Tag Archives: learning

As previously mentioned, I’ve recently started taking a photography class.  The class title is, Introduction to Digital Photography, and my goal for the class is to learn how to take better, more consistent pictures.

Our first assignment was to take five good pictures of color and detail, with the following constraint – there can be no edits other than resizing the image to 700 pixels at its largest dimension.  No exposure modifications, sharpening, cropping – the image must be created in-camera.

Here are my five images:

I’ll post some other pictures, as well as the four other assignments that will be completed over the course of the semester.

I’d also love any feedback that you have regarding the images.  I may also post any feedback that I receive that I think is interesting, we’ll see.

As always, thanks for stopping by and visiting.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Special

My grandfather lived into his early 90’s.  He was a lifelong learner with incredible curiosity and passion for life.  After he passed we were going through the items in my grandparents apartment and we came across this piece of paper:


An asana, at least in the west, is typically defined as a body position, often within the practice of yoga.   Based upon the location and placement with other papers, it was clear that this was a recent project.  Not once had my grandfather spoken of a yoga practice, and yet, here is a man in his late 80’s or early 90’s taking the time to develop a practice.

I’ll never know if his intent was to improve physically, spiritually, or both, but I take from this piece of paper the lesson that we’re never too old to learn something new.  We’re never too old to begin a new practice or skill.  As long as we remain curious, passionate, and engaged, we continue to grow.

That’s why this piece of paper is my answer to Across the Bored’s question, “What is special for you?”

Books lined up on a shelf

Weekend Reading, March 16, 2013

Below are some links to stuff I found interesting this week:

A fun 2-minute video that, if you like dogs, will put a smile on your face.  What happens when engineers own dogs?

Urban Sketchers shared with us the travel hobby of industrial designer Mike Daikubara, who sketches the hotel rooms he stays in while traveling. His sketches are well done, and his process is documented.  Even if you don’t draw this would be a fun project with a camera.  Do you do something like this to document your travels?

Brain Pickings alerts us to a collection of 100 images sent into orbit on the Echostar XVI satellite.There is a quote from the book that provides some of artist Trevor Paglen’s thoughts on the future fate of life on earth.  If you like thinking about the future – 4 billion years into the future – and our place in the universe, you’ll enjoy this piece.

Did something above spark an interest or thought? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Have a great weekend!

Defining Success

A man in a car, trapped in traffic yelling at his cell phone above labeled Successful Man, and a man walking with a smile on his face below labeled Unsuccessful Man.

As I was reviewing the posts from the week, I started to notice a theme related to success, and it reminded me of the above cartoon. I enjoy most of Andy Singer’s work, for both its style and message, and this message got me thinking about how I define the success of my life.  Three key points come to mind, with some thoughts about how they relate to the image:

  1. I’m able to provide for my family.  This doesn’t mean that we need to be rich.  It means that we can meet our basic needs. Walking and biking are two perfectly acceptable means of transportation (though we do travel by car).
  2. I have a positive influence on the lives of others.  I realize that this won’t always be the case, but in general, I want to help others reach their potential and live happy and productive lives.  Minimizing my impact to the planet and setting a positive example are two ways that I can do this.  Not yelling at others and being angry with them is another.
  3. I keep a positive approach to how I live my life and to recognize the gift of life.  Taking the time to walk, smile, and enjoy the company of my family (human and non-human) is a key element in accomplishing this goal.

I’m not always successful in meeting all of these goals, especially the last two, but I give it my best each day.  And on the days that I’m not successful, I try to learn and adapt so that tomorrow is better.  Sure, I make mistakes and wish that I could take things back, but when I think it through, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.

Every significant mistake or action I’d like to take back has created an important learning opportunity.  If I erase the event as if it never happened, I’ll lose the benefit of the lesson learned. No thanks.  My mistakes enable my success, so I’d rather keep them with me.

I think that most people within American culture have goals similar to those I’ve outlined above, though I’ve definitely met many that have the materialistic definition of success implied in Singer’s cartoon.

How do you define success in your life?  Is it different from, or aligned with, your culture’s definition of success?

A picture of my wife.

The Luckiest Man in the World

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on March 9, 2013.

Prompt: Who’s the most important person in your life — and how would your day-to-day existence be different without them?

Easy.  My life partner, Kami.  The one person who deals with whatever I do with patience, grace, and a smile.  She helps me eat a healthy meal, take care of myself physically, and shows me techniques to more effectively manage stress. She takes care of our family (currently two dogs and a cat), and she goes out into the world and does good things for people.

Most importantly, she’s taught me how to love and be loved. This is a lesson in which I sometimes need a remedial course, and she’s always there to instruct (whether she knows she’s teaching or not).

I can’t imagine life without her, and I try not take her presence in my life for granted. If we come to a place where she’s no longer physically with me,  she will always be a part of who I am, the luckiest man in the world.

A teacher in front of young students telling them a story from a picture book.

The Power of Storytelling

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on March 8, 2013.

Prompt:  The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .) : a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

These stories can be perceived as fun and harmless, they can be perceived as lies without justification, or they can be seen as teaching children that stories are what drives the world. I prefer to think of them as educational and empowering.

When we tell children the story of Santa Claus, they begin to learn that:

  1. There is someone in the world that keeps an eye on them.
  2. If they learn to behave well good things will happen for them.
  3. Not every belief is real, but they learn that they can create their own reality through the power of storytelling.

And if we take a look at how life in American culture is currently working:

  1. We are constantly being watched, by friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc…most of us have someone’s eye on us at all times.
  2. We are rewarded for behavior that matches the expectations of our culture.  As adults, this typically means jobs and financial success, but it can also apply in friendship, courtship, and citizenship.
  3. We have to learn to tell stories each day to understand who we are and to help convey our ideas to others.  Some of this is based upon reality, but how we position and tell our stories can carry much more weight than facts many times.

There are additional examples that can be drawn, but I think you get the idea. The power of storytelling is potentially the most powerful lesson, as it can inform and shape all interactions. It’s the conscious awareness that our stories create and shape our reality that gives us the power over our lives.

photo credit: kodomut via photopin cc

Books lined up on a shelf

Weekend Reading

This is the first Saturday morning post of a few links that I found interesting during the week.  I hope that you find them interesting as well.

Flickr Comments has some great pictures of dogs in his post, Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think.  There’s also a link to the Brainpickings site (a wonderful site if you’ve never been there) reviewing the book, The Genius of Dogs. How much do you learn from your relationship with dogs?

The Rise of the Artist is an interesting read regarding the future of leadership.  The author believes that right-brained, creative people, will be the leaders of the future.  I’d argue that whole-brained thinkers are best suited for leadership.

The Predawn Runner has a great post on goals vs. purpose, highlighting how runners can often become their own worst enemies in achieving their purpose.  Even if you’re not a runner, it’s a good read on the relationship between goals and purpose.

On the site Letters of Note, the 1980 letter sent to Francis Ford Coppola by a school librarian requesting that S.E. Hinton’s book, The Outsiders, be adapted for film and the series of letters that resulted are available for review.  This inspirational post demonstrates that we all have a voice and that we need to speak up – sometimes we get, or can make happen, what we want.

Did something above spark an interest or thought? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Have a great weekend!