“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~ Mark Twain
It’s taken two weeks to pull together the next Affirmation Photography™ meditation guide.
Over a year and two weeks…
My last eighty-page collection of images and original affirmations and inspirational quotes was released in 2017, and clients have been loving it ever since. But as satisfied as I was with the series’ message of meditating and thriving by immersing ourselves in nature, I wanted more from the images in my next offering.
Meditations of Healing represents a year (2018) of learning and growing my photographic and creative skills—so the images I coupled with this new publishing journey would take my healing message to new heights.
The cover’s lotus flower is a perfect example of what I mean.
I first discovered Perry’s Water Garden in 2017 with a group of fellow shooters from Georgia Nature Photographer’s Association. Some of my prints from that first visit have hung in galleries and have even made it into exam rooms in the Emory Healthcare system in Atlanta.
But to better compliment my meditative subject matter, I needed images with more depth and mood and brightness—not to mention sharpness throughout a larger focal area, with intentional background softness. Techniques it took me the better part of 2018 to get my head around.
Better gear, too: a sturdier tripod and camera mount, a more powerful telephoto lens that would shoot longer AND more wide open, and post-processing skills to help me more intentionally enhance my vision for an image.
Improving my composition choices for each capture was a must, too. I had to learn to see what my final image could be, while I viewed the nature before me—and then make choices about where and how to shoot (and what not to shoo), accordingly.
The result has been a transformative year of learning for which I’m humbled and grateful. Not the least of which, when I began to pull together Meditations of Healing.
BTW, the cover image also used in this internal, two-page spread was achieved on my third visit to Perry’s Water Garden, during the late summer of 2018.
I took formal courses and shot with wise and generous friends. I borrowed gear to try out before I spent dear money that could have gone to something else—as an aside, the cover lotus was shot from 300 or so feet away with a borrowed Nikon 200-400 f/4 lens (thanks Stewart Roach!) I never would have purchased if I hadn’t witnessed the amazing results it could achieve.
I watched endless YouTube videos and practiced every skill I could on my own. I attended hands-on workshops with pros, when there where skills and locations beyond my solo ability to achieve.
I was blessed to have the time and money to make the improvements I needed. But more than anything else, the images in my book (and being pitched to new galleries, art consultants and other clients) testify to dogged determination and endless hours of hard work.
The lead image, for example. Two separate professionals over the course of 2018 helped me build the courage and skills to attempt “water panning” on my own.
Hand-holding, shooting down at a waterfall cascade crashing into its basin, I panned with the motion of the water (using a moderately slow shutter speed) and captured my first taste of what has become a favorite technique.
And by the end of 2018, I was showing the technique to other photographers who’d admired my work, helping them add panning to their own skill sets.
How sweet is that?
Did I know that the lotus flower and panned water image and 70+ other captures where destined to be part of Meditations of Healing when I shot them. No. But I DID know I was taking images that inspired and grounded and healed still-yearning places within me.
I knew I couldn’t stop.
I knew something amazing was happening inside me, and that others where excited to watch me grow (and to see what I came up with next). As I know now that I can’t wait to see what will evolve into the “recovery” meditation guide in my sights to complete next.
All of which is a long way of saying that we have to begin somewhere when we have a dream that seems out of reach. We have to plan, yes. But we also have to do—a lot.
We have to invest (in time and resources and relationships). We have to fly blindly for a while, trusting or efforts are getting us somewhere, while we collect the confidence and skills and experience that come from long days and hours and months of working on our own, when there’s no one else to congratulate us but ourselves.
So if you have your own dream for 2019, I congratulate you and cheer you on! If you haven’t already, get started, work hard, believe, and one day not so long from now you’ll be gazing at your own amazing achievement, awed and inspired beginning to dream anew.