I’m off to Africa for 17 days! I found the preparation for this trip to be quite stressful. It wasn’t the shots (about 7), or the cost (I used frequent flyer miles), or the fear of Africa (I should stop reading the State Department warnings)…it was the fear of failure. It takes me back to my days at Indiana University when I was a music major. I was quite proficient at playing the viola (a stated fact that might generate some debate with my violinist friends from that era) but the transition from playing music to making music, from proficient to creative, from good to great eluded me. I quit (maybe I didn’t try hard enough or didn’t understand the nature of that transition). It was not for lack of opportunity! I was at Indiana University, in the top orchestra (back row), with the top Viola instructor in the world…it was me.
I fear that I am in that same situation right now with photography. I’m quite proficient and have wonderful mentors and colleagues (Heward Jue, Bob Sadler, Jamie Douglas). I have a great camera and a set of great lenses. I know how they work and I’m capable of getting any shot I want. Do I know what I want? The transition is in front of me: Can I move from taking pictures to making pictures? Can I move from proficient to creative; from good to great?
This Africa trip is my next test. 10 days in the field with Heward Jue and Ellie Ho and plenty of cooperative targets (people, villages, animals and landscapes) is a hands-on chance of a lifetime. I might be scared but I will not quit.
So, I’m sitting in United First class on a 747 flying over Hudson Bay. That alone is a study in contrast. I’m on my way to the third world to see how ½ of the people on the planet live. And traveling there in style. The Cioppino was quite good. Maybe that’s just part of the transition. Make the contrast obvious. Step out of the portal, leave my world, my job, my ipad, my cell phone, my texting addictions, all my distractions behind and dive in!
This time – there is no George Janzer to tell me I can’t make it. It’s time to step up and succeed!