Thursday, April 28, 2011

the week of living dangerously

All things happen for a reason, and this month has been a series of life lessons lived very personally.

In December I won an RS W1 camera strap during a giveaway by my favorite photo blog, PhotoSister.  In mid April I found out about a contest being sponsored by my favorite camera strap manufacturer, BlackRapid by attending a Facebook online event sponsored by lightenupandshoot.com.    I am telling you all this to set the stage for what happened next.

I decided I would give that photo contest at BlackRapid a shot.  I figured the experience would be good and I wanted the exposure.  So I set up a date with my daughter and granddaughter to take a series of shots.  You can read about what happened that day here.  It was not my best day with my camera.  I was also pressured by time.  I found out about the contest about ten days before the deadline, and came up with a concept, set up the kids, and made the trip (over 120 miles round trip) to get the shots I needed.  I was pumped up with excitement, and felt I had a chance to win.

I worked hard to get the shots I wanted.  In order to make them natural and unposed, I spent a little time with Maddie (my granddaughter) and Wretch (my daughter) to set up the story behind the shots.  And they got into it fully.  I had trouble with my camera, and got all goofed up on settings, but I knew I could edit the best shots when I got home.

Saturday the 9th of April was shoot day.  Sunday I began to glean the best shots and edit.  I work also, so I planned to let the creative process percolate in my brain, take the next Friday off and finish the edits, and still have plenty of time to post by the deadline on Sunday, April 17th.

Monday my Internet went out.  Totally.  I called the provider, and spoke with someone who could also not fix it.  Now I am not stupid where computers are concerned, and by the time I called I told the person helping me that I had done a cold reboot twice, and unhooked the modem and wireless router twice also, and so he tried to reset it from his end.

Nothing.

So he politely told me he would put in a work order and someone would give us a call the next day.  The next day, Steve fielded a call from the distributor who told him the technician would be out Friday to fix it.  I was calm because this kind of thing had happened before and been fixed with no complications.

That was not to be the case this time, because during that week a wave of tornadoes and straight line winds did a lot of damage to the state, and on Friday the technician called to tell Steve he was a day behind on calls and would come on Saturday.  I still wasn't too alarmed.  It was cutting it close, but hey, I am the queen of the last minute finishers, so I cut the poor guy some slack.

Saturday I waited patiently.  He was supposed to be there between 1 and 5 PM.  At 5PM he called to say he was running behind but still coming.  Steve had to leave at that point to go keep grandkids for my daughter, so I waited.  And waited.  And waited, counting the minutes.

The light was getting dim outside when the young man called and told me he couldn't make it and would get his office to call and reschedule on Monday.

Those words hit the pit of my stomach like a stone.  I felt gut punched.  Let down.  He never knew it because I was the polite southern woman I almost always am, and thanked him.  As I hung up the phone my mind was RACING.  With thoughts about the past weekend; the girls excitement at being part of the photo shoot, the editing I had done, and the lost opportunity.

As I thought about it I began to see it from another light.  I had gotten more experience with my camera.  I had fun with my family, and we did a lot of laughing.  I had captured an awesome sunset on the way home.  And I had enjoyed editing the photos and seeing how they turned out.

So no one was going to see them, but I was proud of myself, and realized that you can't control circumstance.  I could see myself as a victim, or take it as a learning opportunity.  I chose the latter. 

And today I saw the winners posted on the BlackRapid website.  You can see the winners here: http://www.blackrapid.com/buzz/get-your-strap-on-photo-contest-winners/

I wanted my photos to tell a story of their own, and these would have been my entries:

Nine days without Internet gave me a lot of time for introspection.  I learned a lot about myself during that time.  I found a new strength in me.

The strength to not whine when things don't go my way.... and to enjoy each moment as though it will be the last.  To appreciate the eye the creator gave me to see the world around me.

For that, I am thankful.
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