Monthly Archives November 2011

Am I good enough? It’s a question that I have often asked myself.

When I am entertaining the idea of a new venture or project, a leap into unfamiliar territory, the question pops into my head accompanied with an all too familiar physical sensation of tightness in my chest and the palpable quickening of my heart.

Can I do it? Do I have what it takes to make it happen?

I was examining the answer to those questions while doing an exercise in which I needed to create a timeline beginning from the completing of high school to today. In it, I needed to document my professional life as well as my personal life and note the high points and low points of both.

Admittedly, I didn’t look forward to this exercise, because the thought that immediately came to mind were the myriad of disappointments and the many “what if only” moments that have frequently peppered my thoughts. The thought of putting pen to paper and documenting such times and sharing them with a class wasn’t appealing to me. I had always kept such thoughts to myself, fearing that the discovery of them would reveal me as a fraud, a failure.

After several weeks of procrastination, I pulled out some poster board, markers and a ruler and begin creating a timeline, breaking each board into increments of 7 years, marking significant dates such as graduating college, getting my first job, my first publications, beginning a podcast and leaving a good job to begin life as a freelancer. Accompanying those events, were moments in my personal life including my parents divorce, my own marriage and the purchase of my first home.

I placed green dots on the moments that provided me the most joy and yellow dots for those times of deepest frustration and despair. I linked these with a drawn red line, which created a visual graph of the ups and downs of my emotional life.

I was surprised by what I saw in front of me. On the page, I saw what I had managed to accomplish in my life, especially in the last few years, which included writing two books and managing to remain self-employed after five years. Despite the fact that I had been rife with self-doubt and insecurity, I had nevertheless managed to accomplish some wonderful things. I had created opportunities for myself that were challenging and exhilarating.

Yet, I hadn’t been seeing it. I realized that I had been fixated on those things I hadn’t done. I was lamenting where I thought I should have been rather than appreciating where I was. I was so busy comparing my insides to other people’s outsides that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

When I looked at the moments that brought my greatest levels of happiness and satisfaction, they were always moments when I felt challenged. During such times, life wasn’t about the dull, predictable routine. It was about facing the unknown and unpredictable and discovering what I was truly able to achieve and accomplish. More often than not, I surprised myself by what I could achieve with the experience and skills that I already had.

Luck and good timing inspired some of these accomplishments. Others happened from thoughtful planning and dutiful footwork. Then there were those choices that were made when the thought of continuing to say no to myself was both unacceptable and unbearable.

The times when I felt most depressed where during times when I was overextending a welcome, with a relationship or a job. Though each job had proven challenging and satisfying, there eventually came a time when I wanted something more and the reality was it wasn’t likely to happen if I stayed put. Yet, I would delay making a change, seduced by the perceived security of a bi-weekly paycheck and benefits. I could just continue to fantasize about an imagined life.  That wouldn’t cost me anything. So, I thought.

But the longer I stayed in that comfortable setting, the more uncomfortable I became, the more dissatisfied I felt.

Yet, when I would think of making a change, the question of whether I was good enough, prepared enough to make such a decision would arise. And the more I said no to myself, the more miserable I became.

When I looked at my life on paper, I saw that during those moments when I felt most fulfilled and happy, I was never completely ready to make a change. I hadn’t done some kind of personal inventory and declared myself complete vetted and certified. I just decided it was time to do it and I just did it. I leapt into a world where the only certainty was uncertainty.

And when I faced the inevitable problems or crisis, I would figure them out and keep moving. Even when failure seemed imminent, I kept moving. Even when I felt like everything was ready to fall apart, I put one foot in front of another and did the next thing that needed doing: putting the next word on the page, picking up the phone and making that call, saying yes when everything inside me was telling me to say no and crawl back under a rock.

Those terrible feelings didn’t disappear. They were still there, feeling as real as anything, but they were no longer standing in my way.

I wish I could say that every day, I have this clarity of thinking. I don’t. There are days when the feelings get the better of me and I’m a worthless mess. Then there are the other days, when I quiet those voices enough to get the next thing done and I make progress and good things begin to happen as a result. They might not happen on my timetable, but they eventually do happen.

The answer to the questions of whether I’m good enough or whether I’m ready enough have never gotten answered when relegated to the confines of my own mind. The answer only comes when I have made the choice to do something different, to take the risk and face the possibility of personal and sometimes, public failure. The answer manifests itself not in words, but in the work or project or challenge I make the choice to take on.

Some of these things turned out better than others. I achieved tremendous successes and have experienced some embarrassing failures. There were times when I received warming praise and other moments when I was subject to withering criticism.

But in the end of each effort, I have always felt the satisfaction of knowing that I made a choice that affirmed what is good about me and the talents that I have been blessed with.

Today, I’m good enough to get the things done that need to get done. What happens after that is often out of my hands, but if the past is any indication, there are good thing ahead for me, whether I feel I’m ready for them or not.

Ibarionex Perello is a photographer, writer, educator and host of the popular interview show, The Candid Frame. He is the author of Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography Using Available Light.

I haven’t had a chance to really go through my shots from the 49ers/Giants game on Sunday quite yet, so instead, I thought I’d turn this into a teaching moment and share some tips on shooting football—the kind of tips  you’re not likely to find anywhere else. ;-)

TIP #1: What this shot needs is….more goal post (see photo above right).
Without the goal post clearly visible in the shot, how does the viewer really even know what sport they’re seeing? Is it ice hockey? The 100mm Men’s Freestyle? Doubles Tennis? Who knows without a strong visual cue like that icon of football, the venerable Goal Post. Seeing it lets you know in an instant that this is football, and a four-point touchback is just moments away.

“I’ve got a fever. And the only prescription…is More Goal Post.”
— Legendary football photographer Bruce Dickinson

“If Bruce Dickinson wants more goal posts, we should probably give him more goal posts. And maybe I am being selfish, but last time I checked, SI doesn’t have a lot of pictures that feature the goal post!”
— Legendary G+ commenter  Nicholas Boivin


Tip #2: Use the Ref as a Graphic Element Whenever Possible
Timing is everything when shooting football, and if you can time it to where a referee walks into the frame at the peak moment of action (as seen above right), it will add a level of depth that is missing in so many sports photos today. Look at the flat-looking, one dimensional image on the left. Now compare that with the one on the right. The ref adds the depth and dimension it needs to take this shot to the pro level. I call this technique “Reverse Shallow Depth of Field.” or RSDOF

Tip #3: Use assistant coaches and other random people on the sidelines to help “frame” your subject (as seen above right).
In the shot on the left, you don’t know where to look first, but in the shot on the right, your eyes are drawn right into the player carrying ball (someone you might otherwise overlook). This is a tried and true compositional technique that is usually applied to travel and landscape images, but if you’ve got team assistants, and video crew, and the guy holding that big blue parabolic mic right there beside you on the sidelines, why not use them to apply that same technique to football shots? You won’t see this type of framing on, and that’s precisely what will make your images stand out!

Well, there you have it folks, three solid tips designed to add the element of surprise and shallow depth of field to your foreground like never before. Now, it’s off to shoot the second period of play and take a few snaps of that running guard right before the buzzer! ;-)

On Wednesday evening we are launching the worldwide premiere of one of the best online classes we’ve ever produced, featuring one of the best instructors on the planet, Joe McNally. 

You’re invited for this one-time only free broadcast of “A Day with Joe McNally.” If you loved “A Day with Jay Maisel” or a “Day with Jeremy Cowart” this class was tailor made for you. We’ll have Joe McNally himself LIVE with us in the studio, taking your questions, comments, and sharing his stories and instruction in a way only Joe can. After this one-time one free worldwide broadcast, Joe’s class will be only available to Kelby Training Online subscribers, so I hope you can join us for this free live history-making event:

When: Wednesday, 6:00 pm LIVE

Where: Here’s the link

Who: Join Joe and Me live on the air as we share the entire class free for everyone.

You’ll learn a lot, you’ll laugh a lot, and you’ll be amazing what you can do with just one or two hot-shoe flashes. You’ve just got to see it.

Andy Spliethof, the Leader of the Medford, Oregon Photo Walk. There were so many good photos, it was really hard to choose one winner, but I found myself coming back to this image again and again. Its composition, color and energy really come together to make a fun, captivating image.

I posted the other Leader photos in an Album over at my Google+ page that were in the running right up to the end and I thought they deserved some recognition, too. Here’s the link. 

Congratulations to Andy, and to all the leaders who submitted such great images for our first Leaders Competition.

Hi Gang:
I have really good news, and even better news. First, the good news:

(1) Through sales of the official Worldwide Photo Walk t-shirts, this year once again we raised just over $7,000 for the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya. How cool is that!!!! Now, the even better news:

(2) We’re not done. Rob Jones, of Towner Jones Photography (the wonderful, big-hearted guy who coordinates our whole t-shirt store) really wants us to hit our goal of raising $10,000 for the children this year, and here’s his plan:

For every Official Worldwide Photo Walk t-shirt you buy before the end of November, Rob (and Towner Jones Photography) will kick in an ADDITIONAL $5 per shirt to the Orphanage. You have to love a guy with that kind of heart and compassion (Rob, you SO rock!!!!!).

Here’s the link to the Official t-shirt store.

If you participated in a walk this year, I hope you’ll consider buying a shirt (or two) to help feed and cloth these wonderful kids (which is an on-going struggle for this small orphanage). Your donation helps more than you know (plus, you get a cool shirt besides). :)

If you already have the t-shirt, or just want to make a Direct Donation to the Springs of Hope Kenya Orphanage, click right here (and know at that moment that you’re about to do something that really, really makes a difference in the life of a child).

Thanks to everyone who already bought a shirt, and to everyone who will graciously help and buy one today, and a big thanks and hug to Rob Jones who year after year has dedicated himself to this project, with both his time, talents, and generous donations.

P.S. I’ll be posting the winners of the Photo Walk LEADER CONTEST by 12:00 PM Noon EST today!