Once I decided that I wasn't just playing around with a camera, I knew it was time to call myself a professional photographer. For me, that meant that I would need to continually find ways to improve my craft and my art. I started taking classes. I started reading more. I joined PPA and engaged with the local chapters in California (PPC) and Los Angeles (PPLAC). I started taking my Nikon everywhere I went. I started requesting feedback and entering competitions. And I started experimenting more.
I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in January. In February, I entered one of my favorite-- and most experimental-- images into the PPLAC Digital Print Competition.
Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach and felt knots in your tummy at the same time? That's kind of what it feels like as you're sitting in a room of peers waiting for your image to come up on screen for critique by a 3-judge panel of master photographers.
And then the title is announced.
"Jellyfish in Motion"
To keep judging impartial, no credit is announced until after competition.
The image appears on screen.
Thump. Thump. Faster. Thump.
Sudden hush. All I hear is my Thump.
I glance across the room. Eyes are locked, engaged with what they see on screen.
The flush subsides...
The flutter drifts into calm as that little sense of "I did it" starts to tickle my chest into a light chuckle. And then it tugged a tear down my face.
The work is accomplishing something. I am headed in the right direction. More to do... still. There's more to learn.
But celebrate this now!
My photo scored an "Excellent" that evening and came down to a final selection for best in show!
But there's more work to be done...
An artist's soul never stops stirring.
Thanks for reading,