New Tricks

I went ahead and invested in a new filter for my lens; one that would allow me to shoot long exposure in daylight. Expense wise it was very little but it required me to learn something new and I had to watch several YouTube videos that explained the whole concept of me and how such a filter would allow me to exercise camera settings that I never could before.

I don’t know if old age has thrown me into the Neanderthal level of understanding but I felt really challenged just watching the videos and trying to figure out the math involved.

It arrived earlier in the week but with all that was going on, it stayed unopened until today. Finally I just decided WTF, let’s take it out somewhere and see if I can get it to do what I think it can do.

So I did and it did.

I hadn’t been to Hillsborough River State Park in a million years. I might even have still had hair the last time I was there … it’s been that long. But I needed a moving river in order to make the long exposure effect work, so lakes and such were a non-starter.

I found a section that had some rapids and though the flow wasn’t wild and turbulent, it absolutely worked the way I imagined.

I have placed a number of images at the end of the blog. Check them out and enjoy!

By the time I was done patting myself on the back for getting such cool pics, I realized that during the week, I had allowed the thought of trying this to become so big that I doubted myself. I had focused in on the nitty gritty of trying to understand formulae that just wouldn’t sit comfortably in my head and for a while I had lost the whole just give it a try mentality that has gotten me this far in photography already.

I will never be an amazing photographer that draws accolades for the work I do but that is fine. As long as I can continue to see myself moving the stick forward and making a little progress with each passing year, then I am on the right track.

I didn’t get into nature photography to win hearts and minds. I only got into it to bring some neat outdoor images into my injured father’s mind. And I achieved that one many years ago. He would have been thrilled to see how far I have taken the skill beyond just capturing images for the letters to him. And in the reflections of the rushing waters today, I am sure I felt his smile of approval.

But the real thought for today’s blog is on the whole aspect of learning. You see, with what I already knew, I could keep on shooting different things and convince my huge fan base (both of you) that I am doing great things with my camera. Yet, something inside drives me to keep learning more and so resting on my laurels isn’t an option.

When we drive ourselves forward in a learning mode, we expand our minds and in that expansion, we stretch the boundaries of our lives just a little further. Just because our knowledge will never reach infinity, doesn’t mean we should stop reaching for it.

Knowledge isn’t for the sake of knowing things; it is for the sake of learning. So while knowledge may be the destination, learning is the journey.

We can convince ourselves that we are too old to learn new tricks, or that we know enough already. But such conviction is a lazy and pale version of what a life full of learning can give us.

Don’t sell yourself short. Whatever age you are, your brain still has lots of unused space in it.

Enjoy the journey!

… just a thought.