glitter in the air

I spent a solid 15 minutes outside in the cold today, trying and failing to get an image that I loved where the sun was reflecting off the glitter. I got some fantastic bokeh, but that's it. But I'm not counting things as a loss. I pulled my camera out. I used it. When all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with a cup of hot tea and a good book, buffered against the cold, I didn't. I put on a coat and combed my hair and took a danged picture for my danged project 52. I added a few more to the piles of RAW files sitting on my harddrive, but more importantly: I did something. The texture of fur and glitter are now filed away in my head, waiting to be used at another, more important photo shoot.
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I have a tattoo on my left shoulder that says "be thou diligent." The story behind it is kinda long, but basically it's my reminder to do one thing every day to pursue my goals.
Last week I finished and posted my "best of 2010" slideshow, and for the first time I shared some of the personal photos I took during the year. It's the first year I've had personal photos that I loved enough to share, honestly. And as I sit there and watch eight minutes of photos flashing by, covering twelve months and literally thousands of photos, my mind is blown. Not by my work (I've so much to learn, you guys), but by the number of incredible people I've met, places I've been, laughs I've shared. I have this incredibly amazing life, that isn't perfect, but it's one I've been working toward, and it's coming together. Slowly.
And I'm sitting on the precipice of 2011, watching things happen, taking deep breaths, and gathering the courage to make things happen, and it terrifies me, but at the same time, I feel incredibly exhilarated. Our lives are the sum of our choices, and knowing what we want, sticking by it, and living our convictions will bring us these amazing, fulfilling lives.
People, I'm so blessed. You've no idea. I'll probably explain more in another post, but this is getting long, so I'll leave you with two thoughts, based on the same fact. Here's the fact: last year, I took 87,000 photos, give or take a couple of hundred.
Thought number one: that averages out to 238 images a day. No, I didn't pick up the camera every single day. That is an average. But every time I clicked that shutter I was thinking hard, framing, composing. I wasn't just pointing and shooting. (I save that for the mobile phone.) Each of those clicks was building my skill, building my business, building my life. Letting myself slack for just one shot would be building with poor materials. I can't do that. Sitting here, looking forward to an amazing year, is the cumulative total of those thousands of images that were acquired just by picking up the camera almost every day. (And trust me: a LOT of days I didn't feel like it.)
Thought number two: I have friends who've bought nice cameras and are trying to build their photography skills, and they come to me and are frustrated because their images don't look like mine. Um, 87,000 images. Get back to me after the counter in your camera has reset just ONCE, and we'll talk about lack of progress then. Don't be so hard on yourself: it's practice, I swear it is.
Its called working every single day. That's it.


Jessica said…
whew. i only did just over 13,200 . . . but i definitely didn't pick up the camera as much as i did in 2009 (and i only had two paying jobs). hoping this year will remedy all that.
joy said…
87,000 images?? I am impressed beyond words. Thanks for making this post. I'm on track to have around 1700 client consultations this year. It can get really, really old to talk about the same thing over and over and OVER. I needed this reminder that the mundane, the routine, is all about practice; layer upon layer of making mistakes, improving, refining skills.

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