Back to basics

Having hit yesterday’s realization that there was a real limitation with my use of the big lens and a tripod, I decided it was time to step back from the issue and return to a tripod-free life.

The tripod entered my photo-life when I began taking long-exposure shots and for those shots I will always need it.

But for the rest, a tripod is a crutch … literally. And I had leaned on mine long enough.

So, this morning I headed off to the trails at Circle B and took the camera with the big lens attached and no tripod.

It was a bright sunny morning, so the shutter speed would be fast enough to compensate for any small movements on my end. I don’t care what they say, nature pics are best suited for a non-tripod photographer, given that they can hold the camera steady enough.

I have historically had no problem up to 300 mm but beyond that, the tremors kick in.

Now, the reality is that all it means is that the win-percentage of shots taken goes down. And yes, you might actually miss something entirely. But you still get some good shots.

So, it really became an issue of adjusting my expectations and at the same time adjusting the physics of how I take the shots.

The trail that I wanted to take was closed so I ended up on the trail that swings down by Lake Hancock. That’s where the selection of shots at the end of the blog is from.

By the way, the last five shots happened right at the very end and I did miss most of the action that played out. An Anhinga surfaced having just caught a fish and he was immediately set upon by a great blue heron and a great egret who both tried to steal the fish. Hopefully you get the sense of what was happening in the few pics that I managed to get of the ten seconds of chaos.

Hope you enjoy.

It was driving back that I really began to take this whole “back to basics” approach and process it with respect to life in general.

There are many times in life when we move in a certain direction only to hit a dead end of sorts and find ourselves unable to progress any further.

It might be a career situation, or even a relationship, but it can be anything.

These are the moments when we are faced with having to step down off our pedestal of righteousness and examine how we got there and more importantly, how to move forward in another direction.

And it isn’t easy. Admitting to ourselves that we aren’t the messiah we thought we were is a chilling awareness. Realizing that we have failed in something is a pill that some of us are just not good at swallowing. There is a pride with forward movement and sometimes, this pride becomes a manacle that ties us to our mistake and won’t let us retreat.

I remember the first time a business of mine failed; it failed after five years and after I had lost everything in trying to keep it going, I was still committed to continuing to try.

But eventually, I had to retreat and get employment, at least until I could figure out my own path forward again on something else. I ended up working for two morons that between them didn’t have the smarts to figure out their way out of a wet paper bag.

Yet, I had to take my daily orders from them.

Taking yourself back to the basics allows you to reconstitute yourself, form new plans, and set out on your new direction. But in that first step, you have to park your pride outside and realize that you are just as flawed as most.

If you don’t learn that, then you are very likely to paint yourself into another corner, somewhere down the line.

Getting back to the basics and being willing to learn new things is easier the younger you are. You are less invested in doing things a certain way.

But, just because you are old doesn’t mean that learning is impossible. It isn’t. It just takes more time and is a bit more painful.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is an old saying but it is wrong. Many an old dog learns new tricks every day. My parents were in their eighties when they learned how to use the internet and email. I was in my fifties before I learned how to really work a camera to where I could honestly be a professional photographer.

The moment we say we are too old to do something new, we are. We seal our own casket.

But when we are willing to fall or look stupid in learning something new, then we keep the door open to a new path in our life.

Stripping our know-it-all pride away and becoming a novice at something again is the difference being able to walk through it or just staring longingly at where it could have led us.

… just a thought.