Over a 4-day weekend from March 17-20 my wife, Bonnie and I traveled with three of our Asheville NC photography friends to the small coastal town of Kure Beach (pronounced like Madame “Currie”) south of Wilmington NC. The beach just south of town has about a 200-yard section with a display of “coquina” rocks most of which are adorned with a very smooth variety of green seaweed.
In mid-January, my wife Bonnie and I traveled to Florida for a 3-day workshop on “The Art of Seeing” with photographers Les Saucier and Janet Garrity. We went to fabulous locations from our base at the Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island.
This week, I’m sharing a few favorite images made in the historic downtown area of Charleston with my infrared-converted Fuji X-E2 mirrorless camera. Our trip in early March was with fellow photographers, Steve and Jenny Johnston, who live in Charlotte NC, and travel often to the Charleston area.
The featured image is a Bed & Breakfast at 2 Meeting Street, the corner of South Battery. It turns out that the house is owned by distant relatives of Steve’s, having been purchased in 1946 by his great Aunt and transferred to one of her nephews when she died in 1981. To make it even more interesting, Steve and Jenny spent the first night of their honeymoon at the B&B!
I wanted to capture an image of the house that conveyed a feeling of Charleston tourism and history. By waiting patiently, I finally got my chance when a couple paused at the corner to check their map simultaneously with one of the many horse-drawn carriages coming into the scene.
I’ve been thinking lately about ways we can draw our viewer into our images and hold their attention. I find that I am drawn to photos that tell a bit of story, or provide elements to spark my imagination. Even in many of my Nature images, I try to include sufficient context around the hero, or main subject to give the viewer an imaginary world they can step into.
If you are at all involved in putting your artistry out into the world via online or print media, you no doubt have learned how valuable story can be in building and sustaining a following.
I’m working to do the same with my blog and photo gallery site! I hope you will subscribe via the signup form on the Home page, or at the end of this post. I welcome your comments in the form at the end of each post as well. Do you find the photos in this post give you something to spark your imagination, or give you a sense of being there?
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While visiting family in Oxford Mississippi over the Christmas and New Year Holidays I drove past a farm field one day and made a mental note to come back with my infrared-converted Fuji X-E2 to capture the feel of the place. A few days later, the late afternoon sky clouded over with a passing storm. Dramatic skies always make for more interesting images, so I rushed out to see what I could do with the sky and the farm field.
The ancient oak above was my first subject, and I couldn’t help but feel gratitude to the previous generations of farmers who had the sensitivity to leave the tree in the middle of their field.
I continued to explore ways of connecting with the feeling and spirit of the oak. The vortex image created with quick spin of the camera during a slow shutter speed conveyed to me a further sense of it’s power.
Across the road that ran through the center of the field, was a line of trees backlit with an even more dramatic sky to accent their sentinel-like character.
This last image is more about the sky than the field, but for me, conveys a sense of place and relationship between the land and sky in the Mississippi farm land.
In photography, the frame of view makes a world of difference what the image conveys and the impact to the viewer. Similarly, in life, our frame of reference – or context – makes all the difference in what we perceive and how we interact with the world around us. I have found this to be especially true in my sales career, and I expect this relates to any career or avocation you may have.
So, what is the context within which you engage in your chosen profession or hobbies?
This may seem “self-centered” at first glance, but I have found the more I know about my deeper reality as a human being, the more I have opened up to love and appreciate the world around me, including my human family and all life on the planet.
For me, “life in the sales lane” has been greatly enriched by seeking and finding answers (at least provisional ones!) to the core questions of life and human existence. For starters, what kind of answers do you get when you ask yourself these questions: Who and What am I? What does it mean to be a human being? Is there a purpose to life and if so, how does it express itself in my life?
Perhaps you have found answers to these questions through your religious practice, or philosophical exploration. If so, do they really work for you? Have they become answers that you own, and naturally live? Have they become rigid, constricting, or led to divisiveness in life relations. Or do your questions and the answers that come to you help you live in love with life and open to new possibilities? Do they lead to greater success and balance in personal and professional life?
Whether or not you have formulated or been gifted with your own personal answers to similar questions, there is transformational power in asking them with an open, inquisitive mind and heart. Even glimpses into personal answers will expand the context within which you engage in life relationships, play and profession.
Sometimes the most impactful answers to our self-inquiries come in unexpected moments. Its not always in moments of meditation, silence, or “down time”. For me inspirations and insights often come in the midst of my “life in the sales lane”. Are you listening to your inner voice? It may be speaking to you ever so quietly. Don’t miss the cues!
One of my favorite photography mentors, Les Saucier begins his outdoor shooting workshops with the admonition, “We aren’t going for the trophy shot today. This is all practice.” What a simple and powerful approach to freeing us to enjoy the process and unlock creative possibilities! Les often elaborates on the point by suggesting that we ask ourselves, “What if…?”, bringing another invitation to break from old ways of seeing and explore new possibilities.
Les’ suggestions apply equally to creative selling. As with photography, the best opportunities present themselves when we free ourselves from attachment to the outcome, and focus on having fun with the process. Enjoyment is contagious, attracts others, and expands the flow of opportunities. Asking ourselves, “What if…” is a powerful way to discover new solutions to challenging sales situations.
The photo with this post was an accidental discovery while on vacation in Charleston SC. I wandered away from the crowd and found this gas hose that had been tossed down in a fabulous “S” curve after refueling. An exposure with my infrared camera and a bit of creative post-processing to reverse channels allowed me to bring out the blues in the water and sky for a more expressive rendition.
Creative selling calls us to bring ourselves, our gifts and skills fully present in every moment of the sales cycle; sometimes in unique and different ways. Think about the kind of energy and tone of interaction you generate when you approach your sales with openness to the flow of energy, practicing your skills and discovering what life presents, vs. trying to drive the prospect to your next “big sale”. At the end of the day, regardless of what opportunities have surfaced, you are more likely to feel a sense of satisfaction and joy in what has been achieved.
At the very least, you will have practiced your relationship and selling skills; and learned new things from and about interacting with co-workers, prospects and customers. And if a new opportunity has surfaced, it has come with a sense of discovery and appreciation — perhaps even a sense of magic in the workings of creation.
To be sure, you will have expended energy in the direction of achieving sales success, but the process will be characterized by a sense of play and freedom rather than drudgery and fear of failure. How can one fail if we are simply practicing our art, developing our skills and opening ourselves to all possibilities of discovery? For me, engaging in life as a creative practice is one of the simplest and most powerful tools for sustained enjoyment and success in sales or any other human endeavor.