Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Pure Passion



The elusiveness of great waves in South Florida, and the alignment of schedules have made getting out to take photos of surfing a rarity for me in a year. My brother, primarily, has given me the most opportunities and it's his passion for surfing that allows me to spend time in my passion. These are usually early morning sessions and the up-coast road trips usually create greater chances for good waves and earlier mornings for travelling. I am a morning person and the light tends to be great in the morning so I have no qualms about these factors. On the other hand, surf photography on the east coast in the mornings does pose the challenge of having back-lit subjects. There has been a learning curve to angling myself in a good way to avoid the common affects of backlit subjects, over-exposing backgrounds, and finally just using the backlight and accepting the looks that strong backlighting brings to a photo. The occasions are so rare that I get to go out, that I hate to turn down an opportunity to spend time with my brother just because the lighting is not completely right. Even when the waves are not as big as we had hoped, my brother will still get in the water and can't turn down the opportunity to surf a ride-able wave.









Decisions on which photography opportunities to take and which opportunities to reject have become more complicated recently and this has led me to reflect. In some ways this complication makes me feel that my passion with photography has become less pure over time, expenses, other life pursuits, and a growing comfort with the quality of life I am beginning to experience as I pay down my debts. Another thought, is that there has been a considerable amount of growth in my pursuit of photography and as my rate of growth decreases I feel a sense of nostalgia to the hot pursuit of developing my passion with any opportunity. Part of me knows that it is a balance of fear, bills to pay, comfort of friends and family, and opportunities with other pursuits that keep me from letting go completely, and giving everything I have to a career in photography. I also feel that I have passed that fork in the road several times with just glimpses and tastes of those decisions. I have touched them but not allowed them to rule in my life for a long-term pursuit. They are alluring, but I still feel that I will have many opportunities in the future to make those decisions again. I justify my decisions and my un-hurried attitude toward photography by seeing my commitment to photography as a long-term one. Finding ways to pursue photography for me has become a methodical pursuit in which all of my experiences will ultimately contribute to my career as a photographer and as a person. My commitment to a higher cause will lead me whether I find that one photography cause or I find many different causes to be a part of in which I can use photography.









While growing up I have always had so many interests and pursuits that now as I grow older I still pursue a more balanced life maybe less courageous than when I was younger but as it was when I was younger it is still difficult to make a commitment to a balanced life where there are competing ambitions and dreams of chasing a pure passion. In the past five years, I have had opportunities that I have been able to take for the short-term to express that freedom. In spite of current circumstances and responsibilities at those times, those opportunities proved inspirational beyond my own imagination and they energized me to seek that long-term pursuit. As I re-acclimate to business as usual and the daily grind, I am re-attached to my daily responsibilities and they too have an influence of my pursuits. Being a Biomedical Engineer is exciting and there are alot of exciting technologies on the horizon that I have become very interested in. I seek to have a passionate drive in all of my efforts and in most cases I am serious about where and how I spend my time. I seek inspiration outside of my own capabilities and experience and continue to look to God for guidance. God remains a central part of my inspiration and I am still slowly understanding the things that have been put in my way and their purpose as I begin to use them for purposes greater than myself. I guess this is just part of growing up while beginning to understand a purpose much greater than myself I now weigh decisions based on my current financial situation, the loved-ones in my life now who I care for and want to continue to be in my life in the future, ultimately my overall well-being, and the direction I may or may not be heading. The allure of a pure passion that is willing to sacrifice all of these things is still something that I struggle with, have a desire for, and is in the cards for what God has dealt me.










I truly admire and respect photojournalist who take up their passion with courage and sacrifice their own comfort and balance without financial support to share the story of others; others, who do not have the freedom to pursue their dreams because of injustice, circumstances outside of their control, and a deep cultural loss of hope. These same stories shared around the world seem to liberate and become the inspiration to those they are sharing about giving them opportunities to find the ways for them to pursue their dreams. Having faith in a cause or a dream without having support is a difficult commitment to make and although these stories are extremely inspirational to me, and I have witnessed opportunities to pursue this in my life, I continue to struggle with a vision of what they may be in my future.








I am also inspired by those passionate people I have learned of and rubbed elbows with who have maintained a balance life while pursuing their own dreams and passions. So passionate and affective that through no effort of their own they are bringing others along to encourage them in the pursuit of their own dreams. Both paths seem simple and impactful. Both paths allow me to question how I think of the right way and whether there are many ways to attain a passionate life and a faith strong enough to persevere through extremely difficult times. In the past year or so, I have been listening to TED talks and I have been inspired both in my own career as Biomedical Engineer, and my passion for serving others, and I have really been taking in a lot of inspiration and hope for the future in both regards.









While ambition and inspiration for greatness can come from many voices around me and lead me to places I have never been before and experience things I have never experienced there is a grounding that occurs when I spend time with my family. I am simply fulfilled and inspired by spending time with my brother. Responding to a call the night before a morning surfing session, and spending the morning with him is both fulfilling and inspiring. Just as inspiring if not more so than listening to grand stories of inspiration through TED talks and getting excited about things the future holds in technology, entertainment, and design. It allows me to draw from his experience and witness a passion of his in a way that has a deeper personal impact. I am witnessing the life of my brother who is more than five years ahead of me in age and even more so with his family, his children, his wife, his career, and using his passion, and it allows me to make decisions that will direct my life that is without his agenda. I am grateful to have this experience with my family that is not limited to my brother. I am inspired by my relationships with each of my family members whether I decide to follow in their footsteps or not having them in my life is an unconditional support and a foundation that I am blessed to have and hopeful to share with others.








If you have made it this far into the reading, I hope you enjoyed, and didn't get lost in the rantings of a young adult. At the very least, I hope you enjoy my photos!












































4 comments:

Time 2 Paws Photography said...

Follow your heart. You are most definitely on the right path. Great post.

Andy Garcia said...

Awesome post Toby. Keep up the great work!

Carrie said...

GREAT IMAGES, TOBY!!!

Toby Brooks said...

Thanks Carrie!

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