Distorted Lenns Photography: Blog https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog en-us (C) Distorted Lenns Photography photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:30:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:30:00 GMT Two Years And Some Planning For The Future https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2019/10/two-years-and-some-planning-for-the-future “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”
~ Greg Reid
 

Wow, it's been almost 2 years since my last blog post and what do I have to show for it? Not much really. Well, not much in terms of photography but there's more to life than photography. Or is there?

Well - that all depends. For me, photography (and by association, running a photography business) was never supposed to be a primary priority for me. I lost focus of that and go caught up in the mindset of wanting to make it work as if it were my career and primary source of income when I already had one. I was trying to keep up others who were working in the industry every day and comparing my work with these same people and always ending up falling short because of that. 

In the past couple of years, I've stepped away from the photography work and it's been good for me. I hate to admit it but I haven't touched my camera in over a year. It's both a good and bad thing though. By stepping away, I've been able to get out of the unhealthy mindset that I was previously in but at the same time I've become a bit rusty with things in the world of photography.

My personal circumstances have changed but now I've now been given the opportunity to once again get back into my photography work. The difference this time is that I have 2 more years of life experience...and an established career in another industry. There's no need for me to even attempt to keep up with anyone else in the photographic world and everything that I'll be doing, from here on in, will because I want to and because I enjoy doing it. I no longer feel obligated to say 'yes' to doing photographic work because I was concerned about what that would mean for my photographic reputation.

So, the purpose of this blog...now that I've come to terms with my new found freedom, I'm embarking on that journey to rediscover my creativity. I'm digging up my old photoshoot ideas and concepts that I've had but never completed. I'm looking at the old websites (like DeviantArt) that I used to spend time on to get ideas and inspiration. I'm looking at different online forums and communities where they have "monthly challenges" that I can use to get a little more creative and best of all, I'm actually able to allocate and structure some time to doing these side projects - because that's exactly what they are now. Side projects...and trying to give them a priority higher than that is a disservice to myself. 

So for now, the research and planning stages have commenced.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) life life lessons planning research https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2019/10/two-years-and-some-planning-for-the-future Wed, 16 Oct 2019 07:34:25 GMT
Observing Education And Learning By Doing https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2017/10/labrats "A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open." ~ Frank Zappa

In my photography life, the biggest event that took place was an opportunity that took place via one of my contact who was running an event at Edith Cowan University called "Labrats". This event involved students from surrounding high schools attending the university to experience a few of the various courses they have available. In terms of photography, this proved to be somewhat...challenging...so I'm going to list them here for your enjoyment:

  • Photographic permissions - this is something that needs to be sorted out well before you even start shooting. Thankfully, my contact at the university knows all too well about these issues and was on top of it all for me on my behalf.
  • Students. Specifically, high school students - These fall into two distinctive categories: (1) The ones who don't like having their photos taken but are pretty much the exact kind of student you want because they're photogenic and (2) The ones who try to be gangsta and keep putting up their version of gang signs. Putting the camera to your face is the universal indicator that you are or going to be taking a photo. To get around this, shoot from the hip. Problem solved.
  • Different lighting conditions and movement - As expected, the different activities that the students were involved in ranged from playing sports outdoors in a soccer field (wearing GPS trackers) to the indoor sprinting track in the the sports science labs to drone flying to robotics. Each of these had different lighting conditions and each of these had different subjects moving at different speeds. This is where it's important to know how to change the different settings of the camera and being able to do it quickly. It also helps when you have a rough idea as to what ISO, shutter speed and f-stop you should use in each lighting condition.
  • Image repetition - Unfortunately, given the event, it was largely students sitting around student-ing. You know...student things, talking, writing, reading, learning. There's not too much you can do about that BUT that's where you get to be creative. Different angles, different perspectives this is where the difficulty in photography really lies and becomes about understanding the purpose for taking the photos. In this case, it was for the the program coordinator to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program which helped dictate how I framed the pictures.

In a nut shell, those were a few of the major things that I learned as part of this experience / opportunity and here's the 'shot of the day'. 

Black Carnaby EducationBlack Carnaby Education

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) cowan development edith education experience learning perth photography school study studying university https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2017/10/labrats Sat, 30 Sep 2017 23:00:00 GMT
Fast Forward 6 Months https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2017/9/fast-forward-6-months "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" ~ C.S. Lewis

I've been doing a lot more in relation to productivity and self-development which have been a tremendous help in my personal life but I'm now beginning to apply that to my photographic life. In the previous post (which was a few months ago) I made reference to a few 'rules' that I was mentally implementing to ensure that the passion I had for photography was kept intact. I'm pleased to say that they've been working well for me. It's given me more time to focus on a few ideas and concepts that align with me creatively.

I've also structured and planned out my work a bit better and it's safe to say that thing from here on-wards are going to be different. I'm hoping that each of these blogs (which will be more regular) will act as both as a journal of the work I've done and a bit of a preview of the work that I'm about to do.

I'm really excited about this next stage of my business and I think the struggles I've had up until this point have solidified a lot of the uncertainty I previously had about the direction of my photography work and business. Stay tuned folks.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2017/9/fast-forward-6-months Sun, 17 Sep 2017 13:30:15 GMT
Starting Over - Again https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2017/1/starting-over---again "The more things change, the more they are the same" ~ Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

So having spent a bit of time focusing on myself out of necessity and I've also had some time to think about a few things. Some thoughts have been photography related, some have not. In relation to my involvement with photography I guess it was something that's come full circle. I started getting involved in photography because I wanted to show people how I saw things - things that were different. I was never any good at drawing or painting so I guess photography was where I eventually gravitated towards. 

The other reason I got involved with photography was because I enjoyed it. Because I loved it. When you stop loving what you do...then you've become a slave to the process and that's not the kind of life that I want to have. Then again, does that mean - as a photographer that loves taking photos - I should be exploited for it? The amount of time, money, effort and energy that I've spent into learning, education, trail and error, self development, the blood, sweat and tears and everything else in between...should that count for nothing? I don't believe so. Which is why I've now established processes and protocols so that doesn't happen in future.

I don't ever want to lose the love I have for photography and in hindsight, selling out or taking on projects that I didn't have any love for and was simply doing it for the "great exposure" didn't align with who I am as a person and as a photographer. In going forwards with my work from here, this is the mentality I'm hoping to maintain.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) beginning business faith future learning planning https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2017/1/starting-over---again Tue, 10 Jan 2017 13:17:22 GMT
Let It Go. https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/11/let-it-go "Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on." ~ Eckhart Tolle

In recent months I've been involved in a fair number of events and I've been more than grateful and thankful for those opportunities. As draining and exhausting as they've been, I've loved my involvement with them and I'd like to hope that in each of these instances further photography work and opportunities will eventuate in the coming year.

During this time I was also offered the opportunity to be involved as a photographer at a somewhat significant event. I did agree to it in the first instance but shortly after I started to experience significant personal (health) issues. I contemplated withdrawing my services for this event because of my issues but my ego got the better of me and I progressed it further in the hopes that things would just sort themselves out. Unfortunately for me, that wasn't the case.

I lost a lot of sleep coming to terms with withdrawing my services for this event and I felt like a failure because I was unable to uphold my initial commitment...but at the same time, in the back of my mind I knew it was the right thing to do (for me) for nothing more than self preservation. Letting go of something, anything, that I had committed to because of health reasons (that are out of my control) has been one of the hardest things I've had to do in recent memory.

Dealing with my own ego has not been easy. The internal dialogue (or more accurately, internal conflict) has not been easy. Coming to the realisation that there are some things that our out of your control has not been easy. Coming to terms that there are factors that, despite what you WANT to do will limit or negate what you CAN do, has not been easy.

As a result, I've had to cease any further (active) photography work. At least for the short term anyway.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/11/let-it-go Tue, 15 Nov 2016 13:28:01 GMT
If You Have No Talent, Create. https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/7/if-you-have-no-talent-create "Never give up and good luck will find you" ~ Falcor "The NeverEnding Story

Since the last blog, I've gone on somewhat a hypothetical journey. I've learned a lot and yet at the same time, found more questions to ask. Which I'm finding somewhat interesting in a way. I remember one of my previous bosses telling me (when I first started) that when you begin, you know what you know. Then as you gain experience you come to the realisation that there's more to it and you don't know what you don't know. This is the stage when things become difficult and overwhelming and people give up.

 

Well, if you stick with it and persist then you reach the stage of knowing what you don't know. For me, personally, I feel like I'm on the line between not knowing what I don't know...and knowing what I don’t' know. By that, I mean that I've come to the realisation that there's so much more I need to know (because I don't) but I feel that now, I'm able to articulate what this is much better.

 

Relating it back to my photography work, it's like visualising what I want one of my images to look like then heading onto YouTube to look for a basic tutorial for it...but not knowing what the hell to even type in the search box. That's where I was. Now, I'd like to believe that there's aspects of what I want to visually achieve, I at least now know what to look for when I jump onto YouTube.

 

I've also been thinking a lot about the differences between photography and art. Photography AS art. When does a photograph BECOME art? Do I want to just be a photographer? Or do I want to be an photographic artist? Is there a difference? Or are the terms interchangeable? Does it make a difference? And if it does, what is that difference?

 

Now, I'm not going to go into the long winded research of art, art history, photography or psychology but for me, I'm inspired by the quote from Cirque Du Soleil's show Allegra that states: "If you have no voice, scream. If you have no legs, run. If you have no hope, invent." The power of that quote still brings a tear to my eyes but my interpretation of that ethos would be to extend it to "If you have no talent, create" and that's what I've been doing.

 

The hardest part of being "creative" is to actually BE creative. I had become somewhat complacent with photography and aspects of creativity and I only have myself to blame for that. Creativity always seems to take a back seat to the rest of life's priorities but having had the opportunity to find some balance again I (once again) tried to be creative. Starting is always the hardest part. Taking that first step of doing something when you don't know how has been one of the hardest things I've done and with the added insecurities and scrutiny of social media, it can be extremely daunting.

 

Admittedly, getting past this somewhat painfully excruciating hurdle has only managed to be achieved with a lot of soul searching and a change of mindset. The recent "Winter"  image series that I created was as much a personal development project as it was an artistic development project. I started off with a concept and from there it evolved into something I used as a process. Like with anything creative it will never be perfect but instead of looking at the finished product as an objective, I used the learning process as the objective. As if it were an assignment for a course - would I be happy to submit it? Would I receive a passing grade? I don't ever expect to gain 100% for it but if I'm able to demonstrate an understanding and application of the key learning objectives then it's been a success as far as I'm concerned.

 

And in doing so, that's where I realise that the difference between a simple image or photograph becomes something more. It becomes art. What am I doing to it that makes it more than what it was? What am I doing to it to make people pay attention to it? What can I do to it to make it stand out? And that’s when the creativity started. Turning a simple image taken in a make-shift studio to adding a virtual background, adding differing lighting filters and shading, retouching imperfections on the image - these were all things that I previously considered to be sacrilegious to the world of photography because it was a manipulation of the 'truth' - because a photograph (to me) was always considered to be the truth.

 

Photography - specifically photojournalism (which I have a personal love for) - will always be seen as the absolute truth to me. Like a work of non-fiction. Something based in the real world. But what about the vast expanses of the non-fiction world? The world of digital art and photo manipulation? The world, although based on the absolute truth, is able to be expanded on giving people the opportunity to travel to new worlds, meet an array of creatures, cast magic spells, fly interstellar space craft or whatever the heart desires. I had been closed off to this concept for a very long time and by (re)opening this door, I feel like the cogs of creativity starting to move again and with their movement, the creation of momentum…which in turn creates more creativity…which in turn (with application of that creativity) creates talent…which creatives more momentum…and so on… 

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) Art Creativity Development Faith Learning https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/7/if-you-have-no-talent-create Fri, 29 Jul 2016 12:50:52 GMT
When Free Isn't Actually Free https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/6/free-money "I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay. Ain't it sad. And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me. That's too bad." ~ Money Money Money by Abba

So this has been something that's been ongoing for a while for me but I've never really made a big deal about it - until now. As someone who's involved in the creative industries (or at the very least, someone who is aspiring to be involved in the creative industries) there seems to some expectation that the work I do can be done for free. I mean, how hard can it be to just point and shoot a camera? Doesn't the camera have an automatic setting that just makes the photos look good anyway? Absolutely! I mean, that's why I spent all that time getting qualified and spent all that money on an expensive camera so I could learn how to use the automatic setting properly. *sigh*

 

Since the beginning of the year, I guess I've grown up a little bit (in the professional sense anyway) and I've stopped taking on work people expect me to do for free - because it's really not free. It comes at a cost. To me. Basically when someone says "it would be great exposure for your business" I now interpret that to be: "I don't value your time - at all. Your time is worth far less than mine and that photography thing you do is literally worthless to me so why should I pay for it." Sure, it might sound somewhat harsh and exaggerated and I might be taking it to the extreme...or am I?

 

Realistically, if I don't value my own time then no one will. The costs for equipment, insurance, electricity, travel costs, education, a bunch of other incidentals related to running any business and of course - my ACTUAL time. These are things that all cost something. Something financial. I've paid to buy the equipment. I've paid to gain the knowledge and qualification. I've paid to gain the experience that I have to get me to the point I am now. I've literally put blood, sweat and tears to get to the point I am now and to do work for free (well, for the "great business exposure") negates all of that. It devalues my entire history, experience, knowledge and that of everyone else who is involved in the creative industry and that's not right.

 

I'm not saying I won't ever do the work for free because I will but it will be because I've initiated it and on my terms. It shouldn't be something that people expect or make out like they're doing you a favour by having the opportunity to work for them for free. Admittedly I feel somewhat nervous about making this stand and who knows how many opportunities I might miss out on by rejecting "free work" but I think for my own personal and professional integrity (and professional development and the wider creative industry community) it needs to be done.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) business cost learning money time value https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/6/free-money Thu, 16 Jun 2016 14:45:18 GMT
Sometimes Things Kinda Make Sense To Me https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/6/sometimes-things-kinda-make-sense-to-me "Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go." ~ Good Riddance by Green Day

Since my last entry, much development has taken place. Both personally and professionally. One of the biggest developments has been the addition / upgrade to a Canon 5D MkII (my dream camera!). This was the camera that I wanted when I was first getting started in the world of photography however (as anyone in the creative industries will attest to) funding can be somewhat...limited.

 

A few years later...newer models of cameras came out and you would expect the prices to decrease (even slightly!) but unfortunately the price pretty much remained the same for the 5D. Then they were no longer available which saddened me – more so because of the fact that the dream of owning that particular camera no longer would no longer be a possibility.

 

Through a series of random events, I met a fellow artist (a painter) who had acquired the camera and had only used it a few times and hated the complexity of it all. As it turned out, by a twist of fate he was eager to sell the (almost brand new) camera to someone who would make good use of it – and at an incredibly low price (with a lens too!).

 

Within a week of acquiring the new camera I was approached to be involved a significantly large annual sporting event and another sporting competition the week after. Both were significantly large photography opportunities and for all of them to have happened within such a short amount of time have left me somewhat photographically and physically drained. I don't think people really give much thought to how physically demanding event or sports photography can be – but still question their rates because "if shouldn't be so expensive to just press a button", anyway – that's a blog for another time.

 

In recent weeks I've also been getting a lot more involved in the social media aspects of running a business. It's far more in-depth and complicated than what I thought it would be and admittedly I'm grateful for the fact that I have the luxury of not having to rely on photography as my primary source of income. Maybe it's just me being a nerd or easily distracted but I'm far more intrigued (and excited) by the analytics that I'm able to acquire from various providers in relation to social media presence. Even that itself is an art form and I'm learning about that very much as well (yes, I'm a nerd I know).

 

By having a social media presence (regardless of capacity) has also enabled me to connect with people that I previously would never have had the opportunity connect with. It's given me the opportunity to literally connect with other people around the world who share similar passions or exchange and brainstorm ideas and concepts and it's been amazing. I've only just begun to have a whole new understanding and appreciation for how amazing technology and the Internet can be. Case in point: A photography friend in the UK has done a thing and found (SEVERAL!) online courses that she has purchased. As part of purchasing the course(s) she's entitled to also gift a copy of the online course to someone - and that someone has been me!! So I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) connection contacts education learning new camera social media https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/6/sometimes-things-kinda-make-sense-to-me Fri, 03 Jun 2016 10:41:29 GMT
Preparing And Planning https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/3/preparing-and-planning "A goal without a plan is just a wish." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Opportunity creates opportunity - and as new age as it might sound, when you change your perspective on things, you can see the opportunities when they're presented. Who would have guessed that all it would take would be for a change in perspective...for a photographer. Crazy, I know!

I recently just finished a "winter" themed photo shoot and I'm really happy with the photos that I acquired from it. I'm still in the stages of post-processing them and photo-shopping them into how I conceptualised them - but I'm very happy with them. 

Whilst planning for that photo shoot, I was approached to do another one. This time a "black and white" themed photo shoot. But before I've even had a chance to finish the first project the opportunity for another one has presented itself. And just when I was starting to get into the flow of working on my photos from the last shoot, an innocent Facebook post has ended up becoming a future planned body painted comic book super hero photo shoot.

I'm really looking forward to these upcoming projects and with every photo shoot that I do, I feel like I'm learning something new each and every time. There's a lot more that goes on behind the scenes of a photo shoot than just setting up some lights, pointing the camera (making sure the lens cap is off first - pro tip right there for you) and pressing the little clicky button on top (not the power button...the other button...the one that makes the thingie inside the camera go *clunk*).

There's a lot of planning and preparation that needs to be done well before a photo shoot too. There's also a lot of research that needs to be done in relation to other similar photographic work that already exists within the creative world too. Research, planning, preparation, planning, scheduling, organising, more preparation and then some more planning. And lists. Plenty of lists.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/3/preparing-and-planning Mon, 28 Mar 2016 15:10:05 GMT
Some Day My Prints Will Come https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/3/some-day-my-prints-will-come "If you have no voice, scream. If you have no legs, run. If you have no hope, invent." ~ Cirque du Soleil, Alegria Poster

In the past month I've had a lot of time to think about and work through various things - some of it was photography related, most of it wasn't. It's not been an easy process overall and I admit I've struggled with it.

Now that I've had some time and space to clear my head and with a little bit of hindsight I've come to understand what the title quote actually means (to me). It means that you create the opportunities when there are none or quite simply put: being optimistic - even when things don't go well. Look for the opportunity in every situation and that's what I've begun to do.

I now have my business cards available at my local gym - which has given me further ideas on where I can distribute my business cards to other potential clients. 

The canvas print that I ordered some time ago has also arrived and was surprisingly larger than I expected - despite the fact that I selected the size of the print when I ordered it in the first place (let's not even go there). I'm now currently investigating places that would be suitable to potentially display my work. This itself is a complicated process but in doing this - I've also become aware of other opportunities and methods for next time. I guess the point there is that it's only considered a failure if you haven't learned from the experience.

In future news, I'm currently in the early stages of planning a themed photo shoot for the end of the month. The concepts and ideas of it all and what I'm visualising in my head are probably something well beyond what I'm usually comfortable with (and probably capable of) but if I want to be seen as being creative then I have to get out of my comfort zone which is exactly what I'm going to be doing.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/3/some-day-my-prints-will-come Sun, 06 Mar 2016 12:58:20 GMT
Not The Beginning I Had Expected https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/2/not-the-beginning-i-had-expected "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." ~ John Lennon.

 

It would appear that the plans that I thought I was able to dedicate to my photography have now been restricted and as a result, the opportunities to spend time on this pursuit have also been restricted. Understandably, such events occur in life and it's how these events are dealt with that defines who you are as a person. I admit that I'm sad about the outcome but at the same time the status quo remains the same - at least at a superficial level anyway. 

 

I've spent some time restructuring my thoughts in regards to this and I now realise that perhaps this isn't such a bad thing after all. My inability to take the time off means that my level on income remains unchanged. It also means that the other aspects of running a business (such as marketing, finances, networking, planning) that are minimal for me, can be done during my breaks at work.

 

An excellent example of this scenario would have been the recent online ordering of one of my photos onto a canvas. Even though the process (initially) was somewhat complicated, I'm confident that in future this type of product ordering online would be able to be done from the workplace without causing any issues with my managers. Additionally, the local restaurant that I'm going to get in contact with to (hopefully) display my work isn't too far from me and could easily leave work a little bit earlier (or even take an extended lunch break) to go and speak with them in person to discuss display of my work.

 

I guess I'm looking for the opportunities in my current situation and trying to remain positive. I'm a believer in the concept that the Universe provides that which you are open to - and since the last blog post I've been contacted on 3 separate occasions for photography work. Admittedly one of these opportunities was "for free but would be great for exposure" which I've had to decline because I currently don't have the time to apply myself to these side projects when there are paid opportunities available.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) opportunities positive thinking printing https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/2/not-the-beginning-i-had-expected Thu, 18 Feb 2016 13:35:01 GMT
A New Beginning https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/1/a-new-beginning It's been a very long while since I took the time to focus on the more creative aspects of my world and in recent months I've come to the realisation that life (in general) for me has been somewhat...unbalanced.

As a result, I've recently made some life changes which has enabled me to spend more time on the things I enjoy doing. It is not without sacrifice though but one that I am more than willing to make. I've basically taken a reduction in pay at my stable desk job, in order to have a day off during the week.

The time that I have now "reclaimed" as my own has already enabled me to redevelop my website and also look into opportunities for the display (and potential sale) of my images. I've also had more time to work on the backlog of photos that I've always thought "they would look great if I had a bit of time to work on them." Well now I have the time to do it and I'm glad that I do. It also means more regular blog updates about the progress of my work too.

I'm actually optimistic about the future even though it's so uncertain because already in the short time this change has taken effect...it has impacted on my life an enormous amount in a very positive way.

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photographer@distortedlenns.com.au (Distorted Lenns Photography) creativity life opportunities work https://www.distortedlenns.com.au/blog/2016/1/a-new-beginning Fri, 29 Jan 2016 04:17:26 GMT