In his best selling book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen R. Covey was onto something when he added the last habit, 'Sharpen the Saw.' He succinctly states, "Habit #7 is taking the time to sharpen the saw. It surrounds the other habits on the Seven Habits paradigm because it is the habit that makes all the others possible.
When you consider some of the other habits include; Be Proactive and Begin with the End in Mind, this is a powerful statement.
As I sit here and watch game #1 of the ALCS playoffs between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, I think of players getting into the cage before each game and taking their cuts. They play 162 games per year and and still practice before every game. There's not much time for getting rusty. Repetition, timing and rhythm though is everything.
Photography is very similar. It goes without saying that shooting everyday produces better results. You see things more clearly. Your artistic vision is improved. And, your timing is often better (especially in sports). Images just seem to come together. Baseball players often discuss slowing down the game. This allows them to increase their eye-mind-body coordination and enhance performance. As photographers, we're not trying to slow down a 99 mph fastball, but be more in the moment and in tune with our environment.
In recent years, I've made it a point to attend at least one educational endeavor per year. My version of batting practice. This can be a photo seminar, workshop, presentation or something similar. Regardless of your level of experience, putting yourself in this environment is stimulative. Life is an endless learning process and this keeps you in the game.
The National Geographic Workshop in Santa Fe got things started in 2015. A terrific 5 days of classroom education coupled with daily shooting was perfect. The Santa Fe vibe was spectacular and offered plenty of photo opportunities. If you could channel your inner Ansel Adams and/or Georgia O'Keeffe artistry, it was nearly impossible not to be inspired.
This year a different approach was taken. I ventured out to the mid-west for the Out of Chicago Conference. A multi-day event structured around seminars, lectures, and photo walks. A slightly different format from last year. Plenty of thought provoking seminars, topics and great camaraderie. Toss in the great City of Chicago and your photographic senses were kicked into overdrive.
With nothing booked as of yet for 2018, a little research awaits me. Not sure as of yet where my passion will take me? One thing is for sure, it will be enjoyable. Submersing yourself in something you love pays dividends. Speaking the same language with others for multiple days, forming new friendships, renewing existing ones and looking for your next image is all part of improving your craft.
t's time to check my schedule, google a few items and get things in order for 2019. Time to Sharpen the Saw once again...