STEP OUTSIDE + ADVENTURE
You know that job interview question people like to talk about - the one asking what your greatest weakness is? I always found this question troubling, because all I saw in weakness was just that - weakness. I didn't also understand the potential of acknowledging flaws: getting an opportunity to work on them.
As a business owner and lover of calculus, I am extremely structured. Sure, my bedroom and car might lean closer to disaster, but in terms of routine, comfort, and exploration, I adhere strictly to the familiar, the comfortable, and the close-by. I love planners and timelines, and I love predicting what will happen when, how, and where. And to be honest, I think it's helped me excel as a wedding photographer. I cycle through family portraits, I can pose and capture bridal party photos in a matter of minutes, and I typically have my [familiar and safe] flash set-up ready before introductions begin at the reception.
But the disadvantage of seeing things only in the familiar, in the structured, in the what-i-know is that I often miss out on spontaneity. I miss out on last-minute random treks and adventures; I miss out on having my camera next to me to get my cat in that oh-so-ridiculous pose. And I don't speak of this as a faux weakness --- it truly is a weakness. How can I improve as a photographer in this way? How can I push myself to the uncomfortable lighting conditions, to the unfamiliar territory of landscape photography, to the camera-on-the-hip-and-ready-at-a-moments-notice mentality?
So last night, I did just that. Because there has to come a point in time where the I-Don't-Like-This-About-Myself and the I'm-Going-To-Work-Hard-On-This-To-Become-Better intersect. There has to be a soft, gray spot of grace, where we say, I don't like where I am, and I have no idea how to get to where I want to go, but every little step along the way can help take me there. A leap of faith, if you will. A daily decision.
I have lived in midtown Atlanta now for almost 6 years, and not once have I attempted to get a real, striking, skyline shot at night. Why? It makes me uncomfortable. It is not in my familiar zone of photography. It is....
1) At night (zero sunlight)
2) the OPPOSITE of the settings I would normally use on a wedding day (extremely high aperture; 30 second shutter speed)
3) Landscape/scenic photography (um... i photograph people... getting married.)
But last night? Last night, I grabbed my camera, jumped in the car, and braced myself in the cold temperatures to push myself and get a little uncomfortable.
And I'm so glad I did.
May 2016 be a year of ENCOURAGING YOURSELF, a pursuit of LEARNING, and the resolution to PRESS ON and fight for ourselves + others.