When one door closes, another opens;
but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door
that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
This morning, our 8 week old kitten decided to jump on me and try to play with me at 4:30am. After I put him in the hall and closed the door, I tried to go back to sleep, but started thinking about the 15 Day Creative Content Challenge and that Brooke had asked us to think about things we already have and how we can use them creatively. I started thinking of new images that I could take on my property. We had almost half an acre, which isn't that much, but it's an older home with lots of forest and mature landscaping that works well for photography. I also thought about how I want to create more organic content by not using stock. I can spend hours looking through stock on websites, looking for the perfect backdrop or model pose for what I want to create, but it feels less satisfying than using all original content taken by me.
So I couldn't go back to sleep and started to plan out a shoot at dawn. Being a mom, I can't just get in the car and drive somewhere and leave my kids at home. Waking them up at 5am to go shoot at dawn doesn't seem right either, so I thought about this spot next to my driveway where the hedges are overgrown and the long branches hang down from the top. We don't have a ladder tall enough to reach the top of the hedges, so I've just let it grow and hang down into the driveway. Thankfully, our neighbors don't mind their side being long, too!
I thought about the closet door we took off when we moved in to trim the bottom, but never put back on it's hinges because it opens to the bedroom door and gets annoying having them bump into each other. That door is in the garage and since today's theme is "Ending" and to "Use a Doorway", I figured I could take the door and prop it up next to our little step ladder next to those overgrown hedges and that might look neat.
Then I thought about how I wanted myself to look. I don't own a lot of fancy dresses, but there was one I bought for my honeymoon almost 10 years ago (!!!) that I've never even worn anywhere. It's low cut in the front and I'm rather modest, so I've never been comfortable in it. I also wasn't sure it would even fit after two kids! I loved this dress because of the fancy gold embroidery on it. I didn't pay much for it. I think it was $15 at Ross. Anyway, I put it on and it was a little tight on top, but it fit! It must be fate for me to use it. I've always wanted to do a levitation photo, so I decided to use my little black posing stool ($10 at Wal-Mart!) to try it out.
So I gathered all my stuff just as the sun was starting to come up and went out into the driveway to set up. I put my camera on the tripod and set it next to the garage door. I shot at 60mm on my Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 and set my camera to have a 2 second delay on the remote. It was so dark when I started shooting that I had manually focus the first few shots.
I quickly found out that it was REALLY difficult to hold a pose while balancing on a stool for 3 seconds or more! I increased my ISO and lowered my aperture, but the shutter speed was still too slow and I was getting a lot of motion blur in my poses. Just when I started to be bright enough to increase my shutter speed, I heard my baby wake up on the monitor I brought out. I took a few more shots and hoped for the best.
After I got my little girl settled on the couch with a bottle and Moana on the TV, I ran upstairs to get a quick shower (she's 17 months old, so she's ok by herself for a few minutes. Plus, my husband was still home in case something happened). All that balancing and planking and running from the stool to the camera to check my images had really worked up a sweat! I downloaded the images to my desktop and once downstairs I was able to remote in from the laptop next to the couch so I could work and take care of my little girl and boy (when he woke up).
I am so thankful for the extra motivation this morning and that my kitten decided to wake me up! I feel so satisfied being able to really create something new. I know the concept of my image has been done before, but I love knowing that I was able to do it. I also learned that I don't have to use my kids as an excuse to push myself in my art.
For me, today's theme and challenge reminded me that ending things can be really difficult, but that it is almost always worth it. I've ended friendships and relationships that were toxic to me and felt so much better after eliminating those people from my life. I left a job I loved after my baby girl was born so that I could be with her and to start my photography business. That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do! So, I hope that you can look back and remember how hard it was to grab that knob on that metaphorical door and take a step in a better direction for you. And if you have a door you're afraid to reach for, I hope you can gather the courage to take that scary first step!