This is me a few weeks ago surfing at my local beach break. I started surfing 5 years ago after I was told I was doing a great job of working myself towards an early grave. I’m a workaholic, and “working hard” has been my mindset since my youth. I remember convincing myself not to take art classes in high school and college because I didn’t think it was “real” work nor a good way to make a living.
Yet, although buried under busy-ness for decades, there is a creative side of me that is determined to bloom and keep blooming. Blooming at middle age is still blooming, and blooming late is better than never. This creative side surfs because he likes to look at the expanse of the ocean and dream. This creative side takes pictures because he likes to capture images of this world and attach words to tell stories. This creative side writes little poems and make believe tales because he believes his expression needs to be shared. This creative side is me.
So I’m not 24 anymore and still fresh out of college, but I feel like one. Who figures that stuff out at that age anyways? I didn’t. Some may think, “Well, it’s just timing,” and I say, “Maybe so, but I’ve been thinking of writing since I was a sophomore in college and today 50 is just around the corner.”
You may have told yourself before, “Don’t take your dreams with you to the grave,” and I agree! Do something about it! Go on and put together that art studio in the garage that you have put off for years. Take that dance class. Sign up for that 5K. Register for that photography class.
If you are decades younger than me, then don’t waste your head start. Being an early bloomer or late bloomer isn’t the focus. Just be a bloomer. Blooming late is better than never.
(Photo by Dave Peeters. Thanks Dave)
Yes, I became one of the millions who all of a sudden became a photo snapping fool after discovering that I could actually use the camera on my iPhone that was within an arm’s reach 24 hours of the day. After some basic tips from a couple of pro photographer friends, how-to’s online, youtube videos, and learning from fine artists on Instagram and Flickr- I think I am actually gaining some skills on the art of capturing life. But that’s not what this post is about.
For the past 6 years of taking at least 1 photograph everyday, I realize that no matter how much technology is crammed in this pocketable and delightful device, the camera is very limited when compared to dedicated cameras. The lesson that I am repeatedly learning is that it is about what I do with what I have.
- Photography Lesson #1: Composition is crucial. I learned that the decisions about what’s stays in the frame and what doesn’t and where the things are inside the rectangle makes a difference. Life Lesson #1: Be intentional and even more thoughtful of my priorities, relationships, and endeavors. I know it is easier said than done, but I need to live every day with vision.
- Photography Lesson #2: Lighting is everything. Great lighting usually results in great results. Poor lighting brings a lot of challenges. Life Lesson #2: Lighting is the same with the decisions I make. Ok, most choices made in my waking moments are not a matter of life and death, but informed, thoughtful decisions usually have positive results. Doing some homework, getting insight from the sages in my life, and praying are the best ways to bring light into my situations.
- Photography Lesson #3: Edit with a cause. Most photographs aren’t complete without an editing process. Enhancing or desaturating color, adjusting lighting, and even cropping something out are done to develop a pleasing image. Life Lesson #3: Most accomplishments are not going to be right the first time. There’s always a process. Adjustments have to be made. Things may need to be cropped out. My edits determine my results.
I will eventually get a dedicated camera with a lot more features and capabilities, but what matters right now is what I have in my hands and what I do with that. The best compliment that I have received was from an event photographer who asked me, “Did you really do that with your phone?”
Don’t wait for whatever upgrade or next big thing you are waiting for. Do the best with what you currently have. Be intentional. Do things on purpose. Do things with purpose. You may not get it right the first time, so edit until you get the right results.
Yes, I took the picture of my cat with an iPhone.
A girl searching and finding
Her reward is bliss
It’s good to get outside and just walk around to think. Some places are better thinking places than others. Palos Verdes, California. 2008
“Keep looking up. That’s the secret of life.” ~Snoopy
Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self. ~May Sarton.
Being alone and being lonely aren’t the same things.
“But I have hope when I think of this: The Lord’s love never ends; His mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, Your loyalty is great. I say to myself, “The Lord is mine, so I hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who hope in Him, to those who seek Him. It is good to wait quietly for the Lord to save.” Lamentations 3:21-26