I am having a hard time getting my head around the idea that March 11th will be the one-year anniversary of the WHO declaring COVID 19 a global pandemic. The past year has been a challenging and interesting time for all of us. Like me, I am sure that your perspectives have changed in more than one area of your life. Patience is one area where I have had to make a seismic shift. I learned early last spring that no matter how excited I was to begin my journey into coaching, the hyper-achiever in me would need to just slow down and take a more thoughtful and measured approach.
The results were great, I soon learned that the shift to virtual learning created a fantastic opportunity. I was able to learn from very talented people, work with people globally and gain access to instruction and dialogue that enriched my experience. I now know what it is like to learn in a global virtual classroom. I have been introduced to ideas and methods that have helped me grow as an individual and will allow me to serve others with greater impact.
The thing I have missed the most has been traveling with my camera and capturing images. While I have been staying connected with the photography community and have actually expanded my network, it is not the same. I miss spending sunrise to sunset drinking coffee or having a beer and sharing stories about where we have been and the places we want to visit and photograph. The most exciting part of being with a small group at a workshop is when we share our images. It is fascinating to see what I have seen through the perspective of others. How they saw the light and composed their images. Looking at what is right in front of you and exploring how others interpret the information can be helpful when solving any problem or puzzle.
Fighting off the Saboteurs
My perspectives around my photography have changed over the past year. Many of the events that I missed last year are confirmed for this year. As I get out more I will be traveling a little lighter, not in terms of equipment but rather in terms of the saboteurs in my head. The Controller, Hyper-Achiever, and the Stickler will always be around but not top of mind. My goal is to explore, learn, try new things and share my work with others. When these negative players get in my head, I will change my perspective, thank them for their opinions, and move forward doing what I want to be doing.
In photography, there are certain rules of composition that make images more impactful and dramatic. I try to use these tools in composing my work. I also use the tools available to enhance my images in post-processing in the same way as I did years ago in the darkroom. I have let my saboteurs get in the way in the past throughout the process. I judge my work against the rules of composition and I let the subjective nature of post-processing limit my exploration of the possible. The saboteurs noted above are often joined in post-processing by the Avoider. In the past, I simply avoided post-processing.
All of this brings me to the two images above, taken this past week at a wildlife education center in Upstate New York. The images are an example of my changing perspective as both were posted on my Facebook and Instagram pages within 24 hours of capture and they reflect my new perspective. My perspective is that I went out with friends, tried something new, was so excited to be out and about in a mask trekking through the mud and the snow that I could not wait to share my images. These images are straight out of the camera and represent a break from the rules of composition for bird photography.
It just did not matter that it would be a few days before I could review them in detail and start any post-processing. I had a great day and wanted to share the results with friends — both photographers and non-photographers. In fact, I was having such a great day I did not even flinch when a falcon decided to walk across the bottom of the windshield of my car! If you know me at all, you know that reaction is a MONUMENTAL change in perspective for me.
For those of you who may be curious about the rules of composition, here is where I bent them. One of the rules is to see the bird’s eye-to-eye, and the other is to shoot both eyes. You will note in the image on the left, my angle is a bit lower. In the image on the right, the bird is looking sideways. Yes, I will do some post-processing to blur the backgrounds and adjust the sharpness, tones, and contrast when time permits.
I really do like the image on the right [on desktop/tablet; bottom on mobile]. While I did get some great images with eyes facing forward, what had the biggest impact on me was seeing in my viewfinder the perspective of the owl looking in a profile view beyond me and looking at the horizon.
What’s Your Perspective?
My call to action this week is to ask you to leave a comment below and share your thoughts on each photo. What’s your gut reaction to either or both of them? If you took a second look, did you see something new, perhaps a “different perspective?”
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As always if you want to start a conversation, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More to come.