Photography as a parallel for life
Ever since I started it, photography has helped give me enhanced clarity in life.
In photography, there are 3 basic elements that you have control over, which allow you to capture completely different images, even in the exact same location.
Focal Length of the lens – Determines how much of a given scene will be included in your field of vision. At the two ends of this spectrum, you have wide angle lenses; which allow more of a given scene to be in frame, and then you have telephoto lenses; which zoom in, isolating a specific subject more, and compressing the background. Wide angle lenses can focus on a subject that is very close to the lens, whereas telephoto lenses need to be further from a subject to focus on it.
Aperture – Determines how much light a lens lets in. Wide open (like f/1.4) lets in a ton of light, isolates focus on a single subject, so that everything else in frame is blurry, and creates a softer image. Closed aperture (like/ f/16+) doesn’t allow much light to get in, makes it so that everything is in focus, and makes a crisper and sharper overall image.
Shutter Speed – Determines how fast the camera’s shutter stays open while taking a picture. The slower the shutter speed is, the more movement will be shown. At the two ends of this spectrum, you have long exposure, where the shutter stays open for multiple seconds, and literally shows the passing of time, and then you have super-fast shutter speeds like 1/8000th of a second, which can completely freeze even fast movements, like sports, and animals in the wild.
Where you choose to shoot is of course a huge factor that precedes any of the basic elements, and furthermore, when you’re at a specific location, where you are aiming your camera, and therefore what’s in your frame.
Once these basic elements have been set, there is one more function which has a huge impact on the image that you capture; which is the Focus. The subject of your frame is decided by what you choose to focus on, and will have a large impact on where someone’s attention goes when they look at what you created.
Lastly, once you have created your image in camera, you have the option to post process, or edit the photo.
Life Parallels – How these elements can shape your view of the world in any given situation:
What am I surrounding myself with?
Are the things I see and experience enhancing or detracting from my mental and physical wellbeing?
Am I enhancing or detracting from my environment?
Am I looking at the big picture, or just a fraction of it?
Am I being distracted because I allow too many things in to my field of view?
Am I missing out on something that’s right in front of me because my focus is too isolated on something else?
Am I focusing on too much, and therefore being distracted from what is important for me to focus on?
Am I looking at a single incident without including the scope of time (moment of injury vs entire length of injury which includes recovery and lessons learned)?
Am I too rigid/tense?
Do I need to soften or flow more? Am I missing out on things because I rush?
Is life passing me by because I’m operating at too slow a pace?
What am I choosing to focus on in my life?
Where does my focus go in any given situation?
Am I present, or does my focus linger off to the past or the future?
Do I focus on the positive or the negative?
Think about the classic; “Glass half empty, or half full?” scenario. Two people have the exact same glass of water, but are having opposite experiences based on what they are focusing on
If your focus tends to go to the negative, don’t beat yourself up over it, just become aware of it, and learn to shift your focus. If you only focus on the negative, what you hate, or what you’re afraid of, you will manifest it in your own life. Don’t poison your mind. Learn to focus on joy, hope, and positivity.
If you’re ever feeling negatively about any given situation; think about your photography arsenal, and the tools you can use to completely reframe what’s in front of you. When you’re facing adversity, how do you frame it in your mind? Do you see yourself as a victim of it, and avoid it at all costs, or do you see yourself as a victor, who welcomes the opportunity adversity brings with it to prove yourself and evolve?
Am I genuine, and true to who I really am, or do I put on a mask when I’m around others?
In today’s digitalized world, am I transparent, and do I portray my real self/life online, or some kind of illusion?
I think that discernment was the skill to cultivate in 2020; the year of clear vision. When you’re looking at anything on a screen, especially news, movies, etc…. keep in mind that whoever produced what you’re watching also had all these tools available; like what they choose to be in or out of frame, what they focus on, etc…. Be wary, “what you believe is not as important as what you can tell is a lie”.