Guest Blog: Photographer, Educator and Entrepreneur Rick Sammon

Pandemic Productivity & Creativity: You Don’t Drown by Falling in Water; You Only Drown if You Stay There

“You don’t drown by falling in water; you only drown if you stay there.”

That Zig Ziglar quote sounds kinda funny, but it sure is true – especially during this worldwide pandemic where many of us have “fallen in the water.”

Breaking my ankle and having major surgery in July of 2021 compounded (greatly) my personal experience of “sailing in rough seas” during the “tidal wave” of pandemic.

At times, like many of you, I felt as though the “water was rising” – especially with how the business side of photography was being affected. However, being the positive person that I am, I found a “life preserver” that pulled me to safety: a life preserver of productivity and creativity. 

I share my story with you (thank you Brad and Scott for the share) with the hope of giving you some encouragement if you feel as though you are falling beneath the waves – and to illustrate how being productive and creative is important, some may say essential, for the health of the mind and body . . . and your business.

Scott Kelby and Eric Kuna are members of the group, along with KelbyOne instructors Karen Hutton, Richard Bernabe, Steven Gotz, Mark Heaps and Rob Sylvan.

To begin . . . In the early stages of the pandemic I started the Photo Therapy Facebook Group – a safe place with no politics, and a place where members could share their photographs and get honest feedback. Today we have more than 5,000 members worldwide who find posting their photographs and sharing their stories very therapeutic and rewarding. Yes, I hope you can join the photo fun and photo learning!

As part of the Photo Therapy Facebook group, I set up a Photo Therapy YouTube channel. Here my friend Linda Marshall hosts Monday Meditation, and I share slide shows (that’s me on piano) of some of the members’ photographs . What fun!

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 1.0.

I came up with the idea for the Facebook group after receiving lots of positive feedback on my all-pictures-and-no-words book, Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom – discovering the power of pictures, which was published two years earlier.

Shortly after starting the Photo Therapy Facebook Group I came up with the idea for another inspirational book, Photo Quest – discovering your photographic and artistic voice. I felt as though the pandemic was the perfect time for photographers to find their voice. Many of my pro photographer friends agreed, and contributed to the book, hence the “All-Star Photo Mentors” in the credit line.

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 2.0.

No rest for the weary. After publishing Photo Quest, which was another book with no photographs, I thought I should do a book with photographs. As I was about to turn 70, I thought a memoir of my world travels with some of my favorite photographs might be the way to go. Acting on my idea, I published Photo Pursuit: Stories Behind the Photographs – a travel photographer’s memoir. It’s an Ebook that is readable on any device.

I also set up a Gallery with the Photo Pursuit photographs here on my web site.

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 3.0.

Several months into the pandemic KelbyOne started live on-line training sessions – which are separate from my standard classes. From late 2020 to mid-2021 I record 12 live sessions during four conference, my sessions at Photoshop World 2021 being some of my favorites. 

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 4.0.

During the pandemic, because I and virtually all of my pro photographer friends were spending most of our time on the business side of photography, I thought a book on the business side of photography would be helpful for serious photographers who like to make a few bucks with their photography. How to Make Money While You Are Sleeping grew out of that idea. Click here to order the paperback version ($9.95). Click here to order the Ebook version ($14.95). 

Here, too, many of my photo friends contributed. They are credited as the “All-Star Photo Coaches.”

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 5.0.

Wanting to keep busy (even with a broken ankle and stuck in bed and a wheelchair) – and to keep from drowning (mostly emotionally) – I wondered, “What else could do to generate income and, more important, have some fun?” Launching the app – Rick Sammon’s Composition Plus: Iceland Edition – was the answer.

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 6.0.

Breaking my ankle in Mt. Rainer in July 2021 (the day before one of my workshops was about to begin) was not fun. It took nine rangers to carry me out of the park! The pain was unbearable. That’s the bad news.

The accident required major surgery. While at home, as you saw in the opening image for this post, I started exercising soon after the operation – exercising the parts of my body that were in good shape so I’d be in better shape when I could fully exercise.

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 7.0.

Part of my at-home photo therapy and creativity/productivity process was to try to recreate, with Susan Sammon’s help, a photo similar to the photo of Jimmy Stewart in the movie “Rear Window.” Good fun and good creativity. (FYI: I was in a wheelchair like Jimmy Stewart.)

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 8.0.

Another part of my at-home therapy was making the commitment to improve my bass guitar playing. It was a ton of fun learning new songs and trying new techniques.

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 9.0.

Seven weeks after surgery, and after spending lots of time in bed and on my computer, I resumed my twice-a-day, one-hour bike ride here in Westchester, New York. 

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 10.0 . . . big time!

Well my friends, I hope my experience illustrates the quote, “You don’t drown by falling in water; you only drown if you stay there.”

Good luck with all your ventures and adventures.


P.S. Always go where you are looking, which may prevent you from breaking your ankle.

Rick Sammon is a long-time friend of KelbyOne and has almost 30 classes on You can see more from Rick at, and keep up with him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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