Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Setting, the Shutter, and the Power of Resolution

I know, I know, it’s not even Christmas yet. But this is a story about my New Year’s resolutions from THIS year, January 2015. Since I live with chronic pain, I know the importance of taking an inventory on what I want to do and what I can do. This resolution was certainly both, even though the later has been questionable. You see, the very first time I saw the world through the lens of my 35mm film camera; I fell in love with photography. But film photography has become a dinosaur, so I set about figuring out how to fulfill my desire to capture and manipulate photos using new technology, leading me to my 2015 resolution.

I will learn to use my new Canon Rebel T5 SLR camera!

There is an underlying story here about keeping up with the times, embracing change, and all that good stuff, to be revealed.

Resolution vs. Resolution

I struggled to translate what I know about film photography to digital photography. I even bought the book for Dummies specifically for my camera. My New Year resolution, I would learn, was harder to achieve than setting the resolution of digital photographs.

Having short-term memory loss, I couldn’t remember from one page to the next; white balance, color space, or focal plane, my head was spinning. I am embarrassed to say, I couldn’t even remember how to turn the darn thing on. But if I am anything, I am tenacious.

So, I ditched looking at the book from an academic standpoint, deciding it was more valuable as a resource. After all, we don’t read an encyclopedia cover-to-cover—right? (I have since found my difficulty with this book is not shared with my otherwise mentally sharp friends, I wouldn’t want you to think this is a bad book review.)

Intimacy with the Inanimate

Six months in to the New Year, I set my sights on accomplishing at least one goal.

Trash the anxiety and pick up the camera.

I would soon learn one of the most valuable tools on a digital camera is the DELETE BUTTON!

My Chronic Pain Friend and the Shutter Sisters

Probably the best advice I received regarding digital photography came from one of my chronic pain sisters. You see, she also loves to do what I do. She knew I was struggling, she understood why I was struggling. In one exchange of emails, she asked me a question that would change my world.

Have you heard of the Shutter Sisters?

I had not, but I have now. I immediately went to their website. I bought their book, and I quickly became intimate with my camera. I forced myself to only use the manual settings, and I did what I did not think was possible, I fell in love with digital photography.

The Cradle of Perfect Imperfection
Here’s How it Happened

I found the LIGHT METER! Oh, what a glorious day that was. It was my “ah ha” moment, MY “light switch” was on. Terms I thought were lost to new technology like aperture, depth of field, F-stop, lighting, filters, subject, ISO were all there. It is so much more than becoming intimate with the inanimate, it was like that first time I zoomed my lens in on the stamen of a flower, I was detailing my feelings, setting a historical moment in time, and I was going to be able to capture it the way I wanted. More than that, I found I have Shutter Sisters that can see what I see the instant before I release that shutter. They get why I do what I do as a writer of self-help books too. 

These people, my fellow passion driven brothers and sisters, understand that automatic doesn’t always emote what I am trying to capture. To me, imperfection often brings clarity, character, and a feeling of that moment that will forever be etched in my mind, in my heart, and in my soul.

Miles to Go before I Sleep

Those words, “miles to go before I sleep” (thank you Robert Frost) can mean many things to those of us who live with daily pain, but in the context of this blog, it simply means that for all I have learned, for all I have regained, I have so much more to accomplish. That’s the beauty of it. I am a work in progress and so is my photography.

So, before you give up my friend, know that your “ah ha” moment is coming, but you can’t have it if you give aren't determined.

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize
how close they were to success when they gave up.”

~Thomas A. Edison

Thank you Thomas Edison, the brilliance of your wisdom continues to light the world and guide me as I embrace the power of perseverance.

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Health Central Chronic Pain ProAdvocate

Celeste’s Website: http://CelesteCooper.com

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