Thoughts…

Now I’m not one to really be out there when it comes to talking about everyday life, but I’ve come to think that we forget, all to easily, how our daily life is more than just a routine we follow. Every decision we make affects us, obviously, but we tend to get so serious that we go about it like steps on some kind of ladder; to a certain extent, it’s like the Good Charlotte song, Cars Full Of People, where there’s all these cars full of people going somewhere but they end up going nowhere fast by just following the clock. Life’s more than just steps to nowhere and I’ve come to believe that we’re called to a higher purpose than just to live to better ourselves; I often struggle just thinking about how to live to make something better for others…In the end, inspiration is really what matters because we’re saved for a reason and it’s not anything we’ve done on our own.

- Rocks & Green -
– Rocks & Green –

Personally, I think that life sometimes gives us little hints about what it’s all about; as I am looking at the above scene, I think about there being a chance for life to come out among the rocks. Now my original intent for this image wasn’t about this, but to show nature in an among the rocks of this miniature scene and the fact of it stands that it also has this message to it; life just has a way of coming out of the rocky parts if we let it. Personally, I think we’re so consumed by on-demand media that gets easily twisted around by political aims, that we don’t take any real time to really weigh out the views that are thrown at us by the media. Here in Canada, our last elections were so taken over by foreign media groups, that I’m seeing foreign intervention by foreign interest groups, including American groups, just like there was south of the border, in the US; political parties of every stripe nowadays just let themselves be hijacked by interest groups to the point that it’s not funny at all.
We get stuck in ruts we let get created out of either arrogance, ignorance or laziness to the point that we believe whatever the media tells us; for me, photography is a way for me to disconnect myself from all that and my personal beliefs & faith are the others. I think that we all have ways of disconnecting ourselves from the ruts, being those that are created by the same thing being repeatedly thrown at us (like on CNN or FOX); for some people, it may be family. Whatever it may be, we can’t let politics decide our lives like this much longer or we’ll end up like it is in Orwell’s book 1984, or like it almost ends up being in C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength (losing the ability to really think critically for ourselves), because then we just end up really loosing ourselves and what we were created & meant for. These are just my thoughts…Take them as you may.

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What’s going on…

Thinking about it, with all the protests in south of the border and some of the protesters being paid, it makes me wonder what’s really going on. All I’m seeing, as an outsider, is that this can easily become a distraction from what else is going on. How are we using these times to really do something of value to those around us (not that certain protests don’t have a valuable point) and why are we only focusing on the immediate future? How we really care for those around us is what really matters and, often, just spending time with them speaks more than words ever could.

What’s really going on with us in that we focus more on the bad news, fueling the large mainstream news media that loves to make us complain about things just for the sake of decent ratings. We let this soak in to how we work (moaning & groaning), what we listen to (stuff that either has no meaning or focuses on the depressing), and how we live (more things serving as a distraction); I’m just as guilty of this as the next person. The thing is, and I’ve probably said this many times before, we should be striving for something better, but not just for ourselves, but others as well. In photography that would mean striving for meaning & impact in what we capture in our shots and in life that would basically be striving for the same things in different ways…They have the same goals but in different ends & results.

Coming from a city whose mayor doesn’t give two cents about clearing sidewalks during a snowstorm, only the bike lanes, I’ve begun to think that something’s going on that shouldn’t…We groan & complain about the way things are and then go about not thinking why we’re doing them. Being as guilty of this as the next person, I’m realizing I’ve got to do things with a little more meaning & effort behind them. It’s as simple as spending time with a friend you haven’t seen in a while and taking time out to see how they’re doing, trying to give at least a bit of authentic support…Tell them that you’re thinking of them & want to at least be there, giving a shoulder to cry on or an open ear to let them sound off their fears & problems.

What I’m working on…

I figure that’s it’s time I show what it is I’m working on at the moment and stuff that’s come out of the works so far. The thing is…I’m always working on some images, constantly tweaking them in one way or other. Sometimes, like in the photograph below, I’m revising the edits I’ve done; this one’s had the tone curve changed more times than I care to admit…And I’ve posted it with a much darker background already.

- Tiny Strands -
– Tiny Strands –

Most of the time, I just decide to revisit an edit on a whim and see what can be worked on & what can be improved or changed. Call it paranoia, which I sometimes think it truly is, but I’d rather be sure or work at it than ignore it…One & done just isn’t me most of the time. For me, going back to it a few times or more opens me up, usually, to trying other things with the photograph, not to necessarily change my vision for it, but to allow the photograph to speak to me from a distance that time away has provided. Now, will I go back & revise the above shot? I probably will, not just because I can’t seem to make up my mind, but because I’m constantly trying to refine my vision & work on my technique.

- Tiny Strands II -
– Tiny Strands II-

However, the one above, taken at roughly the same time as the first shot, will most likely be the final edit, mostly because it had a stronger negative (RAW) file and was much easier to work with. I also went to refine it after working on the first shot multiple time, so, by then, my vision has become much more firm for the photographs I took in that area. All things considered, sometimes I go back with multiple edits & revisions, and sometimes I don’t. It really depends on the shot…The first one seemed to warrant multiple revisions because of the way the first revision turned out & how I felt about it when looking at it with new eyes, while the second doesn’t really have that because the first revision summed the feel of it up just right.

Answers…

What is the answer to life’s ultimate question? 42! Ok, so that’s only funny if you’ve read, or watched Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But seriously, when it comes to life, we’re all looking for answers or laying blame; we looked to politics for answers to why the economy is going in to the tank then blame them for screwing it all up, or looking to sports to lift our spirits up when we feel down, only to be let down by our team loosing (I cheer for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL, so, yes, I know how that feels). It’s the same in photography because we blame our gear, not ourselves for doing what we want it to (been there, done that). The question for us all is this: we were made by the Maker to live life to it’s fullest, not worship ourselves, so why on Earth are we looking elsewhere than ourselves to cast blame? The answer to this question, in it’s entirety, is not 42; I’m asking it to provoke thought about why we do what we do…And not wallow in blame itself, but to move on. What we’ve got to do is learn from it and move on, something much easier said than done…We (myself included) don’t want to accept responsibility for our actions, because that means we have to get past it and learn from it, something I’m never much good at. Not to get too spiritual for you, but ever thought that we’ve forgotten, myself INCLUDED, that we’re at our best when we’re down on our knees (literally or figuratively) praying for guidance to what we should do next, thinking about more than ourselves.

Getting on to the topic of photography…Thinking about it, stopping for a second while we’re out with our camera, how many times do we stop and think about what we’re actually doing? I’m not advocating praying about/for the shot, but really stopping and thinking about it…What I’m trying to say is that we don’t spend too much time thinking about other things besides ourselves (myself included) and then miss the shot we want to get. It’s sometimes the worst thing we can do, not thinking what & when, as well as why, we’re going for it. Taking time to stop and smell the roses can really help; and this is something that has really started to become apparent to myself lately.

Thinking about it thoroughly, looking for answers is a quest that we’re all on, even if we don’t want to admit it, whether it be photography or life in general. The worst thing we can do is think we’ve got it all together, because then we (myself included) tend to become arrogant; I’ve seen it, and read it, many times, especially in photography where we’re told that we have to use a certain lens or brand and in life when we’re told we have to vote this way or that. In the end, it’s a heart & brain issue. If we tend not to think when we press the shutter button down, what does that say about us (myself included)? I’d rather be thoughtful and learn to think, something I don’t always do, than just being mindless about it al the time.