Status: Night Owl

Current time: 12:52 am.

Level of Consciousness: Completely Awake & Oriented.

I’ve always been a night owl. I’m not sure why and I’m not sure what keeps me that way, but in the words of Vincent Van Gogh:

“I Often Think That The Night Is More Alive And More Richly Colored Than The Day.”

I can remember as far back as elementary and middle school being awake and wandering around the house at night. I would stay up until ridiculous hours watching whatever my parents were watching on TV, and dreaming of the world beyond the confines of our home. I fell asleep on the couch more as a kid than I do now as an adult (who now owns his own couch). When I started doing photography more and more, the fire department radio started staying on later and later, until eventually it was left on all day and all night. As a result, we would often be out for several hours, or up and out multiple times during a single night shooting fire photos. School night, Christmas Eve, raining, snowing… it didn’t matter. Some of the most insane memories and some of the biggest fires happened during the nights when I should definitely have been asleep. Summer nights during high school years, I would stay up in my room listening to music, listening to the fire radio, and talking on instant messenger with my friends until the sun came up. Those were the days when Dad and I would race to see if the other one was awake when a fire was dispatched, and then try to get out the door as quickly and quietly as possible so Mom didn’t wake up! Now I take the opportunity to think a lot at night. At a minimum once a week I venture outside, take a deep breath, and just stare into the endless darkness and let my mind wander. It’s very helpful and very inspiring. My imagination usually gets the best of me in these moments, so they’re usually short-lived, but definitely not wasted.

It wasn’t until recent years where I began to notice that I was more productive and thoughtful at night. My time spent sitting in silence or staring into the night sky helps me maintain focus and usually puts me back on track with the more important things in life. As a result, I tend now to do my best work in the dark hours, and usually end up surprising myself when I wake up the next morning (or afternoon as the case may be). I’ve always been a believer that it’s not about quantity of sleep, but quality.

Productivity (in my mind) should be a measure of the total amount of successful, end-result output rather than of the cumulative input set of preparation and work completed over time. Think about it.

To summarize these thoughts, and add some meaning to this post, I’d like to point out that everyone functions differently, and everyone has their unique character traits, but sometimes something so simple as just waiting a few hours to see results can change the perception of ones abilities. Have you tried it? Take a short nap in the afternoon, and then stay up late to see where your mind takes you. You never know what you could come up with.

This is all just my 2 cents while sitting here on my parent’s couch, 600 miles from home, wide awake at 1am. Now I’m off to edit a few pictures, change a page on my website, move some files onto a flash drive, and check some statistics associated with my webpages. Maybe I’ll get to bed by 1:30? Who knows!

Speaking of webpages, I’d like to remind you all to check out my other media outlets for more content of various shapes and sizes. The list is below. Also don’t forget to subscribe to this blog using the link at the bottom of the page. I’m working on starting a Youtube channel. Not sure what all I’m going to put there, but I will post an update when the time comes!

Sleep Tight!

“I Have Loved The Stars Too Fondly To Be Fearful Of The Night.” – Sarah Williams

Facebook: Patrick Kellam Photography
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A Fresh Start

It’s hard to admit you failed at something, but I did.

I logged into this blog site today for the first time in… let’s just say a few years. I was rather embarrassed at most of the stuff I had written, so my first order of business was to delete it all. Then I realized I have no idea why I stopped writing, so I decided to pick it back up again. I definitely failed before, and I’m not really ok with that. So now that all that’s out of the way:

HELLO! My name is PJ and I now write on this blog. Again.

I love to write, but I generally don’t anymore. I finished writing a book a couple years back and pretty much stopped altogether because it was such a major project and I just wanted to be done. Fast forward a while and here I am.

Currently, I’m on my annual spring vacation with my family in Virginia. I went fishing, I shot a lot of photos, and I have taken a lot of time to think about my life. Without going into a long drawn out history of me, I will say that I had a lifelong dream and a set of goals growing up that I wanted to accomplish. Now, at 23 years old, I’ve accomplished all of them including a college education, a successful career in a job that I love, and a few other non-essential things. I’m happy (very happy) with life, but I have found myself saying a lot lately “what’s next?”.

In an effort to explore more, give myself an excuse to get out and do more things, and to open my mind to more options and more people and their thoughts and lives, I have decided to become really active in social media and internet content and networking. Now, I know you’re probably thinking doesn’t social media and networking involve sitting inside all day in front of a computer and not going out?… YES, BUT: in all my years as a tech nerd and a gamer, I have met many wonderful and inspiring people on the internet who have really changed and molded my life into what it is now. The internet, in a roundabout way, is actually one of the main reasons I have the career I do at all. With that being said, I’m looking forward to putting more content out there in hopes of finding more people to call friends and gaining more knowledge about the world around me so that I am better able to find out the answer to that question above: What’s Next? Those who know me personally know that I LOVE to talk and I LOVE to tell stories. In the cyber-focused world we live in today, the best way to do that is over the internet. Blogs, websites, digital photos, Vlogs, YouTube, etc etc etc. There are endless ways to share your life with others, endless amounts of people who will watch, view, and listen, and every single person and their experiences are different. No longer does anyone have the ability to say “I Don’t Believe It!” and not immediately be provided with proof.

So here goes nothing!

If you’ve made it this far, I appreciate your time. Thank you. Please click the link at the bottom of the page to subscribe to the email feed so that you can read more of my ramblings, and please head over to my website and look at my photography work. PLEASE also be sure to let me know what you think, whether it be a comment on here, a like on Facebook, an email, or whatever. I really like feedback!


Remembering 16552

January 26, 2007

I was awakened at about 530 in the morning by my father. It was a school day so I assumed it was the usual wakeup signaling the time to drag myself out of bed and get ready for another day. As I closed my eyes in an attempt to catch a few minutes of extra sleep and delay the inevitable, another sharp shake hit me and my dads voice filled the room “Patrick. Get Up. Listen To Me.” I sat straight up and stared into his eyes. He was fully dressed in winter weather clothing (he still had his gloves on inside). The fire radio scanner was plugged into headphones that were stuck in his ears. He looked exhausted.

“What’s Wrong Dad?” I asked.

I’ll never forget his words: “Highway 58 Lost A Firefighter In A Fire Last Night. I’ve Been Out All Night And I’m About To Leave Again. I Thought You Should Know.”

The conversation that followed was mostly me begging him not to make me go to school and his promptly denying my request. As soon as I left school that day I did not return until the following week (one of the only times in my entire life I’ve missed school).

I remember walking in the firehouse. I remember there being so many people there you couldn’t hardly move. People crying, people standing in corners, silent as the night sky. I saw the Chief fighting tears while fearlessly doing what he does best: making sure people are on task. Getting things done. One of the assistant chiefs passed me in the hallway and said “I’m glad you’re here”. There were firemen from many different departments there and I would later find out that Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department did not respond to a single call in their district for 4 days, due to the number of outside companies covering the territory (all 112 square miles of it).

Over the next few days, I saw the brotherhood come together. Firemen from different departments from two different states standing side by side responding to emergency calls in honor of a fallen brother.

The funeral was on a Monday. It was bright, sunny, and about 30 degrees with a wind chill in the teens. I had my camera (as usual) and myself and another photographer had teamed up to photograph the funeral. I sat quietly in the church, speaking only to say hello to those I knew who were in attendance.

That’s when I saw it.

The projectors in the church were playing a slideshow of photos of the fallen hero. It scrolled through pausing at each slide to reflect on a memory. The memory that hit me was a photo of me and him in the bucket of an aerial ladder

Shane and I

at a training exercise a couple years prior. He had offered to take me up for a ride in the ladder so I could get some overhead photos of the training ground. While we were up

there, he said “Look this way, it’s time for me to take your picture for a change.” He held out his hand and snapped a picture of the two of us, a picture that until that moment I had not seen. I lost it, but my dad was right there with me and helped me pull myself back together long enough to finish the service.


As the ceremony was over, we proceeded outside. Hundreds of firefighters lined the walkway, driveway, and yard of the church. The procession of emergency vehicles alone was over 1 mile long with hundreds of passenger cars behind that. Another moment of time that

Shane Funeral 3

is frozen in my mind: The doors of the church opened and through the silence of the crowd the Chiefs voice rang out “Highway 58 Fire Department, ATTENTION!” The crowd of firefighters snapped to attention and the midday silence was deafening. Firefighters carried the flag draped casket outside and loaded it onto the back of engine 1642… his engine. Two firefighters rode atop the engine dressed in full turnouts as the procession proceeded down Highway 58. After the casket passed underneath the American Flag hung between the

tips of Fort Oglethrope Ladder 1 and Catoosa County Ladder 1, the engine turned and made one last drive through the empty apparatus bay at Highway 58 VFD Station 2 before proceeding to the cemetery. At the gravesite, the cold wind did not ease the pain of the several hundred firefighters and family members in attendance. The owner of the local Firehouse Subs franchise, who happened to be a good friend of mine, offered me free lunch if I let him borrow a winter hat to cover his bald head, which was shining in the midday sun.

In one final pass of the casket, attendees of the funeral had the chance to pay their respects to the family. I walked past and the widow of the fallen firefighter greeted me with a hug. “He loved your photos” she said “the first thing he did when he got home from a fire was check your website for pictures. He was a big fan of yours and wanted to see you succeed in the fire service.”

Several years down the road, I joined this department as a volunteer. I would later find out that there were more similarities between he and I than just a burning love for the fire service. My instructor in firefighter 1 class enlightened me to the fact that I sat in the same seat in class as he did (unknowingly). He and I also won the same awards (Rookie of the Year and Firefighter of the Year). And we were both fans and followers of the same fire companies in the “famous big city departments”. There have been many times where I have been told “thats exactly what he would have said”. I could not think of a greater honor than being compared to someone who was willing to lay down his life in an attempt to save others.

I will close this remembrance article with a quoted phrase. It is a phrase that the fallen firefighter coined, and had said so many times it was eventually adopted as the motto of the Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department:


Go home, and may you rest in peace. We’ve got it from here and we will never forget you…