I had a teacher in college (Mr. Clark) that was a great teacher. He had some interesting outlooks on life, however. One of his favorite things to say was “It takes a fool to believe that there’s only one way to spell a word.” Of course, he liked this saying because his spelling was a little…well…creative…and his typing was even worse. But, as someone who learned to read phonetically, his belief rang true for me. In fact, I think many words are misspelled, really, what’s the deal with silent letters? Take, “psychology”, why isn’t it spelled “sikology”. Now, that would make sense…
I was also recently reminded about rules in photography. We are taught that photographs need to be well balanced, sharp, properly exposed, etc. Is that really the case? Sure, sometimes, when that’s what you’re looking for. There are just as many times where adhering to those principles is just plain boring.
Tonight, I was at a meeting. It’s a large room, minimal lighting. I had my G10 with me, so the fastest I could get the lens was f/2.8. Even wide open I was looking at a 1/2 second. I could have pushed the film speed from 100 to 400, or even 800. That would take me to a 1/8 or an 1/16 of a second. Still, perty slow. Then I remembered…the rules…maybe it’s time to break the rules…
How’s this for an interesting progression of images…
Now, let’s have some fun…
After the meeting, I was still kind of excited about this. So, I broke a few more rules on my drive home…In this picture, I was shooting at 1/4 second, wide open, top down, holding the camera as high as I could. This is a picture of a car dealership on Harbor Blvd in Costa Mesa. I was going about 40 MPH. It looks like the strip in Las Vegas. You can’t tell me we’re not having fun now…
Here’s another unexpected result. This is the Trinity Christian Center in Costa Mesa as viewed from the freeway. Again, hand out the top of my car like a snorkel, taking a picture without looking. It came out looking like a carousel, or a UFO…not a building.
One final image. This, if you can believe it, is a Carl’s Junior Restaurant. Again, taken from my car while driving.
So, maybe there is something to the “rules” we’re supposed to follow, maybe there isn’t. I’m going to start evaluating these rules society gives us. I may keep some, I may throw others out, I may make some of my own. I see more fun in my future…
Last week I was in Florida. The trip was good and the meeting productive. There were some challenges getting home, nothing too horrible.
In the light of these challenges I started writing in my journal. I wasn’t sure where it was going, but I felt the need to write. I started writing about the need to find peace. Peace at work, peace at home, peace at play. I started to drift off about work needing to be in alignment with my passion.
This concept of work being centered around a passion has come up for me before. What is my passion? Is there more than one? What if I pick the wrong one? Why do I find it so hard to declare my passion? I can see the passion in others, why is it so hard for me?
Then, I started thinking about my passion in a different way. Maybe a passion isn’t a something. How can this be? I hear people all the time, “I’m passionate about photography”, “I’m passionate about soccer”…these are definitely things. I see other people whose’ passions change and evolve over time. How can this be? If someone is truly passionate about something how can it change?
Perhaps, what most people refer to as their passion is really the expression of their passion. Perhaps the expressed passion is just a vehicle to put a person in the right mindset, the right place, or to be with the right people to experience their true passion.
An example is appropriate. To test this theory, I asked my wife about her passion. She immediately responded with “horses”. We talked about it further and discovered that getting out into nature gives her a chance to reflect on life, get away from her concerns and recharge. Taking her horse out on trail is how she gets herself there.
Maybe a passion has a set of values associated with it. For example, when someone says they’re passionate about volunteer work. Maybe what they’re really passionate about is the contribution, or the relatedness of working with people.
I guess what I’m getting at is that you need to look at what’s under a passion. Is the thing you do truly your passion? Or, is it an expression of your passion?
By decoupling the passion from it’s expression, I’m given a lot of freedom. I know that I can be passionate about creating…whether it be using a camera, a piece of wood, or a programming language. It’s all creating, and that’s what fills my cup.
What fills your cup? How many different ways can you find to fill your cup? By creating this distinction I find that I’m free to explore many different aspects of my passion. I can find ways to explore it at home, at work, at play, and, even on a plane coming home from Florida.
What are your thoughts? Comments?
I heard that Les Paul died today. I didn’t know him, I’m not a musician, so his passing doesn’t personnaly touch me. But, I read a CNN article about him, then a couple others, looked at some videos, talked to some people. Now I’m sad.
Les Paul was a great guy. He was born in 1915, in the ’30s and ’40s he played with several bands and big bands including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and the Andrews Sisters. He had his own trio and even recorded several large hits with his wife Mary Ford.
He playing style was a mix of things he’d learned from others and his own creations. He credited others for most of his accomplishments.
What he’s most well known for today is, of course, guitars. In the early 1940′s he created the electric guitar and changed the world of music. He’s also responsible for multi-track recording and the idea of playing one track while recording another. This allows a guitarist or a singer to harmonize with themselves.
Musician and inventor, Les Paul knew the industry and created new, revolutionary, tools to further it. Beyond that, he was a kind and caring man. The kind of guy you want to model your life after.
According to Paul Gibson, “He would walk into a room and put a smile on anyone’s face. His musical charm was extraordinary and his techniques unmatched anywhere in the world.”
So, I ask you, what are you passionate about? What truly touches your soul? How many of your waking hours do you spend with that passion?
Reading about this man, Les Paul, it makes me think about it. Today, I tell people that I’m a programmer, or a life coach. Are these what I’m truly passionate about? Life coaching probably more than programming, photography is in there somewhere.
I guess for me, it’s about people. I like touching people’s lives. When I was going through the Landmark Forum and it’s various follow-on courses, I mentored others. To see the look on someone’s face when and idea clicks, a distinction that gives them freedom from a burden that’s been haunting them, that’s what does it for me. That’s why I got into Life Coaching.
I’ve been following photographer Dewitt Jones for a long time. Photography is a passion for him, but he approaches it like a hobby or a game. His latest thing is to shoot with his iPhone. He’s having a great time. Where does he make his money? Public speaking, sometimes about photography, sometimes motivational. He uses his photographs in his presentations and has trememdous success. It all stems from his passion.
Until recently, Les Paul had a standing gig at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club where he’d play with anyone that would have him. Les Paul died at 94.
What’s your passion? What will keep a smile on your face until the day you die?