Everyone wants to have their life together. Some may want to plan it out with meticulous detail, while others may want to take things as they come. The same principle applies to photography. I can plan the perfect bird photo with expectations on how I want it to turn out and what to do. Conversely, I can have little but hope for the perfect shot for my art gallery and faith in lady luck herself. There have surely been serendipitous moments that have outperformed even the most well-planned attempt. However, most professionals in any field will tell you that their best work is mostly credited to lots and lots of practice.
A Determined Little Cloud
Above me, a little cloud seemed to rip away from its place in the sky and was instantly swept away. I turned my head to catch a look at it and found that it was just a bird. It may as well have been a cloud with how elegantly it maneuvered through the sky, flapping only to stabilize itself. I did note that despite its carefree appearance, this bird was very intentional about where it was gliding. Much unlike a cloud, my avian subject knew exactly where she wanted to land and made sure that she landed just there. She wasn’t at the mercy of the winds around her, instead, she used them to lift her up and learned to use them to her advantage. Without intention, she may not have landed somewhere safe or may have found herself in the wrong situation. The intention is the direction that guides our lives.
What is Intention?
I had the intention to employ bird identification to aid me in capturing a bird photo. I knew what I wanted and had a particular vision for my art gallery that I would work towards. I knew exactly what I wanted my next bird photos to look like, whether I could capture it was a different question. The intention is giving direction to your actions in order to establish and accomplish a particular goal. A lack of intention leaves us unable to devote ourselves to our goals. Knowing what you wish to gain from an activity can help you determine the path of least resistance. Or know that the path of least resistance won’t get you where you need to go, and instead figure out what will. It simply is impossible to focus on something if your mind is wandering and directionless. Most of us tend to find comfort in structure or planning, instead of a shot in the dark. The intention is just this, but for the mind. The intention is the road map that we can all use to better understand and execute our actions. It was a good thing that I had intended to use bird identification to capture these avian shots. I was able to capture this shot after months of practice.
Practice Makes Perfect
Thomas Edison has famously stated that “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” There is undoubtedly merit to that one percent of inspiration, it is the final piece of the genius. But the majority of the credit goes to the perspiration, the dedication, and the vision.
Malcolm Gladwell is another famed author who preaches the value of intention driven practice. In his bestselling book, Outliers, Gladwell explains the “10,000-Hour Rule” which states that the way to mastering any skill requires intense intentional practice. 10,000 hours of it to be exact.
Based on a study by Anders Ericsson, this rule is centered on the idea that one can only achieve greatness through dedication. This requires an individual to not only put in hours of practice but ensure that the practice is intentional and motivated.
Gladwell’s examples include the Beatles and Bill Gates, who had earned a god-like status in their respective fields. He explains how the Beatles had performed around 1,200 times between 1960 and 1964. This had racked up more than 10,000 hours of diligent practice that had enabled them to truly develop and hone their talent. Similarly, Bill Gates had amassed this level of practice on computers that were typically uncommon. Through a series of fortunate events, a 13-year-old Gates was able to access a high school computer to practice on. He too collected more than 10,000 of practice and had honed his talent in order to take advantage of the technological revolution.
What Can Intention Do For Us?
Not all of us may know what we want or even worse, how to get it. However, no one will ever really know everything. In the meantime, we can find direction through our intentions. When our vision is clear and we have some intention of what we want to do, we are closer to defining our purpose. It is through this that we are able to traverse through the adversities and uncertainties of life. Just as my avian friend was able to traverse the air and just as I was able to use bird identification to find her. At the end of the day, my intention paid off with me leaving with a new bird photo for my art gallery and a lesson learned.
Bird Photo Gallery
View more animal photo collections
• 8” x 12” in/ 20.32 x 30.48 cm
• 17.5” x 26.25” in/ 44.45 x 66.675 cm
• 23.5” x 35.25” in/ 59.69 x 89.535 cm
• 35.5” x 53.25” in/ 90.17 x 135.255 cm
• 43.5” x 65.25” in/ 110.49 x 165.735 cm
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