Try, Try and Try Again.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Albert Einstein

“I am thankful to all those who said “No” to me, it’s because of them I did it myself.” – Albert Einstein

I really could kick myself.  Hard.  In the head if I could.

But I can’t so I won’t try.  The last time my foot ever stretched close to my head I was able to suck my big toe.  I was about 16 and, thankfully, I’d had a bath beforehand! I guess I’m going to have to learn my lesson another way (and probably less painfully, although when I think back to last week I wince every time.  Purely from mortification) and I think I’m getting there .

Let me explain: I thought I had prepared for my dream interview, I’d predicted the possible questions I would be asked and had rehearsed my responses accordingly.  I believed that I’d performed well on the day and was even told as I was being shown around after my interview that this was a ‘good sign’ and that it was only in exceptional circumstances that candidates were given The Tour.  It was a beautiful sunny day, I went home bursting with excitement and then commenced ‘The Wait’.  Five  days later I was feeling pretty anxious to say the least and, let’s face it, I knew I had been unsuccessful by that point.

But I hadn’t had official confirmation yet and so that little flame called Hope was still burning.

That tiny flicker of possibility died out at 16:00 in the afternoon of that fifth day when an e-mail came through like a breath of sudden cold air through an open window, although I immediately grew hot and clammy when I clapped eyes on it.  I knew they’d never e-mail a job offer to the successful candidate so there was a long 10 seconds where I just stared at the new message that had popped into my Inbox before I finally got the courage to open it.  Confirmation of the fact that my application wouldn’t be taken any further slapped me in the face with its matter of fact black, stark words on the white screen.   I admit that I cried.  Sometimes you just need to vent the frustration.

And now?  And now I’m going to try again.  I will watch for suitable vacancies with the company I so much would like to work for and when I find one I will fill in the application form and if next time I’m offered an interview I will be even more prepared.  This first interview was a learning curve (I was just chuffed to bits I’d even got through to the interview stage) and that’s great because I’m going to be better and wiser thanks to some great advice I’ve received from some brilliant people I chatted about it to this last week.   That’s the beauty of talking with other people.  Seeing things from a different perspective.  Realising that there’s another way of approaching a situation and that it’s not the end of the world.  Valuable lessons learnt and I’m feeling positive again.

You’re asking why a 16 year old girl was sucking her big toe aren’t you?!  Oh very well I’ll tell you.  I was trying to touch my nose.  I wanted to see if I was still as supple as I was when I’d last performed this feat of elasticity in my limbs (I was probably 6).  Can I still do it?  Hang on…..I’ll just give it a try……

Yes I can!!  37 years young and still got it!!  Although my ankle clicked in a rather weird way…..

I’ll leave kicking myself in the head though.  A sore head and a sore ankle are not things I covet!  :)

In At the Deep End

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.  On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” – Arundhati Roy

Katie & Martin Chandler 29-03-14 WM-192

When writing my first blog, at the beginning of March, I mentioned that I was going to be photographing my first wedding later on this year, with the month of August in mind.  I thought I’d have a good few months to prepare mentally in my head about how I was going to do it.  Then a fabulous opportunity presented itself and I had weeks instead of months to prepare and shoot a wedding for a lovely couple at the wonderful Rowheath Pavilion in Bournville, Birmingham.

I had a number of really great people offer their help to me but, for a number of reasons, I decided to dive in at the deep end and do it on my own.  That’s not to say that I won’t ask for or need assistance for future weddings.  The addition of a second shooter is a fabulous and essential requirement for capturing the candid and reportage style footage of a wedding when the main Tog is busy with the main pictures that the Bride and Groom have specified for their big day.  Not to mention holding onto the gear when required.  When I’ve second shot for a Tog friend of mine, even though I’ve wanted to do my best and get some good shots for him, I’ve  not had as much of the pressure that he’s under being applied to me to some extent.  He’s the backup that I can go to who will tell me not to worry or just reassure me that things are going to plan. He’s my boss for the day and I believe him when he’s supporting me because he’s speaking from his vast experience (and he’s also pretty good at maintaining a cool, calm exterior even when things aren’t quite going to plan).  I am and always will be very grateful for his help,  I trust his experience and also the advice, guidance and support of some other great Togs I’m privileged to call friends, too and I would like to pass on and be that support for whoever is helping me out in the future.

Although I had hoped that all would go smoothly for me, I did experience equipment failure on the day.  It was, as these things always do seem to be, at the most inappropriate moment:  the kiss after the pronouncing the couple ‘Man and Wife’!  Eeek!!  My camera refused to work.  Now, all of my batteries had been fully charged the night before, all of my equipment had been checked and double checked fastidiously that morning.  Even so, nothing!  Nada!  Niets!  My camera was telling me that there was not enough battery life left and refused to take a picture.  “Fibber” I thought.  (Actually, the words in my head were a tad stronger than that but I’m thinking of innocent minds here and after all, I’m a lady!)  So I casually walked back to the corner of the room where the guests couldn’t see me, performed a switching off and on of the camera (my previous career in IT was not wasted eh?!) and lo and behold, it was working again.  Unfortunately too late for that particular kiss but I more than made up for it as the day progressed and I didn’t have another problem with my camera that day, thank goodness!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I felt that if I could cope on my own for at least one wedding, then I’d be more prepared for when I have someone helping me.  But then, as I discovered two weeks ago at my memorable camera fail moment, you can only prepare so much for all eventualities!!  However, I’m now on my way.  I’ve taken the first few steps on the path that I want to be on and even the hiccups I’ve experienced so far haven’t put me off.  The glitches just make the good things that happen even sweeter to experience.

That other world is on her way.  I can positively hear her roar, let alone breathe!

Obstreperous….moi?!

Wavy

Maybe you will be afraid and maybe you will fail, but the courage to take risks in any part of your life is, I feel, a very worthwhile way to live. – Emile Hirsch

A Facebook friend posted this quote on her wall the other day and I feel that it certainly rings true.  I know I’m worrying my parents to death at the moment with some of the decisions I’ve been making but I also know that they’re very proud of me anyway and it really means a lot.  I’m frightened to death of ending up at the end of my life, looking back and wishing I’d have given my dreams a go.  There’s a lot still that I have to do, a lot still to learn and an awful lot to experience but I’d rather regret something that I have done than something I haven’t.  And isn’t life one big lesson anyway?!

As much as I love to have a laugh most of the time, the wonderful Catherine, one of my very best friends, often describes me as ‘obstreperous’ in so far as me being an awkward so and so sometimes!  We’ve regularly joked about it being a negative aspect of my personality but very recently I’ve come to realise that it’s also a very positive trait to have too, when applied correctly!  So many times I’ve been told that it will be too difficult for me to do this or that I wouldn’t be able to that and that’s when hell, I’ll do my level best to prove people wrong!  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t but the fact that I’m learning all of the time, both from my mistakes, experiences I’ve gone through and from chances I’ve taken makes it extremely worthwhile in the end.  I’ll either try yet again or I’ll give it a wide berth but the fact that I’ve tried at the end of the day is really what matters most.  Tenaciousness, persistence, and determination are more the traits I’m looking for rather than awkwardness and so I will have to try and let go of the obstreperous aspect of my personality until I’m about 90 and giving the young’uns a run for their money!

So, going back to the quote at the beginning of this blog, I AM feeling afraid.  Afraid that I might fail.  Afraid that I’ll disappoint my family, friends and myself.  In the midst of my panic I am still trying to keep others calm and make them feel confident in themselves and in me.  But here’s the thing: I’m also feeling very, very excited at the possibilities that come with the chances that I’m taking.  I contemplate what I’m about to do next and my heart leaps and my fingers and toes tingle in that unique way excitement travels through my body.  A little like waiting to go on a big scary ride at a theme park.  I’m ready for the rush and am determined that I’m going to come out the other side a whole lot wiser and very, very happy that I tried…..so much so that I’ll want to do it again and again!!

I’ve got to admit, the adrenaline rush is quite addictive!!  :)

Triggering Emotions

“A picture speaks a thousand words.” – Frederick R. Barnard

At the very beginning of this year, I decided to set myself a project where I’d post one picture a day onto my Facebook business page for the whole of 2014.  The aim was to not only improve my photography skills but to also make me look at things in a different way, find a picture (and hopefully an interesting picture at that) to take and post with a story behind it.  Not only is it a daily exercise in self-improvement for me but it’s also so that I keep getting noticed and can build my audience base.

And it’s going pretty well so far!

Every day, not only am learning more about my surroundings but I’m learning more about my camera.  I’m seeing things in a different way, from a different angle and composing pictures in my head.  I’ve not just stuck to posting one picture on some occasions either.  On the whole I’ve stuck to my resolution of doing this once a day unless circumstances have dictated otherwise and if that happens, I make up for it on the following day.

The power a photograph has in triggering emotion is amazing.  Not just for the people I’m taking the pictures for or even for the viewing public, but also for me too which is something I wasn’t prepared for at the start.  It’s not just the actual photograph for me though but also the emotion I’ve been feeling during the whole process whilst I’ve been taking it.  I’ve found myself looking back on pictures taken a while back and remembering what was happening behind the scenes with me and my camera.  There have been some pretty bittersweet emotions that have been stirred up but then I’ve turned to other images and found myself grinning like a Cheshire cat because of them!

Welcome to my Blog!

“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

And so, after much “Erm-ing” and “Ah-ing” I’ve finally sorted out my Blog (I think)!

I have started my first Blog entry with a quote that I daily try to live by, ever since I first read it some years ago. It has in turns inspired and consoled me, through good times and bad.

The most recent few years have been a real eye opener for me and no mistake and, by the looks of things, the next few years are going to be extremely interesting, productive and exciting to say the least. Well…..I’m certainly going to do my best to make that happen anyway! I can’t say more than that for now but I’m sure that in time I will divulge!

Originally I started my working life as an Office Junior, moving up the career ladder to become a PA/Secretary. I have spent the last 13 years within the IT outsourcing world, 4 years within SAP and 7 of which have been specialising in SAP Security and Authorisations. I’m not going to explain what SAP is; Google is a very useful tool if you should have any desperate requirement for a description. I have been very fortunate to work with some really wonderful people during that time. My first (and only) contract as a SAP Consultant after redundancy resulted in a laborious drive to and from Bristol every day – I could’ve stayed over I guess but I’ve always been a homebody and I really couldn’t put up with living out of a suitcase all week. Horrendous though the drive was I was incredibly lucky to work with such wonderful people at Lloyds TSB who, from the very start, made me feel extremely welcome, were most supportive, put up with my dizzy and dippy character and made, if not the journey, then the destination more bearable. Plus I got to sit in Millennium Square with one of my all-time favourite actors at lunchtime. Cary Grant’s life-sized bronze statue is permanently en route to filming ‘To Catch a Thief’ – I presume it’s that film because that’s the script he holds in his hand.

Before I managed to get the Bristol contract I had been thinking a lot about changing direction career-wise. I’d bought myself my first SLR Digital camera, a Nikon D5100, with some of my redundancy money, enrolled on a Diploma course and then a tog friend had asked me if I’d like to attend his classes. I’ve learnt a lot thanks to the course and to my friend plus my classmates at the Photo Club. I enjoyed learning new techniques, creating and composing images, showing people things that maybe they hadn’t seen, didn’t notice or hadn’t had the time to see and just exploring the endless possibilities. It’s great to be able to show people the world from my viewpoint, from a different angle. I love weddings. I’d helped out with a few and could picture (no pun intended) myself photographing them as the main tog. Portraiture is also an interest. I dislike having my own photograph taken. I completely empathise with others who feel shy, awkward, or damn right daft posing for a picture. I’ve always been a good listener and will always try and put people at their ease, whether they’re strangers or good friends so I knew that I’d be able to help my subjects relax, be themselves and have fun in front of my camera. By the time my contract at Bristol finally came to an end I was determined that a SAP career was not for me. I had no love for it. It was a means to an end but now I know that I have something I really want to work towards.

Since then, I’ve taken photos for a friend’s website for her new business venture (www.mypartykids.co.uk), I’ve photographed various events, taken portraits and family shoots and the future is definitely looking promising with my first wedding shoot happening this year.

Exciting times are ahead! I’ll keep you posted! :)