Are you set to manual or auto? - His Porcelain Soldier
I spent a lot of time around cameras as a child. I often went to work with my Mom, a (then) portrait studio manager, and watched her in action. I fell in love with the art of photography.

Some where in my memory boxes I still have the photos of my first "photo shoot" stored away. I was about 10, and my little brother was my subject. I posed him, added props, and did everything I learned from observing in my Mom's studio. I even made sure my subject was "centered."

I eventually found my own style for photography. Every artist has their own unique style; we are all intertwined copy cats of each other too.  I became a portrait studio manager. I was promoted to studio manager 3 months after being hired, and it was my very first "real" photography job. I had been taught well as a child how to be a good (studio) photographer. I grew up with those cameras. I knew how to center my subject, to add variety to each pose, be creative, and make sure each picture was in focus. I was passionate about what I focused my lense on, and that made a difference too. Without meaning to, I "booted" the current studio manager out of her position. My sales averages were doubling & trippling hers. I was being sent to other stores in order to bring up their sales averages for the week, and I would tripple their weekly goals in one day. Of course I was promoted to studio manager.

I knew from the beginning that the most important factor in a photograph was the person aiming the lense. That's why I knew how to take a good portrait. 
I learned more about photography in college, and I left the basic rules of portrait photography and learned how to be a photo-journalist. I learned how to tell a story with the photos I produced, how the slightest change in angle can make all the difference in a good picture or a beautiful picture, and how to lead my viewer's eyes to my main focal point.

I learned how to operate my lense, and how to use the manual settings in order to change the focus in the picture. I learned how to make people see exactly what I wanted them to in a scene through depth of field, and I learned that as a photographer, I control what images are captured in my lense.

If I don't like what's in front of my lense I can change it without having to change the object. Objects aren't always easy to change. But it only takes a second for me to change what I view through my lense or how I focus that view.

I learned that it takes more than "point and shoot" to create a good image.

I am learning in my own life that I have the camera in my hands. I can set the camera on auto and point & shoot if I want. Auto is the setting for people who choose to let the objects be in charge of what they see.

Or, I can change the settings to manual and decide for myself what I want to be seen through the lense.
"Life is such" when people hurt us.  We have two choices in any enviroment we're put in: We can set our camera on auto or manual.

When we choose to use manual we give ourselves the ability to change what is viewed through the lense. We can't change the people we see in our lense. But we can change how much focus we put into them or if we even want to focus on them at all. We can change how we view them by simple changes in our angle, focus, and style. 

In this photograph I chose to do a "depth of field" shot. I didn't blur the images behind & in front of the stamp with an editing program. I used my manual settings to put the focus where I wanted it; though, I can still see the surroundings, and they are also important to me. But I wanted my focus in this photograph to be on the "forever" stamp. Slightly above & to the left of the stamp you can still see a marriage certificate and mine & my husband's names are carefully displayed as well. But the sharpest point of my photo is the forever stamp. I wanted the focus of this photograph to be on the "forever" of my marriage.

I didn't adjust the objects in order to get it focused like that. I adjusted my focus. We tend to look at people in life and we think they need to change in order for us to have peace within ourselves or to overcome the hurts they may have caused us.

I have learned a lot in my lifetime about photography. But the most important lesson that photography has taught me is that I don't have to change the objects in order to view a beautiful picture. God already made this world beautiful, even with its ugliness in the mix. I can change what I view through the lense by changing the controls I have in my own hand.

I don't need to change people who hurt me. That's not even my job. If I have a problem with what I see in my lense then I need to change myself. I can't change people. The grace of God gives me the wisdom to know that. But I can change how I view them. I can change what kind of focus I want to put on them. I can change how I see them in my lense simply by changing myself. My subjects don't decide what I see...unless I have my camera set to auto. We are "auto"matically born with flesh that chooses to allow the subjects who hurt us decide where we aim our lense & how we focus on them.

A simple switch to the manual setting, and I decide where I aim my lense and how I focus it. I decide to make everything that I see in my lense beautiful, even when "ugly" is a part of the composition. When you know how to use manual properly you can even make "ugly" look beautiful.

Life is beautiful when you keep your settings on manual...because you choose to adjust yourself rather than the objects around you. You realize that adjusting yourself is all you need to do.

(All photographs in this blog © of Tara Cameron.)

5/24/2010 22:39:05

To view the world this way is a blessing. To find the good in all the bad is a must. You have a creative heart. thank you for sharing. :)

5/25/2010 03:23:51

Thank you Ray!

5/25/2010 04:33:23

You're so right....we are in charge of how we "see" things, and it takes a conscious effort to do so. Great illustrations and thoughts! Thank you!

Yes-painfully true. Wish that would change the 'picture'.
5/25/2010 06:54:32

Joyce Ates
5/25/2010 11:09:00

Your blog is beautiful - It's good to see you - working so hard - I know it takes a LOT of time for the necessary chores of a day with all the responsibilities you have. Hang in there - we love you.

5/25/2010 15:30:01

Thank you all for your support & love

9/13/2010 08:49:13

I've just rescently started shooting in manual mode and I don't think I'll ever go back to shooting in auto.

I'm trying to do the same thing in my life.


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