Shifting Your Focus: Life Lessons with a Tilt-Shift Lens

I recently joined the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).  PPA offers education, insurance and a multitude of other advantages, through a community of professional photographers.   When I joined, there was the extra little perk of receiving  an inexpensive Lensbaby Spark Tilt-Shift Lens.

I had been carrying it around for a while. This past weekend, while out with my boys at Getzendaner Park in Waxahachie, TX, I decided it was time to try it out.  It was a fun change.  I primarily shoot with a 50mm 1.4 lens, so I enjoyed the challenge and novelty of trying something new.  A traditional lens allows me to easily control my focus through the push of a button, or through manually turning the barrel of the lens.  I can even choose my exact point of focus.  Like it’s name implies, the tilt-shift lens feels much more haphazard.  When you look through the lens, the world is a blur.  It isn’t until you start adjusting the accordion like folds of the lens, through a pushing and tilting motion, that anything comes into focus.  It was a very different experience.  I found myself fumbling to keep my focus where I intended it to be.  I had to slow down and be extremely purposeful. I had to invest more effort. I had to be more attentive. With the slightest shift in a different direction, my focus would be lost.  It was analogous to life.


Unfortunately in life, I can’t easily push a button to bring the important things into focus for me.  It usually takes work.  To keep clear priority on Faith and family, I have to purposely set my attention there.  I have to put my time and attention where it matters most. I have to let the distractions of life around me blur, so that I can focus with purpose on what truly matters.  Even then,  sometimes things will get hazy, but with a little tilting and shifting of my priorities and perspective, the important things can become crystal clear again.


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