts sing and give us pleasure. Time is no longer something we can take for granted, it is important to do more of the things we love and less of the things we feel obliged to do. You are certainly making the most of your time and having a lot of fun. I love your blog and your photography ?

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 11, 2018 at 07:10

      Gilda, you are such a sweetheart. I do live life at warp speed most of the time, but why not? Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I hope all is well in your corner of the world. S

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2018 at 07:56

      Suzanne’s photography is beautiful isn’t it, Gilda? I love your thoughts about filling our lives with things that ‘make our hears sing’, so perfectly written and true.

  • Reply Candi Randolph August 11, 2018 at 06:46

    I think it’s so cool that you took the time and effort to develop your photography skills after retiring. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2018 at 07:48

      Aren’t Suzanne’s photos beautiful, Candi. There is a photographer deep inside of me I’m sure, she just hasn’t surfaced yet!

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 11, 2018 at 07:18

    Hi Candi, I am glad you enjoyed the photos. I am the poster child for “life long learning.” All it takes is interest, aptitude and perseverance to create a new dimension to your life at any age. So very nice to meet you.

  • Reply Janis August 11, 2018 at 08:55

    Hi Sue and Suzanne! Great post! I love photography too and always enjoy looking at the work of others. I love that you started your own photography club, Suzanne. I haven’t found one here where I live that has the elements I’m looking for so maybe I need to do the same thing. I may be the only member for a while, but that’s OK.

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 11, 2018 at 10:16

      Janis, you might be surprised at how fast your idea will morph into reality. I started by forming a “MeetUp Group” on-line. I am sure you have that internet service in your area. We had fifty members in no time at all. After one year we decided to stop paying the MeetUp fees and do our own thing. The Club is now in its third year. We no longer have formal monthly meetings, but we do get together regularly to “teach/learn” new skills and to enjoy the company of like minded folks. It has been a very rewarding experience that has led to many opportunities. Good luck to you as you move forward. Your photography is beautiful, but there is always something more to learn.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2018 at 12:31

      Hi Janis I always enjoy your photography and yes perhaps you should start your own club. Enjoy!

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt August 11, 2018 at 09:50

    Suzanne, I love your photography and so happy to see this post on Sue’s lovely blog. I wish I had more time to explore photography. Good for you for forming a photography club! I tried to find one in my local area through meet-ups but couldn’t find one. One of these days I might even take a class or two (instead of teaching) but for now I will continue to snap at anything I see!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2018 at 12:38

      Hi Terri, you don’t need lessons in photography as I enjoy looking at your photos. I’m surprised to read that there aren’t many photography groups around. Several readers have made the same comment. Maybe you could start one in the future. Have a great weekend! xx

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 11, 2018 at 10:24

    Terri, I am sure the college where you teach has a class that would enhance your already considerable skills. I was fortunate enough to attract some local “pros”to our club who are very generous with their time, talent and friendship. Also, search on Instagram for local photographers that shoot the kind of photos that you enjoy and make a connection. You will be amazed at just how willing they are to share. In addition, I found a couple of Photography Groups on FB that I regularly interact with. There are so many resources out there. You just have to go for it! Thanks for your encouragement. I love your Blog!!

  • Reply Janet Mary Cobb August 11, 2018 at 12:19

    Suzanne – I just read your guest post on Cresting the Hill and then find you here again. So fortunate for me. Your photography is beautiful. I also appreciate your sharing on the ideas of a hobby. I’ve had many offer the years and am trying to discern which will be my focus as I transition into a ‘more time’ schedule — not quite hitting retirement. Great food for thought here. Thank you!

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 13, 2018 at 06:13

      Hi Janet, I know! It has been a banner week for me. Leanne and Sue are so incredible, and to be featured on both their sites in one week has been quite the experience. You mentioned that you are not quite to retirement yet. Even so, hobbies and interests are sooooo important. I know how difficult it can be to juggle home, work, social time, etc. but hobbies are so important to the next phase of life. Sounds like you have time to narrow your focus and discover your true passion. Best of luck and thanks for commenting.

  • Reply Sue August 11, 2018 at 19:17

    Lovely to “meet” you Suzanne, and thanks to Sue for sharing you on her blog – your story and your amazing photos. Photography (more than just snapping away using my phone) is something that’s been on my “list” of things I’d love to make time for since about 10 years ago!! I’m not yet at retirement stage, and we’re in the middle of a major renovation, but I also don’t want to keep putting it off!! Thanks for the inspiration to shunt photography closer to the top of my list. And what a great idea to start your own local photography group rather than give up for lack of finding one xx

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 13, 2018 at 06:23

      Hi Sue, I hope you won’t give up on improving your photography. I find that the best photographs are the ones that convey what you feel at the time you take it. You can achieve a lot with a decent camera and an eye for composition. Just look at things from different perspectives to find what pleases you. If it makes you smile, it’s a good photograph. Thank you so much for commenting. It is nice to “meet” you also.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 13, 2018 at 07:14

      Hi Sue, aren’t Suzanne’s photographs stunning? I am definitely not a photographer but am inspired by her work to give it a try. We are heading to Japan for a cruise in October so I might use that as an opportunity to be more creative with my photography and also cut down on the number of photos I take – usually I come back with 1,000s LOL 🙂 Have a beautiful week and thanks for stopping by x

  • Reply Victoria August 11, 2018 at 22:52

    Photography is something I would like to be good at but always seem to miss the mark. I got a nice camera a few years ago when I started blogging thinking I would take photos for the blog but my abilities leave something to be desired. lol

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 13, 2018 at 06:36

      Victoria, when I first got serious about improving my photography, I had more than one instructor tell me to “go home and read my manual.” I thought it was kind of a mean thing to say until I realized that the first step in the process is to understand how the camera operates. When you become comfortable with basic operation, the next thing is to practice, practice, practice. I will never be satisfied with the quality of my photos, and I still have a couple of instructors who text me regularly to let me know that I should not have posted something (on Instagram) because of poor quality, but as long as it pleases me, I am happy. Be patient with yourself, and set realistic goals; it will happen. Best of luck.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 13, 2018 at 07:14

      Hi Victoria, I’m with you on the photography score. Perhaps we should both encourage each other and try to start improving? A little goal for August or September perhaps? Let me know xx

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au August 12, 2018 at 18:26

    Wow Suzanne! You are a busy guest blogger atm! I loved your photos and pinned them because I can’t resist pretty pictures. I’m so impressed that you started a club when you couldn’t find one – that’s so proactive and not something a lot of us would think to do – and look how it paid off!

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 13, 2018 at 06:46

      Hi Leanne, I am so grateful to both you and Sue for having me on your Blogs this week. It has been an awesome experience for me to interact with your readers. I am a Pinterest and Instagram fanatic, so thanks for Pinning my photos. My Instagram feed is filled with beautiful photographs from all over the world. I draw a lot of inspiration from the techniques and perspective of the professional and novice photographers that I follow. This week I am experimenting with natural light portraits. We’ll see how that goes.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 13, 2018 at 07:19

      Snap, Leanne! Suzanne is a popular lady this week and her photos are gorgeous. She has inspired me to pull out the camera and ‘try’. I always say I’m not a good photographer but I won’t be if I don’t give it a try. Have a great week, my BBB. xx

  • Reply Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle August 15, 2018 at 19:30

    Thanks Sue and Suzanne,
    I love photography as well, it has been said that photographers are among the happiest people in the world. We get to take a close look at the way nature is formed, its intricate details and beauty of creation. Suzanne your photos are so very exciting, I wish mine were that awesome. No wonder you are thriving in retirement. Thanks for the inspiration, adding to Sue’s constant encouragement.

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian August 15, 2018 at 23:30

    Hi Kathleen, you probably noticed that the three photos above have one element in common – reflection. My challenge is always to find what makes a moment different or special and to try to convey that. Looking through the lens indeed makes me happy. Thank you for your lovely compliment. I am sure you sell yourself short, but if you want to improve, I know you will. Practice and patience!!

  • Reply Debbie Harris August 22, 2018 at 19:45

    I really enjoyed reading your guest post Suzanne and learning about your hobby/passion and the background to it. I agree we’re all a work in progress and love your photographs. Thanks Sue for introducing another fantastic blogger to us in your series.

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