Why care…

Why care when it seems like nothing much is ever going to change? It’s a question that I’ve come to think has got some pull on me when it shouldn’t at all in the first place. What I mean is this: if we get caught up in the negative & in the labels that mainstream society throws onto us, then we just end up being part of the proverbial snowball that can easily get bigger & bigger, only harming us in the end. I’m beginning to think that no matter how much things stay the same, like getting sore after work, hearing all the crappy news, and realizing that the market may not be all it’s cracked up to be, I’ve got to somehow look to what I hold dear and hold fast onto hope.

For some people, it’s a matter of faith, and for others, it’s a matter of family, but I’ve got to say that it’s about 70-30 for me…Or at least that’s what it seems like at times. Sometimes, it comes down to greeting the morning with a little prayer and a smile on my face, something I think I’ve got to do a little more of just to keep myself to getting so negative at times. I truly believe that it comes down to the realization that we were created for more than just being negative every day, even though I forget that way too many times. In a way, it’s like the photograph below; initially I really responded negatively to this one, taken in mid-March of this year, but after going through it this week, I decided to give it another look through and I came out with one of my favourites, getting away from the negative response to it I had initially.

- Grass & Log -
– Grass & Log –

Situations change and we need to stand firm with what we believe, but work around them and really try our best to get through it without being all too negative. The above photograph was one that I remember being really upset with, but, after taking another look at it, I gave it a go and refined it, coming out with just how it must’ve felt at the time; I say that because it was taken seven months ago and the memory I have of the weather is that it was overcast and not too great at all. I don’t want to come out of this sounding sappy, so I’ll just say this: there’s more to life than just being negative all the time.

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Vision…

Now comes the good post, right? In a way yes, but they’re mostly all about vision to begin with anyway. When it comes down to it, even if we’re just snapping a simple shot, we’ve got intention & vision for what the shot is. It’s intertwined with the image because we have an intention for what the shot is supposed to be & look like, even if it’s subconscious. Sometimes it’s just for the sake of having a memory of that exact moment, other times it’s for having something to hang up on the wall, fill an album, or something else. It comes down to what we’re eventually going to use it for: to display, to print, to give out, to distribute, and/or to use as desktop wallpaper.

- Garden Pathway -
– Garden Pathway –

When I look at a shot I took that amazes me, even before getting into the post-processing, I sometimes wonder what I’m going to use it for…Not each & every time, but hopefully most of the time. Take for example the above photograph, very similar to the one in the previous post; this one has gone through editing (Clarity, Color, & Color Vignette) a week or so later than the previous one and there was no specific plan, or vision for it, when I originally took it just over half a month ago, but now, revisiting it, I just might do more with it, mostly because it speaks to me more after some time has passed than when it did originally. Why? I’m not altogether sure, but maybe it’s got more to do with the barely visible pathway and I’m thinking I’d do more with it then use it as just desktop wallpaper.

Sometimes, vision for a single photograph (or more) does indeed change with time and, as the above photograph is an example of this, we should always try to see how we can learn from it; not just realize that things can change when it comes to the photograph, but seeing that vision isn’t always set in stone at the time of capture. The photograph above became more than just about light & shade around a seemingly overgrown path in a botanical garden, but about the interplay of colors between the various greens of the foliage and the various oranges & browns around the two large rocks. Just go into it with an open mind and sometimes the results & possibilities will surprise you.

A chance…

Sometimes we miss the chance at a shot we try so hard to get and fall flat on our faces, wondering & asking why…Believe me, I’ve been there & done that. There’s always another chance at a shot that will be just as good if not better, and if not, then maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t meant to be; it’s something I’ve struggled with for what seems like ages. The thing is, I’ve learned, even though I still forget it quite a bit, that sometimes telling the mind to shut up & trudge along is the better thing to do, in photography…And sometimes in life itself.

Now on to a more cheerful mood…Remember the time you first got the shot that amazed you and made you want to continue photography no matter what? That was the perfect, meant-to-be shot that sometimes, even just recalling it, can bring a smile into even the lightless time. If you really think about it, it wasn’t just a chance, it was an opportunity handed to you/I and we took it, giving us that one shot of encouragement we needed. Most of the time, we end up too busy pushing ourselves to grab that perfect shot that we can just as easily miss the right shot; I know because I’ve been there way too many times to count.

UBC 2036 Main Mall

Taking the chance to get out there to find that shot is part of the fun because, like I’ve said before, it can open our eyes to different possibilities. From working at angles that we’re not used to working at to zooming in to a level of detail we’ve never had before, taking that chance is all about expanding horizons. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t; like on a recent trek out to the nearby university where I was working with a lens that I hadn’t used more than once before, trying to get a shot that I didn’t have a clue how to get. It took some trying, but some shots did turn out and, even with some chromatic aberration around some of the edges on one or two of them, the photographs turned out well. The above photograph was one of the vast majority that didn’t have chromatic aberration and it turned out good; the lines lead through the image while the bushes stop the viewer from following it too far and/or at a pace that would loose the viewer’s attention. So take that chance and you just might be surprised!

A change…

Often change doesn’t come easy, especially if it’s to different methodology or a change in the process when it comes to photography. Changing lenses are often a matter of timing when you’re out taking photographs, but getting used to a new lens can definitely be an interesting change, because each has slightly different characteristics & behavior. Every lens reacts to light a slightly different way, some exhibiting a form of chromatic aberration at different focal lengths, for example; the problem with this is that we can get too tied up in arguing about who’s lens is better when in fact it’s all about the photograph & the photographer, not who’s camera/lens is better. Who gives a hoot if you shoot with a Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus or Sony?

Getting used to a new lens when working at something for a while can be quite a task if you get too caught up in the technical aspects of it. What I’ve found is that there can be a way to get away from this line of thinking and most of it is how you approach taking the photograph in the first place; two posts ago (the one on April 15), I mentioned the idea of starting a so-called practice session. The main reasoning behind this is to hone the skills used in taking the photograph & get used to how the camera reacts to light, but another reason is that it can also take your mind off of all the arguments out there that focus just on technical specifications instead of on skills.

2036 Main Mall - UBC

For me, this has come to mean trying out the different focal lengths, going from as wide as I can to as close as I can, to see what kind of difference it makes; so far, not much other than the quality is pretty good. As for shutter speed & aperture, they’re pretty much identical to the other lens. The thing I’ve come to learn, over & over again, is that we’ve got to learn how to use our equipment so that it matters and not blame it when we fail, not it. Stop blaming the equipment and work with it, not against it (Something I need to keep reminding myself)!