Being a photographer grants me an unparalleled view into the souls of those I photograph. This is both a blessing and a curse. I have a considerable knack for reading people; albeit sometimes I’m way off. I get to see how these people think, what they think of themselves, and how they treat others. There are times where being a photographer is no different than being a bartender listening to the wonderings that go on. There are also times where I myself feel used. I’m a generous person. I always have been. I also am someone who somehow absorbs negative thinking. It’s draining. More than a 10km run, negative thoughts, just kill me. I’ve lived for a long time feeling like I was put here to make people happy even at great sacrifice to myself. I’ve shot for free yes, many a time. During those shoots, more often than not the idea of a shot is mine. But there are times that it becomes not mine. And that’s when I feel I’m just taken advantage of. It’s annoying. No, that’s not the right word. It downright pisses me off. People have lost the ability to be grateful it seems. Not all people, but a fair majority.
Photography is something I do because I love it. Because I can connect to it’s inner workings. Get in the way of that love and I don’t want to work with you. Take advantage of me by hounding me for shots, not respecting my creative process, become greedy… and it might be the last time we shoot. Being anxious, being excited… that’s one thing. And trust me, I’m just as excited. But coming after me months after asking, when… or … I only got X number. I want more. ugh. You’ve just gone from a shoot I would likely revisit AND likely have more from to a shoot that I’ll never look at again.
My gut is telling me something is up. Something, perhaps not good, but perhaps something long overdue. I was just in the elevator with someone who is normally happy to see me (someone with connections) and instead of receiving the typical “oh, hi, how are you doing?” I get the “hi”… and then continual avoiding of eye-contact. You know the look. The look of almost ‘guilt’. Or actually it’s more like, the feeling of being ‘sorry’ for someone else. I pick up on these things amazingly well. And I’m not usually wrong.
I surf tumblr, instagram… any photographic media outlet there is. Constantly bombarded by inspiring works of the portrait, travel, food, and landscape genre. It’s brutal. All I’m reminded of is how much I’m not taking advantage of my skills. Why am I not out in the woods exploring nature? Why am I not shooting casual portraits down by a river? Oh right. Yeah. The j.o.b. I love it, don’t get me wrong. The people, the challenges, the opportunities… all fantastic. It’s just hard to think this is it. The only thing I keep telling myself is… you can’t do everything even if you tried. Though I think it would be far worse if I learned that one guy photographed all of tumblr’s best shots. That would royally suck.
The first version of the title didn’t include the word “camera” and I quickly realized that may not be as appropriate as it should be. Though that’s the way my mind has been operating as such. It sounds odd to say but the voices questioning everything I do are gone. It’s such a relief. And with that I’ve had more time to look into other avenues of interest. One thing has been bugging me a lot lately and that’s the quality of my photos. I’ve known the solution forever, but never felt bothered to actually do it.
That solution, fine tune the auto-focus on my D800. Ever since I got it I’ve noticed a quirk where, sadly, most of the time when I shoot at wide-open aperture the focus is either 1 – 2 inches behind the person or an inch in front. But it didn’t happen *everytime*… just enough to piss me off. So the other night, after playing about 2 hours of Borderlands 2 and noticing it was 11pm I thought to myself, why yes, now is the perfect time to research the steps I need to fix it.
The next morning, setting up a rudimentary ruler and focusing plate against a wall, I adjusted my AF. I was a bit nervous as I was doing this, as is required with Nikon, with each lens I use most often. My 50mm, 85mm, and 35mm. I was also nervous as I had a shoot that evening. My last in fact before I took a hiatus while Julie-Anne was in town.
As it turned out, my adjustments were perfect and to my amazement, my shots had never been sharper.
It’s a musing irony that my life has come into a lot more focus through change, through opening up, through realizing who I really am just like my camera is now. Perfect timing in fact.
Not to overshadow all the changes I’ve made in the past 2 years and there have been tons; leaps, bounds… I still want to make more. Some to be expected… some inevitable… and 1 or 2 that would see an entire shift in how I’ve lived my life til now.