Friday, April 22, 2011

Wide-angle vs. Telephoto

It's been years since I worked for a university PR department and hefted my twenty pound camera bag up to my shoulder, taking off across the campus to shoot a groundbreaking or a basketball game or a student assembly. But it's amazing how my mind still defaults to photography metaphors.

This week was a stressful one for me. For a couple of days it seemed that all I could see was a wide angle view of dead or dying possibilities for my own life, like a panorama of a dry and barren desert.

The more I studied the picture the worse I felt. It's comforting to know that with so many other families currently in job-hunting mode like mine I'm in good company. But comfort won't pay the bills. So many choices are out of my hands and it seems there is precious little I can actually control these days.

When I can't make sense of the big picture, it's time to change lenses.

I reached into my virtual camera bag and exchanged my wide angle lens for a telephoto. Instead of the looming forest of trouble I tried zooming in on just one tree at a time.

Sometimes stress fills the frame until it's all you can see.

The longer you look at it
the worse you feel 
and the harder it is to cope.

Maybe you're looking at a long list of troubles, feeling like you'll never fix them all. But you can take a step toward fixing just one.

It could be a step in the right direction.

While you can't get anywhere by ignoring problems or side-stepping them, you can develop selective focus. You decide what to focus on and how long you'll stare.

It's your choice.

What do you see when you look at this photo...

the dead leaves...

the cactus thorns...

or the flower?


  1. Oh, I love this post. Defintely a way to refocus thoughts when the broad picture seems so vast and out of reach.

  2. And you have just shown that in re-focusing, we all have more control than we think...

  3. Just what I needed on a rainy day - now looking at the glisten and not the damp

  4. This is great encouragement today. I was overwhelmed over the weekend with some anxious feelings. I hadn't felt like that in quite a while. Then, I just broke things down to manageable parts and managed to get back on track! Thanks. Love, Tricia.