You Will Like What You See

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Repeating those words consecutively often paints a picture in most of our minds.

For some, it brings visions of an athletic setting.  I immediately, for example, can still hear the rapidly escalating tone of my first serious basketball coach as he repeated those words to those that couldn’t make a free throw or often blew their layups. While my mom thought he screamed too much and was too hard on us boys; I knew he loved me – no matter how many times I was in his ‘doghouse.’ Looking back, I immediately smile when I think of Mr. Blackmon screaming, “Okay, Gilstrap, we know you can shoot. But can you even comprehend the concept of DEFENSE?”

For others, practice-practice-practice, can relate to efforts to improve our art, skill set, or craft. How many times did your piano teacher make you repeat the easiest, most simple tune? We likely did not see the rationale for such training at a young age. But, for many, we now take the same approach when we teach others. We just cannot argue with the old adage, “It is much better to be able to play a simple piece with strong technique and accuracy, than to struggle with a harder piece without having first developed good habits.”

So, what direction did I get when I decided I was going to invest more time in improving my photography skills? Practice. Practice. Practice. It is great advice. The more I practice, the more I learn new tricks and creative approaches that allow me to grow as a photographer and more justly pay tribute to my subjects. The more I practice, the more I benefit from photo-remedy.

When you develop a commitment to improving your photography skills, you don’t have to go far to look for interesting material. Just head out your door and start shooting. No matter where you live, I believe you can find great material. Flowers, pets, birds, sky, sunsets, interesting people, cars, even cracks in sidewalk are just a few examples that offer the potential to create a memorable picture. The list of potential subjects will grow beyond your imagination. Be prepared to see many assets and aspects in your life in new ways.  

This week, I’ve been practicing on the Texas Mountain Laurel tree in our front yard.

I knew my wife and I look to the tree’s spectacular (albeit short lived) flowers as a sign that Spring has arrived in Arizona. The evergreen ornamental has an almost magical effect. I dare anyone to spend a couple of minutes admiring the blossoms without experiencing an elevation in spirit.

While I knew I treasured the tree, I did not come close to fully appreciating how different it can appear at various times of the day, under different lighting conditions, and even on a day-by-day basis.

This week, as I have practiced with my Canon, the flowers have taken on a bluish lavender hue. At other times, I’ve seen them appear as navy blue, deep magenta, dark purple, and even primarily white.

Before I took a more careful look, I simply thought the tree boasted spectacular purple flowers.

This Spring, whenever it comes to your part of the world, take time to take a closer look at what is right outside your door. Challenge yourself to see all in new ways. While you are at it, why not apply such skills to everything–and everyone–that crosses your path? Chances are you will like what you see!

– Greg

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