Learning and growing…

Even with my two weeks in Saskatchewan in March, March was one of the busiest months I’ve had with the newspaper, writing 28 stories in total.

April surpassed that number by one.

The last couple of months have been one big push, one which I’ve tolerated none-the-worse for wear, even if I did struggle for a couple of weeks. at the beginning of April. I had a therapist tell me once that if my schedule looks insane, it probably is.

I’m grateful for how busy I have managed to stay over the last couple of months, but I know that it is unmaintainable in the long run. That is why I spoke with my editor tonight and told him I need to step back a bit. I figure if I can maintain a steady flow of around 20 stories a month, that workload will be more manageable long term, especially with a new course starting up.

I finally bit the bullet and registered for my next English course, which will be beginning June 1st, and cover different types of prose. In particular we will be covering short stories, novellas, and novels, including the Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations. I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge on the road ahead.

That said, there are only 24 hours in a day. I love my job at the paper, and definitely want to keep doing it for as long as I am able, but I think I need to set some limits. Taking two university level courses, getting back into my photography, and doing another 30 article month just doesn’t seem feasible. Talking with the editor, I’m going to keep my usual beats, plus the odd job that pops up, but I’m going to try and scale back at least some. Like I say, if I can get around 20 stories done a month with all my usual beats, I think I’ll be as busy as I want to be.

Speaking of my photography, I ended up getting out for a drive earlier in the week, and managed to capture this stunning photo of a badger.

I caught him crossing a road while I was driving by. By the time I got out of the vehicle with my camera he had hauled tail into a nearby farmers field. He was watching me warily.

Managing to capture this shot taught me something.

One of the first things most creative types will warn you about when starting out in photography and videography is something known as GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Basically, it is where you spend all sorts of money on equipment that can help your photography. I’ll be honest, I succumbed to it somewhat when I first started my photography. I have some filters in my bag that I’ve used maybe twice.

That said, having the right gear helps, and I would not have been able to get this shot, or any of the others I’ve posted recently without the lens I was using. I purchased a Sigma 150-600mm lens last fall, and didn’t get a lot of use out of it over the winter, to the point that I was questioning whether it was worth the expense -hint: it was-.

I think that the lesson I learned was that when buying gear, buy what you will NEED, not what you think you need. Honestly, there are a hundred different types of photography, and one does not need the equipment for all of them. For example…I just can not get into macro photography. I don’t need to spend a bunch of money on macro-photography lenses that I am likely never going to use, and will just sit on a shelf or in my camera bag. Another hint is: gear is heavy, especially when hauling it around in a camera bag.

Another lesson learned is that gear can take you some of the way, but no amount of gear will replace two other tools a photographer needs in his tool kit, luck and skill.

You can go drive around looking for wildlife, but you are not going to take pictures of anything if no animals present themselves, such as this deer which was posing for me. Even if wildlife, or object, presents itself to be photographed, no amount of gear will save the shot if you don’t put yourself in the right spot, and have the right settings dialled in.

Getting to the point of this post, I don’t have all the answers, but I am always learning. I’m learning to back off when my schedule gets crazy. I’m learning that I don’t need every toy under the sun to master by photography, I just need the right toys. I keep myself open to learning, and by learning I’m always growing.

Kevin

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