Let me let you in on a little secret. I dislike talking about myself. Specifically talking about my strengths and accepting compliments have always been tough and uncomfortable for me. I don’t know why, but its just feel super awkward. One thing I have learned lately is that in order to work on my self-image. I need to be cool with me. Embrace me and all the things I am bad and good at. With that said, I am working through the fear of saying/claiming that I am a leader. I think part of what is holding me back it is that I doubt myself, and part of it is the responsibility of what the title means. Anyways, it has taken me a of couple weeks to get but now I am ready. You ready? Gina Zeidler is a leader. So, high five for me cause I finally can say it now. (Yet, again still feels a little awkward)
I think the term or stereotype leader is pretty positive. Assertive, good with people, big picture thinker, right. While having leadership traits is a great thing, sometimes having this quality can be a hindrance. About a week or so ago during the JNP workshop I had an opportunity to test out some tilt-shift lenses. Jeffrey brought in three of his couples and we each got to pair off in groups and shoot/practice.
***Now a little back story, I think I have rented the tilt-shift about 3 times and never figured it out. I read countless forums, blogs, manuals but I couldn’t get the hang of it. I really wanted to figure it out and get some hands on experience with Eliesa & Jeff on how to manipulate it to get what I want.***
When our couple walked up my crazy love for people kicked in. I greeted them and started to ask them a couple of get to know you questions. Seriously I have this weird weird weird need to make others feel comfortable. Maybe it’s my ultimate fear of the awkward silent moment (like in elevators), but I really think the key to great photographs is having the subjects feel themselves & comfortable. Anyways, we were to direct the shoots as we would like, so I naturally took the lead and walked us over to some really cool awesome windy California trees.
I set the couple up and started shooting with my normal set up (5d mark II and my beloved 35mm 1.4). After a couple of different poses and about 30 frames. I stopped dead in my tracks and said to myself…wait a second Gina, you didn’t come here to shoot a session in your comfort zone, you came to push yourself, to get uncomfortable and learn. At that moment I turned to my two other group members and said “alright you guys, your turn to lead.” I chose to conquer the fear of not being in control and I stepped back and put on the tilt-shift. I definitely felt uncomfortable, I fumbled, I screwed up my exposure, and grumbled while trying it out. After a bit, Eliesa helped me with a couple of settings and I finally got the hang of it.
Seriously though people, I had to push myself to step out of my comfort zone and not be the leader. In that moment I learned that to take a step back, slow down, and learn was what I needed to do. I could have continued on and shot that entire thing with lenses I am used to and got some great shots, but would I have become better? Would I have learned something new?
I want to apply this type of thinking to other areas of my life. I want to push myself to be better, stronger, and fuller. I want to feel uncomfortable, grumpy, and fumbly sometimes, because they equal growth. This situation equaled me conquering the tilt-shift and producing this image. I would have to say…the struggle was worth it.