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Life is More Interesting with BAGS

There’s something about photography that can cause it to become deeply intertwined with our lives. Of course some folks are professional photographers and their image-creating skills, as well as their ability to market those skills, are fundamental contributors to their economic well-being. For many other people who’s livelihood does not depend on earning a living from their images, photography is still an integral part of their lives. The simple fact is that life is far more interesting with BAGS, and photography often plays a key role with them.

What are BAGS? Big, audacious goals. These are the insights, experiences and accomplishments that we pursue in life that give our lives context, meaning, and dare I say – purpose.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 12.2mm, ISO 160, 1/640, f/5.6

For many of us our Big Audacious Goals are directly linked to photography. We yearn to journey to a far off land and participate in a photographic adventure. Perhaps it is a photo safari in Africa. A visit to the Galapagos Islands. Hiking in the Andes Mountains to view Machu Picchu. Or capturing architectural wonders in Europe, Egypt or Angkor Wat.

NIKON 1 V2 + 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1400, 1/2500, f/5.6

Others have photographic passions that lead them into natural settings to experience and document birds, flowers and other living things.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 17.5mm, ISO 160, 1/160, f/5.6

Being totally immersed in human-kind in large urban environments and capturing those experiences with street photography is the life-blood of many.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM @ 10mm, ISO 160, 1/500, f/5.6

Not all of our BAGS are photography related, but our images do serve as keepsakes of them. I think the ‘selfie’ phenomenon that rages around us has some foundation in our need to document our experiences through the magic of photography.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 27.2mm, ISO 160, 1/1600, f/5.6

I have fond memories of conducting personal effectiveness seminars and encouraging participants to create BAGS for themselves. Reminding them that it doesn’t take any more time or effort to create a Big Audacious Goal than it does to write down a small, timid one. The goals we choose, create the life we live. If any of us need proof of that, one only has to investigate the adventures of John Goddard and his ‘life list’. Something he created as an inspired 15-year-old boy with 127 items on it.

NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 200, 1/1600, f/5.6

None of us need worry about comparing our goals to those of John Goddard, or anyone else for that matter. Our goals are only relevant to us, and their level of personal audacity is defined by where each of us find ourselves today.

NIKON 1 J5 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, ISO 400, 1/40, f/8.0

Life is not about wasting precious time with competition and meaningless comparisons to others. Self-discovery is the path of personal growth. Comparisons to others only serves to undermine our ability to reach our personal potential.

NIKON 1 J5 + 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7mm, ISO 1600, 1/20, f/8.0

Everything in life comes with a price. And, every goal comes with a simple, personal question, “Am I prepared to pay the price to achieve my goal?” That price may be investing hours of your time to learn and experiment with a certain genre of photography. It may be making fundamental shifts in our personal spending habits so we can save enough money for that photo safari to Africa. Or embarking on a rigorous program to improve our physical fitness so we can make the trek to Machu Picchu.

NIKON 1 J5 + 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 84.5mm, ISO 160, 1/800, f/5.6

Nature teaches us that once the process of growth stops, the process of death and decay begins. If our BAGS are ever evolving – each of us will keep growing. We need not concern ourselves in the slightest with the results that we generate. The value is in the doing. In the effort, and in the act of creation. Whether anyone else likes an image we create, or whether anyone is willing to purchase a copy of that image from us, are moot points. Opinions and results are external to us. These transient, external things do not aid in our self-discovery and personal growth.

NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7mm, ISO 400, 1/25, f/8.0

As we achieve our goals, it is important to take some time to celebrate each one. Then, we need to let each of them go like a leaf falling from an autumn tree, and pay them no more heed. Holding on to them enslaves us to the past. It is time to move on – to keep growing.

Technical Note:

All photographs were captured hand-held using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro/PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

Article is Copyright 2018 Thomas Stirr. Images are Copyright 2014-2018 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or reproduction of any kind is allowed without written permission. Photography Life is the only approved user of this article. If you see it reproduced anywhere else it is an illegal and unauthorized use.

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