Search Results for: understanding

Fight Club, LOTR, The Godfather & Achieving a Growth Mindset

Recently I attended a seminar by Klemmer & Associates called Personal Mastery where I had the opportunity to explore many of the belief systems I held in my head. My approach was not to accomplish anything in particular, but to be open and available to allowing my mind to be changed. With that mindset, Klemmer put me through a clinic that fundamentally altered my thought patterns and the feelings I associate with that which is not connected. Here are some of my realizations that I feel may help those who want to have more emotional health.

Fight Club Mentality

I was once (and on many levels, still am) obsessed with Fight Club. The David Fincher movie is phenomenal, and I cannot suggest you read Chuck Palahniuk’s book enough. The counter-cultural tones that this story took on resonates strongly with my being. This seminar helped me fine tune that connection and comprehend why I related so strongly. I have the tendency to take an approach to life that relies upon the appreciation of others. There is a voice that tells me to go after accomplishment x because that defines success. Once I achieved x, that voice was right there to tell me to go after y. But what if my true self is uninterested in the alphabet of accomplishments? What if my true self felt more satisfaction with accomplishing that which society doesn’t necessarily categorize as success? I learned that although I may have needed to obtain x and y for my wellbeing, I am not defined by it. I am able to see decisions I make through my very own lens by understanding who I am and what I want more clearly.

“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Gandolf Lord of the Rings Mentality All we have to decide

Truer words of wisdom have seldom been spoken. It seems trivial, and I don’t really mean to wax poetic, but the reality of life is that time continues on while we are trying to ‘figure our shit out’. I propose that our shit is already figured out. We have figured it out long ago, and we have made our decisions based on what we have figured out. If you aren’t satisfied, you need to consider what it is that you figured out long ago that took you to this point. The decisions we make are guided by our underlying purpose which we live by. I have thought a lot about what my purpose is that drives my decisions in life forward. Here’s what I came up with: My purpose is to evoke a shared perspective that brings forward positive change in the world. All that I do is revolving around those words. Sometimes are harder than others to tie my actions to that principle, but I’m committed to a lifetime of practice in it.


Often times I look at what I do and who I am, thinking, ‘why am I not doing more?’ It’s like I have an expectation of myself that I am not meeting although I am accomplishing everything that I seek. What is the reason for this disconnect? The problem is not me, the problem is my mindset. My limiting belief system that told me if I were going to be great, I would have done it by now was weighing me down. That internal dialogue held me back from contributing all that I had to contribute to the world. It had me pulling away from situations that challenge me and kept me down that path most traveled. If I want to live my purpose and be a great person, I am going to have to make different decisions about what exactly I do and how I think. There is no ceiling on the growth of humanity, compassion, or care. So, why put a limit on my expectations when I approach any opportunity? I have changed my mentality around the possibilities of my growth in order to attain greater results given the same opportunities that I’ve had before.

Photo Credit:
Feed Banana

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A Personal Framework for Increased Happiness

Personal Growth Alternative Thinking
I am a firm believer in extreme empowerment on many levels of personal growth. What I mean by that is simple: you have the ability to change almost every aspect about your life. I am constantly revising the way I think, eat, and live in order to better suit my happiness. With this concept comes a constant internal revision process and continuous challenges to change. Fortunately, there are a magnitude of tools and principles to employ that naturally brings about a constant flow towards being happy.

I recently returned from Burning Man which taught me more than I could ever begin to describe. Within the context of personal empowerment, I learned about my significant ability to accomplish goals and impact others. Everyone has a personal modus operandi which they employ to move forward in life. Take a long look at what you do to get to the end of any task, cut out the fat, and streamline your thinking/doing process. I also realized how significant other actors can be in my outcomes. It dawned on me how impactful a gift could be, and what significant alteration a single interaction with someone can have on a life. Approach others as if they held the key to happiness. Treat your relationships as sacred and use them as a platform to lift your spirit and your capabilities.

Change should be considered a certainty along with death and taxes. It’s here and will continue to come regardless of resistance. It’s vital to embrace and direct change to the best of your ability in order to generate the results you ultimately desire. There are always challenges and obstacles that arise throughout life which must be overcome. Take a long look at the changes occurring now, changes that are likely to come, and potential changes we have no control over. Analyze those changes and decipher what kind of impact they will have on your life. Having a better understanding of these changes can assist your decision making skills and put you on the path to maximum happiness.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

One of the most vital pieces of information I have acquired is that I know close to nothing. Once I was able to hold this in my mind, I was able to learn exponentially more and get far more help than overestimating my knowledge. Simply acknowledging that I have a very specific skillset and background empowered both my ability to contribute to those around my and their ability to contribute to me. Never again will I hesitate to ask questions or say that I don’t understand. Information is power and to obtain either requires an openness to that which you do not know and cannot control.

There are currently a magnitude of different life aspects I have applied my new way of thinking to. My new approach has led me down avenues I never before thought possible. I have made staggering progress in achieving my goals and dreams which I can easily see and articulate. Constant personal revision for an improved pathway to happiness is vital for my way of living. Incorporating this thought provocation and purpose driven approach has set me up to enjoy each day more than the last. If any of this rings true or sounds bogus, message me and let me know how you feel!

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Getting Millennials ‘Buy In’ For Your Workplace

The buzz about millennials in the workplace leaves me scratching my head. I listen to executives gripe about the new generation with the same breath they’re begging for millennial cooperation. Understanding the demographic is apparently frustrating, but I ensure you that it’s not impossible.

First, let’s not commit stereotype suicide. Certain generalizations can be made to make your brand more appealing to millennials from a consumer and an employee standpoint. However, no net can be cast over us all. We are as diverse in our culture as we are in thought. Some commonalities we tend to share include a flexible and adaptive workplace. You don’t have to be Google to offer a modified environment to conform to our preferences. Also, we are individuals. We want to be able to be ourselves without restrictions. Find a way to capitalize on what we tend to be partial to rather than fighting against it.

Second, you must be willing to change. I know…your brand grew to success with these tried and true techniques. Want to know a millennial secret? We don’t give a shit how it was always done! This is the moment, right here and now, that we are going to make a judgement about. As employees, it doesn’t matter if every new hire since the brand’s inception has been satisfied with the pay structure and benefits.

Third, we are paying attention. The revolution that has shaped millennial’s mindsets revolves around the internet’s rapid spread of information. We are in tune with our surroundings on a level that it hard for Gen X’ers to comprehend. Brands can’t hide behind corporate policies and human relations. We are a generation of information and we are finding brands that embody what we desire and those who make excuses for why they don’t.

Millennials are the present and future consumers that have brands drooling. To get this generation’s attention, you must behave in line with our values. Actions must be taken to move your brand into millennial sights. Go out and talk to them to get a feel for their wants and needs. Understand the way we think. Without that understanding and willingness to change, your brand will be about to enter its’ sunset phase.

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Get Your Mind Right

I have always thought differently. I remember, in high school, I had a fantastic social studies teacher Mr. Combs. In his class we were learning about political beliefs, what they were, how to define our own, and most importantly why we thought that way. He would separate the room into left or right and allow a brief debate about why each side felt the way they did. I found myself standing alone in many instances. Today, I don’t stand alone. I do stand apart.

Stereotypes and structure are not insurmountable aspects in any way shape or form. In developing a relationship with my girlfriend, I disrupted the preconceived ideas about what a relationship should be early on. If she wanted to be a part of my non-traditional lifestyle, she would have to be part of my non-traditional way of thinking. In having a radically honest conversation about what I was looking for in a relationship we became spiritually intertwined in a way.

Radical honesty is one tool I use to raise questions about what we do and why we do it. In my girlfriend’s situation, I was looking to find out whether she was or is capable of being stronger than me. Simply because society has shaped our thought patterns to think of women as less physically or emotionally sturdy than men doesn’t make it so. Fortunately, she is a stronger person than I could ever dream of becoming. It took raising the question for both of us to realize what the full potential was that lay before us.

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” – Albert Einstein

This principle of questioning the norm can be applied to all kinds of situations (not just relationships). It should have been applied sooner in the slave trade. We don’t challenge enough when it comes to LGBT rights and inherent prejudice build into our public social structure. Companies play follow the leader rather than taking the initiative to lead themselves. In the corporate world, were afraid to stick out like a sore thumb. However, it is usually the outliers who are capable of the greatest growth and reward.

Change is resisted by most. We are, after all, creatures of habit. The only way I am able to learn and grow as a citizen of the world is to undergo change. Understanding for our fellow citizens is not an inherent quality. We need to step out of our comfort zone to be able to empathize with all walks of life. Don’t be afraid to think or act differently. Change, uncertainty and growth is what the human experience is all about.

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Lightroom File Import Workflow For Beginners

In my previous video blog, I broke down how I structure my files to be able to find them easily. That file structure lends itself to the next step in this process: importing photos. The first thing that I do is create the file that I am going to be putting all the photos in. After that, open Lightroom and plug in the memory card for some good ol’ fashioned file import.

In the import window, I look at the photos individually and select or deselect items that I want to include or not. This first pass over will weed out the bad from the decent. I take a second look for duplicates that differ slightly and decide as to which I want to keep. Make sure the right folder (the one that was created in the very first step) is the destination for the photos, smart previews are enabled, and import the photos. Then, battle your way through learning how to edit in Lightroom before moving on to the impossibility that is fully understanding Photoshop.

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Planet Earth II

Planet Earth II

To record and share nature is one of the highest privileges that the photography community is granted. Very few examples compile the essence of our world as beautifully as BBC’s Planet Earth II. It is a masterfully orchestrated display of our awe inspiring surroundings. Absent main characters and plot points, Planet Earth II plants you on the edge of your seat peering around corners and anticipating what will happen next.

The series employs the masterful narration of David Attenborough accompanied by the sweeping sounds of Hans Zimmer to carry viewers through their experience. The two complement one another extraordinarily. The narration is intriguing and the orchestral pieces help connect those words to the visuals on the screen. The passion and curiosity that perpetuated the production of Planet Earth II shines through the dance between narrator and composer.

Capturing the shots seen in Planet Earth II is not an easy task to say the least. It takes a great amount of technical knowledge in terms of cameras and software, as well as an in depth understanding of the subjects being shot. There is no point in the show that seems as though it was skimmed over or taken for granted. The positioning of the shots and the information that is given creates a very stimulating experience.

It is extremely interesting to see the short segment at the end of the episode to witness what the crew had to do in order to get the shot. This goes to show that you don’t generate great images without getting out and finding them. There is no shortcut that can give the filmmakers the same footage without climbing, hiking, and crawling around with their equipment to find it. We are grateful that the work put into obtaining this footage pays off with a captivating portrayal of our planet.

As David describes the situation that is taking place before our eyes, I become fixated on the beauty of the world I live in. The producers are able to show the world an inspiring point of view of itself. The purpose of nature documentaries like this is to draw attention to the loveliness around us. Planet Earth II has altered the way I perceive the world around me. It is influential and inspiring to my work as a photographer.

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Photo Credit: BBC Earth

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How to Force Progress in Photography

Photography ProgressThe world of cameras is a daunting place, particularly when you just get into it. There are not only a ton of different brands, software, and technical specifications, but also endless equipment and an ever-changing business environment. It can definitely get overwhelming. Just keep in mind what you are passionate for and everything else will fall into place.

When considering expanding my equipment, there is a basic amount of research necessary to make my purchase. I look into what my options are, what are the leading innovations in that field, and how I will use it. In doing this research I intrinsically learn more about my passion and will be able to perform better in the future. Knowing a basic amount about what you are buying makes you able to use it better.

I remember my first time opening Lightroom and Photoshop. I was unsure what the difference between the two was, let alone how to use them. This was really frustrating because my artistic vision was impeded by my technical skill and knowledge. There is no way around the learning curve. Simply put in the time to figure out what the applications are capable of and eventually you will be able to produce more and more images that you are proud to share.

There are endless classes and tutorials as well as content that attempts to explain and teach. These can be very useful and show you a lot that you didn’t know. I am a completely self-taught photographer who has yet to purchase a true educational tool, with the exception of a couple books. I have learned that there is absolutely no substitute for experience. If I never take pictures, I wont be able to generate a good image. If I never spend time clicking around Photoshop, I will never learn how to navigate the software. These things take practice. Dive in head first and just start doing rather than getting hung up on how much you don’t know.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
-Walt Disney

There is a sea of information available to photographers. If you intend on fully understanding all of it before actually attempting to perform it then there will be no connection between your knowledge and tangible skills. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and producing things you aren’t totally stoked on. That is going to happen constantly. Keep your passion at the forefront of your mind. Prevent yourself from getting too overwhelmed or frustrated. So do some research and know the gist of what you have, then use it constantly (even poorly) until you develop an understanding of it which translates to something you can be proud of.

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Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus Camera

iPhone 7 Plus CameraWith the advancing modern technology, many people have taken to their phone cameras to explore photography. The iPhone 7 Plus has set an impressive new standard in what a camera phone is expected to do. Cameras and phones have advanced enough to be able to take a great picture without a heavy investment and technical knowledge. There are obvious advantages to this. There are also some less known disadvantages.

The iPhone 7 Plus is equipped with dual rear cameras. One is a wide angle while the other is a telephoto (meaning it zooms in). The lenses are great for phone pictures. However, the optics of a DSLR lens are insurmountable when it comes to image quality. Both will get the job done, but depending on what you are shooting the difference can be blatant.

Regardless of the lens you shoot with on the iPhone, the phone is equipped with a 12MP (mega pixel) sensor. This is (again) really good for a phone. Pictures taken with 12MP can be shared and posted with little to no problem, unless you want it in a large size. Basic DSLRs have at least a 12MP sensor and I would advise you don’t dip below that. Trying to enlarge a photo from the iPhone with 12MP (assuming you don’t crop it) will result in pixelated images and less than stellar color if you don’t know its limitation.

Portrait mode is a new feature that Apple has been pushing in the iPhone 7 Plus. What is happening in the camera is fundamentally different from what happens in a DSLR to create the same effect. Rather than using a combination of aperture and distance of the subject to the background, the iPhone is using both lenses and internal editing software. The phone takes in layers of the primary focus in the picture and applies a blur or bokeh to the rest.

iPhones have altered the way that society has lived for the last decade. The innovation of their camera has made it easier for anyone to capture moments they want to save. It is a blessing to be able to have something so powerful fit into a pocket. The importance lies in the understanding of its limitations and when the big guns are called for. If you like this post, share it on Twitter!

Photo Credit: Phone Radar

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Perspective vs Perception

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.
I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”
George Carlin

Perception perspective

I write often about both perception and perspective with regards to many aspects of photography and the camera world. They relate to all aspects of life. It’s important to acknowledge their presence in our life situations and how they impact us. Perception is defined as awareness of something through the senses, a mental impression, or an intuitive understanding and insight. Perspective is a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view, or a true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion.

It seems as though we are splitting hairs in attempting to differentiate the two. In terms of photographic technique, perspective relates more to the actual position of the camera. I’m not saying simply the physical location and direction of the camera, but also who is taking the picture and how they are seeing it. Perception relates more so to the feelings invoked by the image that was taken. It takes into consideration a person’s predispositions as well as the photographer’s perspective.

My perception is highly influenced by my cultural surroundings. I seek to challenge my perspective constantly in order to negate or affirm my understanding or feeling towards a subject. Approaching photo shoots with your perspective of the subject clearly in mind will give you insight to how your images might turn out. Consider the perspective of your subjects as well.

Perception is something I feel to be highly important to the work of a photographer. On a very basic level, we take pictures of things that either affirm or change someone’s perception of the subject. For example, a picture of Yosemite might confirm that nature is beautiful or a picture of a leopard after hunting might alter someone’s belief that all cats are cuddly. Considering and challenging your perspective prior to shooting will allow you to focus on the desired affect you want to have on a viewer’s perception.

Confused yet? I probably talked in circles and used interchangeable terms in a way that made them seem unique. That might just be my perception of my writing which influenced the perspective with which I wrote it. Or was it supposed to be the other way around? In any case, explore what you think and feel about subjects you are shooting. Wonder through those feelings and discover the way which you are seeing what’s in front of you, and consider how you want those around you to see it.

Photo Credit: To Know

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A Quick Beginner’s Guide to Shutter Speed

Blurry pictures are the worst (unless you’re into that sort of thing). Of course there is, at times, a reason or purpose behind wanting blur in your photo. Frustration sets in hard and quick when the blur is unintended and you don’t know how to fix it. Fortunately, a basic understanding of the shutter speed and its implications on your image can alleviate the tension.

Shutter speed can also be called exposure time because it refers to the amount of time the camera’s image sensor is exposed to the light of a scene. It is measured in seconds, and the display varies by camera. Typically, the speed of the shutter will either show as 1/100 or 100, both referring to 1/100th of a second. For my Nikon D750, it displays 2” in order to show the transition to whole seconds rather than fractions. This means the camera will look at your image for that period of time. Cameras also vary on their capabilities to have shutter speeds on the slower or faster ends of the spectrum.

nutcracker ballet jump flip

Think of shutter speed like a blink of an eye. Close your eyes, open them for 1/100th of a second, and close them again. That is the image that the camera is capturing. Consider what you saw during that period of time. If you’re looking at an object like a can of soda or at the dinner table, everything is setting still and you could likely recreate the layout in your mind. Compare that to a scene where your dog is sprinting across the yard. It is hard to pinpoint exactly where the dog is in the scene because it is moving so quickly. That movement causes the blur.

I am using the term ‘blur’ rather loosely because it is generally what people will relate to. However, not all blur is ‘blur’ and not all ‘blur’ is bad. If we set the shutter speed to 2” (2 seconds) and take a picture of the yard with the dog running, we’d likely see traces of the dog from one side of the scene all the way to the other. This is showing movement, not blur, assuming that the camera is in focus. This is why landscape or nature photographers will typically set up if front of waterfalls and set the shutter to long increments of time to capture the continuous movement and flow of the water.

shutter speed

Another aspect to take into consideration is that holding the camera will impact the shutter speed. It is much easier to hold the camera still for 1/100th of a second than it is to hold it still for 2 whole seconds. A good rule of thumb for holding the camera by hand is to never set the shutter speed any lower than 1/125 because the image can have unintended movement. Use a tripod or prop to stabilize your camera if you want to open the shutter for a longer period of time.

The balancing act of shutter speed, ISO, and aperture is the longest standing battle of any photographer’s learning curve. Simply put, shutter speed is how long the image sensor gets to sense the image. At times, shutter speed will be the highest priority and at others will be the least of your concerns. Comprehending its’ use, notation, and impact is essential for creating the look you want in the pictures you take. Follow me on Twitter for more photography info!

Photo Credit

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