Learning Life While Taking Pictures

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 learning some basic rules from my pro photographer buddy (Thanks Rene!), YouTube videos, and learning from some 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 entirely about. The bigger “picture” (Yes, pun intended) is about what I do with my life, how I can lead my family, and be a blessing to my friends, community, this world.

For the past 7 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 still very limited when compared to dedicated cameras. I discovered from the limitations of a phone camera that it is more about what I do with what I have instead of focusing on what I lack. Isn’t that life? Ok, here are 3 of some of the lessons:


Photography Lesson #1
: Composition is crucial. I learned that the decisions about where the subject is positioned inside the rectangular frame and what stays in the frame and what does not need to makes a difference.

Life Lesson #1: How I compose my life is crucial. I need to be intentional and thoughtful of my priorities, relationships, and endeavors. I know it is easier said than done, but I need to live every day with vision. How do you compose your life each day? What are the subjects that you are focusing on? Are there things and people that do not have to be in the picture?

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 everything with the decisions I make. Of course, 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 applying God’s Word are the best ways to bring light into my situations. Jesus made this claim, and I believe it, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Do you believe Jesus can do that to the point of trust?  I think we can all agree that life’s best learnings are the ones when we say “Ah!” because the light bulb turned on a situation. So, what is the source of your light?

Photography Lesson #3: Edit with a purpose. Most photographs aren’t complete without an editing process. Enhancing or desaturating color, adjusting lighting, and even cropping something out are done to develop an aesthetically pleasing and engaging image. The great thing about digital editing a photo is that you can “undo” an edit you are not pleased with. Even after the photograph has been taken

Life Lesson #3: The things that we focus on are not going to be complete at first. There is always a process. Adjustments have to be made. Things may need to be cropped out. What and how I change the things in my life determine my results. I have been learning that less is more. How about you? Are you adjusting your attitude to get the right perspective? Are you ok with everything being a process? You may not be able to “undo” some decisions, but you can always change you.

Just recently another photographer friend gave me his dedicated camera with a lot more features and capabilities. Thanks Gilbert! However, the bigger picture (there I go again with the pun) is to do the best with what I have in my hands right now. Don’t wait for whatever upgrade or next big thing you are waiting for. Do the best with what you currently have. Remember, lighting is crucial, so get light. Be thoughtful with how you compose your life. Make changes with purpose even if it is just changing you. You may not get it right the first time. It’s a process. You will be glad you did. Your family will be glad you did. The world will be a better place.

Yes, I took the picture of that surfer on the beach with an iPhone.

Journey with Me

Journey with me.
Converse with me.
Create with me.
Play with me.
Dream with me.
Doing life with me.

Notes: The story starter was given my Nicky Sanford on Steller a few years ago. Nicky is @thephotomomma on Instagram.

Life was not meant to be lived alone. Share it with others, most of all with the ones you love. However, there are relationships, short-lived to life-long that have yet to be made. Don’t avoid those connections. What would you fill in the blank for yourself? “__________ with me.”

Quotes by El Gran Queso

The 3 latest quotes from El Gran Queso:

“The only thing you are entitled to is a headlock. “

“I am going to get food truck and sell knuckle sandwiches.”

“The only place it’s ok for a dude to wear tight pants is in the ring.”

One More Dance

 The guests were long gone

So they returned one more time

And danced until dawn

Thanks for reading my latest haiku. A word to my younger friends getting or wanting to get married. The emotion of love can take you to the wedding, but it is the act of love that will keep you married. You both have to actually do the “I do” part. That involves a determination and commitment to selflessly give every day whether you “feel” in love or not. If the relationship is one-sided now don’t expect it to change… ever.

Gulls

White feathered creatures
soaring over the sea’s edge
flowing with the wind.

 

Thanks for taking the time to drop by. Your feedback is appreciated because I am working on a book of my collection of micro-stories and poems. 

Check out the visual version here.

 

All Dressed Up

 “Who needs a Mountie? I’m Batman!” Check out my latest picture essay on Steller. I titled it “All Dressed Up,” and I think you will enjoy seeing how far people will go to get to Comic Con. https://steller.co/s/5GRt6Wz3htH

 

Walking Together


I see this lovely elderly couple almost every time I’m down here at the beach. A few months ago at this spot, I slipped into my wetsuit to surf, but my zipper in the back got stuck. I wasn’t flexible enough to reach my arms behind me to fix it, and the water was too cold to leave my wetsuit open. I walked towards the water looking for someone to help.

By the time I walked from the parking lot to the water, my friends were already surfing, so I saw the man you see in the picture walking along the beach with his wife.

I approached him and asked him to zip up my wetsuit. He quietly nodded with a hidden smile and zipped the suit up to the base of my neck. In his thick Asian accent he told me, “You need-a wife!” We all laughed at that moment, and his wife continued to giggle as they walked away. I watched them for a minute thinking about these kind strangers doing their daily walk together.

It was good to see them walking together this morning, and isn’t that the point of being married? Walking through life together? What does that look like for you?

p.s. Shelley, when you are reading this, I want you to know that I thoroughly enjoy walking this life together with you.

Notes: Shot with iPhone 6+ iOS camera and edited with VSCO E3. The pictorial version is on Steller https://steller.co/s/4k6typ7AVzS 

Crossing


Floating for seconds

they enter and leave the frame

Crossing over earth.
Read the pictorial version of my haiku via Steller. https://steller.co/s/4ge2NdxczFa My username is: joe_montoya. #stellerstories