My Photography Journey; Knowing my Subject

I have just read an online article about photographers being generalists or specialists. I am no expert, but there’s nothing wrong with being either.

I say this, because, I think I have started taking photos as a generalist. I photographed almost everything that was mentioned in the tutorials and anything else that I felt was worth it; from the golden and blue hour subjects to moving objects or abandoned buildings.

Being a generalist has taught me a lot.

Until I realised what certainly fascinates me.

Every time I sat still on a corner in a park, in a mall, or in a restaurant, my attention was drawn to how humans interacted with one another and with their surroundings. I was usually at a distance and could not hear anything. So, their facial expressions and gesticulations left me guessing. But equally nurtured my interest in capturing this enigma with a camera.

My niche was born. Street Photography. I’ve got a lot to learn about this category, but will this make me a specialist in the long run?

It is surely where my heightened interest lie. For now.

We shall wait and see.

Every Snapshot has a Story

On Every Road Trip

On every road trip
you and I take
the eye catches
one beautiful place.

That city of old
its simplicity, gold.
A village in a country
such unmissable serenity.

Must stop and watch
A breathtaking sunset
Or sit on the hood
To marvel at the stars.

One may yearn to stay
The heart says nay
For there is home
Not so far away.

No worries just yet
Just steer and stop
At your heart’s desire
Do smile and admire

One beautiful place
the eye catches
on every roadtrip
You and I take.

Every Snapshot has a Story

seemingly quiet…

En route to a popular coastal destination…

I could not help but stop driving to take a snapshot of this idyllic scenery….or so it seems.

I thought I was lucky to have captured this moment only to realize that I am one of the many drivers on this road who broke the aura of tranquility this vista exudes.

What I See


I sit and eat and
through the glass wall
I watch and see
all creatures, you and me.

Cheerful ones sprint
jump and run
Mothers and infants
twinned by prams

Slow and fast-paced,
some swift and rushed
All of them today
Apace on their way

Each with a purpose
come what may
Those steps and gaits
intent on a final end

All creatures, you and me
I watch and see.
through the glass wall
I sit and eat.

Inspired by observing people one fine day.


Waves Are Like…

(inspired by a quiet early morning stroll along the beach)

Waves come and go, just like the people we encounter now and then.

They either come, stay and become significant parts of our lives. Or they come but go, leaving us with fleeting and/or lasting memories.

Waves are temperamental and at times, unsettling.

Such are our daily struggles and troubles; they come smoothly or savagely. Either way, we’ve got to deal with them. Or shall I say, navigate through them like a surfer riding through the waves.

It would be easier to handle problems if they occur slowly and mildly, giving us enough time to organize our thoughts on how to confront and solve them. But just us the strong waves sometimes rush to shore, so too are some of life’s negativities. They get slammed infront of us, whether we are ready or otherwise.

We might as well accept that long as we live, these waves of uncertainties will undoubtedly find their way back to you and me.

Suffice to say that as long as we breathe, there will be challenges to meet and greet.

Such is the wave of life.

photo credits: the author

SACRIFICE

disguise your torment

for someone else’s joy…

rein in your tears

for someone else’s smile…

 

 

feign your bravery

to allay another’s fear…

laugh out loud

to shield a muffled cry…

 

 

abandon your beliefs

and let theirs flourish…

cease to exist

for another to thrive…

 

 

you despair to scream

out loud!

silence is a must

your voice fading in a cloud…

 

 

fold your wings

for someone  to fly, high…

step aside, 

let the other walk out proud…

 

 

where there’s love

comes sacrifice

you’d stop breathing

for a new life to begin…

A Photography Journey: I Got Blocked!

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I have recently joined an online photography community but got blocked without warning after posting just a few photos of my own. It was such a disappointment. I choose carefully which groups I want to join that is why I found it harsh that I was dropped instantaneously. Just like that. What have I done wrong? I had to find out.

Oh, of course! I defied its guidelines! Fair enough.

In my excitement, I got carried away and skipped reading through the posting rules and regulations.

Rules are rules. I get it. But, maybe a reminder first before blocking?  Other administrators do that. They give a gentle reminder to those who have failed to comply and the member/photographer simply edited his post. It’s different for repeat offenders, of course. By all means, block ‘em!

It has been weeks since, but as of this writing, I am still blocked by the said online community. So, even if I want to, there’s no way for that mistake to be rectified. Shame…

I must admit though that being blocked taught me these lessons:  what  ‘street photography” is all about and to absolutely read and obey the community guidelines.

Have you ever been blocked? Just like that? Thoughts?

Here’s more of  my photography journey: Finding My Place

 

 

Depression : A Story of a Mother’s Immutable Fear

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Mental health. A condition we’ve become more aware of and try to better understand. Many are making an effort to be heard despite the stigma that accompanies their admission. 

I am here to share others’ inspiring stories in the hope to keep the flame going for mental health awareness.

This is a mother’s story.

“Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Causes of death: Suicide by hanging. Three days apart. Unbelievable but true.

Depression does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, whether you are rich and famous or just an ordinary person, like my child.

These recent events on mental health have brought me back to a phone call that I will never forget. It was from my daughter who tearfully revealed that she was on medication for depression.

Since then, I have been living my life in constant fear of the worst.”

Suicide?

“Yes. I couldn’t even bring myself to say the word. And because my daughter was living away from home, that fear was compounded by my guilt of not being able to physically protect her. If it were up to me, I would have encouraged her to come home. But of course, that was not feasible. I cannot tell her to abandon everything, come live with me and then what? Make drastic changes to her career path and her future plans? I simply can’t do that. Besides, I knew such decisions were not up to me.

My Anger

Then it dawned on me. I actually did not know what to do! Yet, it was happening! And to someone like me who least expected it. I was caught off-guard and felt like I was thrown into a battle which I was not ready for. I was at a loss. I got angry! What was I supposed to do?

I felt helpless. I found myself wanting and needing for depression to be a physical entity, so I could see and determine how to fight and keep it away from us.

While I groped for answers, I suddenly realized that I was seeing it all wrong! This was not about me at all.

Acceptance

It was about my daughter, my child…

I relegated my own concerns, my anger, and especially my fear, to the background. It became a bit easier from then on. It paved the way for me to focus on the real issue and accept a painful reality; my daughter has depression. And she’s got to cope with it for the rest of her life. But, while I’m here, I’ll make sure she won’t have to face it alone. Ever. We are going to deal with it, together.

My Daughter

A friend has said to me. “You know, your daughter is admirable and smart. When she recognized that she was having problems, she did something about it. She decided to fight.”

I never saw it that way until then.

Indeed, when my daughter was struggling and having thoughts of ”it was better for everyone if I’m gone”, she knew she had to seek professional help. And I am incredibly grateful that she did. A life has been saved. My daughter’s.

I could imagine how difficult it must have been for her to make that phone call and open up to me. When she did, it has changed our lives forever. It has also brought forth a promise of unconditional love through whatever would happen as we live through this.

I still have that fear. All day. Everyday.

It is true. You can not fully understand until it happens to you.”

To follow: A Daughter’s Story

Please read: The Onlookers’ Story

and   The Gamer’s Story

My Blog is Two Years Old! in

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I barely even noticed its first anniversary. Yet, it’s still up and running on its second year. That notification above is quite right,too. It is an achievement especially for someone like me who was unable to blog that much in a span of two years.

Good blogging? I am not sure about that. Apart from the stats confirming some long periods of inactivity, I must admit that I have quite ignored my site. Why? The concocted answers are in The Kind of Writer I Am, I would like to think that I penned it to know more about myself and not because I was making alibis. Whichever, it helped me to realize how my writing habits affected my blogging activity.

‘Opinions Matter’ has become a blog about anything. Because there is no limit to what I can write about. A lot of ideas could stem from the daily routine at home and at work, from a chinwag with a neighbour or from a meeting with a friend over a cup of coffee. I was able to incorporate my travel experiences, (Summer in and Around LLandudno), and yes, there are more to come!

The movies and TV programmes we watch and anything we read are also lucrative sources of blogging information. Not to mention those meaningful encounters with strangers (One Day, Two Stories).  It is fascinating when these circumstances inspire topics that become alive in anyone’s blog.  They can motivate, uplift and help raise awareness (Depression and Anxiety).

At one point, melancholy has not spared my blog and it was poignant in a poem,  In My Arms.

The point is, and I say it again, the world we live in has so much to offer to the blogging world.

Two years ago, I knew very little about blogging. I started it to feed my passion for writing. Today, it still does.

Two years ago, I created Opinions Matter because I know I have something to share about life itself. I have never been and still is not driven by stats but every notification of likes, comments and follows I get brings forth a genuine gratefulness from my heart.

Well, you’re welcome WordPress and thank you for letting me fly with you. Though it’s a turbulent ride for me, I intend to fasten my seatbelt and enjoy the journey!

Depression and Anxiety: The Gamer’s Story

When depression or anxiety affects a work colleague, a friend, a friend’s family member or someone dear to your heart, it becomes surreal. Somehow, one begins to truly understand the kind of battle these individuals have to fight everyday.

May I share some stories of people I personally know who experienced these feelings or condition. Each story is individualized and as such, each person coped differently. I write these to help raise awareness. That’s all.

photo of person typing on computer keyboard

Photo by Soumil Kumar on Pexels.com

The Gamer’s Story:

“Did you know that I may have had depression?  A few years ago, I left home due to a family misunderstanding. It was then that I started to be overwhelmed with feelings of being useless and that I was a ‘good-for-nothing’ human being. There were times when I found it difficult to get out of bed and do just about anything. Everyone thought I was just being lazy. I was hesitant to talk about what I was going through. I assumed that it would be dismissed as “just one of those days.”

It became worse when I was often left on my own in the house.

It hit me.  I was all alone. Loneliness got real.

Thoughts on ending my life? They did cross my mind. But I could not bring myself to hurt my loved ones. Not that way. I could not let them suffer picking up the pieces and live with unresolved guilt forever.

I had to force myself instead to try to live a normal life amongst those around me. Life became a routinary blur of work to house and vice versa. During this time, I immersed myself into online gaming.  Looking back, it has, in a way, diverted my mind off miserable thoughts. It still does. Suddenly, I was not alone anymore. I was talking to people. Online. But, I was communicating. More importantly, there was something to look forward to the next day…and the next.

Today, am I better? Maybe. My online gaming turned into a live streaming channel and has built a considerable number of followers. Some gamers became my friends. I was able to travel and meet them in person. To this day, we have kept in touch constantly.

I am back home. I still have those days when I get glued to my bed, but I would like to believe that I am now better equipped to deal with that. I have opened up to my family in the hope that they will have a better understanding when I fall into the dark again.”

The other stories soon to follow. The Onlookers’ Stories