Notes From The Slow Lane

After 10+ years, my car, The Mighty Hyundai, has broken.  It needed a transmission.  What a drag.  Still, that’s the first major fault in over 80,000 miles, so I can’t really complain.

While the car was in the shop, I’ve been driving my late father’s Toyota Tacoma pickup.

Toyota _4

It’s a great truck.  I’m sure it will last forever.  But, it’s a bit slow.

The Mighty Hyundai, you see, is the GT version, the one with the spoiler on the back?  The spoiler alone gives it 20 more horsepower, fact.  Someone on a Hyundai internet forum told me that.  So, I guess you could say i was used to going fast.

With the truck, not so much.  But that’s ok, because going slow gives you a different perspective than going fast.

First of all, you get to really see how many idiots are on the road.  In their fast cars, with their spoilers, driving fast.  Going slow often means I can be more courteous to people. Let them merge into traffic rather than stepping on the gas to get around them.

Also, going slow lets you appreciate the landscape as it goes by.  Makes you even want to stop, just to enjoy it for a little while.

The most interesting this is that I have noticed that I often get somewhere just as fast as the fast people.  I got on the freeway, someone just zoomed by me.  But, several miles down the road, I exit and, at the red light, I see the same car just a few car lengths away.  All their effort was for very little payoff.

All of these lessons can apply to photography.  I mean, they could apply to life itself, certainly, but especially to photography.

First, your gear matters less than you think it does.  If you are racing in NASCAR, then you need top of the line equipment.  But, more often than not, my Toyota Tacoma truck is going to be right next to your Corvette as we move from red light to red light.  The other point to that is, if you don’t really know how to drive your Corvette to it’s maximum potential, then you have wasted your money.  Similarly, if you get a full frame DSLR with all the bells and whistles and just snap pics of your kids at soccer practice, you have wasted your money.

Next, start letting people in.  I’ve been hugely lucky recently in that I’ve met people who have taken the time to talk with me about their work, share what they know, and allow me to enter pathways I might never have explored before.  Make sure that you are doing more than rushing from shoot to shoot, project to project, cutting people off and pushing people away.  Make some time to mentor people.  Make sure to let people in.

Make sure your are doing work that is worth the payoff.  It doesn’t have to be monetary payoff, sometimes experimenting or creating something for the sake of having something beautiful is reward itself.  But, just make sure that you are posting, blogging, editing, commenting, doing a thousand things just for the sake of doing things, rather than moving towards a goal.  You do not want to go fast just to end up at the same red light as someone you passed many miles ago.

And, lastly, make sure to notice the landscape as it passes by.  Start going slower, and see what you may be missing.  And make time to just stop.  Look around.  Breathe.

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