I wanted to just write a short post about some of what I’ve been up to lately, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how incredibly much I have actually been up to. From there I thought about some of the things that led to the things I’ve been doing lately, which I guess really started about a year ago. It’s hard to believe how much can change in a year.
I have never really talked about it much, but I used to train in Bak Mei Kung Fu, for about seven or eight years. It was really good for me, I found a strength within me that I never knew I had. It gave me a confidence I had never imagined. But about a year or so ago, I started to feel disconnected from it. I wasn’t feeling as satisfied by the end of class as I used to. I was losing my passion for it.
I felt that what I really wanted to be doing was focusing more of my time and attention on my photography.
It was tearing me up inside, a part of me really didn’t want to quit, but an ever-so-slightly larger part of me knew it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t fair to my Sifu or to my brothers to show up without having my whole heart into it. And I had to do what was right for me.
I left. It was one of the hardest choices I ever had to make. Even to this day, part of me still wants to go back. But that part is still outweighed by too many other factors.
I also changed jobs last year, as mentioned previously on this blog. Long story short, I didn’t realize just how badly my previous job was really sapping my energy and motivation until I left. Even then, it took a bit of time to settle into my new job and come to terms with how much better things are for me in that respect. I have been feeling vastly more energetic and motivated to get out and do things.
Part of that is that I’m an introvert. I’ve always sort of known it, but had never really thought about the implications of it, or how to cope with it. What that means is that I do enjoy being social and being with other people, but being social has a mental and emotional cost for me. Too much interaction with other people requires me to withdraw for a while to recover.
At my old job, I was constantly surrounded by other people. On top of that, it was a stressful environment, which increased the toll of those interactions significantly.
My new job is much simpler. I work with a smaller team, and the overall stress levels within the company are much, much lower. This leaves me with much more energy at the end of each day.
Energy that has enabled me to spend much more time on my photography, and allowed me to hang out, interact, and go shooting with my fellow photographer friends more often.
And that is how I realized that my passion really is in my photography, and that I made the right choices.
That passion and renewed energy helped push me to step up my game. I bought a pair of flash units to help me better my lighting. I started participating in Flickr Friday as a 52-week project with a weekly challenge to help me see and think more creatively. Sure, not everything I’ve shot has been award-winning – some of the results I downright despised. But it has helped keep me shooting, forced me to learn new techniques and skills, and of course to be more creative overall.
I even started doing something I haven’t really done in a long time – I shot an event. The Edmonton Craft Beer Festival, specifically. It wasn’t a paid job, though I was compensated with free tickets, which I gave away to friends. But I actually really had a good time doing it, liked the results, and of course I got to sample beer (and cider, and mead) as an attendee at the same time.
I just wanted to do something outside my normal art and landscape stuff. I wanted to just keep shooting.
I have also been working myself up to doing more work with models – something that has been a big challenge for me, having social anxiety with strangers on top of my introvertedness. Jenn has been fantastic at modelling for me, but I really needed to branch out. So I’ve been attending workshops and building up my repertoire of knowledge (which in turns helps build my confidence).
And wouldn’t you know it, just this week I started shooting with a complete stranger, on my own, for the first time. (More on that in a later post.)
And you know what? I really liked it. We were both really happy with the results, too, but even now I’m thinking of things I would do better and differently next time. And so I want there to be a next time. Many next times.
Looking back on where I was about this time last year, and just how much more I’ve been doing and how much more I want to do, and, well, I can’t believe how much of a difference a year has made for me. I have grown and changed so much, and I feel it has been for the better. I feel much more like the person I want to be.
What’s next? Expect much more from me photographically. There’s so much more I want to do with my craft. I also want to focus more on my social media presence, which means I need to get serious about updating this blog regularly (I think I will also update the theme again soon). I’ve been updating my Facebook page and Google+ more often. And maybe eventually I’ll figure out how to be more engaging on Twitter, too.
In summary, I’m feeling very good these days.