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Life lessons with a camera

By KEN LARSON
Sun Advocate publisher

Last Thursday several members of the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress participated in a photography workshop. Because camera and equipment technology have changed so dramatically over the past few years the newspapers felt their reporters and photographers needed an update. Photography has been an important part of my life for the past 30 plus years. As I sat in the class learning some of the new gadgets and features on the most recent digital camera we are using I was amazed at the progress technology is making.

My career as a journalist actually began in the darkroom and doing free-lance photography features back in the mid 70's. I was teaching elementary school in a little community in Phillips county, Mont. and my wife was creating grocery ads in the composition department at the county newspaper. She would work late into the evenings designing the large grocery sale ads and since I was off work in the early afternoon I began hanging out at the newspaper office killing time.

One thing about a newspaper office is nobody stands still very long before they are put to work so from almost the beginning I found myself developing photos in the darkroom. From there I remember the publisher asking me to take pictures at a football game and later I was a regular feature contributor. Little did I know that early work, mostly as a volunteer would lead to a newspaper career that has spanned over 25 years and seven newspapers.

I take thousands of pictures annually and have had some excellent journalism photographers give me tips over the years on how to improve my work. But sitting in the meeting last week, once again learning new techniques with new equipment reminded me how similar this was with life in general.

Just when we feel comfortable with where we are and what we know, life changes. It almost seems like the more we think we know the more we realize how little we know.

I am sure its the same with everyone who actually takes the time to look at their lives and is willing to play an active role in their future.

I was very lucky in some of the early, informative years at the beginning of my career to have mentors who helped me set goals and strive for improvement. One of the saddest things I see is people who simply go through life with no real ambition and no real direction.

Like photography, life is most interesting through angles that most people never see. The good pictures are those that are properly framed and usually taken from an angle that the normal eye would never see.

Life is very similar. If we just wake up each morning, get dressed and show up with no real effort or plan, the outcome will be pretty predictable. But if we try new ideas, look at life through a new angle, take a class, read a book, set some new goals, and strive to change, the whole world opens up and we are amazed at the results.





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