That dreaded day…

Recalling my days as a student, there wasn’t much that was as terrifying as the realization that summer break was going to be over soon and school was starting up. It meant homework, tests, readings, more readings and yet more tests; it wasn’t exactly something that was too eagerly looked forward to. But the back to school sales during my university years were good enough that stuff was cheaper, and less of a worry…It meant cheaper tech and less of a hit on the bank account. Nowadays, that dreaded day can be anything from coming up empty creatively, the day when the workload is way too heavy, or even when you realize that holidays are approaching fast and you’ve got a big list with no real way to satisfy everyone.

Coming up empty, creatively, tends to suck the life out of a person quite easily and has the tendency to make people just want to sink down on the couch. It has a habit of just sneaking up on me like some kind of bad nightmare and making me think my last decent day of doing something worthwhile has passed. It’s then that, while feeling bored, that I get the idea that maybe, just maybe, I should look through my previous photographs and see if I can’t learn something from them, tweak them, or just enjoy them. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make that dreaded day just a little bit better or put a little enjoyment into it; especially when I’m feeling a bit down, looking back at photographs can both make it worse & a little better because it helps me look at these images with fresh eyes.

Looking at things with fresh eyes helps us from making rush decisions, not just in photography, but in life as well, because it gives us some space from the initial shock/reaction and often gives us at least some perspective. It helps dumb down, to a certain extent, that dreaded day into something at least a bit more manageable, but then again, sometimes we don’t grow without a little bit of rain (a.k.a. trouble).

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That one shot…

When we often think of getting the perfect shot at something, or of something, we think of it as something that only comes once. But, I can’t help thinking, what if it comes more than once? I look at a few of my shots over the past while and wonder if I couldn’t have done that more than once at that time. Because, unlike life, I often bracket my shots (taking one shot overexposed and one underexposed in addition to the one I’ve dialed in on the camera), I just may get it more than once, but with a slightly different exposure: I’m doing this to not only get it right, but to see what different exposures might look like. Life, however, doesn’t really allow for bracketing like you can do with the camera, but it allows for us to try our best at getting it right, we just need to see that we need to look outside ourselves to do just that.

We do get our second chances at getting it right, for the most part, and we often worry too much about missing it that, when it does come, our worrying distracts us and we still end up missing it, despite our best attempts. I end up being so guilty of this that I’ve started really looking back at my old photographs to see if I’ve gotten close to capturing the right moment and that gets me thinking of how I can learn from the shots I’m taking another look at. I know I’ve said this all before, but it really needs to be said again, especially if you’re like me and forget things all too easily; learning from previous shots is another challenge entirely because we’re creatures of habit and it’s all too easy for us, myself included to continue along the same path. How does this relate to us getting that one perfect shot? It’s about learning in order to get that one shot. Personally, I think we need to get faith right, but other than that, there might not always be a clear way to get that shot, or thing, perfect or even close to being 100% right.

- Tiny Blue Stars -
– Tiny Blue Stars –

When I look back at shots that I’ve taken, especially like the one above, I can’t help but wonder, knowing that I’ll revisit it again and probably tweak it some more, how I’m going to learn from this one. Maybe next time I’ll use my shutter speed better (more effectively) to allow in more light, use a polarizer to enhance contrast, or even shoot it with a filter meant for special effects; the important thing is that I’ll try something different and try to learn from what I did that time around in order to help the next time. That’s what I’ll try to do the next time to get that one shot.

Left behind…

We tend to worry that we’ll get left behind and forgotten because it shows that we’ve not done enough or well enough, but we couldn’t be more wrong. Why? I guess it’s because we always want to be the center of attention in our own ways sometimes. Now I’m not saying we’re all like this every time, but we usually go this route every now & then…We all have our moments I guess, myself included. Sometimes, we need to just get out & try to be ourselves so we don’t get lost in the feeling of being left behind.

- Holding Snow -
– Holding Snow –

While the above photograph isn’t directly about being left behind, it shows the snow left behind when the rest of it falls off the branch…Ok, so that was a bit of a stretch linking it in with the theme of being left behind, but it works, barely. I went out on a snowy, and icy, day to get into a floral conservatory that was indoors, but I got a bit lazy seeing all the snow on the ground on the way up to the spot, so I changed gears and decided to shoot photographs of the nearby pond that was frozen over; this shot was of a small section of the shore of the pond (it’s not at all visible, but it was off to the upper right of the frame). It was refined with the usual adjustments (Clarity, Tone Curve, & Noise adjustments) to really bring out what the scene felt like to me; it was a kind of vision refinement in post-processing I guess.

It gets annoying when we seem to get left behind, but what I find often gets me back up is just getting a shot or two that really shines (for me at least). Not bragging that we got that one shot also works really well because it keeps us on the good side of humble, not the wrong side. For me at least, staying on the right side of humble is a challenge and not worrying about being left behind in various ways is even a greater challenge, but sometimes we just have to let all the worries go, trusting that, in the end, everything will work out.

What’s with the times?

Ok, so this isn’t going to be a typical photography post, but I figured I should try to attempt this topic anyways; I’ll open the can of worms, but I’ll be surprised if I’ll get anywhere close to  shutting it. The easy answer would be that we’re all really messed up and there’s only one way out (Romans 3:21-25); this means that the times are only a manifestation of how messed up we are. In answering this question (what’s with the times?), I get that there are things we don’t understand going on all around us, from wars & rumors of wars to changes in laws. There’s many words said about this, but there’s always something else we can do besides being alarmed (Matthew 6:25-34 & Matthew 24:6), not to say that we shouldn’t be on watch (Mark 13:32-34); it’s as simple as putting your faith in God above. As people, we all make tremendous mistakes, but He’s there to send us comfort in times of need as long as we just open up & believe.

In photography, the same thing applies: we worry about the next shot & if it will come, especially for the professional photographers (I’m only guessing it happens like this). The thing about it is that while you/I worry about that single shot, there’s at least a few more we’re most likely missing along the way. I’m not saying not to be worried about it, but everything has its time (something I have to keep reminding myself) and sometimes we just have to tell our minds to put a lid on it and try to move on; or in my case, tell my worries to go take a hike. Basically speaking, it’s all in how we deal with it that helps us move on and there’s not exactly one perfect way to do just that in photography that works immediately.

Moving on is probably the hardest thing to really do because: 1) it means we have to get past what’s stopping us dead in our tracks and 2) it means we’ve got to actually do something other than staying put. I’ve got no definite answers on how to move on (like most, I’ve got struggles of my own), so I’m not going to give advice here, not going to tell others how to manage their lives (like others I know whom I’d rather not name & deal with), only say that there are brighter days ahead and sometimes all we’ve got to is pray & work through it. What’s with the times? It’s getting crazy I know, but there’s a way out and we just have to believe (and pray) that He will show us the way past it all.