Serious practice

#TravelTuesday with Dave has come round again, and this week I’m in Norway. More specifically, I’m in Troms, just at the gateway to the Lofoten Islands and within reach of many of the most beautiful places in northern Norway. Note that I said “within reach” rather than “within easy reach.” That’s because things that are so close can actually take a long time to get to because of the requirement to circumnavigate mountains and fjords.

Within reach yesterday was the North Cape—the northernmost point on continental Europe. It’s so far north of where I was that if I’d continued and doubled the distance I covered in the car yesterday, I would reach the North Pole. Fun fact: the first person to travel to the North Cape for tourism did so in 1664, which is before the great fire of London and over 100 years before the Declaration of Independence. That’s not the point, though. The point is that it was really hard to get there! There was snow, ice, slush, mountain passes, twists, and turns, and getting there safely at the start of the winter meant not taking my eye off the ball for a second—100% focus was required. That got me thinking—it’s 100% focus that we need in the pursuit of our photographic career, too.

The creative world is a dynamic one, just like those mountain passes. When I drove north to reach the cape the road conditions were completely different from how they turned out to be on the drive back south. Similarly, if I stop taking note of changes in the photography industry, both technically and creatively, I’ll miss a beat and things will have changed without me. It’s crucial to keep up to date, and part of this is practice and training.

Ask Scott or any other photography rockstar and they’ll tell you the exact same thing as me—keep practicing and keep learning. Don’t take your eye off the ball. Continuous learning results in us being at the top of our game, and skipping opportunities to practice and learn leaves a noticeable hole in our skillset. This puts a very serious spin on what is otherwise an escape from reality or a means of expression, so to that I’ll repeat something I was told by Glyn Dewis a few years ago: – Take what you do seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously. It means we should give ourselves a break, not put pressure on ourselves, but give the task at hand our attention in order to achieve our aim as best as possible, be that for ourselves or our clients.

Practice and education—the keywords in that last paragraph. These are things we need to take responsibility for and continuously review. Without wishing to plug KelbyOne here, I must say that for both of these things it’s a fantastic resource and community. Everything we need is right there in one place. But on top of that, there are so many ways we can practice and educate ourselves to make sure we are on top form all the time. I can’t stress how important it is. Just like keeping up with the changes on the mountain pass, we need to keep up with changes in style, technique, tools, tech, and all that comes with our photography passion.

So, having taken a selfie pointing at the top of Europe, I now prepare for the rest of my Norwegian adventure, secure in the knowledge that I have imparted a wisdom nugget that you should all take very, very seriously. Just don’t take yourself too seriously ;)

Much love


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