Resisting External Influences

I miss my camera.

I enjoy photography, and for a long time I was striving to get better at it. I especially wanted to improve my post-production game. Unfortunately, I haven’t touched my camera in quite some time. Right now, I can’t even say with 100% certainty where my camera is.

Thirst in Amber

Thirst in Amber on Flickr

I went through my Flickr photo stream today, and most of it is the Instagram stuff I’ve been throwing around. It’s been a long time since I posted something shot with my Rebel, and even longer since I posted something at least half artistic rather than candid.

So what the hell is keeping me away?

My computer is one problem. It’s an iMac from 2008, and while it still runs well, the software has gotten so resource-intensive that this thing can’t walk and chew bubblegum at the same time. If I’m going to work in Lightroom, I need to shut down everything else. If I’m surfing in Chrome, I need to shut down everything but Twitter. It takes forever to import photos, takes forever to browse and edit them, takes forever to export them, and if I’m lucky it won’t overheat and crash in the middle of it all.


Ghost on Flickr (I miss this guy)

Living on a slow Internet connection in the boonies doesn’t help. If I have to upload a big batch of photos, it’s pretty much a case of walking away and letting it run overnight. Our upload speeds would make a snail yawn, and I sometimes have to repeat batches due to timeout errors.

Then there’s the problem of subjects. I sometimes like to shoot my kids, my wife, or friends & relatives. Unfortunately they’re less than cooperative.

“Daaa-aad, I don’t want to!”

“There’s Mike with his damn camera again.”

“I don’t want to be on the Internet!”

Little Bird's Flight B&W

Little Bird’s Flight on Flickr

Sometimes it works out and I get nice shots of them anyway, but most of the time it’s not worth the hassle. I got tired of lugging the camera around and not using it. Tired of the bitching while I tried to line up a shot. Tired of exasperated sighs when I asked for help to swap a lens.

The simple solution was to switch to inanimate subjects, or sometimes shoot self portraits. That helped for a while, but I started to run out of interesting ideas around the house, and I found it tough to get out and make time to find other subjects.

Precious Metal

Precious Metal on Flickr

As I thought about this all today, I realized the real problem is being susceptible to external influences.

There’s not much I can do about the computer with out the cash to replace it, and there’s not much I can do about the Internet connection aside from packing up and moving. I can either have the patience to deal with them, or I can suck it up and get it done.

Am I shooting photos for my subjects, or am I shooting photos for me? I don’t think it’s selfish to say I’m doing it for me. I enjoy being creative, and if they don’t want to share in that, so be it.

Of course, the subject situation should easily be solved by creativity. I may not get out as often as I’d like due to family and job obligations, but that doesn’t mean I can’t explore some of the same subjects with new angles, or try different approaches with lighting, color, backgrounds, and so on. It’s part of nurturing the creativity.

Shadow at Sunset

Shadow at Sunset on Flickr

We can’t allow ourselves to be susceptible to external influences, or we’ll never get anything done. There’s always a better rig available, always someone complaining about something, and it will always be tough to make time for things. If we allow these external influences to run our lives, we have no time to nurture our internal needs.

I think I have two jobs tonight.

First, find and dust off the camera. Check and clean the lenses, charge up the battery, and get it ready for action. Maybe I’ll carry it around again, maybe not, but I’ll shoot something soon.

Second, find out how many of these same external influences are screwing up my writing time, and fix them, too.

More soon.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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