I was on my way back out of Tampa yesterday evening after shooting a couple of friends for their portfolio.
It was only about seven thirty as I neared Lakeland and though the sun was still about 45 minutes from setting in my rear view mirror, I was driving into spurious flashes of lightning.
Daylight-ning, as I call it, is kind of interesting inasmuch as it is visible to the eye but presents all sorts of difficulties to the camera in trying to catch it. Holding a slow enough shutter-speed to catch a bolt typically wipes out any real contrast between the bolt and the surrounding sky.
Of course, by this moment in time I had already convinced myself that if it was still lightning when I got home, I would do a quick trip to Lake Parker to try to catch it down there.
And it was. So I did.
But first I slowed myself down at home by having a bowl of Frosted Krispies in an attempt to give the sun enough time to go down. What I didn’t allow for though was that the skies are still quite bright for twenty or thirty minutes after the sun dips below the horizon. So I still managed to get to the lake in near total brightness.
There was a nice old dude (as opposed to a not nice old dude, like me) sitting in his car watching the storm on the other side of the lake. As I set up my camera and began to shoot, he tried to convince me that this was all going to turn into a tornado and that really I shouldn’t be standing out on the edge of the lake.
By the time it got really wild and the wind picked up off the lake to perhaps 40 or 50 mph, he had convinced himself that it wasn’t safe and so he drove away.
I resolved that if it was going to develop into a tornado, that I would likely see it coming across the lake at me and know to move. And if I did get hit by a bolt of lightning, I very likely wouldn’t even know about it. There are much worse ways to die.
So I convinced myself that my duty lay with me by my camera’s side, hence the set of shots at the end of this blog. There are even a couple of daylight strikes which I was kinda pleased with, but my favorites are probably numbers 6 & 7.
Anyway I hope you enjoy.
I did enjoy. I had an absolute blast being down there and as the storm raged all around me, I stood my ground and was there over 2 1/2 hours in total.
The enjoyment of being there was far more than the enjoyment of the pictures, which is really what got me thinking today about the whole train of thought for this blog.
I remember when I got my very first shot of a lightning strike, how thrilled I was with the image. I ran out to the world and showed everybody.
Whereas these shots, which are technically much better, left me with a slight sense of dissatisfaction overall. Don’t get me wrong; I am pleased with how well I captured these particular shots, but overall I just I needed more.
More of what, I hear you say?
I am not even sure, to be honest. Maybe an explosion or two, or cell towers on fire, or maybe even that tornado crossing the lake right at me.
Any one of those would have probably had a wow effect and created a level of satisfaction with the shots, that somehow is missing.
And this is my point, there is a level of satisfaction or joy that we get with the first time we achieve something, that we almost never get to experience again. That first kiss. Our first drive. Baby’s first taste of ice-cream.
There is a problem with our brains that turns almost everything good we do into an addictive process, to where we always look for something better.
It creates a level of imperfection within everything we achieve … at least in our own eyes. Aaah if only it was sweeter, or longer, or brighter, or whatever.
Others are quick to point out how perfect whatever we did is, while we denigrate the same achievement and dismiss the praise.
“I can do better” is the phrase that rings about in the back of our minds.
Perfection is an illusion and we will never achieve it in anything. So to seek it, only serves to keep us in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction.
And dissatisfaction leads to unhappiness and therein lies to problem.
Some of us are happy to be unhappy, happy to come up just a bit short. Because we use it to drive ourselves forward onto bigger and better.
“I can’t get no satisfaction” as the Stones sang is the anthem of this feeling. And I have had in playing in my head all day.
Aiming for better is always admirable and we are well-served to do so. It provides internal motivation that generally speaking moves us forward in life.
With “better” we can acknowledge the improvement and be happy for our achievement.
But aiming for perfection will never create happiness. We will under-acknowledge our achievements and focus on our shortcomings rather than our achievement.
Always remember, it is an imperfect world, folks.
… just a thought!