Posts Tagged ‘practice’

Photo Friday: Photographic Exercise

December 11, 2015

The artist who does not practice his art, is not an artist.  This holds true in all arts, including photography, so I’ve been practicing my breathing, and pressing the shutter calmer, to help eliminate camera shake in low light situations.

I get out of my job at 3:30 in the morning, so I have no problem finding low light situations, and I can’t exactly bring my tripod to work with me.  Armed with only a Canon SX610HS, and nothing else, I knew I had to time my breathing with the shutter button release, just right, or I would get a blurry image.  I did get some blurry shots, but the last ones taken in each area came out much better.

Here, then, are my final results.

They are not perfect, but compared to what I started with, they are improving nicely.

Controlling Fear

October 23, 2014

One of the things that always stopped me from success is the fear of what could happen; it’s not about what is, it’s about what if. Many of us try to live two steps ahead of the present, imagining only the bad things that can happen; “What if I try to climb a mountain, and fall hundreds of feet to my death.” “What if I can’t handle my new job, and I lose it.” “What if I walk across the street, and get hit by a bus.” While these fears may be in the realm of possible, they haven’t happened yet, and you can avoid them with the proper precautions.
When you let fear stop you from doing something, you are limiting yourself to a life of safety and mediocrity. You are not giving yourself a chance of living up to your full potential, and the best opportunities of your life are passing you by. Susan Jeffers wrote a wonderful book called, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. We all have fear, but if we want to live, we need to act on our dreams in spite of fear; don’t let the fear of tomorrow stop us from living today.
Out of all the books, and audio programs, I’ve been studying; I have never found one reference to getting rid of fear. Fear is a part of us all and spending time trying to get rid of fear only wastes our time and energy. Instead of letting fear stop us, we need to learn how to control fear, and put it in its proper place.
As with all things, fear has a positive side, as well as a negative one. The negative fear will petrify us, and leave us unable to proceed on our journey. Positive fear, once mastered, can warn us of impending trouble, and motivate us to learn what we need to proceed safely through the trouble spots. How can we keep fear from stopping us? There are three things I know that can help you master your fear.
Keep your dreams, and desires, strong. The best method I have heard of is to write down the desire, and read it every day, while allowing yourself to feel the same enthusiasm you felt when you first had that desire.
Be persistent. In every journey to success, you are going to have good times, you are going to have bad times, and you will even have times where you seem to be going backwards. The one trick successful people use is to keep moving, and don’t let anything stand in your way.
Follow your intuition. This one is a little more tricky, but with practice, you can learn to use your intuition as a guide to your dreams. Out of all three, this is the part fear will attack the most because it’s both very important to success, and it’s the most subtle of the methods. To illustrate the power of following your intuition, I will give you a recent example, and I’ll try to keep it brief. Cory Williams, from California, recently decided to move to Alaska, with his girlfriend. On one particular day the two decided to go on a drive, just to explore. They decided to drive down one road to see where it would take them. He found a sign that gave them a choice of right, or left, to two different lakes. He took the left road, found a semi-frozen lake, and thought it would be fun to skip a rock across, which produced a surprising sound. He recorded it, and his excitement, put it on YouTube, and the video went viral.
As the example shows, Cory’s intuition gave him several impulses, that he followed and they moved him further in his journey than being afraid of moving away from California could have ever moved him. As your intuition gives you the necessary impulses, your fear will make itself heard telling you things like your ideas are stupid, or that you aren’t good enough, or you can’t afford what you want. The best way to train yourself to follow your intuition is to use what fear tells you as a reason to do it. Don’t give fear the upper hand.
Fear is a part of all our lives. If you don’t want it to stop you from reaching your dreams, the key is to learn how to control it, instead of it controlling you.

Following the Steps

October 21, 2014

Have you ever tried to learn something new, only to have it blow up in your face? I’m sure we’ve all had that experience; however, contrary to popular belief it wasn’t because you couldn’t do it. You can do anything you want, so why do so many people give up on their dreams before giving it a real chance? I realize there are too many reasons to list, so I will give you my reason, as a former “quitter” in hopes that it might help someone else with a similar problem.
I can honestly say I grew up an impatient perfectionist. If you don’t know what that is, I will try to use an example. When I was 12, I wanted to play golf. I got some clubs, and had my brother teach me the basics before we hit the course. I went to the driving range, hit a bucket of balls, then we were ready to tee off on a 9 hole stretch. I found the game to be pretty easy, and I beat my brother my first time out. I don’t believe in luck, and I know I wasn’t a natural, I just followed the techniques he taught me, and I used them.
The problem was that I expected to get better every time I played golf, but I didn’t put in the time for practice, and I never got any better, so I gave up. I have found this to be a common theme in everything I quit in the past. The point is, I expected to be an expert after learning a few basics; and I didn’t believe I had to put in the practice to improve. In short, I tried to skip steps to accelerate my journey and reach expert status. When I did that, I would lose confidence in my ability, and eventually quit.
I still find myself doing this, and it’s still causing problems, but I have started to learn things that I am now giving the time to practice, and I’m not giving up when trouble starts to show up.
Like I said before, there is nothing you can’t do. If your dream is to become a pianist, practice every day. If you want to climb the highest mountains, get walking. Find your passion, start at the beginning, practice every day, and let the journey take as long as it needs to take. This is the way to see the results that will build your confidence, and ability that will lead you to your dreams.

Pump up the pen

April 27, 2009

On Wednesday morning, I was reviewing a short, flash fiction (only 100 words) and I noticed that there didn’t seem to be an end. I brought it up with the author, and he informed me that it was a “drabble”.  To find a definition, look in, this is where I found it.   So intrigued by the Idea that I thought I was up for the challenge.

Early Thursday, my friend and I were discussing ice cream flavors that will never be released, and I came up with the theme for my drabble; unusual food combinations.  I brought this idea up with someone else, and his response was less than enthusiastic, “That is the stupidest waste of time I’ve ever heard of.” Then he proceeded to tell me that his wife has written three books and she would never waste her time doing anything that frivolous.

I thought about his reaction, and couldn’t figure out why a drabble would be considered as a “waste of time”, and his worrying about things he can’t control, is important enough to talk about for two hours.

Each person has a talent, but that talent needs to be exercised.  With runners, it’s jogging.  With sketch artists and painters, it’s drawing shapes for hours (My mom, a painter, explained that one to me).  With writers, it’s more writing, ANY writing.

Exercise is about strengthening more than just the body; It’s also about strengthening the mind.  A drabble is a writing exercise that strengthens your ability to convey an obscure idea within the limits of a very specific amount of words.  As I found out on Thursday afternoon, it’s also a lot of fun.  Writing a poem exercises the ability to convey meaning with descriptive language, and rhythm.  Regardless what kind of writing you do, you are exercising your ability to write.  The other word for this is, of course, practice.

Without practice, our talent quickly becomes unnoticeable to others, and forgotten by us.  My nephew is quickly working his way to becoming one of the fastest guitarists ever. That’s not a biased comment, as you might think.  He practices four hours a day, watching the fastest guitarist and keeping up with his playing.

I think a better word for talent would be aptitude.  Just because you have an aptitude for something, doesn’t mean you’re naturally better than anyone else, it just means that you would be willing to work harder than anyone else to get it right.

For me, writing and photography are my two talents, and I try to exercise both on a daily basis.  This person who called the idea of a drabble a “waste of time” doesn’t have to spend his days writing, his job is watching a door that hardly ever opens, and delivering newspapers to tenants at six in the morning; to me, an incredible waste of time. (just joking)

Challenge: Try to learn new ways to exercise your talents, and spend time daily practicing.


Every Monday, early in the morning, the Little China Asian Market of Portland, Maine receives a fresh shipment of sea food, especially squid.  Pleased with his purchase, John Palmer walked in the door, whistling cheerfully.  He put the bag from the Asian market on the kitchen counter.
John took a half pound of squid, and placed it on the cutting board.  He chopped it up using his sharpest pare knife, and put it in a small bowl.
He then opened the freezer and took out a pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream.  “Ah,” he thought, “a meal made in Heaven.”

A drabble by