Aperture Settings

Even when you work for yourself, you work for somebody else.

It's true, I don't have to sit in a cubical nor go to endless staff meetings. (I did that for more than 20 years, so I know how to waste time.) And instead of a boss, who has a boss, I have clients. So I've substituted a vertical chain of command for a horizontal one.

But my thoughts are the same as yours, no matter where you work: "How soon before I can grab my camera and go somewhere, anywhere, to take pictures?"

Photography is different for some of us. I watch my kids work their smartphones and acknowledge that digital imaging is huge for them. Snapshots of daily life transmitted electronically from one device to another. In their own way, they love pictures as much as I.

But photography is different for some of us. Smartphones are a part of the feast, in the way that mashed potatoes complement the turkey. But some appetites cannot be satisfied by potatoes and gravy.

I think about taking pictures, working on cameras, and making prints when I'm driving to work, enjoying a coffee break, and dozing off for a nap. There are days when I can't wait to finish a client project so I can grab my bike and pedal down the street looking for photo opportunities.

Many days I never get to it. I'm too busy making a living. And I say to myself, "Tomorrow I'll be done by three and can take that ride. Tomorrow for sure."

It's hard to explain these feelings to those who don't share the passion. "It's just taking pictures; I do it all the time," the respondent will remark while pulling out their iPhone to show me yesterday and the day before.

I photograph to make life better. Even my Instagram shots are attempts to show how beautiful the mundane can be, given the desire to recognize it.

I don't take pictures to reflect how life is. I use my camera to show how I want it to be.

To be perfectly honest, I think there's magic in everything. And for some reason, my looking glass to that world is a lens set to f/1.8, 5.6, or 11. It depends on what I'm trying to say.

There are no aperture settings on an iPhone. Maybe that's the line of delineation between what you saw, and what I want to feel.