Looking and listening this week

Looking and listening this week

As children, we knew playing footy in the backyard came with inherent risks like balls going over the fence but we did it anyway, in the hope the balls were thrown back over the fence by a kind neighbour. Then we grew up and risks became things we thought about more seriously.

Looking at Joel Meyerowitz after seeing this lecture

Listening to Jamiroquai, Fatboy Slim and Moby because my foot just wants to tap sometimes…

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The hill

The hill

A few months back I started riding a bicycle to the train station and back each day. One part of the route I can’t avoid on the route is the steep descent into the valley. Physically it’s downhill so no effort but mentally quite demanding. I rise early and it’s dark and all I have is a tiny light to show me what’s ahead. There have been a few near misses with Foxes, Possums, spider webs and fallen branches. You have to concentrate and draw from limited information to make progress. Downhill is challenging but achievable.

The way home is uphill and for the first few weeks I had to dismount and walk. I was convinced this would be normal, after all, I’m no athlete and I’m getting older.

But then I tried.

I failed.

The next day I tried again, got further but failed.

The day after I tried again and got halfway before I could go no further.

Fast forward two weeks…

One rainy afternoon I made it, exhausted to the top of the hill. I had no energy to appreciate the achievement. I needed to keep going to get out of the rain.

To paraphrase Ian Fleming “Once is odd, twice  is a coincidence and three times is a pattern” The climb up that hill has become a pattern most days of the week. so has the descent.

Upgrading lessons

Upgrading lessons


If you grew up hearing a song about a poor old woman who swallowed a fly, read on. If not take a look here for some additional context.

I recently had an opportunity to update my camera body at an amazing price. This is a good thing  but it also came with a reminder of a life lesson I want to share.

You are never updating one thing. Always look for the connections to avoid surprises.

Every time I have updated something, it set off a chain of other updates. When I switched to a digital SLR I had to work through and replace lenses to get the full benefits. I had to buy a new flash to take advantage of features like TTL. My darkroom had to be replaced with Adobe Lightroom. (Honestly, I miss the experience of printing but not the fumes, chemicals or the long nights and failures)

This lesson applies to seemingly small changes too. I was not expecting any compatibility issues with the new camera body and this has been the case with the lenses and flash. What I did not consider was software. I’m still on Lightroom 4 which apparently does not recognise the RAW files from the new camera. This is more of an annoyance as I was able to workaround the limitation but I will need to update to Lightroom 5. That also means buying some new books to learn all the new tweaks and tricks.

Another change I had planned for was storage. Doubling the megapixels on a sensor comes at a price of larger files.  I cleaned up my internal drive to make room for images but in the longer term, that drive will need to be replaced with a larger one. The computer itself will eventually need to be replaced too and no doubt that will trigger other changes.

This lesson applies to other aspects of life too. New educational qualifications open up new opportunities. So does moving to a new town.

It can apply to your creativity as well.  I want to take that same piece of advice above and reframe it.

In photography, you are never learning one thing. Always look for the connections and enjoy the surprises.

Think about that for a minute.

When I photograph someone, I’m not just refining or applying technique, hopefully, I’m engaging with that sitter and learning about them or perhaps I may learn something new about myself and how I relate to people. When I go somewhere and make images I learn about the area, it’s history, flora, fauna and where to get a good coffee afterwards.

Accept change, understand and manage risks and keep moving forward toward the next challenge.