Well Liked

Probably one of the hardest things about the human experience is liking someone who doesn’t like you back.

I think everyone at one point or another will experience this in their lifetime.

You meet someone – friends, family, special someone, whoever, that you really adore. They’re great! They’re fun, cool, nice, smart, funny, etc etc. Insert your favourite adjectives here. You want to spend a lot of time with them, tell them they’re great, do things for them, you like it when they’re happy, hate it when they’re sad, you like the feeling they give you. You like how happy they make you. The world is a better place because they’re in it.

Unfortunately…. You don’t light up their world.

They’re just not that into you. They don’t really want to see you all the time, they don’t really want to hear about your day, hear about your feelings, they don’t think you’re great. They think you’re fine. They like you, sure! But you’re not well-liked. You’re not liked as much as you like them. They’re your friend/family/significant other, but sometimes you’re left feeling not as appreciated.

And that’s pretty hard to deal with.

This isn’t to say the other person is terrible or mean or unappreciative. They just don’t like you as much as you like them. And that’s fine. People are all different (as cliche as that sounds).

It’s especially hard when it’s someone who you used to be close to who you thought liked you just as much but over time they became distant and seemed to care less. But how you feel hadn’t changed

It’s just a rough experience.

Sometimes it feels like maybe if you change the way you are they would like you better. And that never really works out well. There’s no real point to that. You can only be who you are. So you kind of box on and deal with it. You care about them and that won’t change because they don’t care about you that much. You’re not likely to give them up because you get the same happiness from them being in your life. And that’s important.

There’s no real way to deal with this except acceptance. But it should make you aware of others in your life who you may not realise you don’t like as much as they seem to like you. And that’s bound to happen too.

Because people are bound to like you. A lot. You’re likely to be very well-liked. But maybe you don’t necessarily feel that way about everyone who likes you. But knowing how that feels, I guess it’s important to be aware of those people. And try to do something to show you appreciate them. Maybe never as much as they appreciate you, but something small can make a lot of difference. And that’s very important.

Still Waiting…

Does anyone else feel like they’re still waiting for things to get better?

Remember how we were all like “YES BRING ON 2021 GOODBYE 2020 THINGS WILL BE SO MUCH BETTER!!” ?

Has anyone gotten what they were expecting?

I don’t think I have.

NZ is still flitting in and out of lockdown, still waiting on the vaccine, still has closed borders to the rest of the world. People still making noise about masks, still seeing covid news everywhere, still not improved.

Personally, I feel like the other things in my life have also not improved as I had hoped. It’s March already. ALREADY.

I have been studying. I am planning to sit my physicians college exams in 2022. Yep you really do have to start studying a year early. There really is that much content.

But it’s more than that. I guess I was hoping beyond hope that something would change.. you know?

Like I would experience something new, people would understand me better, I would understand people better, I would come in to my role as a registrar and it would feel different and I would feel different… just…something.

I thought at least things would feel more.. fixed. More sure? I guess? But everything is still as fluffy as it always was. Every time there is a disagreement or confusion, everything seems so broken and without solution. And it continues to feel this way. I’m not sure what I was hoping for.

Ahh what a bleak train of thought. But seriously, shouldn’t something have happened by now?

I’m not sure.. But I’m still waiting…

The Last Day Of 2020

So I thought about writing my annual year in review post. But I’m struggling to do so. Can Anyone really write a good summary post about 2020? Probably not. Mostly because it seems like the perils of 2020 are not yet over.

I usually say there’s always something to be grateful for every year. I guess that’s true. I mean, this year I thought was going to be awful for a bunch of other reasons. But as it turned out, that stuff was less awful and kind of turned out okay as collateral damage to the whole covid business.

Some things were broken beyond repair this year. But other things were built. Nobody has ever had an experience quite like this around the world. It was unique. It brought people together in a way while also ripping them apart. Lockdown was hard. Working through it in hospital for me was hard. But I imagine it would have been way harder for people at home.

For me personally, stuff happened this year that kind of broke who I thought I was. And the relationships I have with others. But there were also times that solidified who I am and certain relationships.

But I hadn’t achieved any personal goals this year. I had a few of them. I had visions to improve certain aspects of my life. But all is not lost. As always, when things don’t turn out the way you want them to, they inevitably turn out the way they’re meant to. And at the end of the day, that will be what was best for you and everyone. Even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time.

I believe that.

So. Going forward, I can’t really picture 2021 being loads better. Because as we all know, this covid thing hasn’t yet gone away. Of course there is the vaccine which gives lots of people hope. Myself included. But in the time that it takes for most of the world’s population to be vaccinated or immune, things will be rather different. Travel will take a long time to go back to how it was.

But we can surely hope it will be better in that everyone is prepared for these changes. And everyone, will go with the flow. As will I.

So on the last day of 2020, I decided to do my favourite thing – watch the sunset. May the setting sun on the last day of 2020 bode well for the sunrise of 2021

I Wish For Understanding

Don’t know how to start or talk about this. I just wish for understanding. I wish someone would understand me.

I wish I would be able to understand myself

I didn’t get the jobs my family wanted me to get. I am relieved by that which makes me guilty. It makes them sad. I don’t want to make them sad. But I don’t want to go along with their plans.

Some part of me wants a happy family. But I don’t want to give up what I have.

I’m averse to change. That’s wrong. But there are some things I yearn for.

I threw myself into my work. I find happiness in it. I find solace it. The little annoying things are part of what makes it.

I threw myself into work and career to escape the gaps in the rest of my life. Now I can’t give up what I have because it’s become too great a part of me.

I did the same for some people in my life. They’ve become too great a part in my life. I can’t give that up.

But they tell me they like me because I understand them. I make them feel good.

But it never occurs to anyone that I want to be understood too. That I want to feel good.

Nobody seems to get it.

My chest often feels heavy with too much emotion. Guilt, regret, fear, love, sadness, loneliness.

I imagine telling someone about my thoughts, but I keep hearing them feeling sorry for me. Not really understanding me.

But then I break down and actually try to tell someone but they often don’t have enough time to reply or are caught up in their own feelings. And I feel guilty for burdening them.

I want things I shouldn’t want. I do and say things as though I already have those things. But then I get angry when people don’t confine to the things I want or think I have. And that makes me angry. I’m punishing someone else for an idea I created in my own head. I’m trying to sabotage it myself.

I don’t know what I’m doing

I look at myself and I don’t know what I’m doing next. I don’t know what I’m doing now. I want to stop feeling this way but I don’t know what I have to do when virtually everything scares me.

I don’t understand.

I wish for understanding.

In My Head

People always talk about a utopia/dystopia whereby you could read other people’s minds or people would say exactly what they’re thinking to everyone every single moment of every day

People talk about this being ideal and not ideal for various different reasons

But lately I feel like the only thing worse than the scenario above is when I am genuinely trying to convey my feelings and the truth as best as I know how, and the people around me either don’t listen, don’t believe, or don’t want to understand.

You’d think the challenge would be trying to get someone to tell you what they’re feeling. Not having people not wanting to hear what you’re feeling.

Feel like I’m just another one of these clowns at an arcade. Being hit on the head, told to get back in my hole when I try to say something about my feelings

The Burnout Ended

Finally my week off arrived! And let me tell you, it was a long time coming.

Prior to my week off I had a set of night shifts which were pretty awful and draining. Made me worry a bit for the coming years and whether I would even have the energy for night shifts. It’s just not natural. Eugh.

But something else that happened in the weeks leading up to my week off is that I was asked to step up to be a registrar 2months earlier than everyone else.

Our employers in Auckland, being as useless with admin as they usually are, realised much too late that they do not have enough medical registrars for the coming year and especially for the transition period in November. So their last-ditch attempt was to ask those of us who are going to be registrars in February, to start in December. I was one of them.

Initially the whole thing freaked me out because I was still in my burnout spell and I didn’t think I could tolerate more responsibility and a more difficult roster (being a registrar is nothing glamorous, let me tell you.) So I was super scared. Every one I talked to thought I was ready. Except me.

I didn’t quite know what I should do but I kept telling myself it’s the burnout talking. Because I knew I wanted to be a reg and I knew if I did it early, my senior regs who I know and who like me will still be around to support me before they move on to their next rotation. So that’s a bonus.

But on the other hand, it was more responsibility when others at my level were still House officers and I sure as hell won’t get the week of leave I had asked for around Christmas time and what if I screw up? How do I just step up early?

Well as someone who just recently read The Subtle Art of not giving a f*ck, I guess the answer to that question is, you just do it. If you haven’t read that book, I recommend it. Helped me through my burnout stages.

I guess the point is I knew I was gonna do this so I guess, just do it. (In the most non-Nike way possible).

There was no real point to being scared. I mean of course I have to be a bit scared and make sure I do a good job and not screw up, but there’s no point in being so scared that I go backwards from progress that I need to have.

So anyway, during my week off, I reflected, and agreed to go ahead and take the job starting in December. Only time will tell how thing shall turn out.

I went to Tauranga on my week off, a city in the East Coast of the North Island. Famous for the beaches and nature trails. Climbed up a mountain and took some pics as I do.

It’s been a good week off. Much needed, tried to be productive, reflective, get back into photography, reading, writing and being some version of happy.

And the weather was just gorgeous! Here are some pictures of the Tauranga coastline from Mt. Maunganui

Burnout Sometimes Looks Like This

Okay kids, storytime.

This is a story of me realising how burntout I actually am in my job.

I didn’t think I was burning out. I was still fine to wake up every morning and go to work. And when I had weekends or days off after working weekends, I was usually unproductive and felt like I would be better off at work and being productive. I haven’t had any leave since last Christmas. I had a couple of weeks of leave planned and requested, but due to the wonderful COVID19 era, and lack of anywhere to go, and my working in the frontline during the pandemic, I cancelled all my leave requests.

I kept telling myself I’d be fine. My roster isn’t that bad. I get most weekends off and days off post weekends and sleep days post nights. And there wasn’t really anywhere else I wanted to be or could be. So it’s all fine. I’ll just keep chugging on.

Spoiler alert: Not a good move.

So on this fateful day, I was working in the medical ED (AMU) as usual when I received a call from the hospital’s discharge lounge. (It’s this area with a bunch of LayZboy chairs where patient’s who are waiting for discharge papers or rides home sit patiently). Basically people who are completely stable and need no further treatment/management go here.

So a nurse calls me up and says “Good morning, I have a patient from your team here for a blood transfusion. She needs to be admitted and blood charted please!”

My first response was a big HUH? I work in AMU. Yes I have an acute medicine “team” in AMU that admits patients with simple conditions like a viral illness, but they get discharged the next day. And we certainly don’t take elective admissions and we DEFINITELY don’t take patients in discharge lounge. Needless to say, I was super confused.

The nurse on the phone didn’t really clear things up for me. She said the patient was under my team. And she’s here and she needs admission. Over and over. Strike 1. In the end I said okay I’ll ask my registrar and come sort that out, and hung up.

I approached one of my registrars and asked him what was going on. He said that he and the other registrars had received an email from a medical consultant stating that a GP had called her saying a patient who was 8 weeks post partum was still experiencing PV bleeding and had a low haemoglobin and she needed to come in for a blood transfusion. The email also had the line “In retrospect I probably should have asked the GP to discuss with OBGYN, but given she only needs this, I’m sure we can handle it under general medicine” And of course, the house officers (like me), who actually DO the admissions, were conveniently left out of this email. So we had no idea about this patient. The other house officers were otherwise occupied so I guess it was up to me. My registrar also said it was up to me to sort out.

I didn’t know blood transfusions happened in the discharge lounge but the medical consultant had specifically asked for the patient to be admitted to the discharge lounge. It struck me as odd because that wasn’t a place unwell patients should be at all. They didn’t have a lot of equipment for medical managment there.

But I went anyway. I went to see the patient and made sure she was consented to receive blood products and was about to take some blood tests (nurses at my hospital are not certified to do blood tests and IV lines themselves. Even though nurses at the other 2 Auckland hospitals are) when I realised they didn’t have the right blood tubes for the blood bank. I asked the nurses and they had no idea what I was talking about. I huffed and had to walk all the way back to AMU to get the right tubes and returned to carry out the blood tests. The patient’s nurse and the head nurse stood in the room and hovered over me, watching. They seemed just as uncomfortable with this patient being in discharge lounge as I did. Only they didn’t really want to help me. I passed them the blood tubes I had collected and they just placed them on the table next to me instead of sending them off. Strike 2. I was sending the bloods off myself when the head nurse pushed a piece of paper under my nose and said “please chart the blood”. We were still standing in the patient’s room.

I looked at her. I was getting more confused. We have e-prescribing at our hospital. All patients admitted to Middlemore had to have an electronic prescription for their medications. I asked why I couldn’t chart it online. She said “She’s not in the system. It’s fine we can use a paper chart”. I felt super uneasy about this. And so I said “That’s a bit unsafe isn’t it? If she’s being admitted for this, she needs to have an electronic chart for the records.”

The head nurse just looked at me and said “Well she’s not in the system. You can just chart it on the paper”

Strike 3

In that moment, I got super annoyed. At the entire situation. But most of all, at the consultant that orchestrated this difficult scenario. So I said that out loud as well. “You know I’m really going to talk to Dr. A about this. Patients like this really shouldn’t be admitted to discharge lounge”.

The head nurse turned around and said “You can talk about this in the nurse’s station. Not in front of the patient okay?” And then she walked away. There was a steely note in her voice that made me raise my eyebrows. I immediately shut up. I begrudgingly wrote the prescription on the paper like she asked and took it back to the nurse’s station.

I was about to leave when the nurse, Ronita, asked to speak to me for a minute. She took me into the drug room and started talking fast, with a strain in her voice. Like she was trying hard not to cry. She told me that I was completely out of line and I cannot talk to her that way in front of the patient. She doesn’t usually have patients like this in her discharge lounge and she was doing it as a favour to Dr. A and the house officers aren’t doing Her a favour by charting medications so I shouldn’t be so entitled and she was going to file a complaint against me.

In that moment, I probably should have been appalled. I probably should have argued. I’m not sure. But I didn’t. Because I wasn’t sure what exactly was happening. I said the thing that was most obvious to me. That I didn’t mean what I said to put her down. I didn’t really understand how she made that connection but she had assumed I was hinting she was incompetent and discharge lounge was a crappy place for patients. I hadn’t meant that. I was frustrated that Dr. A had decided to place a patient there and stress out me and the nurses. I tried to explain that as best as I could to Ronita. I apologised for what I said and reassured her that she was doing a good job and this wasn’t a reflection on her. She seemed somewhat appeased and let me leave.

The situation with the patient continued, however. Ronita called me again in the next 10 minutes after I had returned to AMU to say that the patient had online prescription available and I could go ahead and do that. So I did as I was told. She then called back and said blood back refused to provide units of blood. I didn’t know what to do about that. The blood bank called me and said it was irresponsible of us as a medical team to just treat the patient with a blood transfusion when she had ongoing PV bleeding that was not addressed. She said she had called Dr. A and told her this, but Dr. A had told her to call the person who prescribed the units of blood. That would be me. The blood bank head nurse told me to assess the patient properly and call OBGYN. Again, I did as I was told. I took a gynae history from the patient, something I hadn’t done in years, and referred the patient to OBGYN. As I went back to tell the patient, Ronita reported she’s going to file a complaint against Dr. A for sending this patient to discharge lounge without calling OBGYN first. She seemed warmer towards me since I referred the patient over to the right service and out of her discharge lounge.

What a debacle.

Time for reflection. I guess this kinda shows my burnout because of the things going on in my head at the time. From the moment I received the first call from the nurse, I was annoyed. Annoyed that I was asked to do something that wasn’t my job, annoyed that I was left out of an email that would have helped a lot initially, and annoyed that it was in a place that I knew had very little resources for medical intervention. My entire walk over there I was thinking how dumb this was and why it had become my job.

When I got there and realised the proper equipment wasn’t there I got increasingly annoyed because the number of jobs just doubled. I was annoyed that the nurses weren’t helping me more and annoyed that none of this was planned out properly so that I could just do my thing and leave.

Loosely, all of the above translates to me being annoyed by kind of minor inconveniences. I should have known that the nurses there aren’t there to do stuff like this and they were just as annoyed with the situation as me. I should have expected this to be long and difficult. But I chose to be annoyed by it. And I said something to a nurse that was taken the wrong way.

Bottom line, I shouldn’t have said it. Even if it was Dr. A’s fault, it wasn’t my job to say that. It would only make a hard situation worse. It wasn’t going to help anyone. And the consequence was a nurse threatening to complain about my professionalism. Something I value a lot about in the image of myself as a doctor.

While trying to reassure Ronita, I realised how numb I was. I talked like an automaton doing confrontation de-escalation 101. Without really processing what I was saying. The word complaint definitely sent a wave of fear through me and I wanted to fix the situation before that happened, but in general I just said a bunch of things that I didn’t really feel strongly about.

And then I did something worse. I went back to AMU and started doing jobs. I admitted a patient and carried out a treadmill test and said nothing to anyone. I didn’t take a few minutes to reflect. The word “complaint” still bouncing around in my head as I was doing everything. After I finished sorting that patient out, I felt gross. I didn’t want to show my face in discharge lounge again. I saw some friends in the cafe at lunchtime and made a dramatic show of retelling the story of what happened that morning. I said it as though I was the victim in this situation. Being good friends, my audience joined in with my outrage and agreed that Dr. A and Ronita shouldn’t have put me through that.

But later on, when I was alone in my car driving home, I wept silently. I didn’t like the way I talked to Ronita. Both what I said initially, and when I was trying to fix it. I didn’t like the thoughts in my head about Dr. A. I didn’t like the way I told the story to my friends.

I realised my entire outlook was toxic from the get go. Every day I show up to work and do work, but I take things out on others in subtle ways like this. It isn’t always clear who I’m annoyed at but it’s likely to affect someone compeltely unrelated. And that’s because of my headspace. I think so much. Twice, three times when I see patients these days. I second guess every plan and every examination. I dismiss things as “useless” and “dumb”. I have no faith in what others tell me.

And it all starts with me.

Me not having a break from work, me not taking the time to appreciate the good things others do, and the way the system works. Me just not being wholly in the moment and appreciating it for what it is.

It’s a form of burnout. I didn’t even realise it was until I had brunch with a friend and she told me her usual personality of being loud and animated had dimmed in the last few months and nothing seemed to faze her. Good or bad. She said she felt apathetic about everything.

It takes something like this to realise that you need help and you need to make a change. I vowed to change. I made a simple effort. Very simple. Every time my work phone rang, I would take 10 seconds before answering it. I would literally breathe, clear my mind of everything, be aware of those 10 seconds, before I answered the phone. No matter what was happening. I would listen completely without interrupting whoever it was on the phone and I would keep my mind as open as possible while they talked.

I would then approach my RMO admin and ask for a few days off work. Just a few days. Not heaps of time. But enough to really feel like a break.

The leave hasn’t been approved yet, but the phone thing is working well so far!

I feel lighter. I feel more in control. The situations haven’t changed. There’s still a lot of questionable things I get called about, but I feel less intensely about them. I feel like I can manage them a bit better.

And in making this change, I’m slowing down my burnout process.

I felt a lot of anxiety when I got the roster for my next rotation starting in September. I aim to have some leave approved during that time.

It’s really important to realise the subtle features of burnout. It can be so variable for every person depending on their personality. You’ve just gotta keep reflecting and realise that it can always happen to you.

On that note, if you’ve read this far, thanks for doing so. Here’s a reward:

Silent treee

A calming photo of a sunset. Hope you’re all well!

Part Of Me

I’ve had a rough year. And it’s only July.

Understatement of the century of course. Everyone is having a really tough year.

I’m sure nobody’s plans are working out and a lot of people have worries and concerns and stresses that they can’t really see an end to.

And yeah me too. I won’t bore you with my COVID era sorrows though. I’m sure you have your own.

But in the face of adversity, especially one that seems long and relentless, I feel it’s important at some point to stop for a second and reflect.

I reflected on myself in the face of adversity. I realised that I’ve spent so much time being low and stressed that I’ve forgotten the parts of myself that are important to me.

I think it’s always important to think about the things that make up who you are. And hold onto that.

For instance, I’m usually an avid reader. I LOVE reading. My happy place is literally me and my kindle lost in some corner of the world facing much greater adversities than my current ones and ultimately coming out stronger.

But in the last few months my reading has been woefully low. And forget about studying. I just sit and stare blankly at something for hours on end waiting for something to happen.

I don’t want to lose this part of me. There’s nothing quite like the experience of starting a new book and devouring it and learning something new. In every single book. Each book is a fantastic experience.

Another part of me I had forgotten recently is my imagination. I’ve always felt blessed when I think about my imagination. Growing up I loved thinking up stories and scenarios and events that were weird and wonderful. Castles and dragons, going to Jupiter, seeing the things around me and imagining it to be so much more than it is always brought me great joy. As I grew up I imagined other things, where I would live, what I wanted to see, even how it would be at my best friend’s wedding.

I found during these tough times my thoughts are rarely abstract. They’re stunted and box-like. More robotic like here is another problem today. May as well dwell over how to solve it with what I have. Rather than imagining bigger and better things than this particular inconvenience.

My imagination is the source of my creativity. I can’t lose that. It’s a big part of what makes me, me. I tried to imagine good things. Bright and colourful. They’re quieter than before. As though there was a screen between me and my imagination.

And then there’s music. These days I just listen to music on the way to and from work. And that’s more to keep me awake rather than for my enjoyment. But with the arrival of the new Taylor Swift album, I realised how much I had missed listening to music and actually enjoying what I was listening to and singing along. That’s super important to me.

Passion for work. Since COVID, my work has become so mechanical. The daily frustrations have become twice as annoying and work is extra exhausting. A useless call from a nurse causes a physical reaction in me and brings me down. I barely notice the things I used to. Like how important it is when a patient thanks you for what you’ve done for them or learning something new from a patient’s condition. The other day I fought all day long for a patient to get a scan she needed. And when she finally did, my diagnosis was correct and she received the treatment she needed, and I learnt something new about her condition and the scan she had. I felt satisfied that day. It reminded me why I love what I do so much. I need to hold on to my passion.

Photography. Since being in lockdown, I’ve struggled to take my camera out and capture the world around me. But when I did, I realised how important photography is to me. Especially macro photography, and seeing the little things and making them look amazing.

But perhaps the most important part of me that I don’t wish to lose is being able to appreciate small things and find joy in them. Like a sunset, like watching a TV show from my childhood. Like helping a stranger with something or a stranger helping me with something. Like being able to tell my friends and family how much I love them, doing something to make them smile. Like a perfectly made cup of tea. Like a good conversation. A good joke.

Like a good hug at the right place at the right time when it was really needed.

Life is full of these little moments that can be so significant. They are the ones that you have to hang on to in times of adversity. That’s who I am as a person. Someone who focuses on the little things that make something or someone so amazing to me. 

These things are a part of me. And these are the things I need to remember. That will help me get through it all.

lavender with bee

Here’s a macro shot of a bee doing what it does best when I finally got my camera out. Little things with significance. 

2020

A friend of mine wished me a happy new year

But when he sent the message, it came out as “Happy New Year?” With a question mark. 

I laughed and he told me it was a typo but it seemed oddly appropriate. 

He followed it up with a sheepish “I mean, who knows what will happen this year” 

And I agreed with him. I have no idea what 2020 will bring. But hopefully a lot of nice photos.

Like this one that I took in Adelaide on Christmas. 

Hope 2020 brings you what you want. 🙂 

Photography: Art, But Not Really

So the other day I was talking to one of my friends about cameras. He had just upgraded from his Samsung Galaxy S9 phone to a 1+ phone. He boasted about how fabulous the camera is on this new model of phone. He told me his photography skills were about to improve ten-fold.

I laughed openly.

I told him the camera doesn’t decide how good you are at photography. He countered my argument by saying that with a good camera, anything captured can be made to look fabulous.

We continued to discuss this. It got me thinking about whether photography is even a valid art form. My interest in photography began back when I was in school. A couple of my science teachers ran a photography club and taught some of us the techniques and practice of being a good photographer. They thought I was pretty good. My parents thought I was pretty good. So I went out and bought myself a DSLR.

My DSLR is super amateur level. I’ve been using the same 2 lenses that came free with the camera 6 years ago. But I still put up some decent photos.

But honestly, I know I’m not very good. I don’t have what I perceive to be good photography skills. For example, my idea of angles is pretty amateur. I’ve seen lots of people take photos from angles I wouldn’t have thought of looking in. I also don’t care much about lighting. I need my subject to be visible with as much detail as possible. But I’ve seen people toggle with lighting for ages before even taking a picture.

But I take photos and people tell me they are good. But am I just lucky?

When I go on instagram, the people I follow usually put up pretty mundane photos. But every so often, some of them will put up something that makes me go “Oooh”. Does that make them “good” at photography? Or does it just make them lucky to have been in the right place and the right time with their camera lined up accurately enough to capture something fantastic?

A few people I know have opened their own photography “companies”. Not one of them is super impressive to me. They deal a lot in portrait photography of people they know. I can’t say they’re very good. Even edited, none of them made me go “ooh”. I have a sneaking suspicion that these people were also told by their family/friends that they’re super good at photography and so they should have their own company. Or in the case of one of my friends, he has all the camera tech possible and just went for it. Needless to say, he didn’t get very far.

One of the people I know who does professional real estate photography, had trouble capturing some people in good lighting at a house party. But that’s not to say that his real estate photos are bad…

I think landscape photography and wildlife photography, and to a certain extent, portrait photography requires a whole lot of luck. The landscape never changes. But at that point when You visit the landscape (sunset/sunrise/dry/raining) changes how your photo will look. Same with wildlife photography (is the animal moving/sleeping/positioned correctly, etc). When I see the Natural Geographic photo competition winners who have captured a bird flying or a herd of animals running, yes you need a good camera and a good position, but you didn’t ask those animals to charge into your frame to capture. That was all them. Portrait photography requires luck because even though you can have models, capturing that exact expression you want requires some luck.

Macro photography is probably a bit different. It requires a lot more thought and skill. You need to see the special in the mundane and go close enough to see it and draw attention to it. That is one field of photography that I truly think needs skill. Because you can’t just zoom into anything and expect it to look good or convey a message you want it to.

So on the whole, is photography an art form? Or can any idiot with a good camera capture something stunning from time to time?

I think it’s a mixture of both.

I think you can’t take good photos without some luck. And I think anybody can be a photographer. But skill in photography is a very specialised subject. But I still think it has very little to do with what kind of camera you have.

Interesting topic. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?