We are up here in the clouds today. It’s cold, windy, and—for much of the morning—visibility has been only a memory.
Many photographers thrive on rainy days and can’t wait to get out and about with their cameras. I tend to get reflective. That has always been my pattern. I’m sure it has to do with having lived, all my life, in sunny climes with long stretches of rain being an anomaly, rather than the norm. Raindrops on my window pane make me want to sit quietly—maybe with a hot drink, to contemplate the light filtering through the water while allowing my mind to wander aimlessly about—picking up and discarding random threads of thought that meander into focus.
This morning I have been thinking about where I am with photography (as well as the election—well, who hasn’t been thinking about the latter.) Lately, I have been taking more pictures than I ever have. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t have my camera out and working, and could post a photo-a-day with only rare lapses. Yet, I am posting a smaller and smaller percentage of my shots. It’s partly about distractions and finding time to put up posts, but mostly it’s about my dissatisfaction with what I produce. Yes, I am slowly improving technically. I have fewer shots that are woefully under or over-exposed. My horizon lines are more consistently straight. Even though my progress is slow and frustrating, I see some small improvement in compositions. The problem is that my technical skills grow at a pace that lags woefully behind that of my ambitions. Shots that I would have happily posted even six months ago dishearten me now.
My choice is to continue posting images that I am not happy with, because I refuse to give myself permission to hide and wait, until I am ready before I post my photos. I know well that dark side of my nature—the part of me that wants to wait until I have something that I'm proud of, before I make it public. From the beginning, the reason for this blog was to thwart that dark side. Posting in spite of my disappointments with what I have shot is a form of discipline for me. It motivates me to take a closer look at the shots I take and short-circuits the impulse to dump the entire card in disgust and disappointment. Looking at the shots and forcing myself to choose the best of the sorry lot encourages me to acknowledge my small steps forward and that motivates me to keep trying.
Fortunately for me, while my resolve to persevere waivers, it shows no signs of a full breakdown. Continuing to post pictures that clearly reveal my work-in-progress standing is making me stronger.