First, from the book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell:
The emerging picture from studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert - in anything," writes the neurologist David Levintin. "In study after study of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, and what have you, this number comes up again and again....It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.Then, from California wedding photographer Jasmine Star's blog:
Practice and honing a craft is the key to growing success. Hands down. There isn't a magic pill to just get better. Trust me, I prayed for it. And it didn't come in a package on my doorstep...it came, rather, in the form of blood, sweat, and tears. Day after day of giving myself practice assignments with my camera, second shooting, and participating in photography forums to help my progress….Go and practice.
Okay, I think the universe is telling me something. Of course, this is nothing new. I have been practicing. More than ever. But, I need to ramp it up. I have to give myself permission to spend the time doing so (which of course is always the hardest part - - doing something for me.) And, I don't only have to take portraits. There are photo opportunities all around me. I just need to get used to a camera on my hip, all the time (especially now that there isn't a little one or a diaper bag on my hip...)
…Over the years, I realized that I was improving but I wasn't consistent and I couldn't tell if my better photos were due to luck or because I was getting better at photography. This is when I started the daily practice. For the last three years, I've been taking photos every single day. Every day. Bar none. The daily practice means that I can notice subtle changes in light better. The daily practice means I can focus on the photography more. The daily practice means I can develop my personal style. I know that the idea of taking photos every day might seem overwhelming and too time-consuming but, like most things, the biggest part is showing up. The most important part is to just do it. Grab that camera and take photographs. Again and again and again. Until it becomes a daily practice.
So, I am making a commitment right here and now. DAILY PRACTICE! Pictures everyday. I can't guarantee I'll post everyday, but I will have at least one picture I could post from each day. Practice, practice, practice!!
And, no better time than the present....Here are my first daily practice shots.
This afternoon, I was at the kitchen table working on a menu and grocery list for the week ahead. (I'm really trying to get back into this good habit again, in the hope of being more organized and somehow squeezing a few extra minutes out of each day).
Anyway, Henry came into the kitchen "bored" and he rifled through a collection of art supplies and miscellaneous things Annie had left before she flew to Rwanda. He found a bag of these little cups, and ended up spending a half hour stacking them in various configurations and then knocking them down.
Besides making for a few cool pictures, the thing I found most striking was that, as Henry built his structures, a few cups would inevitably fall down every so often. A year ago, with the first tumble, Henry would have stomped off in tears, angry and frustrated. But instead today, he laughed (laughed!) and just kept building.
I am amazed at how much can change in the course of a year...
It gives me hope!!