Over the years I have purchased a few point-and-shoot cameras. It didn’t take long for me to stretch their capabilities out to the fullest and wish I could get shallower depth of field or the ability to zoom closer. The shutter lag alone was enough to make me seriously consider committing unnecessary acts of vengeance at the camera’s expense. After my most recent camera began to lose its ability to auto-focus, I knew I was done with simple little cameras and would hold out until I could afford one bad mother.
Well, years later the stars aligned, and I found myself suddenly able to procure a DSLR. It came in the mail a week or two ago and I have been tinkering with it non-stop. Due to scheduling issues I hadn’t been able to really take it out and spend a lot of time wandering around and snapping photos yet, so I made it a point to do just that after work today. The process was… enlightening.
The first thing I realized is that taking my camera out in public by myself makes me ridiculously nervous. Probably to a point that goes beyond helpful. The entire time I had my camera in my hands I was at DEFCON 3. Every person that approached who resembled anything other than a businessman or a woman was immediately suspect. I was keenly aware of my surroundings… to my own detriment. I found myself unwilling to stop or slow down to properly frame a picture. Instead I nonchalantly tried to snap as I walked which anyone whose ever tried to take a picture before can tell you is less than likely to produce an amazing result.
After meandering through downtown I stopped at Rita’s for an Italian Ice and pondered the problem. I think I figured out what my issue is.
My entire life I’ve been oddly adept at becoming “invisible”. Leah and I have spoken before about how if someone decides they want to hurt you, there’s not a whole lot you can do to preemptively change their mind. I think subconsciously I’ve spent my life honing my ability to blend in to the crowd so that predators’ eyes pass right over me. I was so uncomfortable today because holding a pricey camera with “Nikon” emblazoned across the neck-strap made me keenly aware that I was not blending in. I had something of value that increased the likelihood that I become a target. I’m not sure where the lines are between being smart and being paranoid.
The previous sentence is one that has been an ongoing theme in my life. On multiple occasions I’ve avoided taking action simply because I can think of too many reasons to not do something. Historically, it’s never really bothered me that much. I always chalked it up to being smart. Today though, I found myself wondering if maybe I’ve taken it too far. How many experiences have I missed because I wasn’t willing to take a chance? Where is the line between allowing yourself to be open to the happenings of life and not walking blindly into bad situations? These questions aren’t rhetorical; I’d love to hear your answer. How do you live a life well lived without risking it? Or is risking it the key to living a full life? What are your thoughts?
(If you’re interested in seeing a few of the shots that came out of this endeavor, check out My Impasto Life.)