Recently, I attended a photography workshop focusing on birds. I was excited to try out my new camera, and I was hoping to catch some great shots of birds at the local nature park. The morning was a huge success for bird sighting. Although we were wandering trails in late August, the weather was gorgeous and afforded many opportunities to see various birds. There were great blue herons, king birds, nuthatches, the lovely yellow bird pictured above and more. I snapped photo after photo adjusting aperture or shutter speed as I thought necessary. When finally arrive back home to look at the photos on the computer, they were horrible. I was upset at how they turned out. I turned off the computer and contemplated giving away my photography equipment. I lamented the fact that I bought a new camera this summer. I felt like I was a failure.
After my pity party, I began to reexamine the photos. I realized some of the mistakes that I had made with the camera (shutter speeds too fast pushing the ISO too high causing the pictures to be grainy). Once that I knew why the pictures were not the quality I had hoped for, I knew that I could, given the opportunity, correct those mistakes. I even found a few photos (out of the 100+ that I took) that were at least worthy of publishing on social media.
As I prepare to start a new school year, I take a few lessons from this experience with me.
- Reflection is key–If we don’t reflect on what went wrong and/or right, we’ll never understand why it did.
- Reflection can lead to deliberate action–once we identify the causes of a problem, we can work to ameliorate those causes (whether it’s camera settings or something in our classrooms).
- Don’t give up; we can learn from (and improve because of) the mistakes of life.
So, whenever you feel disappointed, take some time to reflect. Why did things turn out the way they did, and what can you improve next time. Life is a perpetual beta–we’re always finding and fixings “bugs.”