Book: Vision and Voice, Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
If you haven’t been doing a particular thing in a while, there’s a possibility of losing what touch you had back when you were still doing it. Some folks call this being rusty — pertaining to a probable substandard use of the skill — or perhaps a more common description, being “out of practice.”
This isn’t a bad thing really. A tad inconvenient, sure, esp if you need to unearth the unused skill for a time-sensitive project BUT it isn’t enough to cause extreme stress. Like many skills, it isn’t something you unlearn. The process may be unclear in the beginning, however, as you keep at it, familiarity will help in petering out what apprehension you may have felt at having to do it again. Pretty much like riding a bike, or driving a car. You know you can still do it.
What makes it not a bad thing is the fact that a restart can mean a fresh perspective, and, for all you know, your approach in going about using the skill now got an update. Quite possibly, you’d also pick up a life lesson or two along the way.
My recent #NS30 project, which documents my journey with a new regimen, involved self portraits. As embarrassing as this may sound, I haven’t been taking photos of myself (or anything else for that matter) for a good few years now. Guilty of being too caught up with work, and I admit that I haven’t been inspired enough to take photos. Yea, altho I did manage to take a few photos during some of my travels, only did so simply because it felt like I had to.
Now, getting back to taking and processing photos, the initial frustration I felt almost had me giving up. It was either taking too much time relearning things, or the outcome from my efforts didn’t meet my expectations.
When I mentioned how this was causing me distress in one of my #NS30 posts, and that I decided to take a step back, I later realised that it was actually the most suitable thing for me to do at that moment. I have to confess that I only did it (taking a step back) because I was extremely frustrated, and was getting stressed out (because of other reasons as well). But I noticed, in hindsight, it allowed me to identify which bit frustrated me, and how I was picturing the outcome to be. This then prodded me to go back to a few basics on several areas: (1) how to maximise my photography equipment: my camera + lens combo (a DSLR, Canon 60D with a Canon 50mm/1.2 L prime lens, which I call MrSixty and MrOptimus, respectively), (2) how to utilise what light I had, and (3) how to improve processing the photos using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
I’ve had the book, Vision & Voice: Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, for years (prolly bought it back in 2012/13). Was sitting on the top shelf, together with my other photography books, gathering dust. It has been pretty useful when I was just starting out with using the processing software, and was especially useful now since it helped me get out of my photography rut. Grateful that I had looked up in exasperation that one time, and my gaze landed on that stack of books. Otherwise, I’d still be stuck.
It was a little difficult to stomach that I had to go through bits I know I’ve already gone through. I had to control myself from skimming its content, telling myself that I do have to put in the extra effort if I was to get what I had wanted for my photos. The process of starting over can be a pain but now I realised that it’s more valuable to accept the situation, THEN make the most of the opportunity to do things again. I’m not the same person as before so it can mean that, as I do things over, the change will be seen in the manner I’d do it PLUS, of course, in the results.
In photography, as in life, changes in who we are will be reflected in the quality of what we produce. May it be the stories each photograph holds, or the way you see things as you capture how the light bounces off them as you work the shutter release. In the end, the bit about having to start over will not matter if weighed against the positives of the collective whole. It had given you what you wanted. It showed you your capacity to learn and relearn things. AND you ended up with a much better pay-off: improved skill, produced better photos, and the satisfaction you get from learning.
See what I mean when I said it wasn’t such a bad thing?
How would you have handled things if you were in a similar situation?
Trivia: SashaManuel.com used to be an online photo journal I had kept to showcase “money shots” and emo ramblings of a wannabe-writer, haha. Ran it as such from 2008 to 2015. Sadly, all photos and writings (would even sometimes attach a music file to a post) from that “era” are now lost. I’ll see if I can manage a post or two, which will (sort of) use a similar format, one day. For old times’ sake. <3