Don’t Let It Pass You By

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Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 70-200mm ƒ/4L IS lens, ƒ/5.6 at 1/640 sec, ISO 100

Time has a way of slipping by, don’t you think? As much as we want to live in the “now” and feel the breeze of our future slowly open our eyes to what’s in store for us, we’re always looking in the past. I’m in my early thirties, which means I’m starting to feel old. But I bet those of you who have a few decades on me are thinking what I’ll be thinking in twenty years … I’m still young. But that’s the thing with young people: we don’t realize how young we are until we are old. I have so much life ahead of me, yet it’s difficult to keep my mind from looking back to what I used to have—good or bad—to focus on what I have right in front of me.

As a photographer I’m really trying to take this to heart. I’ve been fascinated with photography since I was in High School, yet it wasn’t until around 2005 that I started taking things seriously. But, as with many things, we start slowly and grow better as time passes. I got started in microstock and focused on photographing people, all while living on Oahu, Hawaii. I look back on that time and wish I had just the smallest bit of interest in photographing landscapes and timelapse. Sometimes it feels like it was such a waste that I really didn’t venture out to do any of that when all of that beauty surrounded me. I just couldn’t see the opportunities I was missing out on. I didn’t know how beautiful it was until I left.

The same goes for the few years I spent in Monterey, California. Again, my focus was on photographing people (which isn’t bad, since it’s still paying my bills), yet there was so much beauty I could have captured. One day I’ll go back with my greatly updated knowledge and passion for photography to create the beauty I somewhat neglected in my previous stay. And now, in my new home of Seattle, I really need to take this to heart and get out of my apartment and shoot. There is so much beauty here … some of it right outside of my doorstep, and the rest just a one or two-hour drive. I won’t live here forever, and now that I realize this I have even more reason to get out and shoot.

The same can be said for other things, like family and friends. Do you have portraits of your parents? Good portraits? How about your Grandparents? Or even just a cherished family pet? My mother’s very old, and very loved cat passed away a few months ago and the first thing my dad asked me was “do you have a photo of Oscar?”. I was just a kid when he was a kitten, so the most I had available was some out of focus crappy “I just started shooting with an SLR” film photos, since I never really bothered to photograph him when I actually knew what I was doing.

I guess the lesson, and call-to-action, is this: Time is all we have, so don’t let it pass you by without doing something about it. Cherish each moment. Go out and photograph that beautiful sunset instead of sitting inside watching TV. Heck, I’m as guilty as anyone—I can definitely be a happy homebody, but when I’m out creating things with my camera it is so invigorating. Open your eyes, look around you and take inventory. You won’t always have the things you see right now, so make them count.

By | 2016-12-18T17:01:08+00:00 March 12th, 2012|17 Comments

About the Author:

My name is Nicole and I'm a photographer, author, & educator living in Portland, Oregon, USA. When I'm not making photos I'm writing books and tutorials for my online store, Learn more about me and my story here.

17 Comments

  1. jerry huang March 12, 2012 at 8:58 am - Reply

    I have same feeling with you my dad just passed away last year and i didnt taken any photo on him because he was ill and lying on bed i want to take photo but cant take it i was so sad……

  2. Nick Nieto March 12, 2012 at 9:17 am - Reply

    This really hits home for me. Especially the part about making good portraits of those people and pets closest to you. 2 of my grandparents passed away before I was interested in photography and I wish all the time I could have a moment to take nice portraits of them.

    I am fortunate that my grandfather is still alive (age 94), he is starting to have dimensia badly and has trouble understanding what’s going on around him at time. About a year and a half ago I got him to go out to a place that he used to take me when I was a child and let me photograph him. He was still fairly sharp minded at the time and I am so appreciative that we had that time to really create a memory. It has turned out to be one of my favorite portraits – I urge everyone to go out and photograph your loved ones with time and effort you will not regret it I promise.

    Thanks for this post nicole

  3. Michele Roy March 12, 2012 at 11:48 am - Reply

    I really appreciated your inspiring post! I usually do not comment but this one I felt I had to!

    Personally, I have taken action last fall. I quit my no longer stimulating job to dedicate my precious time to study photography and to share my passion with close friends and family. I felt the urge after seeing my aging dad almost passing away et realizing I was overstressed by my life at that time. I have no regrets and each day I can feel the moment and I feel happy. I’m lucky because life has offered a second chance to my dad. He will be 82 this coming Saturday. This is my richness!

    PS: I’m french speaking so aplogize my english….

  4. Diane March 12, 2012 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    This is inspirational. Thank you.

  5. Marion Rundell March 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    The only thing we ever own in this life is…time. We don’t own cars, or houses, or things…only time. The clock is what we have that is valuable. We should spend it wisely with family and friends and photography retains the moments for us.

    Bill Gates and Warren Buffet…even Steve Jobs couldn’t buy more of it. It is the one thing they wish they could have more of…as do we all.

    Life is like a river. We see a golden shimmering leaf flowing downstream as we stand in the river and we pick the leaf up. It is beautiful to see and to enjoy, but we can never keep it. It belongs to the river of life. We release it, only to find another flowing downstream. There does come a time, when each of us becomes part of the river and flow downstream with it.

    Enjoy your youth now…we are only old once!

  6. Jason March 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    It’s so funny, I just finished writing a letter to my 13 month old on the changing perception of time as we mature. The perceived rate of time is inversely proportional to our maturing rate. So as children time seems to move soooo slow as we are maturing faster than we ever will in life. Then as we age and our maturing slows down, time seems to speed up. I’m sorry but we don’t own time. No matter what we do we can not contain it. The best we can do is try to capture a moment in time through a photography or memory. God is the only one who owns time. He loans us a small portion hoping that we use some of it to find our way to Him.

  7. Marion Rundell March 13, 2012 at 7:24 am - Reply

    The concept of “time perception” about which you write is correct. When you are 5 and live to be 6, the time is perceived as 20% of your life. It takes Christmas a LONG time to come around. When you are 50 and live to be 51, it is 2% of your life. Christmas is perceived to come around in a very short interval…certainly our perceptions have changed. This is a good concept to understand. Unfortunately, children will never learn this vicariously.

    With regards to owning time…if we don’t own it…how can we spend it? Certainly God gives us each a clock…we know not how much time in on that clock, but God gave it to us. We choose how we will spend the time on our individual clock. A child could never understand this. When a person gets to be Nicole’s age, he/she begins to understand. Jason, your perception of who owns time is really not different than mine. My point is that we really don’t own anything else.

    We can have money and cars and even big houses…but they can all be gone in a flash of time and can come back again. Our time (that God gave to us on our individual clock) can’t be taken away unless we run out! It won’t come back again. God has a plan for us all. The clock is ours. We can choose to spend this time wisely, or unwisely.

    It is my belief that Nicole is learning the really important things in life. Epicurus, the Greek philosopher, believed to be happy we needed only three things…

    1. Time.

    2. Family and friends with whom to spend our time.

    3. A reflective life. Time to look back on how we have done, and re-direct the way we spend our time.

    He was right. We don’t need “things” in life, we need time along with family and friends.

    • Jason March 13, 2012 at 9:19 am - Reply

      Marion,
      After re-reading my post I see that it may have seemed critical of yours. Please know that my intent was not to be critical. Sorry, I have to remember that commenting online takes a lot more tact than face to face.

      • Jason March 13, 2012 at 9:23 am - Reply

        I don’t totally disagree with your thoughts by the way. ;)

  8. Tony Drumm March 13, 2012 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Excellent post, Nicole. And, yes, you are still young!

    I’ll add one thought. When you are out capturing the wonders around us, take a moment, set the camera down, and take in the scene with your eyes and other senses. We can become too wrapped up in our photography to actually experience the beauty.

  9. Marion Rundell March 13, 2012 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Jason, Your post was not taken as critical of mine. Each person has the right to speak their heart! The real issue is that Nicole is understanding the importance of time and how important it is to spend it wisely.

    • Jason March 13, 2012 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Agrred.

  10. Posterjack March 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    I agree.
    My family recently started a personal website/gallery so we can upload any photos we have of each other, and more in the future.
    It’s like an archive or photo album that we can all share.

  11. Sergey Orlov March 17, 2012 at 12:49 am - Reply

    Thanks for posting, Nicole.

    I have the same feeling since my parents become older and older…

    More, last years I try to save time by spending more money in a hope that money can be earned, but not the time.

  12. Charles July 23, 2012 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Nice photo! It looks like this photo can be made into one of those “inspirational” posters that you see in the office.

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