When we are in our comfort zone there is feeling of being stress free. When we are truly in our comfort zone it can give us a very positive feeling. Leaving our comfort zone puts us at the risk. We are all familiar with this most famous quotes that what does not kill you will make you stronger. Honestly we all tend to focus on the kill part rather than the stronger part.
As a photographer, as in my past careers, I start 2021 in a comfortable place with both my technical and artistic abilities. As that would be great, except as I noted in one of my first blogs, Photography is starting to lose the fun it once was. So what to do?
In my working years I was able to have 2 very different, but challenging, careers. I graduated from College as an Electrical Engineer. For the first 20 years of my career I specialized in Control System for Manufacturing machines, the last 16 for Kodak. I was a very good controls engineer and very comfortable in my career path. But as control system become more complex, I started to get interested in Computers. Now this was in the middle 90’s and I was already in my mid 40’s, but I decided to go back to school and get a degree in Computer Science, which after a few classes switched to IT. Now, to say going back to school in your 40’s was not scary enough, we were also raising 3 kids. Some people would have said that it may have been better to stay as an EE, stay in my comfort zone and forget about switching fields. However I wanted to explore and learn something new. I wanted to challenge myself but also increase my skill as manufacturing jobs at Kodak were on the way out. I was also a little arrogant and though I could master IT to the same level as I did control engineer Now to be honest, when I switch to IT as a full time Business Analyst, I was not at the level when I was an EE. Each day was a challenge to try and stay ahead of both the curve and my boss’s urge to fire me. I survived until I retired, but I never felt as comfortable as when I was an EE.
My photography career has been no different than my other careers. Ever since I picked up my first camera, I had focused on the traditional Landscapes and Cityscapes. I dabbled in some of portrait and macro work, but the challenges were much the same as Landscapes and Cityscapes. Though I resolved to be a different type of photographer and to photograph places and things like nobody else, the method and technology was the same. Find a spot or object, wait or generate the perfect light, focus, point, shoot and process. The only challenge in cityscapes was to find urban locations where I did not stand a chance of getting rob or killed. As time went on, I became more comfortable in my abilities and my knowledge. My photography was becoming like the manufacturing machines I once worked on. Turn out the same product, make minor adjustments when things are not perfect, upgrade as technology moves forward and repeat.
So the challenge for 2021 is to find a form of photography that I have never done before and master it by the end of the year. Since I am already trying to work on doing pet photography, the basics are the same as people photography, I needed something different that did not require clients. Also I wanted to also get way outside of my comfort zone and something that not a lot of photographer try. Something that pushed my knowledge in both photography and technology. So I decided to focus on Stop Action/Water Drop Macrophotography. This type of photography pose difficult challenges. To stop the action of a water drop requires millisecond timing from the moment the drop falls to the closure of the camera curtain. Lighting and focus to a pinpoint, plus the ability to trigger the process consistently.
Since this is not a very common type of photography a lot of the normal experts I would follow do not have many if any tutorials on this subject. YouTube and Google University are becoming my friend, but even that is limited.
So I have started on this frustrating, stressful, and challenging journey. As time goes on I will post more about both the technical and artistic aspects of this form of photography.