Promoting Passion Week 29: When Life Refuses to Give You Lemons

Promoting Passion Week 29: When Life Refuses to Give You Lemons

Sometimes life gives you lemons, and you make lemonade because, well, that’s just the thing to do. It is sweet and juicy and delicious. It can make you think that was exactly what you wanted. But what happens when you’re expecting lemons and life gives you a peach. Well, if you’re me, you laugh about the mixup and then move on.

Oh, and you might also reference your awesome 90’s childhood and shrink yourself to lay on the peach for a photo while trying to teach someone the basics of food photography.

Or you might not. But here is the story of my week, and how it turned into the best sequence of events I could have hoped for.

1. I opened a photo that I shot recently and realized I had saved a smaller file over the .psd file. In other words, completely ruined the image for myself if ever I wanted to print it. I haven’t done that in 4 years. Though, that I did it at all, let alone twice, does not bode well for my sense of organization.

2. I was exploring a cave in the forest when my husband said he saw a spine. A spine? I was intrigued. So we went and found it and picked it up. We threw it in our car and drove it home, and then promptly forgot about it after that 3 hour drive. And then, the next day when we remembered, we opened our car to find a big surprise. MAGGOTS. EVERYWHERE. And so I had to clean the car thoroughly, trying not to kill the maggots while also trying not to choke myself from laughing so much. I threw the spine in my yard, along with my vacuum cleaner, and went inside. The next day a neighbor showed up to ask if I was aware that something strange was residing in my front yard. I did my best to explain the situation, but her disgusted look and slow backing away from my house showed me she was very uninterested in my necromancy, and so I said goodbye. The spine still resides in my front yard, awaiting a good cleaning. It was made to be a star.

3. The next day I was on a walk next to my favorite part of my favorite creek, getting ready to shoot something I had been excited about for a week, when all of a sudden I noticed that I couldn’t see much through my camera. When I took the lens off, a piece of the inside had fallen apart, and my camera was unusable.

4. The day after that we found out that we have a cap on our internet and we had just used it all and got a fine. I type this to you from the beautiful Starbucks in town.

When something doesn’t go your way, you should see it as a challenge to be the person you want to be. React the way your best self would react. You will not be your best self overnight; it takes work and determination.

What went wrong for you this week, and how can you see the good side?

I found inspiration in wanting to re-create the image I saved over in Photoshop. A mistake for sure, and one that could cost my business, but an even greater challenge to do something better or more fulfilling the second time around.

I found humor in the spine story, and can’t stop giggling to myself whenever I think of it. It was like a reality show unfolding. Good stuff!

I found a slower pace for my photography when I realized my camera had broken. It gave me time to think more, shoot less, and put more intent into my images that I have planned for this coming week.

Having no internet has been wonderful, allowing me to take a day of rest for myself as I nosh on some fruit I photographed and watch Stargate SG1.

Each time life hands you a peach instead of a lemon, think of all the potential you would miss if you simply mourned the lemon. Life is too sweet to only taste the bitter.


36 thoughts on “Promoting Passion Week 29: When Life Refuses to Give You Lemons

  1. The first thing happened to me last winter, I sized it down for flickr and then accidentally quit and saved the original PSD. 🙁 I let it be for a month and then posted it out of curiosity what people thought of it. Turned out they could still enjoy it for its conceptual meaning and it’s now one of the pictures I like best in my portfolio! 😀 It’s amazing how you can turn something bad around if you’re just willing to keep fighting 🙂

    1. I so agree with you Albin – just keep fighting, or even, realize there is nothing to fight against. What has happened has happened. Your attitude is so inspiring!

  2. hahahahaha i am fondly remembering my trip to NJ….
    so after i shot with Jane, i made some art….but i didn’t realize when lightroom exported it was an 800×600 file….and i did a WHOLE art piece before realizing it was super tiny…and i had to re-create it! HAHAAHAHAHAH

    This last week? It is such a blur… was a good week, but THIS WEEK is crunch week!!!!!!

  3. One bad thing that happened this week is that I was editing a wedding which . I get paid per hour from a different company to edit. My kids really wanted to play with me it was Friday night and they wanted to go bowling. I told them no I have work to do and proceeded to edit the entire wedding. Well After finishing all the images I was feeling pretty good and I thought great I am all caught up. NOPE! Adobe decided to crash when I hit saved and I lost all the work I did on 190 images. I was so frustrated because since I get paid per hour for that edit that means I will not get paid for redoing the entire edit (it’s a pre determined allowable edit time so there was no recouping my time) The lesson I learned? Go bowling with the kids I just wasted my time and my kids very valuable time! Sometimes we just need to put down our work and just go bowling!

    1. Oh Becki that is awful!!! I feel for you so much. I often struggle with that choice and have been making an effort to be better about it. I am so glad that you embraced that realization, I will use your story as fuel for a better week for myself <3 Wishing you one as well!

  4. The bad luck must be contagious! After watching your video I smiled like I always do. Then I took a pizza out of the oven that I was making for lunch. Started to cut it and I guess the crust crisper it was on wasn’t fully on the cutting board so as I ran the cutter toward myself the pan flipped toward me. The pizza flew off and landed on top of my left hand. Ouch. Burned my hand pretty good. Not hospital worthy but it was pretty close.
    Not sure how I’m gonna turn this into a positive but I’m keeping my chin up. Hope your week starts better than mine. Ugh.

    1. Ahhhhh Tom that is terrible!!! But hey, do a self portrait with your burned hand and call it art…that would be a great thing!

  5. I’m 2 weeks post surgery (day 14 of 84). Can’t shoot, can’t sit at a computer to edit… But I’ve just bought an anamorphic lens to play with and your book to read… So I’m set!

    1. Aww! Your recovery will be in my thoughts! I hope that you enjoy the book and that once you’re up and at it, the lens proves to be lots of fun!

    2. Thanks Brooke!
      The book is awesome. I’ll be leaving a glowing amazon review soon. I hope to be mobile enough to meet you in London… I’ll be the one in the bright blue cast!

  6. Ever inspiring Brooke. As for me, this weekend I set out with my girls to shoot a couple of head shots for my sister and a friend of hers. We were meeting at a local park. Well, of course it started to rain. I was already pushing myself past my fears of not doing the greatest job of the shoot anyway. 🙂 Nevertheless, I pushed myself a little more, told my girls that we were going even though it was raining. In the end, I really love a lot of the pics I took. The rain subsided, it was still very humid but the overcast sky made the humidity absolutely ok. I can’t wait to share the pics with them!

    1. Absolutely inspiring Tanya!! I think that many of us could do with a little more gumption in our shoots 😀

  7. What a great week, Brooke! Well! I also love peaches! A few days ago also happened something similar to me. I was doing some retouching on a picture and I had a huge lot of work. In the end, the first saving I made was 600x900px to share on internet, instead of saving in psd. Without thinking, that I still had to save in psd, even showing the question “close without saving?”, I closed the program. Ups! After all that work… Really! Wake up man! I was really upset with me! This was overnight. Better go to sleep and think about it tomorrow! The next day, bright and early, I did it again. And you know what, the picture was much better than the day before. I love your picture. What a coincidence you share this picture. This weekend I’ve been struggling to find inspiration for a work on the sin of gluttony. And yesterday I found this inspiration in a cream cake, that I was eating, and a woman who was dancing on tv. And this inspiration led me to imagine a woman dancing around this cake, like your photo. <3

  8. Wow, now there is a question!! I just did this client portrait shoot that turned into the customer service situation from hell – one of those people who wouldn’t be satisfied no matter what. I ultimately decided to issue a full refund just to extricate myself from the nightmare for my own health and mental well-being. I don’t view it as a loss, but rather a poignant learning experience – what I should do going forward. And while I will admit to swearing I would never do portraits again, I already feel better now that I have resolved the matter and will be rethinking the swearing off bit. Clearly this experience was meant to happen to test and strengthen my resolve and facilitate a better approach from the outset to avoid similar situations in the future.

  9. I loved your video, especially the last bit about the peach cobbler. Now I am inspired to go to my local market and make one! I would have to say my bad day on Sunday seems like a field day compared to yours. I was coming back to Ireland from Zurich. I landed at 12am and they made us wait for some illogical reason an hour for our bags. Thanks Ryan air! This made us miss the last bus leaving the station so we were stranded at the airport all night. Until I saw a random taxi passing through. I ended up frantically running to hail it NYC style. The cabi was on his way home through the airport when he agreed to take us on and even drive us up all the way to Galway (2 1/2 hr ride) for a descent price. We ended up accepting and it was quite the adventure. We spent those 2 1/2 hours talking about our lives or at least I was trying very hard to sound coherent. lol The driver ended up being in river dance a couple years back and touring the world. Great stories were exchanged! haha Serendipitous ending!

  10. I am now without a working computer, feeling very geeky trying to safe boot and do all this other things before taking it in…of course…I don’t have the computer backed up because I’ve been only using it for two weeks so I never thought it would stop running. Anyways, it is what it is and now I have an opportunity to practice my patience and at the same time my focus skills because after I fix this mess I really need to catch up. If life gives you lemons…make lemonade! I wonder what could you do with Maggots? I love to see how no matter what (camera broken, maggots, etc) you are always here. It is very inspiring 🙂

  11. Love the spirit behind your enlightment. When you are in the flow life opens up. Hard to be there but when it does flow , it’s magical.

  12. This exactly explain my past week and I woke up today feeling way more motivated and excited for this weeks challenges! I did not have all those incidents but I just had a bad week where I felt uninspired, got nothing done and was mainly down the whole time – in addition to having sprained my foot so I could not move anywhere or go and shoot anywhere without my foot hurting! This video gave me much more motivation for this new week!

  13. This is why Mondays are awesome. Love hearing your stories and being inspired by your positiveness 🙂 This last week has been challenging due to some health concerns that rendered my arm/hand and leg immobile and in crazy pain. We were camping in the mountains and had to leave everything to rush to the ER to be diagnosed w an autoimmune disease that the doctor didn’t even understand. My art comes from my pain and healing, and I guess the universe just gave me more material 🙂 So here is to healing and art making. Cheers!

  14. ive had a lot of change in my life recently: college induction, starting work and leaving school! Ive been out of my routine and lately lost my motivation to photograph, but I’ve learnt from it and now that I’m more settled in I’ve realised what i really love and feel truly excited about, i usually let bad things really get to me: lack of time, not getting the photos i wanted and more! But i try to learn from them and grow! 🙂

  15. I am so inspired, you are talking about the ideal person I want to be, I want to laugh about maggots all over my car and see accidents as opportunities to be better and see every single obstacle against me as a test against my strength pushing me to prove something to myself. I want to be happy, I don’t want to waste a second of my life being angry about things I can’t change.

    Thank you oh so much for sharing, Brooke!

  16. This is extraordinary Brooke! Like adding life and movement to a still life <3 I would love to see this image with your dress a shade of deep blue. Think it would make a wonderful alternative. Thank you for sharing your week with us. I look forward to seeing what you create with that skeleton. Leave it in the sun and elements for a while and nature will take care of it 😉

    I hope your camera is fixed soon! In the meantime I thought I would share my broken camera story… About a year and a half ago I was taking photographs of dragonflies along a river. I was in the water with my camera along the shoreline in the shallow water. I got up to walk out and the embankment disintegrated under my feet. I went flying backwards and my camera smacked to the ground, covered in water and sand. The lens crunched when zooming from all the sand. I quickly blew out the camera and lens with a compressor and laid the camera in pieces out to dry overnight. The next day I assembled the camera back together and… it worked! It has been working ever since. In fact, about 90% of my portfolio has been done with this drowned camera. When it first happened I was very disappointed, especially in myself. Even though the camera continues to still work, it has a few quirks. I had the camera properly assessed and it has permanent damage to most of the internals. Even though it is still working, it will eventually fail at some point… However, the good part was that I had insured my camera for all risk damage and as the internals were assessed to have permanent damage, I was paid out in full on my claim. The wonderful ending to this tale was that it gave me the opportunity to consider an upgrade… which I in turn did and upgraded from a Canon 7D to a Canon 5D III 😀

  17. I have to say, I just love your sweet spirit and “up” way of looking at things. In a world where so many focus on the darkness all around us, it is nice to point out the light. Thanks for the humorous story. I never had maggot in the car, but once I had bees. I managed to break a bottle of honey in the back seat and couldn’t get it all up. The window was open and the next thing I knew, it was swarming with bees. The next day, the seat was CLEAN. Those bees know what they are doing! They sucked up every drop.

  18. Tried to shoot after work, promised myself I would no matter how tired I was. Backdrop kept blowing over, eyelash glue made my cry all my makeup off and both batteries were dead from shooting a wedding video. Fast forward to yesterday, tried again, same idea, promptly dropped iPad on cement and broke the screen. Cried about it, resisted the urge to tear down my shoot again, and shot through it. Almost done with the finished piece 🙂

  19. I’m sitting in a hotel room in Washington DC reading your blog and laughing at your stories (especially the spine – not sure which is funnier, maggots or your neighbor). Today went completely wrong, I’m supposed to be in NYC for the week and after tons of flight delays today, we took off from Dallas – then the plane was diverted because of thunderstorms. I think the pilot was shocked as he apologized profusely as I walked off the plane in DC and I said “no big deal” and smiled at him. We control how we react to bad luck, it just happens! If it was all good, what fun would that be??

  20. This is just amazing! I need to thank you for this because it gave me the push I needed today and every day of my life, when we think there’s nothing we can do to improve it… Well there is! And it’s think positive every single time.
    Your photos are artworks and it’s always a pleasure to discover a new one.. 🙂
    Never stop doing what you do, please! 😀

  21. I feel like I’m stupid now, 😀 but what’s the best file for printing large?
    Thank you very much for your response <3

  22. Great stories! Yesterday was my 20th anniversary, so my husband went out and stayed up very late talking about our life challenges we’ve overcome, etc. Important stuff.. It’s my day off today, so I was going to sleep in. But a wretched bird outside my window chirped so loudly pre dawn that it woke me up. Although I normally love birds, very bad thought about this bird’s existence came into mind. (2 hours later, everyone in the house is still sleeping, so I HAVE enjoyed some quiet time). So now I’ll have to do a photo shoot today with a bird theme. I’ve been putting it off the concept for some time, but I think that dastardly bird has now inspired me. 😀

  23. Ah Brooke… What a wonderful note to start the weekend with! And yes, so very true <3 Each question has a different answer as all our journeys have been different. All our dreams are different. As they should be… it would not hold half the magic if every question had the same answer for each of us… Find the answers for yourself in what makes your heart fill with joy <3 Have a wonderful and inspired weekend… xx

  24. I just listened to the video, posted first comment after just reading the post. So, just a random animal spine? I cant WAIT to hear what you do with it!
    As far as bad luck, I’ve just been creatively blocked lately.
    I have tried literally ALL of your inspiration activities, all things I can think of, everything and I just can’t find the ‘passion’ to get to shooting. I’m not sure if it is because I just need to pick up my camera and ‘be inspired in the moment’ or if its because Im so busy with other things like planning the school year, but I really need to just make some time to create SOMETHING, ANYTHING! I have this ‘thing’ that I am scared to create I guess, unless I have EVERYTHING exactly planned out for it, and for this block I am in, I really need to just get out of that zone, OR take some of the ideas I have come up with and make time to go and shoot them.
    Its pretty sad on my part that I have characters, stories, scenes all written out and ready to be shot and I just do not have the time right now. In this season of my life I feel the need to just be PRESENT and focused on Lillians education instead of what I want to do for myself. The good thing in this is those sheets of ideas are not going anywhere, and if anything I will just keep adding to them. So while I am stuck in the office doing ‘desk duty’ for NOW, the season will come where I WILL be out there shooting those for sure!

  25. I can relate to your story. Feels like I was there. Inspired to take more chances in my life. Taking more pictures, learning Photoshop and taking risk more risk in my personal life. Enjoying the journey.

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