Time to Focus

This morning’s trip to the lake was the culmination of several days efforts in different camera techniques. I had tried a few things separately over the past week and by the time I had fed the kitties and helped give Beauty her eye meds, I had a solid plan of exactly what I wanted to shoot.

So, I drove to the lake armed with camera and tripod and a bag of accessories that included a couple of glasses, some bottled water, DVDs, and some LED lights that Morgan had made for my light painting experiments.

I needed the darkest place available to me and in particular I needed some kind of elevation that I could rest the glasses on and set the tripod up at the same height.

I also needed solitude and while the boat ramp and pier matches the first two parameters, it isn’t normally accessible before 6 and boaters tend to arrive soon after.

I got there at 5:45 and to my delight it was just opened, so I rushed into place and set up camera and props almost immediately.

Time was going to be the deciding factor on how successful I would be as each shots takes about 90 seconds to pull off and the race is against not just imminent boater arrivals, but also against a brightening sky. Also invariably the first few shots are going to be really only test shots, as I end up tweaking my set up to get that “perfect” framing, etc.

On my drive there, I had gone through in my head several times, the setups that I would aim for, so there wasn’t really any time lost trying to imagine how to arrange the glasses. The driving thought in my concept was that it was new years day and these could be left-overs from the celebration hours before. So, one glass needed to be standing while the other looked to have fallen over and spilled its contents.

I chose water as the “contents” because any other liquid would have altered the light coming through from the background. I wanted to have the same colors and tone coming through the glass, as would be seen either side of it.

Any observer would have been impressed with how matter-of-fact I ran through each shot. From shot to shot there was only a subtle change, done mostly with which lights was being used, adding some water to increase the spill, and moving the glasses to provide a slightly different setup.

I was really thrilled that no one showed up for about an hour after me and by then it was starting to get too bright anyway for a 30 second exposure. All told, I think I got a little over 40 shots taken and I have posted the ones I am most proud of at the end of this blog. Hope you enjoy!

By the time I was in the car, pulling out of the parking area, more boaters were arriving and I was really chuffed that I had gotten in and out before them and by all accounts achieved the shots that were originally just concepts in my head.

And I realized how the knowledge that time was very limited for my little project, served to make me more focused and organized to where I was able to achieve what I wanted.

This thought morphed into how we allow undefined time to conversely affect our approach to life and achieve so much less than we otherwise might.

We often think of our life here on earth as being without limits. Yes, we all know we will die, but we don’t know when and we assume it won’t be tomorrow.

So, we go through our today without a sense of urgency and drive. Putting things off until tomorrow or the day after.

Invariably we will almost all die without having done everything we want to do. There may indeed be a few who can close their eyes at death with a feeling of having done everything and being ready to go.

The rest of us will be “oh shit, I never climbed Everest, or told Martha about the trees that need trimming in the back yard, and I was really hoping to see Bobby’s new home in Wisconsin this fall.”

Whatever we don’t get around to, will fall by the wayside and never be done.

Now, the truth is that there is a lot to be done that is seriously irrelevant and we should all feel comfortable leaving irrelevant things undone. If you can’t do that, you have a problem and need more help than this blog is going to give.

But, things that are relevant need to be addressed with a sense of urgency and importance so that we make sure they are done. Top of the list is making sure that your loved ones know you love them and that you get to do with them and for them, everything that you can.

I can’t imagine any of us will wince as we finally close our eyes for not being able to have one more day at the office. But oh, to have just one more day with your loved ones. How precious that would be.

So, this being New Year’s Day, this is the perfect time to reevaluate how we spend our time here and plan for the year in a manner that relevant stuff in our lives is being handled with importance.

We should front-load our year with the important stuff and if there is time at the end for giving the tool-shed a second coat of paint, then great.

Each of us will define the phrase “important stuff” differently perhaps and that is fine. Not all of us have eleven cats and a new batch of kittens that claim a place on our pecking order of things in life.

But whatever is on your list, you should know it and then sort your list so that your priorities are matched by your actions.

… just a thought!