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Life’s curves

Earl Moore Photography

Thrown a curve

My previous post regarding a goal of more consistency in photography this year and the resulting insightful comments (thank you all) has contributed to additional thoughts on this general subject.

How often have you set goals or resolutions for yourself , then begin working to make them happen when suddenly things don’t go as you’d planned — a major circumstance in your life changes which makes the old goal no longer a priority, you underestimate the time and resources it’s going to take and there’s just not enough hours in the day, or you lose momentum and fall behind and soon you can’t find the motivation to continue. Some of these are internal and within your control but some may be external where you have no control. Even positive events in life can cause a reconsideration of plans, priorities and goals. I wish I had a dollar for every goal or resolution of mine that went off track. Life has a way of throwing you curves (“life is like a box of chocolates” ~ Forrest Gump – 1994) or perhaps it’s simply things are forever changing and therefore unpredictable, inconsistent.

We can view these “curves” as obstructions to progress or as unplanned opportunities and the only thing I often find determining my choice of those two viewpoints is my own expectations.   

“A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.” ~ Albert Einstein

I’ll be the first to admit I struggle with change, just ask my wife, but I don’t doubt the importance of being able to do so effectively. Is there a conflict between change and consistency? In my mind, no. I believe you can be consistent on many levels with change still being a part of your life or your photography — being consistent while embracing change.

In driving a sports car, I seek out highways with curves because they’re exciting, each unique and they grab my attention to let me experience the moment — yet there are driving rules to be practiced consistently insuring a balance of both exciting and safe. I’d like to approach life and in turn photography that same way this year.

In the photo above, I couldn’t pass up the curves of one of the drainage canals running through the lower sections of the Salisbury National Cemetery. A bonus was the reflections of sky and tree found in the water under the shade just before the small bridge. These canal curves, as well as the curved paths and roadways, are in contrast but in many ways complimentary to the ridged design and straight placement of the graves and headstones.

22 Comments on Life’s curves

  1. A great image, Earl. I like how the eye follows the line of the canal to the bottom, then back up to the bridge, whereupon the beautiful diagonal of the tree shadow comes into play. Very nice lines, tones and composition!

    • Eric, thanks! Yes, I found the play of shadow and light around the bridge area to be interesting extra elements, much as you did.

  2. They say the cells of our body die and regenerate others on a continuous basis. I can also attest that my life is inconsistent. I go in spurts with eating well, exercising, prayer and meditation, writing, reading, etc. For me the curves life offers have been seen as unwanted and at other times embraced. I can relate with your sports car analogy because when I rode the motorcycle I loved the curves of mountain roads but I had to be consistent in my riding or I’d find myself in the ditch. I like the Einstein quote. I look forward to seeing what 2012 brings you.

    • Monte, thanks and I’m sure to some degree or other we’re all consistently inconsistent. I thought about you and your bike when I made the sports car analogy. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2012 brings as well…for all of us. :-)

  3. I’ve struggled with my photographic projects over the years, especially when they haven’t gone to plan. But I’ve realised that the goals I was setting myself actually stifled my creativity rather than boosted it. My wife kept telling me “you are being too hard on yourself!”

    Over the last couple of years I’ve given my projects permission to bend as I travel along with them and I don’t try to control the outcome as I did before. Now, if a project I’m working on “takes a curve”, I just go with it and doing that often serves to excite my creative juices and keep me motivated even more. I’ve just learned to measure my photographic productivity using a different set of metrics than I used to do. It was hard for me as a professional engineer, precise thinking etc, to adopt a seemingly less rigid approach in my personal endeavours, but other life experiences have been crucial in giving me the skills to do this. Today, I am a strong believer in our ability to retrain our minds, after all our behavioral patterns were all learnt at some stage of our lives or other. You are are on exactly the right track with your comments about consistency. For example, much modern thinking revolving around sports psychology deals with exactly that sort of point; that we should recognise what is outside of our control and only spend our energies dealing with what we CAN control.

    • Colin, thanks for sharing some of your own thoughts and experiences. To my mind consistent doesn’t have to mean rigid. Exactly what does it mean to me? I’m still processing my thoughts on the subject but am getting closer to an acceptable answer.

      I too would have to be a believer in ability to retrain our minds — for to do otherwise would ignore my own progress in this area. I am not who I once was, nor am I who I hope to be someday.

      Again thanks for the wonderful comment.

  4. Great post, Earl. Yes, I’ve been on that road many times. Projects come and go. Some of them get started, others never do, and a few of them even get to the completion stage. I try not to worry about it, though. It’s all in good fun. You are correct, we never know what life has in store for us around the bend, for sure, it will be a change. :)

    I’m not sure what it means, exactly, to be consistent in one’s photography. After all, it is a creative thing. Consistency in taking photos, style, subject, day of the week, camera? I’m curious about the particular aspect that you are talking about.

    • Paul, thanks.

      I’m not sure I can give you a definitive answer at the moment about exactly what particular aspect I’m talking about but I’ve done a lot of thinking about it the last couple of days. So with an understanding that the concepts are still formulating in my head here’s where I’m at.

      It’s certainly not about shooting each photo in a similar manner or style it’s more about a consistency of attitude and standards on my part towards my photography. A consistent commitment to not settle for good-enough if better is within reach. Consistency in learning to ask the right questions of myself about those photos I’ve taken and then feel good enough of to post. Consistent enough in my own skills and methods to be able to take some risks and change direction without second guessing myself.

      It’s about how I approach the details of my photographic process integrity. If I’m consistent in those details, I feel personal style will take naturally take care of itself.

      Certainly I’m not trying to remove the fun or creativity from photography. If anything I’m trying to add some passion back in. This may be my own personal issue and not related to anyone else, but there was a reason I reacted so strongly to Scott Bourne’s consistency item and a reason why I feel excited about this.

      Sorry for getting so long winded on this and some of it may make little sense…it’s the first time I’ve written many of these thoughts down and I’m not sure I’ve selected the best words. :-)

      • Thanks for the detailed reply. When you mentioned this, I rather pointed the question at myself, because it was such a good question and wondered what it meant to me. So, I was curious as to what it meant to you to be consistent. I’ve been thinking that I’ve been all over the place with subject matter and have not been as patient and as choosy as I think that I can, but then again, perhaps I’m alright with that. It’s good food for thought, a great post.

        • Actually, your question provided me a good exercise to try and write down my thoughts of the moment. Ask me again later and no doubt you’d get a slightly different answer. :-)

  5. I love the idea of taking on projects but i don’t care to formalize them. I prefer to start with a general idea and refine it along the way. This approach takes into consideration the factors that are out of our control (as you mentioned) as well as those that we can exhibit control. In any case, I don’t fret when things don’t go as planned but rather “reformulate”.
    I like this image very much. Is this image and the one from the last post the type of “consistency” you mentioned?

    • Ken, thanks. There is a consistency between these two images but that’s not the consistency concept I’m struggling with. I certainly don’t expect all my images to appear any one way or similar in all cases. That would be boring!

      I’ve provided a long answer to Paul above you might want to read which may make it clearer, or perhaps not. :-)

      I wish I had more defined answers but it’s still a work in progress that may yet get torn down.

  6. beautiful framing and i love that tree shadow in the middle

  7. Used Trucks // 4 Jan ’12 at 11:18 am // Reply


    Another beautiful bit of photography. Regarding the goals: I can’t remember which general said this, “No battle plans survives the first encounter with the enemy.” But it’s so true – in business, in personal life and in any plan we attempt to execute. We must adapt. Always.

  8. Virtually everything I shoot, whether it’s for an existing project or not, I look at for a potential project – I love the idea of photographic series. Unfortunately, like your photo, life indeed throws us curves. Goals and projects need to be flexible. Goal sounds to hard and fast to me so I changed it to plans, as in, “plans change”, so now I’m thinking in those terms.

    This is an excellent photo. As Eric pointed out, your eye follows the line of the canal up to the top of the photo and you see the tree shadows, the little bridge, and then, startlingly, the cemetary markers. Serenity into Eternity. Excellent!

    • John, thanks. I guess with all the changes one can expect for projects or goal it’s important to also have perseverance as a trait — it’s easy to get lost and not see it through.

  9. Nice post Earl. I am also in the crowd of many projects started, few completed, many abandoned. I am not too proud of that point. I tend to be a procrastinator at times. No doubt we need to be flexible. Life has a way of rearranging priorities for us.

    I like the sense of place having the headstones at the top provides in this image Earl. I also cropped this on my screen just below the cross bridge to see it in a more abstract way. I like it that way also, and probably is just my own personal bias for abstracts coming through.

    • Mark, thanks! Hey, i’m in that crowd of many starts and few finishes as well.

      I experimented with this photo using different crops and while there were several that seemed to work, but I liked this one best. From your work it’s clear you’ve got a good sense for abstracts that work well. Abstracts don’t come as naturally for me and it usually involves a long process with much experimentation before I find something which both works and I like. :-)

  10. That’s a fabulous image. I like how the canal lead the eye into the landscape and the shadows of the trees add great drama to the composition. I like the fact that you can only see the trunks and a few headstones, everythng else is left to interpretation.

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