Coming Full Circle
Trusting yourself can sometimes be the hardest thing to do.
This year has been a year of growth and change. It's been quite challenging, and oftentimes painful, but necessary. I think what sticks out the most to me is finally being able to trust myself and to trust in the decisions I make for my life and my future. I haven't gone into great detail about my break-up back in February, but I am saving space for that in a later post. I will say that walking away from that relationship took a lot of trust on my part. Trust that I will be okay. That I can carry on with my life. And that I made the right decision. I will tell you right now that that was the best decision I've made in my life.
I've also decided to walk away completely from a religion that no longer feels safe for me. That too was a big decision and took a lot of trust. Trust knowing that I am still a good person and that if a religion is unhealthy for me, then I need to not be a part of it. I had to trust the fact that I will find friends outside of that particular religion. That I will still be accepted by others, and that I can make choices that help me be happy and healthy. I can create my own life in a sense, without being told how I should act or what I should think. With my transition to a new city after my break up, I didn't know how I was going to make friends or connect with people without religion to hang onto. Luckily, and gratefully, I have made lots of friends at my current job. And the best part is that all of these friends and acquaintances come from different backgrounds. I can learn and appreciate, even connect, to so many of them on various levels. I have felt more accepted, and more of myself after leaving my religion. Again, I will tell you now that that was one of the best decisions I've made in my life.
This past month has also been a stepping stone, and a move towards trusting myself completely. I have been working out for the last three years, seeing a trainer who helped me tremendously. His guidance and knowledge were helpful as I got used to doing workouts at the gym and figuring out what a healthy diet consists of. I was always good at sticking to a plan, and very dedicated to my fitness goals. However, I felt that I was letting my trainer do all the work - figuring out what I should and should not eat, and how many workouts I needed to do in a week. Some things worked well for me, while other methods did not. I started to realize that I needed to trust myself. I know what my body can handle. After years of practice, I know what my body is capable of at the gym. So, I'm taking a step into the darkness. I'm doing fitness and nutrition all by myself. I'm studying different ways to improve and meet the goals I have in mind. I'm eating healthy, but differently than I have before. And it honestly feels so good. So good knowing that I can trust myself in one more very important part of my life. Fingers crossed for the future as I continue this new journey in fitness.
With all of that said, I think I've come full circle. I've taken control of three major parts of my life. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Learning to trust yourself can be so challenging. You often have to go against the grain or popular opinion. You have to dig deep, find out what truly matters to you, and follow that. You have to be willing to change course, or direction, if something isn't working out. No one is going to tell you otherwise. Trusting yourself takes a lot of introspection, but also a lot of action. Trusting yourself is truly a way of loving yourself enough to care. To care about you. Don't get me wrong, trusting yourself doesn't mean you're an expert by any means in all things about life, and it doesn't mean that you don't need others. For instance - I still need training advice, I just find that advice through reliable sources. I still need spirituality in my life, I just find that in different ways. If I'm lonely or sad, sometimes I need friends/family to lean on, etc. You get the point. However, don't forget to trust yourself first. Trust yourself enough to love yourself and take care of yourself.
Alright, I've been promising you all that I would give some photography tips in my blog posts, so here we go! This past month I had the opportunity to go to the Salt Flats and take some photos of my friend Andy Bateman. I will say now that if you've never been to the Salt Flats, you should go! It is an incredible sight to see, and one for the bucket list. So, here are a few tips for shooting portraits outdoors:
ALWAYS shoot in manual mode. And ALWAYS shoot in RAW. If you don't know how to shoot in manual mode, or in RAW, then take my course titled Take Control - Mastering Manual Mode starting August 3, 2020. There you will learn the ins and outs of your camera and how to get the best shots in any situation. With that said, here are a few suggestions to get crisp, and clear shots while shooting in low light. Here is an original photo of Andy. I was shooting this photo with my 35 mm lens. To get clear and crisp photos, you want to make sure you have a relatively high shutter speed and low ISO. To help achieve this, I had to adjust my aperture, meaning I let as much light in as I could using a wide aperture and then adjusting my shutter speed and ISO accordingly. My focus point was on Andy's face, to make sure that he was in focus, while the rest of the background gently faded away. Here are my exact camera settings for this image:
f/2.5, 1/125 shutter speed, and ISO 320. With a steady hand and good model, I got the shot.
As an added tip, don't be afraid if your image turns out a little darker than expected. I purposely made the above image darker, so that I wouldn't blow out the sky. I also knew that later on in photoshop, I could lighten Andy's face and outfit a bit to make him stand out more. Here is the photo post-processing:
Hope you find that tip helpful! If you practice shooting in low light this week, then post your favorite image in the comment section! I would love to see it!