Getting inspired the morning of Jay & Varina's first Australian workshop.

Looking Back To Move Forward

Getting inspired the morning of Jay & Varina's first Australian workshop.

Getting inspired the morning of Jay & Varina’s first Australian workshop.

I was recently asked by a friend to do a 5 Day Black and White Challenge. This required me to post to a social media site a black and white image that I either created or shared from my archives. As I didn’t have the time to create an image a day I chose to dig through my catalogue for the shots required and that’s when I realised that I’m going through a phase where I disliked the images I’m creating. So I thought I better have a closer look and examine what I have been producing since I started photography in 2010. By looking over my images I can see I’m headed in the right direction and by sharing what I did might help you become a better photographer too.

The B&W image that got me thinking about my work.

The B&W image that got me thinking about my work.

Learn from Your Past
Gather your best images into a collection. Then you need to ask yourself a few questions and answer them honestly. Can you see any improvement from when you first started to now? What was the cause of those changes?

Sometimes you can see the improvement from one particular image onwards. Was it purchasing a tripod to get sharper images? Was it a new lens that captures a wider view, allowing you to get closer to the foreground and capture the entire scene? Was it a tutorial or going to a workshop that improved how you use your camera? Or perhaps the filter that lets you capture longer exposures, or a tip from a friend that changed the way you see the world? I can remember how I felt with that new knowledge or gear that helped me move to that next level. I was excited and motivated to get out there and capture more images. That feeling is an important one for us to remember and relive as it can help us get through those dark moments which will always return. Then when we get to those “Aha Moments” it will make it all worth while.

This was my first photo outing. All manual settings. Even manual focusing.

This was my first photo outing. All manual settings. Even manual focusing.

Ignore the Rat Race on Social Media for getting most followers and ‘Likes’

So I’m looking back to help me move forward. If you are looking at your work now and comparing it to others there can be a huge difference between the two which can be discouraging, especially on social media. They have more followers and get more likes than I. Most of the people we look up to, have been in this game a lot longer than we have and have made great sacrifices to get where they are today or have just had a lucky break which accelerated their career. What we need to do is recognize and give credit to our achievements. Each step up is a move in the right direction. They may be small steps but very important ones in our progress as a photographer. To quote Zack Arias “Some of you are in the top 10 percent and we don’t know you exist.” So I say to you, keep on PUSHing (Persist Until Something Happens).

Stepping up to the next level.

Stepping up to the next level.

Be Persistence – Learning take time and practice

I may dislike SOME of my work now and see the flaws in the images. They will be fixed over time with more practice and experience. We just have to be more mindful that we are on the right path no matter how dark it seems.

Walking through the dark into the light.

Walking through the dark into the light.

All of this reminds me of a quote I have hanging on our fridge. “Don’t worry about others leaving you behind. They are not going where you are headed. It’s not who finishes first, but who saw the most of life.” Unknown source.

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About Author Mykal Hall

At the age of 34 my life changed from aimlessly wandering through life without a purpose, to finding the "WHY" to my life in the form of my wife/soulmate/best friend Dianne and her 3 children. My home life is now perfect and I could not imagine a better family to spend the rest of my days with. There was however, another yearning that wasn't fulfilled. My work life. Having no real passions to pursue at an early age, I fell into various work situations from Storeman, Forklift Operator, Service Technician to finally a Truck Driver. After 43yrs my interest for "Geekdom", from my Service Technician days, was reignited once again. I discovered "Podcasts". The ability to learn about any subject at my own leisure was too tempting to resist. So what subjects did I choose to fill this quest for knowledge........Psychology and the latest technology trends. It was the former that I thought I would be pursuing as a career until I stumbled upon the podcast "This Week In Photo" (TWIP). It sounded very geeky with all the cool gadgets and the creative side would make up for past failed interest in drawing.​That's when I purchased my first camera, a Nikon D90. Having never held a DSLR or for that matter a SLR camera I thought I should learn to use it in Manual mode first. When I say manual mode I even mean manual focus too.

Almost a year later I managed to get an invite to Google+ before it went public and it was here my passion for photography escalated rapidly to new heights. I was discovered by the hierarchy at Google Australia and was added to their "Suggested Users List" for photography. The SUL is a list of people Google suggests you follow in various interest categories. What an honour!!!!! I had found my lost "TRIBE", Google+. ​I also found the "HOW" to my life.​ I think the great Sufi poet Rumi says it all,

"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."​​​

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5 replies
  1. Mykal Hall
    Mykal Hall says:

    Elle thanks for the link. I need to take a leaf out of your book and post more to my blog. You have good content there.

    Sorry about the delayed response. The dip I’m in seems deeper than I first thought, which means the I’m preparing for the next major step up in my life. ☺

    Reply
  2. Elle Bruce
    Elle Bruce says:

    Thank you Mykal for this post. I have been pondering some of the very same things. I’m finding there is a constant ebb and flow to my photography passion. During the “ebbing” (is that a word?) I get caught up in doubt and feel discouraged. But I love your suggestion of using that moment as an opportunity to mark your progress. Look back, mark your progress, recognize the accomplishment, then look forward… and with a bit of persistence the flow will come again. I blog about my experience of making images… I will link back to your post as it has helped to solidify my own plan on how to deal with the issue.

    Reply
    • Mykal Hall
      Mykal Hall says:

      Elle the Ebb you talk about is an important stage in our growth. If you want further reading about its importance buy Seth Godin’s audio book called “The Dip”. I don’t want to spoil it for you but in a nutshell its about how we need to persist through this stage to take advantage of the opportunities that are just out of our current reach.

      I’ll have to swing by your site to see and read how you’re progressing. I haven’t clicked on your name here to see if you have links to your site, so if you don’t please post a link here if possible.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment here. It makes my day to know I have helped someone progress a little further with their passions. :)))

      Reply
    • Jay Patel
      Jay Patel says:

      Perhaps the key is to enjoy the experience and worry about the results less. I know it is a difficult thing to do when you are still trying to learn….but if you get there you will enjoy you passion a lot more.

      Reply

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