Good VS. Proud.

     Lately, I've been in a photography slump. I haven't created an image that I'm super stoked about in a while. I scroll through my past Instagram posts and feel proud about a lot of the images I made but more recently I'm just not excited about how my images are turning out. While learning about producing content there generally two different philosophies. The first one is that you only release what you love and think is 'good', which may result in being stuck reaching for perfectionism. The other is often referred to as the 80% rule, where you release the blog post, photo, video, or other forms of media once it's around 80% to perfect. I sometimes like to think of myself as a perfectionist but then I met people who do design and are painfully meticulous that I realized I'm easily within the camp of getting things to 80%. Now the interesting difference between the two ideologies is that the 80% rule doesn't set boundaries on what perfection might look like and could result in apathy in quality. Whereas the alternative has an equally ambiguous goal point but it does allow you to use your discretion of being personally satisfied with the content you release.  I think I've been taking the craft of photography and shortchanging myself at 80% when its something that I always want to do to result in feeling proud. My desire for being vulnerable when I share a photo might even reach the point of where if you critique an image tears might come to my eyes but it will fuel me to get better. 

     I can definitively confess that the majority of images on my blog are within the 80% margin and the few I release on social media are often the selects that I'm most content with. Not only are the images here primarily reaching that 80% quality level but I also aim for my writing to be at that point. You've probably noticed grammar, spelling or phrasing errors, which I usually know otherwise.  Due to the goal of publishing something each week, I don't comb through it as meticulously as some might desire. However, when it comes to my photography I desire to improve and impress with each image. I grew up playing sports and the drive was always to be the best but there is no such thing as the most creative. As I've mentioned in the past, I don't see myself as creative but the wonderful thing is that I have a craft that sometimes creatively disguises my unrelenting, analytical mind.

     I didn't plan what I was going to say in this post and honestly, it was somewhat just thrown together in that 80% mindset, leaning towards 60%, but I'm seriously contemplating moving my social media posts to the direction of being proud and personally enjoying the images I display. This could result in only an image a week, a month, or maybe even multiple months apart. I don't think it would affect my frequency of posts on the blog because I wouldn't have as high of a standard and they could be more so for telling a larger story.  I would love to hear your opinion: my most loyal supporters who take the time to read the simple words I type. Thank you to the few who stick through these times of being uninspired and creating average work, your patience in this process of redirecting my aim towards improvement is invaluable. Below are a few more wildlife images and only one I'm pretty proud of. It shouldn't be too hard to guess! ;P

Social Interaction.

     Photography has always been a learning process. From the moment I found this art form I loved having a vision and fulfilling it with a click and some minor adjustments. For those of you who don't know, I started off only doing nature photography, which honestly consisted of anything that wasn't people. It wasn't because I didn't like portraiture but primarily due to the anxiety I had, and still do to a lesser degree, when taking photos of people. I'm confident in my technical skills but the social interaction was something I've had to learn to be comfortable with. I'm sure some of you might be thinking that this explains some of my inept social interactions or a very small minority of you might not know what I'm talking about. Regardless, I'm far more comfortable with the unnatural interactions photography brings about but it has proven to be an immense challenge for someone as introverted as myself. It almost seems ironic that I'm drawn towards photography when everything within me want to be alone with my thoughts and vision. Unfortunately, the reality is that in order to be profitable in this industry networking and social interaction is needed in order to craft a successful media career. 

     I want to expand on the underlying premise of desiring solitude but knowing social relationships need to occur in order for us to be healthy. So many times growing up I literally prayed to be more extroverted due to the anxiety I felt from just having a conversation with people was literally painful. At the time, I hadn't labelled this undesirable phenomenon as introversion and most people observed it with the negative connotations of rude or stand off-ish. There are still times where I understand that I'm being perceived this way but feel much less anxiety or obligation to act in these scenarios. Having grown up playing lots of team sports and regularly attending, the most dreaded day of the week with the most surface level social interactions imaginable for a young person, church, you would think I'd slowly grow out of the shy 'kid' stage. However, I never really out grew it, rather, learned to live with it and take each conversation as a learning experience where I can improve. The most useful insight I've learned is that people, including myself at times, love hearing their own voice talk about what it happening in their life. We are all guilty of it and I don't think it's always a bad thing so, for you introverts out there, aiming to continually redirect or uncover what people passionate about is a wonderful way to converse. By unveiling what people care about and want to share with others is immensely gratifying. It feels like I've solved a puzzle whenever people light up about a subject that we managed to meander towards in the dialog. Sometimes this might result in a one sided conversation with the person going way deeper into a topic than expected but remember there is a value in conversation and you don't always need to be the benefactor. 

      With all this said, here are a few of my first wildlife images with my 100-400mm lens where I was able to be alone and find a moment of solitude. Thanks for reading and I'd love to hear from those of you who can relate and how you manage social anxiety or being an introvert in an extrovert culture.