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#np: The time of my life – David Cook
I started this year craving a six month’s break. Since I couldn’t take the six months off everything, I decided that I’ll utilize every public holiday this year to the fullest.
Easter was the first. I thought of touring the North but that plan didn’t work out well. Initially though, I had planned going on one of those travel trips, but the thought of going with complete strangers didn’t go down well with me.
The next best thing was to draw up an itinerary of what I could do on my own. I have been itching for a while now to practice with my camera. I have decided that my camera isn’t going to be another gadget I spent money on only to abandon. So off to Lagos I went.
It was going to be a road trip. I went in the company of two of my colleagues in a private car. Road travel is always best when you are in familiar company – the jokes, laughter, teasing and then that comfortable silence that follows when everyone’s energy level is low. Soon again, close to the destination, it always seems everyone wakes up and the party resumes.
|Road trip! Tolu, Ivan and Myself
|Aside catching up with friends, I had specific places to visit in two/three days. Normally, I announce my arrival in Lagos so anyone interested in hanging out could holla but this time, I had to keep a low profile due to the limited time and number of activities I had planned. I have so many cool friends in Lagos and wished there was enough time to meet up with each and every one, but then it was what it was.
First outing was the beach, Elegushi beach to be exact. I wanted to catch the sunset and mostly experience being at the beach till late night (I eventually left there around 10:00 pm, still not late enough). I did catch the sunset and had a nice time taking cool shots of the ocean at sunset while also taking some nice shots of my friends and their friends that joined us. One of the most beautiful natural view has got to be the ocean during sunset.
So basically, I’m an amateur photographer now, sort of. I need to make out time to develop this photography thingy, seeing it has taken a special place in my heart. I’m still not sure I want go pro with it. I’d love to keep it a hobby, like a safe haven where I can escape to, for relief, same way I take my writing. Purely a hobby.
Though now, I’m currently having second thoughts based on the compliments I have been getting from people as per the pictures I took. My confidence has fast started to grow. I have gotten such good feedback, meanwhile this is just me starting out with only basic knowledge I got one evening from a friend. I haven’t even attended a formal class or exposed myself to more advanced knowledge about photography.
The truth is, maybe I have been lying to myself about keeping my talents as hobbies (though the fear of taking my hobbies all too serious and then losing the fun in it is quite legit). I was discussing with Afe recently and I told him I am scared of taking pictures professionally, like what if I cover someone’s wedding and all the pictures come out bad? That guilt I could never live with. But deep down I know that confidence doesn’t come in a day. He gave a nice idea that I could start covering occasions free while the person also has their official photographer. It’s funny how so many people tend to believe in me more than I actually believe in my own capabilities.
The best part of my trip was the food festival I attended in the company of Seyi and Efe. The festival held at Samantha’s Bistro & Grill in Ikoyi. From one booth to another we went checking out different kinds of dishes, drinks as well and processed food products. Oh! And the really cool part was the free tasting, till well, I tasted chilli pepper.
How I hate pepper! I still don’t know how people will cook food, rice specifically and pack pepper in it, all in the name of ‘pepper rice’. The worst is when people would leave their houses and go to an eatery to purchase ‘pepper rice’. Just ridiculous! Different strokes for different folks I guess.
Surprisingly there was an art corner at the festival. I hid behind my camera as excuse not to paint (I was very shy).
I love the arts. I love music, I love books and I love pictures/photography and paintings. This was my first time experiencing people painting from start to finish. Being there awakened my desire to tour an art gallery. I didn’t have the chance to do that before leaving for Benin but that’s now top of my bucket list.
The thing about being the one handling the camera is, you end up not featuring in most of the pictures. In as much as I wanted to get great shots of the ocean, I also wanted to have pictures of myself at the beach. Next day, I went back to the beach.
One major thing I took away from this trip is I need to focus on developing my photography. Everyone has been giving good feedback and all. Maybe this year’s leave I should go for a short course on photography.
I can already picture my personal gallery; the walls painted white, my landscape pictures from my travels framed and placed on the walls with smart lighting design illuminating the room. Most importantly, soft music playing from the surround system….a boy can dream, in it?
At Alpha beach I got some really cool melancholic themed pictures like those of Godwin Okoye. A good photographer has got to have great directing skills. Know what posture, angle and lighting exposure to have that perfect picture you are going for… when next you see that photographer climbing a tree or almost lying down on the floor, don’t laugh…that’s someone with passion and vision going for the apt angle.
I saw a meme somewhere which said – “that you own a DSLR camera doesn’t make you a photographer”. Hell yeah! I totally agree (even though it subs me as well). Photography isn’t child’s play. Forget auto mode, try getting the right exposure and lighting using manual mode. If more than half of your pictures isn’t dark or totally blurred out then know you are there.
I remember when I just started learning how to shoot using manual mode. I took my camera to the office to practice on my colleagues. It wasn’t funny. The pictures were all crap. Being the type of guy who is always determined to excel in whatever I do, I got really mad with frustration written all over my face. My colleague looked at me, she shook her head and said, ‘I don’t know who gave you this camera that you want to use to kill yourself’.
Photography is serious business honestly. The hardest part? Editing and sorting out the pictures. This is the part I don’t like at all. It took me four days to sort and edit the almost one thousand pictures I took during the Easter break. The first day I slept at 1:00am because of photo edit. If only people knew what photographers go through to bring out those amazing pictures, we wouldn’t complain much about the pricing.
This past Easter break was indeed made for me. I left Lagos feeling alive. Like I was reborn. I left filled with a rekindled passion for photography. I came to Lagos feeling dead and burnt out, but I left with new energy and excitement for living. Yea, it sucked that I was headed back to my routine of corporate work, but I knew it wasn’t going to be the same. After working hours each day, I am going to live for myself and do stuff that brings happiness.
This trip was all about me appreciating the arts and taking time out to explore something I love (photography). It wasn’t about partying or trying to meet up with some hot acquaintance. But of course two things that have become a tradition whenever I go to Lagos – buying novels and meeting up with a music buddy to talk about music, as well as updating my music library. I got two new novels to add to the list of novels I am yet to read (I have read about five novels since the beginning of this year). It’s nice watching my library grow.
I’m almost done arranging my music files on my laptop. I am arranging them based on artist per folder. Each artist folder contains all their albums in the sub folder. It looks very sane and easy on my senses when I open my music folder these days. Not the crap I had before that made me always feel suffocated. Now it looks like a proper music library, easy to locate albums and songs, making my life feel orderly.
It was another road trip back to Benin. This time I really didn’t want to do the whole music or chatting and teasing thingy. I brought a book to Lagos and I was determined that I was indeed going to read a book on my trip back. It’s a culture I am trying to get accustomed to. Before I would take a book along on a trip but would never touch it.
I started this culture when I travelled to Abuja in January. I took time out to read at the hotel though watching CNN kinda took most of my time, but I was able to read well at the airport while waiting for my flight. Recently when I went to Asaba for work ish, I read while waiting for the meeting to start. Meeting up with my ‘rules’ gives me satisfaction, like I’m able to discipline myself.
I got to Benin feeling alive and excited about life. That’s the beauty of travel, it breathes life into you. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Not all the time work and serious stuff, sometimes break out of your routine and just live…try something new, explore and open yourself to beautiful moments and keep the memories for yourself.
It’s one thing to have a bucket list or day dream about things you’ll love to do, but it’s another thing to actually do them. I’ve decided not to cheat myself from enjoying the beautiful moments in life. While I’m still young and energetic, as much as I can, I’ll try to explore and experience as much as I can. Most importantly I’ve decided to develop my hobbies, read more books and appreciate the arts. Basically, I’m all for living for the now. Life really is short. What is it that they say? Y.O.L.O (you only live once…)
So this is me, while working towards achieving those career goals, I would try to have it all. I won’t take it all so serious. While working to be who I want to be, I’ll try to actually live my life as well.
”I’ll taste every moment and live it out loud
I know this is the time, this is the time to be
More than a name or a face in the crowd
I know this is the time
This is the time of my life”
The time of my life (David Cook)
“The world aren’t half as bad as they paint it to be” – One Republic (Come Home). But how would you know this if you don’t truly live? There’s so much to life than work, pay bills, take care of kids and wait for death.
I want more out of life. The little things are those that bring so much joy…music, good company, photography, books, food…
I’m thankful I made good use of the Easter break and also had the chance to appreciate the arts, meet up with old pals and made one or two new acquaintances.
Dear young men, don’t forget to enjoy your youth while working towards being successful. Don’t be that 50 year old trying to relive their 20’s.
“But until my moment comes, I’ll say…
I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
with every broken bone, I swear I lived”