Thinking About Photography and Possibilities

For the past little while, photography–more specifically, nature photography–has been one of those hobbies that truly feeds my soul. When I’m out in Mama Nature behind the camera lens, the sky could fall and I wouldn’t know it. It’s one of the few times that I am not thinking about anything other than that one moment when I’m lining up a shot and pressing the button to release the shutter. Moments like that, in succession, fly by and before I know it it’s been half an hour or an hour or two hours or more. I end up in that elusive state called “flow,” which is the artist’s equivalent of the state brought on by deep meditation.

That said, lately I feel like I’ve been taking the same shots over and over, and it’s starting to feel a little stale. I’ve been wanting to branch out for a while, and made that one of my goals for this year, but I’ve been short on ideas.

Then, in my blog surfing recently, I found an e-course being offered for $30.00 for the month of April, Picture Spring: 30 days of seasonal celebration, being led by Tracey Clark, founder of Shutter Sisters. Reading about it made me light up, because it fits well with what photography naturally is for me, and also holds the promise of fresh ideas! (That it’s super-affordable doesn’t hurt.)

But…I am a little nervous about it.

What if I can’t find anything that fits with the prompt to photograph that day? I have to say, though, that this scares me less than another possible stumbling block…

What if the prompt asks for a picture of a person besides me? My family and friends who live here are not going to agree to have their photos taken and posted in a class collective for other people to see, and, if they did, they’d want the usual straight-on shot wherein they dress up, get made up, and produce a fake smile, preferably in front of a pretty background. They don’t want true candids, or shots without fake smiles, the kind that really capture how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. (I’ve tried taking those kind before, and received zip in the way of cooperation.) Given where I live and the culture here, I’m pretty certain strangers wouldn’t agree, either, even if I told them it was for a photography course I’m taking, and I don’t feel right snapping a photo of someone and not telling them, though some people would. Among other things, as desperate as people are for money these days, I would worry about someone trying to sue me if I did that, ethical questions aside.

Faintly, in the back of my head, my gremlins whisper that I am not good enough, but that doesn’t really concern me.  The course description says it’s for everyone, from beginners to professionals. Overruling my gremlins, I think that would make it very interesting. I have potential. I just need to hone my skills. That’s the only way anyone ever ends up going pro in photography, by beginning and taking lots and lots of pictures.

Despite the things that scare me about this, the bigger part of me is giddy with excitement at the prospect. One of the many things I’ve been mulling over–though I haven’t really voiced it aloud very much, if at all (I can’t remember)–is going back to school for photography. It’s a little scary, it’s not something I’m planning on doing in the next few months, but these days when I ask myself what I want to do with my life or what I want to be, “photographer” comes up quite a lot…Even more than “writer” has recently. If I take this course, I’ll see if I could function in a “here’s your assignment” capacity, which will be necessary if I want to go for a degree. It also holds the possibility of making some great connections with people, both those where I am and those further down the path of chasing this dream.

I’m going to give myself a couple more days to mull it over before I throw my hat in the ring. And, in reference to my last post about doing too much and giving myself busy work, photography is not busy work for me. It makes my soul sing, and is definitely something I am doing that I want to keep.

** UPDATE **

At lunch, when I went to get my bank cards out of my wallet so I could deposit parts of my paycheck in savings and checking, guess what I found?  Shoved in behind them was $37.00 in leftover Christmas money that I periodically find and hide again because I haven’t had anything in specific in mind for it.  Could this be the thing it was meant for?

** UPDATE #2 **

I just finished registering for the e-course!  I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day at work, and I literally found the funds to cover it, so I’m in.  It starts April 1st, and I can hardly wait!

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