This past weekend I attended a photo workshop in Annapolis, MD. This wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill workshop. This one was a challenge and came with a constraint: we could only shoot with one focal length. What that means is, if we had a zoom capability, we couldn’t use it.
I had to choose a focal length – I ended up with one that I really felt uncomfortable with – and then had my lens taped down, restricting any movement. Yikes!
This meant that I had to really think about my composition. My “seeing” was limited. I had to plan ahead. I had to use my feet more, moving closer, moving further away until I “found” the shot I wanted. I couldn’t take my usual, lazy way and just zoom in, or out. I had to make the shot work, not the camera.
My brain got quite the workout. And so did my legs.
OK, I can do this I kept telling myself. Don’t get frustrated; just go with it. Right. The more I fought, the higher my frustration. Round and round and round. I couldn’t wait for the class to end. I was not having fun.
Eventually I decided to try something different. I stopped fighting the constraint, especially since the hot pink gaffer’s tape on my lens made it impossible to ignore.
So, what did I learn from this experience?
First and foremost: working outside of my comfort zone really aroused my frustration level. I wanted to do things my way! I felt limited by others and the rules. I was working way too hard to call the workshop fun. I paid money for this?!
Then, something shifted inside of me. I realized there was another way to view this experience. What if I accepted the situation, saw what I could accomplish given the limits, and let my creativity rather than my frustration take the reins?
Suddenly my “vision” cleared and opportunities presented themselves for compositions. And while I didn’t create any prize-winning shots, my sense of enjoyment increased steadily and my eyes saw opportunity everywhere.
Your call to action:
Where are you letting your frustrations take the reins? How might you shift your perspective? What gifts might be there for you?