Sunday, December 14, 2008

Do you have a couple thousand hours to spare?

A while back, my dad read a book called "This is Your Brain on Music". In the book, the authors cites a whole bunch of studies concerning "mastery" and becoming an "expert" in something.

I've known of this book for quite a while now, but it is just now getting some attention... especially in the arts.

So, it says 10,000 hours... takes 10,000 hours to become an "expert" in something. That's 5 years at a 40-hour work week. Or, 9 years at 3 hours per day.

Its backed up with ridiculous amounts of research (from "experts", of course).

Honestly, its encouraging. But it also means I have to work pretty hard for a few years.

My digital archives go back to 4 Dec 2005. That's not very long. Almost exactly 3 years. But on that day, I took this photo:

Taken with my first digital camera. A Nikon Coolpix L1 digicam. I don't actually know where that camera is now. But with trial and error and a LOT of experimentation I figured out what shutter speeds and apertures do. I mean, I didn't even know that was what they were called at the time, but I knew one of them was a 1-over-some-number and the other one had an f-some-other-number and the f-number went up, the 1-over-number had to come down to make the picture look the same. But if the 1-over-number was smaller, things blurred... so was born the Speed Hands Photo.

A year later, around 4 Dec 2006 (actually 2 Dec, I think), I took this photo:

This photo was taken with a Panasonic DMC-FZ50, my second digital camera. I could operate it completely manually like the Canon A1 or Minolta XG-M that I was using, too. This photo, however, was one in a series that I was commissioned for. It was my first commission and first time I was paid to make a photo.

It wasn't the pay that was so great; it was the fact that someone was paying me to do what I loved to do!

Then, a year later on 4 Dec 2007, I was in a completely different world:

I was being paid to take photos on a regular basis by the HU Public Relations department. I was shooting with a Nikon D80 and a couple cheap 2nd-hand lenses, most of which I came to find out later that they had some sort of problem. My 50/1.8 didn't focus to infinity and the 80-200/2.8 had a loose front element. Oops...

And last week on 4 Dec 2008:

I work for two departments on the HU campus and "unofficially" on at least one other. The above photo was taken because I had an order to "we need a photo before the paper goes to print at 4pm and its 2:30." It was to accompany a story about a bunch of people at my school who ride these long skateboards to class. This wasn't the one they chose, but I kinda liked this one...

Now shooting with a Nikon D300, a Canon 5D, and a whole bag of goodies...

...and a Leica M4-P for those film days.

Hmm... I wonder if I've made a dent in that 10,000 hours yet...?

I'm going to keep doing my best. I wonder what kinds of things I'll have done on 4 Dec 2009...

I like to think about it.

Think about it in your own little world.

With that in mind, I'm going to go do some studying. Finals this week. Worried about having a couple dozen internship applications floating around the continental United States for the next month. Who knows where I'll be next summer!

There's something exciting coming up, too, though. No, not Christmas. I've had Christmas all year. Just after Christmas. I'll leave it at that.

Stay tuned,
~noah d.

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