When all else fails…

Thinking about it, I can’t help but wonder why the last thing I do when I’m struggling with something is to look up (aka pray). Why can’t it be the first thing? I mean, c’mon, I know I can’t do anything decent on my own because of just how much I’ve mucked things up, so I should be thinking three steps ahead, not three steps behind. This goes for everything I do, not just in life, but in my hobbies as well; I guess it’s just the fallen nature in me that doesn’t think things quite through. It’s sad when I see that others are suffering and I’m the one thinking that woe is me; I’m NOT judging anyone but myself in this (it’s happened a few times to me and a certain instance has brought this topic to mind).

- Lynn Canyon Rapids -
– Lynn Canyon Rapids –

The things that I’ve seen around me makes me wonder what on earth I’m doing to deserve even another chance, let alone a second chance, but that’s just the depressing voice in my mind. I’m not going to dwell on it, just take it for what it is and then try to make something of it that might just turn into something of worth to someone…It comes down to inspiration with me. Do I think I’m there yet? Maybe, but I’m going to keep trying. It’s kind of like what Winston Churchill said about success: Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. I’ve just got to say that we’ve got to rethink what success really means because I sure don’t think it’s about things or how we’re feeling at the moment, but it’s about reaching out to others and walking with them, inspiring them, and confiding in them. I just have to say this: If you ever feel like nothing’s worth it, seek out help, especially that of a good, solid counselor that can show you that life is worth it. That’s what I love about the Good Charlotte song, Hold On: it’s about not giving up, because it will get better.

We’re going to fail & fall flat on our faces, wondering what’s going on with us, but the key is to NOT give up; it’s a message I’ve got to keep reminding myself of daily…And yes, it is worth it, even if we don’t see it at first. We’re at the point that we need to learn from our failures and move forward, not dwell on them or get more things to fill our time up with the shallowness of materialism. This all is just my take on things and my way of ranting out my thoughts on the matter.

Persistence…

Sometimes we don’t get it right the first time…Actually, most of the time, we don’t get it right the first time. The key is that we pick ourselves up after the failure; we don’t try to be persistent in failure, but persistent in at least trying to get it right. Sure, it’s a struggle and even at the best of times, but it becomes worth it because we learn & grow along the way. What the added bonus of this can be is that we get photographs we never thought we could get, thanks to just pushing ourselves to do better & work harder. Most of the time, it boils down to us wanting to improve, to get better at what we enjoy doing, and make it count for something, whether it be bringing a smile to someone else’s face, or our own.

- Purple Iris -
– Purple Iris –

Persistence is about looking at what makes something work and what makes it not work and striving to continually work at it. Take a look at the above photograph: the curvature of the petals work, as do the colors, lines & contrast, but the out of focus parts are a bit jarring. The out of focus parts are jarring mostly because they were too close to the lens, but do they detract from the overall image? To me they don’t because of the curving lines & colors, but I would change the angle a bit next time or even the aperture to keep the unfocused parts to minimum if I wanted a sharper image next time. It boils down to personal preference and learning as we go. Even if we get what we believe is a near perfect shot, we still want to learn something from it, mostly because just ignoring it has a tendency to make us complacent.

Looking at the above photograph, it works for the subject (color, tone & pattern in the large iris), and despite middle-road aperture (f10), the unfocused sections work to give depth to the shot without having to ‘brush in’ clarity along the petals themselves. Everyone has their own way of learning, or not learning, and the thing is, every time we take that camera out or take that shot, we should be learning at least a little bit more; now, I’m not always learning, but striving to be doing so at least the majority of the time. The best part of photography, for me, has to be the ability to learn as I progress…To be persistent in doing so.

On success…

It’s kind of interesting how as human beings we believe that we choose our own path, but then when we see someone else that is successful, we have a tendency to follow that example. In photography, this can be just as common as elsewhere; we see that our ‘idol’ uses a certain brand, shoots a certain way, and has certain methods & processes afterward. The worst part about this is that emulation is considered flattery by most and then we don’t realize that we loose what makes us unique and become just like sheep following someone that may or may not know right from wrong or even what he/she is doing.

It’s the same in life; if the person is telling you to follow him/her or even just implying it, then look at the person’s conduct. James 2:14 (faith without works), Isaiah 64:6 (filthy rags) & Phillipians 1:15-30 (Faith alone) work it out as faith alone can save a person, but works are an ‘outworking’ of faith. If the person doesn’t come alongside you and try to help you alone for something other than glorifying himself/herself instead of God, then there just might be something really wrong; where this can get really messed up is when the person seems like he/she has it all together and doesn’t really seem to have humility…I’ve been the opposite of humble so many times it really scares me how many times I’ve failed. DO NOT measure yourself by other people & how they are doing in their life, especially if they’re around your age because it only hurts and discredits what God is doing in & through you. If you feel judged, then the best thing, definitely not the easiest, is to ignore them, because in the end, you want to listen to advice, but not worldly. How do you know the difference? I’m still working it out, but the way I figure it, it’s by praying over it.

Getting back to photography, I don’t want to frost over this and make it some kind of frosty view (sorry, bad pun), but it’s about being true to yourself and trying to improve with each step…with each shot taken. It’s a learning process and anyone who tries to tell you how to shoot their way & not help you learn by yourself; if they’re all practical with rule after rule without theory or vision, in photography, then there’s something definitely wrong with them or the way they are going about it. If they’re just after success, then you might as well let them go after it alone, but if they’re trying to genuinely help you, then go for it because having a helping hand is better than going it alone.