Sunday, February 16, 2014

Photographers: The Best Of Times Are Often The Worst Of Times

Nikon D3S, 14-24mm, ISO 320, ƒ/13, 1/180
My oldest step-son Nelson Lalli [he is in the center front row] chose to go to The Citadel, a military college. He chose to go to a school where for the most part students are paying to be yelled at and pretty much humiliated as I saw it for most of their entire freshman year. At The Citadel this year they are called Knobs.

We all know that the reason they teach this to the military is that they learn to follow orders and this is critical to the success of the military.

Later Nelson decided his Junior year to try out for the Summerall Guards.  Now if you think being a Knob was hard, the comparison is like thinking of your Knob year as a cake walk.

Nikon D3S, 28-300mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/6.3, 1/320
The Summerall Guards must do all that the rest of the Corp of Cadets is doing plus all the extra physical and psychological torture [well to an outsider] they do. He had to listen to orders while their was someone yelling into his ear just inches from his ear.

You know what they talk about as Seniors? They tell all the stories from Knob year and if they were a Summerall Guard they tell those stories as well.

Great storytelling requires tension. You must have something to move the story along. What is great about a good story is it is rememberable.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/45
 The students I have been teaching in Hawaii have instructors sit with them and pour their wisdom out to them every day.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/3.6, 1/110
However years later many of these students will remember more about their kitchen duty than from a devotional that someone led, because of the stress that comes from dealing with difficult situations and overcoming them.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/3.6, 1/8
Late into the evening you see students all over this Youth With A Nation campus studying and trying to get everything done for their assignments.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/110
Here you can see three students in my class working together trying to grasp how to set up three different lights: The Main; The Fill and Background. Each light had to be set for a different power and the Main and the Fill light needed to be one stop different.

Not only did they have to get the lights set they had to get a custom white balance. Now when they had all this technical stuff they still had to work with a model and get a good expression as well as have a good composition.

They were stressed. They continued to come to me. Rather than me just giving them a quick answer, I often asked them questions. The stress you could see going up on their face. Then as Keziah Khoo experienced there was a eureka moment where they got it. The joy on her face made all those struggles worth it.

The difficulty of the class and then mastering the subject made her feel good about what she now knew how to do that she could not do before.

The reason I wrote this today is to let those of you who are experiencing a lot of stress to know that these times will be remembered and as you make it through these tough times the fact that you survived alone makes for a great story.

When your life is boring it is because you are most likely not challenging yourself and growing in knowledge.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/5.6, 1/500, Exp Comp -1
While many people love a great sunset, I love a great sunrise. I love the fresh air and a fresh start to each day.

Funny how sleeping on something that was insurmountable yesterday is not so bad the next day.

Look at your challenges as opportunities that are making your life one exciting story to read.