Do you remember this quote from the movie Matrix?
Neo: Why do my eyes hurt?
Morpheus: You've never used them before.
Morpheus: What is real? How do you define ‘real'? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
Human perception is very interesting. If you just purchased a new car, the moment you drove onto the street from the dealership, you suddenly found out the same model of car all over the place, which you never realized before.
The same applies to photography. I used to be so attached to my photos. I thought they were perfect. And I felt a bit disappointed (or more, much more) when others didn't connect with them.
It went on for 10 years. I kept taking similar photos. Instead of looking inside myself, I blamed others.
“Soon they'd know.” I told myself.
Only when I finally took the “red pill”, to have an open mind, to accept that there's something missing, I became a sponge. I soaked up the wisdom of the world's best visual artists and storytellers.
I made changes on the way I took photos, full of fear and uncertainty, because these were forbidden by the gurus.
Sometimes it's just very subtle, minor change but instantly the photos evoked strong emotion in others.
What had happened? My photos looked almost the same, yet they were so different.
And when I looked back at my old photos, those I used to hang onto, I saw so many mistakes and weaknesses. It was so obvious. How could I not see it before?
Then I came across some old photos I never paid attention to, and did some minor change on composition, etc, and I couldn't stop smiling. How could I not see it before? How could I not see this background, this line, curve, shape, texture, pattern and color?
When I posted the photo, people felt the same too.
I love it. Nature, art and human perception are amazing.
One of the key concept in my program is to teach students to learn to see what's the truth. Time and again, students didn't need to go out to take new pics, they were able to find gems in their archive that they never paid attention to. And they thanked me afterwards.
And seeing their joy means the world to me. One of my clients sent this to me today. Her photo just got into the semi-finalist round of Nature's Best Photography, which has over 30,000 entries this year. She said, “the information that you shared with us on processing and picking a good image to submit was priceless”
Another client sent this to me. She said, “thanks for all your help so far.” Two of her photos got to the semi finalists as well in Nature's Best.
Here's another one from my client. He said, “the techniques and fresh ways of looking at images have been more than phenomenal… completely changed my outlook for the rest of my career… Had it not been your course and what I've learned so far, it wouldn't have advanced.” He was talking about his photo that has advanced to the semi-finalist as well.
And yet another one of my clients. She just entered the first time.
And I received messages like these from clients consistently. “I had two photos published in Wildlife Photographic, three photos selected Top 100 in annual NANPA photo contest…”
With all these results, do you think it's just a coincidence?
I'm super happy for them because they have taken the red pill, and now they see differently. And the world is never gonna be the same.
It's a great journey. It took me 20 years. Now you don't need to spend 20 years to find it. That's why I created this amazing community, with hundreds of students, all using our photos to move as many people as possible so that they all fall in love with the birds and wildlife like we do.