Life is full of surprises.

Life is full of little surprises. And sometimes big ones.

So… Out with the old, in with the new.

I first launched this site back in 2010 to help promote a book I was working on. Its title was DEERLAND: AMERICA’S HUNT FOR ECOLOGICAL BALANCE AND THE ESSENCE OF WILDNESS. It’s about the role of deer in the environment and in American culture, and it went on to receive great reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, the Wall Street Journal, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Winnipeg Free Press, and more.

It did not, however, sell millions of copies. Most books don’t. I wanted to write more books, but not just yet. For the moment, it was time to work hard and earn money in some other way. Meanwhile my wife, Jean, had become a Realtor. I started helping out more behind the scenes, and I also learned a lot about photography—especially real estate photography. My photos gave Jean’s listings an extra boost, and you may have even seen a few of them here.

We were working hard and getting ahead. Work was great. Every day I felt more confident about the future. Meanwhile I gained more weight, made less time for exercise, and was eventually diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

I’d been a cyclist, skier, and ultramarathoner, but my last 100-mile trail run was over twenty years ago. Now I was finally facing reality. That same afternoon after my diagnosis, I got back on my bike and started losing weight. Then, after much study and deliberation, I adopted a vegan, whole food plant-based diet to help further reduce my insulin resistance. It worked.

But then, almost a year later, I began feeling tired again. Very tired. It happened, like so many things, gradually and then suddenly.

It turned out to be advanced, stage 4 metastatic melanoma. Bad enough, but mine was a type that’s especially aggressive and fast-moving. From the time of diagnosis, the mean life expectancy for patients like me is 5.7 months. For a while, it seemed unlikely I’d last 5.7 weeks.

That was about 3.7 years ago. I’m getting better, and I’m doing OK. It’s been a long haul, and I’ve learned a lot about cancer, cancer culture, statistics, and more. I’ve considered staying quiet about all this and never again thinking about cancer any more than necessary. But then I thought… Nah.

Now that I’ve recently retired, a few of my posts here will still be about photography. But probably not real estate photography. Others will be on topics related to cancer, exercise, food, and health in general. No promises yet on how frequent these posts will be. For now, let’s see how it goes.

As part of this site’s transformation, I’ve deleted quite a few posts about deer and real estate photography. I’ve saved plenty, though. And if you’re into luscious photos of up-north lake homes, you can still visit my portfolio site over at  

But here? It’s time for a fresh start.

Author: alcambronne

Retired photographer, author, and cancer survivor living in northwest Wisconsin.