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.