I hope you aren’t getting sick of reading about my photography journey. It is the exact learning, experiential process I had hoped it would be. At first glance these things can look easy. But they often turn out to be revealing and complex. We can get mired in a situation we thought would be fast and simple–take for example my software upgrade of a ‘critical’ nature this morning, or the installation of the backup from my old iPhone to the new one a few weeks ago. Or we can be strategic and get through it. Things that look simple from the outside, seldom are. But we all know that, don’t we?
On June 30th, I passed the halfway point to 365 photos; a new image shot, edited and posted every single day for 183 days. Many thoughts have crossed my mind. It has become so much more than just the one hour or so of activity each day; it is a review of Life lessons, with a few new ones included.
From the beginning I have struggled to not let the taking of a new photo each day paralyse me with fear. Where will I take the photo? What if I don’t get one? It can feel overwhelming. These are the sorts of dilemmas we face each day, not with photos, but with the actions and events of our lives. Will I get that job interview? What if I don’t get the results I want with this medical test? What mess will getting a new puppy make of my life? Life is uncertain. Always has been. Get over it. Have a back up plan. Have faith in yourself.
Have you tried to photograph a small wildflower in the wind? Try it. If not impossible, it certainly takes patience at a whole new level, not to mention a different skill base. It also teaches the concept of choosing your time carefully, perhaps on a not-so-windy day!
Nearly every day I am learning how to frame things better, which apps to use to best edit each photo, what tools and filters within those apps work best, and why. I am learning to watch the sky (and the thermometer!) to try and calculate the best time for a walk as well as when the light will be best for photographing, and what to do when the light is not at its best for photographing! If not exactly the same, these are in parallel with other life skills we learn every day; which food to buy, how to cook it, which route to drive to work, and okay, what the weather will be so you know how to dress. Some things are just not that different!
I am learning not to be so certain about things. I may think a particular photo is THE one, until I get home and see what image I’ve actually captured. Often it is not the one I thought I’d captured. (not unlike a few long ago boyfriends…) Our senses take in so much more of a scene or experience than the camera, and sometimes that just doesn’t translate in the photo. I have also discovered, so often, that the photo I thought had the least potential, but was quickly snapped on a whim, turns out to be THE one. Go figure. I could name a few times in life when that has happened, and I’m married to one of them!! Didn’t see that one coming! My first professional job was one. Nearly every day Life’s potential stuns me with something I had never considered, both good and challenging! Capturing photo images is the same.
There are three words that describe my approach to photography and Life…
But first you have to look for it. For me, every day is about how much light I can shed on my understanding of the world, myself and others. It’s what has always driven me. And in photography, the light is the first thing I look for as well. I look first with my eyes, not through the lens. It is the light that makes the shadows, the light that causes the colours, and creates the mystery. It is light that creates the image. Without light, all would be dark.
I have said before that there is no failure. But sometimes things don’t go according to your plan. You plan to photograph that tree in the sunlight that you spotted a couple of days ago, but it is grey and overcast and the light isn’t there. Oops. Or you take a few photos of something only to get home and look at them and realise you had the wrong settings, or angle, to get the photo outcome you were after. So that is when you learn. I’ve learned to have a back up plan for something I can photograph if everything falls in a heap one day. And it has, believe me. But the thing about a good backup plan is it needn’t be a compromise. I’m guessing you wouldn’t be able to pick which of the photos on this post was a backup plan (there are two). In addition to all of the above things, I’ve learned to overshoot and take more angles at more settings than I think I need to. But possibly, most importantly, I am learning to follow my iPhone photography teacher‘s advice: ‘be less obsessed with the end result and think more about the process’.
If I learn nothing more from this journey, that will be enough.
XX Light Chaser