Just Do One Thing Today

One thing toward your goal of making photographs.

Want to pull out that old medium format TLR you used in college and haven’t touched since? Do it today.

Need some film? Order it today! Or better yet, visit a local camera store if you have one and support them. (My local Mike’s Camera in Boulder has Ilford HP5+ for $6.99/36 exposure roll, less than B&H’s $8.12.)

Thinking of printing a photograph, but don’t know where to start? Go out to the store and buy a frame in whatever size you’d like to see the final print. You can even find deals at thrift stores–they have frames aplenty.

Want to make more photographs but don’t know what to shoot? Take a single photo a day. Boring photos at first if that’s all you can find. You’ll get better. The more you make, the more your work will inspire more work.

We can’t do anything yesterday or tomorrow. (Yesterday’s history! Tomorrow’s another today coming soon.) We can only do something today. What is it? Baby steps.

If we do one thing toward our goals, time makes things happen. We all know how times flies. Is it already February? Seems like it was just the holidays.

Progress accumulates over time. Bit by bit, we get closer to our goal when we’re not realizing we’re even moving forward. Those baby steps turn into miles in a very short time of consistent effort.

I’ve met people selling film cameras at yard sales who instead of buying their cameras, I told them they should use it. Get one roll of 36-exposure film, black and white, and shoot one frame a month. A roll of film will last three years. After all that time, go get the film processed, and you’ll have a wonderful time capsule of film photographs you forgot about. Because there’s no way we can remember all the photographs on a 36-exposure roll.

That’s the magic of film photography. It requires time until we see the final photograph, so it essentially removes us from the moment we just froze. It gives us time to forget. It presents to us the stopped-time moment to experience a while down the road.

It perfectly works with our imperfect memory to give us back that moment to relive, to step back and relive another day.

But we have to make the work.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot. That 36-roll of film and processing in a camera that photographer already owns, that’s $7 for the roll, and maybe $15 for processing. $22 over three years. About $62 cents a month. Quite affordable for anyone.

But we have to start.

There was an old saying that I heard growing up that said if you do something for 21 days consecutively, you will continue to do it. So, make photos 21 days in a row. Carry your camera and make photos in your daily travels. One a day. Doesn’t have to be much.

But consistently. Your friends will get used to you always having a camera. Always exposing frames. It’ll become commonplace. They’ll gift you with the ability to make genuine photos of them being, living, not just posing for the camera.

You’ll get used to using the camera until it’s utterly familiar. Simple. Easy.

You’ll see photographs wherever you go, because when you have a camera at the ready, things arise. Moments appear.

This man with his cat showed up as I was leaving a photo walk with friends. I didn’t go out to photograph a man with a cat. I went out with friends, found very little to photograph, but we got together and got a walk in around Boulder. And then this gent appeared.

We have to be ready when they do.

The life of a photographer. It’s a quite rewarding one. And you can do it if you choose to do one thing today. One thing at a time adds up to a lifetime of accomplishment.

Just one thing. That’s all. Today.

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