Thursday, December 11, 2008

Changing life's aperture setting


Last spring I took a digital photography class at school. I've always had a secret crush on photography, but never had a sassy enough camera to take a serious class. I never had a grasp on terms like shutter speed and aperture, but I thought we'd be best of friends if only we could become properly acquainted with one another. This class was amazing and so is my Nikon D60. I quickly discovered that when I found myself with camera in hand, nothing else mattered but capturing the perfect shot. Unemployment wasn't a concern. Weight wasn't a concern. Life wasn't a concern. My concern, in that brief shining moment, was quite simply...photography.

Among the many things I learned in that class, aperture was one of the most important. Aperture is the setting that controls the amount of light allowed in by adjusting the size of the hole it passes through. By adjusting this setting you can help control the depth of field. More plainly put, you can control which part of your photo is clear and which part is unclear. You can bring out of focus the less important aspects of your composition. If the elements right in front of you are what you feel the focus should be and the things in the distance are of lesser consequence, then you can adjust accordingly. There are other factors involved in achieving depth of field such as lighting and distance (and possibly alcohol), but aperture is as amazing as I'd always dreamed it would be (my professor would be so proud).

I've had far to wide a depth of field as of late. I was trying to focus on everything and lost site of what was important. I've been depressed and barely able to get out of bed in the morning. If not for the intense pressure of school, I'm not sure I ever would have. I created the illusion of happiness most of the time, at least for the people close to me, and it eventually got to be too much. Just when I was on the verge of breaking, there was a family dispute that pushed me soundly off the edge. I couldn't stop it. I couldn't control it. I couldn't snap out of it. I had a complete breakdown. I, quite frankly, was scared I wouldn't make it out safely. One day my mom even walked in during a right proper meltdown. I was sobbing uncontrollably and she just hugged me (we're not much of a hugging family what with being Dutch and all...er, the Dutch are habitually unaffectionate). I said things I shouldn't have. Not hateful, just things I know scared her. I said things I've never verbalized. I said things that I needed someone to know for fear I'd explode.

I'm better now. Though I was without it for a few weeks, I've managed to get more unemployment money thanks to the extensions signed by George W. (bout time you did something smart). I should have money coming in for quite a little while if all goes as they tell me it should. I'm still a video pimp on the weekends and I still hate it, but it's slightly less agonizing for the time being. This term is almost up at school and I'll have 3 weeks to recoup before the next battle begins. I'm still on the prowl for a job, but still hoping to find something that will work with my school schedule.

So now is the time to adjust my aperture setting. To find out what's most important to me and make that my focus. I think I need to focus on what's right in front of me and take things one day at a time. As of right now, my weight and my education are most important. I may not be able to be a fanatic about losing weight with the time constraints of school, but I certainly need to make the two mesh come January. Everything else will fall into place. So, what's your aperture setting? What are you focused on?

5 comments:

Carlos said...

That's what I'm screamin! You go, girl... Nice horse

Wendy said...

What an absolutely brilliant observation, and I had never though of it like that.

I love photography too (though you're about a million times better at it than I am) but had never thought about it as a metaphor for life.

Thank you for asking the question. I hadn't thought about it, but I've been exactly where you're describing and I'm losing it. Your question, your open post, really helped shift my paradigm, and I appreciate it.

Thank you for posting this and sharing raw details of your life. And many thanks to Carlos for pointing me to you in his blog.

Good luck. Happy photographing. And thank you. You've helped me more than you know. :)

- Wendy

Kelly Anderson said...

Wow! The things you guys sometimes say to me gives me the chills. The whole reason I initially started my little corner of the blogosphere was to positively affect just one person's life. To make one person stop and reassess their day to day and maybe inspire them to make whatever changes they thought necessary. When I get feedback from people suggesting I've done just that? Goosebumps!

You guys (any of you that get ahold of me and comment on my writing) are why I will be spending this snowy Sunday afternoon doing nothing but that...writing. The novel I started 2 years ago and haven't gotten past chapter 3 on will make stready progress today.

I thank you more than you know.

Sophia said...

You hit this one out of the park - so well put.
Enjoy the peacefulness of the snow, Kel.
Isn't it beautiful?

CJ said...

Girl,
I changed my blog and lost your page. So glad Carlos posted it.

I miss reading your blog. You are an inspiration with your words. Keep doing it. I am sorry you have been through so much.

Maybe you can get a side job doing some photography. Build up a portfolio. You are obviously good at it and you are a great writer. Good luck with your endeavors.

CJ (trappednme.blogspot.com) (formerly I Can't Weight)