The Light Stalker & Other Satisfying Sobriquets

The Light Stalker & Other Satisfying Sobriquets

Light is a photographer’s fondest friend or fiercest foe. We stalk it, seeking the perfect situation, or succumb to shadows and saturation. I’m not a  professional, but as an emerging amateur, I’m proudly proficient at lowing f-stops and increasing ISO’s when lighting is low.

When I look at light through the perspective of a lens, it’s onerous. It even eludes logic, as evident by the fact that photographers haul around umbrellas when there is no rain, and lug light fixtures to indoor shoots where the electric bill’s been paid on time. All this equipment is impressive and elevates photographers to a level of looking like pretty important people. I’m especially impressed when a photographer adds another individual to their arsenal! This person, known as an Assistant, is often seen holding a reflector that resembles a piece of aluminum foil while directing light at the perfect angle. If you’re looking for a low-stress job, and have arms, this could be the gig for you. I don’t mean to offend anybody who holds the title of this worthy profession. The truth is, I’m getting way ahead of myself even writing about the need for additional equipment or employing Assistants.

It’s said that to truly master something, one must accept and embrace inevitable failures as our missteps often present the greatest teaching moments. I remind myself of this while striving to improve my relationship between light and lens, as similar to all partnerships, the more time invested, the greater likelihood for positive return. However, this commitment comes at the risk of overexposure, as too much brightness may lead to losing luster. But, it still trumps the disappointment or regret that comes from not opening up and letting the light truly illuminate. I’ve gained an enormous amount of knowledge about the subject of light, and the partnerships involved, by visiting the cleverly named website, http://www.lightstalking.com. Kudos to their marketing folks for both superb content and namesake creativity!

I’m pretty sure Ansel Adams knew all about light. And, I’m one hundred percent sure that using his full name is hardly necessary. It’s clear you made it in life when simply one word for recognition will do. Plus, with a name like, Ansel, he was destined for a life in the arts! I Googled my birth name and discovered it translates to meaning, Lily. This is surprising as I struggle with the art of gardening and my thumb is the furthest thing from the green. The closest it’s come is when a doctor, stitching a wound, mentioned gangrene as something to be avoided at all costs.

However, what’s fascinating is that there truly is something about this name-to-profession phenomenon, and it’s labeled, nominative determinism. This theory, studied by scientists themselves, sets out to demonstrate that people are drawn to professions that match their surname. I’m no scientist but I can support their theory with the fact that Dr. Fang removed my wisdom teeth, and Ms. Wisdom herself was a teacher’s assistant I had back in college.

Perhaps parents should pay close consideration to this name-to-profession peculiarity when their children are born. I mean, what career is little Webster more suited for than one in the English arts, obviously specializing in linguistics. On the other hand, my nephew’s name is Mason and he doesn’t seem particularly attracted to stone structures. If you want to read more about names, professions, and proctologists named Dr. Butts, you can do so here. S.J. Velasquez from the BBC wrote all about it. Even though his name doesn’t support the topic matter, the article is still good for a chuckle and an informative read on the topic.

Along these same lines, I’ve been known to play what I call the doppelganger name game. This equates to a time-sucking activity that leads down a rabbit hole of discovering who in the universe shares your same name. I’ve found all kinds of ghostly doubles who look nothing like me but share my namesake. Obviously, I have an unhealthy obsession with these types of things. But, now that you’ve read about it, I’m willing to bet a bitcoin you’ll Google your own name and see who’s out there, living in a parallel universe, sharing your same signature. Personally speaking, I’ve found some pretty cool people doing similar types of things I like to do! Irony aside, this lady, Suzanne Nelson (my maiden name), is a published author. This one, Suzanne McCormack is a television producer! Although in fairness, she spells her name slightly different. But, I’m more than happy to hop on and ride her namesake coattails!

So back to my photographic journey,  where I’ll remain in the space between light and dark, fumbling with f-stops and dreaming of dramatic shots where the amount of light required will only come from a lens I can’t afford. In the space where my photos, both the successes and the failures, will continue to be created, as I stumble toward becoming as apt as Ansel.  And perhaps, a place where Assistants might share my namesake, while we live in the same universe, doing the same things, simply because it’s destined by the divine entity of a doppelganger.

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