It’s really good for us to be a rookie, a beginner, sometimes. I so enjoy my level of competence with photography but also love to challenge myself to learn new skills that have the potential to push me and my work a bit further.
I’ve been feeling like a total rookie lately. I’ve been transported back to my early days of learning this craft, feeling like I don’t understand how my camera is working and how to control it, looking at my images and seeing more duds than successes.
What has caused all this? The Lensbaby! A Lensbaby is a specialized lens that, in the right hands, creates very dreamy images, which you know I love. Heck, their motto is “see in a new way.” Of course I’d want a piece of that! I bought one of the early versions (on the left below) several years ago and could not master it. To be fair to me, it was basically a lens on a squishy tube that you had to squeeze, bend, hold, and focus to get an image. Just couldn’t get the hang of it. But I still really admired the look of Lensbaby images that I saw. Then a few years ago they came out with a more advanced version of the lens (on the right below). It no longer had a squishy tube, but rather was on a ball that you could rotate and the lens would stay where you bent it. Yay!
I thought this would be so much better and I’d have these wonderful images with soft, blurred edges and a sharp area of focus where ever I decided to put it. But I still just couldn’t get the hang of it. It hung out in my camera closet taunting me.
So I decided to do something about that. Kathleen Clemons is one of the photographers that is well known for her skill with a Lensbaby. Her soft, impressionistic images are just exquisite. She teaches a 4 week online class covering the basics of Lensbaby photography.
We’re in our third week now, and while I understand now what I was doing wrong before there is still a bit of a learning curve. This is where I feel like a total rookie again. My images (mostly) don’t have good sharp focus where they should, the lens is much wider in scope (50mm) than I normally use. and more. I’m getting there but I just generally feel like a beginner again.
But that’s OK! I recently came across this great TEDx Talk by Andi Stevenson on Being a Rookie. Take the time to watch it, it’s wonderful. But two things she said resonated so much with me:
“When we stay safely within the boundaries of the things we already do well, we miss risk and innovation….We miss the chance to be afraid, to push through being afraid, and turn around on the other side and look back and see ourselves as brave.”
So here’s to risk, innovation, bravery, and being a rookie!
Here are just of few of the hundreds of images I have taken (most of which failed epic-ally) that are sort of a success, I will keep risking and learning! 🙂