A Day in the Life of Sara Sigmundsdottir

I’ve never tried Crossfit before but it’s certainly a fitness regimen that’s been on my list of challenges that I’d more than willing to put my body through. I’m curious to see how my body will react and cope in response to all that constant and varied high intensity movements. It sits right there next to cycling.

Recently I’ve become an avid follower of the sport and that inquisitiveness towards it deepened after having watched the documentary Fittest on Earth. It essentially depicted elite athletes competing in the 2016 Reebok Crossfit Games for 5 grueling days. The nice blend of the documentary and the high volume of Tim Ferris podcast episodes I listen to has turned me on to that obsession of wanting to know what a typical life-in-day looks like for one of these athletes.

In the female category, Sara Sigmundsdottir is among one of my favorite athletes and so it was really riveting to see in this 25min video on how she plans out her day from sun up to sun down. Everything from her meal preps, to her workouts, her goal setting, all while being extremely humble and transparent about her achievements in the sport.

What’s absolutely notable in the video isn’t just that women can be strong, possibly more than men but that it’s something that I feel is more celebrated than before. If you’ve never seen a video of a confident woman demonstrating her mastery, I highly encourage it to do it now because this is the new normal and I’m all for supporting women being depicted as powerful and in charge!

How To Get "Known"

David duChemin:

David’s weighty articles are never the type I can comfortably read without truly having time to myself in some far away corner, where I can recite, in a low voice every single word, so that it sinks it further. This article is no exception. In fact, it’s resonated with me more than I anticipated and not because I’m the type that obsesses over wanting to be “known” for my work but more so because very often than not, we photographers at some stage get easily caught up with always wanting to shoot and be active but not always having a direction or a purpose for it. When you fail to have a purpose, that path that could potentially lead to our work becoming recognized becomes nebulous.

David goes on to say:

I always joke around in saying to others that it took many photographs of sunsets and puppies to ultimately reach a point where I recognized what I enjoyed shooting which I narrowed down to lifestyle, portraits and travel. Anything before that period, I was shooting everything and at that phase, there was no reason for me to have complained about not being “known” when I didn’t know who I was myself.

In the event that you’re unaware as to why you want to be “known” other than just saying that you do, then perhaps you might want to consider answering these questions to yourself that David put out there for people to consider:

Clay Cook on Obesession

If you want to lead a fruitful career in photography, then you must be utterly obsessed with photography and creativity. People pay us for a visual impact. If you’re not constantly pushing yourself further outside your comfort zone and not constantly overcoming professional fear, you will likely grind check to check for the rest of your life. Push the barriers of your own creativity and risk everything. The amount of reward lies in the amount of risk. What are you willing to risk for your passion?

One of my biggest fear within this photographic journey of mine is to look back 2 or 5 years from now at my work and become acutely aware that it hasn’t evolved as much. In the beginning there’s comfort in sticking to what we know. There’s comfort in not wanting to deviate from that hard-pressed path we’ve carved out for ourselves but much like our mentality, we’re influenced by what we see, who we meet and the places we go and if we’re not willing to creatively push ourselves as much as we can easily change our minds about things, then how will we ever know how much we can evolve?

From lighting, to video to more in depth storytelling, there’s a lot that I still need to learn and as far as I’m willing to admit that I have creative opportunities like anyone else, I think I’m likely to stay humble and not pretend that I know everything because that’s certainly not the case.

As a side note, I have heard of Clay Cook in passing before but it’s likely I’ll forget who he is in the industry now because his work as much as his writing has certainly began to inspire me to keep pushing along regardless of how hopeless it may seem at times.

Jared Odrick

Sometimes it helps when you’re not very well acquainted with someone’s status so to speak because you’re not nervous or subdued by their presence. In fact, in your mind, there’s just another stranger you haven’t met yet and this was certainly the case when I had the pleasure of shooting with Jared Odrick, an American football player who played for the Miami Dolphins as he was visiting local artist and friend Kennedy Yanko in Brooklyn.

When Can You Really Call Yourself an Artist?

You are not less successful as an artist just because you don’t earn a full income from your art. You need to define success to yourself; is it earning loads of money or being able to create the things that you really want to create?

This is the type of comparison game that can really mess with your head, especially if you’re good friends with freelancers who are all in with their craft while you and I work full-times jobs and hustle with our creative identity on the side. I get it, it’s hard and we pretend we’re not jealous of how other’s are killing it with their camera, brush, writing or whatever but the silver lining to all this is that everyone has their own definition of success or at least should.

Yes, success for me would signify being able to sustain myself full time with my photography but I honestly don’t feel less of an artist just because I don’t yet. I’ve come along way with photography just being a “side thing” but I know that my fear of going all in is what’s kept it in the corner and in the process it's clouded my definition of success.

Carla Coulson to Aspiring Photographers

If you give yourself enough time in the beginning and develop a style and an opinion, it will ultimately make your journey to wherever you want to go shorter.

This statement coincides perfectly with an article Carla wrote on how imperative it is for you and I to have a plan if we're aspring to go pro with our photography. "Nothing worse than wading through chest deep mud not knowing where you are going!"

DJI Spark: My Neighborhood

Music by Inukshuk "Happy Accidents"

It may not be hard to figure out how to operate a drone but the technology that goes into maneuvering it once it’s in the air was completely abstruse to me. My biggest fear quite frankly was losing sight of the amount of air time left on the battery and the whole airborne thing would come crashing down. Luckily there’s so much great high-tech stuff built into it which guides you tremendously in getting seamlessly from point A to point B.

The DJI Spark technically belongs to my brother but I had the opportunity to give it a spin around my neighborhood, none other than at my most preferred time of the day…sunset. The last thing I want is for my neighbors to assume I’m spying on them so as furtively as I could, I elevated the drone from my backyard and sat on my stoop maneuvering it. Immediately after, a slew of potential locations where I would love to fly the drone came to mind which kinda comes with the territory.

The photographs and footage I got from the short flight was enough to convince me that I think I really want one of these in my arsenal. I ended up importing the footage into Lightroom, quickly applied the same custom presets I apply to my photos, exported the footage and edited it in iMovie. Again, just a very quick workflow so I could get a feel for what I could potentially do if I owned one of these drones.

I don’t believe I have the authority or experience flying the DJI Spark to provide a cogent review on it but here’s some quick takeaways based off this one flight:

  • The drone itself is small enough for me to absolutely bring it along with me on a active/lifestyle shoot during those moments where I visualize getting an overhead shot that would typically require for me to be higher than I actually can. Heck, we’re planning a visit to El Salvador (parent’s country of origin) early next year, so I can’t wait to bring this gadget along.
  • It’s affordable enough where I don’t mind pimping it out as much as I can with extra batteries and accessories without surpassing the $1,000 mark.
  • It’s extremely easy to fly to a point where my 6-year a son has already taken a spin with it at the park. This is DJI’s first attempt at a true drone for everyone and at least for us, it’s made a really great impression on us.
  • The whole gesture controls aren’t as useful or reliable as the company promotes it to be but I’m more than willing to overlook that because I rather operate the Spark with a controller rather than wasting battery attempting to be cool.
  • The camera on the spark doesn’t support RAW or 4K format but again, the experience on it is at least giving me the confidence to own one of these bad boys myself and once I’ve developed enough confidence with it, I wouldn’t mind upgrading along the rode.

Being Successful vs. Being Known

You don’t need to be famous to succeed. You do need to be good at what you do though. Sometimes focusing entirely on that, on your craft and connecting to a tiny number of the right people, is all you need.

Great reminder for anyone that there’s no need to obsess with wanting to be part of the “in-crowd” to feel that your work matters because in the end the world won’t recognize it until you do first.

The world is already brimming with famous people who haven’t done anything significant at all! These are the people that fall more in love with the results than with the work which is why they strive so much to be known regardless of whether what they did to get someone’s attention is good or bad. I don’t know about you but I much rather do the quiet work in the corner to feel that I’ve made a difference and if something derives from that work, so be it.