7 Ways to Fail at Photography (or anything). Part 1 – Lack of Focus

On Location: Heather Soukas, Brooklyn Bridge Park at Sunrise
January 27, 2018
7 Ways to Fail at Photography (or anything). Part 2 – Indecision
June 28, 2019
Ethereum mining rig – my first build
I'm a photographer. I have been focused on sports and fitness for the last 5-6 years. 

For most of those 5-6 years, I was desperately trying to make an impact in the world of CrossFit. 

CrossFit was a passion of mine. It got me into shape. It also reignited my first passion - photography.

I had spent many years making a portfolio and sending it CrossFit Media. Making edits, taking advice, applying new images to the portfolio. Making a new one, sending it in. 

Finally one day years later I got an email with an invite to do some stock photography for Crossfit Inc. Win!

Then one day I got an even better email; I was asked to shoot the North East Regional. It was a big deal. A big win.

After that, the biggest win - to be part of the official Crossfit Media Team for the 2017 CrossFit Games!

All my hard work paid off. All those years of working and shooting and improving and soliciting for jobs. It all paid off! I was going to shoot the 2017 Crossfit Games.

Shooting the event was great - maybe a story for another post. But after I got back I seemed to steer my attention not into going further with my shooting, but in a different direction. 

Back in the winter of 2017 I started getting into cryptocurrency. Ethereum and Bitcoin to be exact. Everyone was starting to hear about them in the news. 1 bitcoin was worth around $1300/coin. 1 Ethereum was around $50/coin. The only thing I knew about Bitcoin was that you could use it to buy shady shit on the darkweb; like drugs or a hitman.

As the weeks and months passed I found myself obsessed with crypto. All I did in my free time was research and read news about these new currencies. They were exploding in value. 

What I was most interested in was how they were mined. Mining is running a series of complex mathematical problems through special hardware and software.(see above photo for reference to what a mining rig looks like)

These machines run millions of calculations per second. This is how the blockchain works. And the power comes from when they are are pooled together. 

Think of a bank or cash registers list of transactions. These machines pool their computing power together to verify "blocks" of  transactions of millions of users of each coin. Once the transactions are verified through the computing of mathematical problems the mining moves to another "block" of transactions. I'm probably not the best to be explaining this so look it up if you really want to know how it works but now i'm going off on a tangent. 

The whole part of the mining that I was interested in was that for the mining effort you are rewarded with fractions of the coin. So when you fire up the miner and let it do its thing, you will eventually get coins and those are worth actual dollars.

So what did I do? I started building Ethereum mining rigs. I spent hours and hours researching. Sourcing parts. Watching build videos. Figuring the whole thing out. 

Long story short, I had built three miners and was online mining Ethereum 24/7. When I started mining Ethereum was worth almost $200/coin. If I ran all three miners 24/7, every 4 days I was banking hundreds of dollars in Ethereum coins.

It seemed too good to be true.(anyone who followed crypto knows that it was too) So what did I do next? I built more and recruited a friend who was into crypto and we both built more and housed some of them in his garage. It was great at first. Ethereum went from $200/coin to almost $1400/coin in a matter of months. 

Between the two fo us we had 8 machines. We figured if everything kept going the way it had we would be sitting on a lot of Ethereum. 

One of the downsides of running these rigs was that they were noisy and put off a lot of heat. So much heat that I never turned on the heat in my apartment all winter. When it was 20° F outside it was like 75° F in my apt. 

It was nice but my girlfriend described it as " like living in a server room". 

When we were watching tv we had to turn the volume up all the way to maybe hear it. Or wear headphones cause of the roar of all those fans.

My friend's garage was in the 80's. When the spring and summer hit it went well over 100° F in there.  

None of this was sustainable.

But the icing on the cake was when all of crypto seemed to crash. Gone were the days of $1400 Ethereum. It was slipped back down to around $800. We couldn't run all these machines in his garage anymore cause he was moving. I couldn't run them in a one bedroom apartment anymore if I wanted to keep my girlfriend. 

One by one we sold the miners off and cashed out all our coins.

The lesson of this dumb story is this:Instead of putting all my spare time and effort into doing all this crypto stuff, I should have been concentrating my efforts on my photography. Instead of researching computer hardware and sourcing a supplier for the thousand and thousands of dollars worth of GPU's I should have been studying lighting techniques or test shooting with models. Instead of spending hours building and finding places to run these machines I would have been better off hunting down potential clients or sending cold emails or improving my website. Anything that may have helped move my photo biz to a better place. 

So thats what I'm trying to do now. 

Stay tuned for the next part of this blog series. I will get into some of the other reason you can use to fail at photography( or anything else).



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