I’ve been on a bit of a rediscovery of photography of late, driven by my desire to fulfil the promises that my red-wine laden self proclaimed loudly over the Internet just a couple months ago. I’ve always had something of an interest in it dating back to the time when I wanted to capture my wife and I’s first trip overseas together all those years ago. However that interest was put aside for other things that seemed more important at the time: attempting to build my own start up, trying to build 100% passive income streams and all manner of things that, more often than not, left me burnt out and wondering why I had bothered in the first place.
I’ll have to admit that my knowledge of photography was average when I first started out on this journey, although I didn’t know that at the time. Ever since then I’ve been feeding myself on a steady diet of Wikipedia articles, photography blogs and lurking continuously on the photography subreddit. In that time I’ve come to realise that many of the assumptions I made about certain things, like the reasons why people spend so much on Leicas or why the TSE lenses are actually useful, were totally wrong and that’s had me doing a hell of a lot of self reflection.
The biggest thing to come of this seems to be an incredible distaste for nearly every picture I’ve taken since I first laid my hands on my new bits of camera equipment. I should have expected this, I even blogged about this very phenomena twice in the past, but it seems that every time I set out with the best of intentions I end up looking back at all the pictures I took and feeling like I’ve wasted my time. It’s a really painful feeling, especially when you’ve hyped up everything in your head before hand.
The reality of the situation is actually something that everyone who sets out to improve themselves goes through: the stage where you realise what it takes to be the thing you want to become and the desperation in knowing that you’re no where near there yet. This isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s in fact a critical step to progressing forward as up until this point you were operating on the rush of starting out in new territory, picking up a few quick wins but still being blissfully unaware of all the challenges that lay ahead of you. This self realization is usually what kills most people’s motivation to continue on in a particular pursuit but realistically this should be the point where you push through the pain barrier in order to make it to the other side.
Unfortunately there’s no quick fix solution other than pressing on in spite of your feelings to the contrary. You’d think having been through this process twice in recent memory that I would’ve predicted this feeling of ennui and planned accordingly but for some reason I just…didn’t. Thankfully other parts of my personality, namely the fiscal one, scream loudly enough to force me to continue on. I absolutely detest the feeling that I’m simply doing photography for the sake of getting my money’s worth out of the equipment I bought but it’s enough to keep me going and hopefully enough to drive me through to the other side.
This post will also form part of the strategy for me to keep on developing as a photographer. I’ve already put myself in many situations that I wouldn’t have otherwise for the sake of photography and, whilst I might not feel like I’m doing anything of worth at the time, I have produced some pictures that, on reflection, do meet my criteria for being “good”. I keep making a promise to myself that I’ll do 1 post here a week based on my latest photographic excursions and maybe its time that I made good on that instead of getting caught up in a circle of self loathing.
Yeah, I think its time.
I’ve been an on again, off again developer ever since my first year of university. I wasn’t particularly good at it either and it took me a good year of slogging through various programming languages before the penny finally dropped when I started using C#. After that initial hump however I found it much easier to pick up on new languages and technologies which has ultimately culminated in me attempting to create my own web application from the ground up, something I would’ve seen as impossible just a few years ago. It’s just over a year and a half since I began work on my pet project and in that time it’s gone through 3 complete rewrites, 4 redesigns and several months of me staring at a computer screen wondering if this is the best thing to do with my time.
It was that little hater getting into my head again.
I hadn’t really been thinking about much until a friend of mine commented on how he’d noticed that my writings indicated I was getting tired of developing Lobaco. After thinking about it for a while I knew he was right, the long weekends spent coding and testing had been taking their toll on me mentally. I had begun to fantasise about other applications I could be developing or other hobbies I could pick up, losing hours in research. After a while they started to meld together and my new found hobbies were turning into other potential start up ideas and I began lusting after them as they began to look so much more tangible than Lobaco. It was the dreaded unknowing procrastination beginning to slip in again and I had been welcoming it willingly.
As Jay Smooth put so aptly it was being in the thick of creation for so long that was making me lose sight of the end game. I’ve been writing on this blog for over 2 years now and there have been many times I’ve thought I should just give it up and shut the whole thing down (I would gain a considerable amount of time per day back again) but every time I get a comment either here or in real life I know that the work I do here is appreciated and it keeps me going that much longer. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that some days I just won’t be able to find anything to write about and that doesn’t mean this blog is worthless. Still I do enjoy blogging and when I’ve got a topic I’m passionate about I feel it shows and it’s posts like that that keep me coming back every day in the hopes I’ll hit on one of those topics.
Ever since that realisation I’ve been making great strides with the Lobaco iPhone application. Last weekend was probably my most productive ever with 4 core features being implemented and many improvements made thanks to some open source libraries I hadn’t come across before. Now it feels like I’ve hit one of those points where my progress as an iPhone developer is accelerating and my formerly hacker style approach is now becoming more standardized and new features are just rolling off my fingers. I’ve still got a couple months of development effort ahead of me before I’ll be releasing the iPhone application to beta testers but now its only a matter of time rather than the impossible mountain it used to be.
I guess this is why the majority of start ups are founded with more than just a single person. It’s so easy to get lost in your own world when you’re trying to bring an idea into reality and having someone there beside you really helps to keep you in the game and focused on the goal. Whilst I haven’t found anyone (yet, but I’m still looking!) who’s willing to go on this startup journey with me my group of close friends have acted as the sounding board and grounding rod that’s gotten me this far into the project. The next few months are going to be the make or break time for Lobaco but with the progress I’ve made in just the past couple weeks I have a much renewed level of confidence, and a desire to succeed that is yet to be satiated.
To be honest I’ve never been the most creative guy. As a child I was horrible at drawing and anything that required lateral thinking I pretty much threw by the wayside. I guess that’s why I was drawn to computers and mathematics, they’re pretty straight forward and there’s always logical steps you can follow to get to your goal. Over the past few years I’ve begun to realise my creativity in other areas, and this blog has been a wonderful outlet to express myself. It’s a strange sort of coming of age for me, since now I’m starting to encounter all those problems that my much more creative friends have talked about.
He puts the problems that I’ve faced as a late creative bloomer into perspective. Whenever I sit in front of my computer and begin to write I always have to question whether or not what I’m writing is complete trash or if the whole idea of this blog is merely a feeble grab at some Internet fame. When I first started out my little hater kept telling me that every day someone didn’t visit my blog was a sign that I was not meant to do this sort of thing. He was kept at bay for several months until recently when I logged in to see the ugly 0 there again. All that doubt came flooding back and I started to question why I was even bothering doing this in the first place.
The good news out of all of this is that the last couple weeks of spotty posts haven’t been due to me caving into my little hater. With the starting of a new job and subsequently less time to blog I’ve usually lacked the time to post consistently. I had a rythym going at my old job and I just need to find that again with my new workplace, I’m sure I’ll get the swing of it in a month. The bigger, and more important reason is that I’ve been semi-secretly working on a new web application. With my 100th post coming up I felt I should do something special and it just so happened that I was planning to do a 1.0 release to the public this weekend, and my 100th post will introduce my application along with a cursory look back over the past 6 months or so of this blog, just for old times sake 🙂
So stay tuned, hopefully you’ll like what I’ve tried to do.