The happy you take is equal to the happy you make

Today’s photo: Some days Alice just wants to take a potato to the park.

Some days Alice just wants to take a potato to the park.

Today’s lesson: The redeeming moments in any given day are small but prolific. Grab the happy where you can.

Since this is supposed to be part of my blog series on what I’ve learned from doing photo 365 projects, I’ll start with the technicalities.

In this shot, I wanted the focus on Alice, but I didn’t want the background completely blurred out. I wanted it clear that the background was, indeed, a park. Otherwise, I could have just done this in my own yard instead of driving across town. To accomplish this, I set the aperture at f/16. I sort of wish now I had experimented more with creating even greater depth of field, but what I have is sufficient.

I’m most disappointed in the conflicting lines in this shot. I wish I had framed it up differently so that it didn’t look like Alice was being decapitated by the swing set. I have what I have, though. It was cold and wet. I didn’t have a lot of time. I didn’t see the problem with the lines until after I got home and transferred the photo to my computer. Besides which, I did take multiple shots from multiple angles, and this was still the one I liked the best.

I chose this shot because the potato has more personality in this shot than it did from other angles. I sacrificed Alice’s head to use the shot where the potato appears to be looking quizzically at the camera. So there’s that. Most days for me the photo of the day is about picking which imperfections I’m willing to live with in order to feature something else that I like. If this were more than a hobby and I had more time than I do, I would drive back across town to reshoot with everything framed the way I want. I don’t have the luxury of being a perfectionist, though. I just have to go with what I have and be happy.

Which brings me to my life lesson of the day. Happy is where you take it and mostly where you make it.

The first thing I did this morning was to check the photo prompt of the day. Starts with P.

Pickles. Practicality. Presumptuous. Paw. Panic. Popular. Pie. Pepper. Paper. Potato. Problems. Putrid. Park. Possibility. Pundit. Pressure.

And on and on my mind went until…oh wait! Potato! Park!

I have this potato that I’ve been hanging onto for about two years. It’s all shriveled up now, and it would be no good to cook, but I still keep it in my kitchen because it looks like the Loch Ness Monster. This is the way my dad likes to grow things. I stole the potato from his garden, and he is not a boring gardener.

The instant I thought potato and park, I pictured Alice sitting in the park with this potato. The instant I thought of that, my day was infused with a burst of happy. The idea made me laugh. It almost didn’t matter how the shot came out. The fact that it even occurred to me gave me some excess happy that I could store up and take with me as I started tackling other tasks.

I generally don’t like the kind of self-help advice that tells you to be happy no matter what. I think all of that positive thinking stuff is often used to bully people into not complaining about things that really are problems. I’m not saying in the least that anyone needs to be happy about their problems. Feel how you feel about your problems, and then go find something else you can make some happy out of.

That’s what I get from photography. It’s my somewhere else that I go to for my happy. It’s also what I get from doing 365 projects. If I didn’t have a commitment to taking at least one picture every day, I might go the whole day only dealing with problems and forget to even so much as take five minutes to seek out a happy place.

Happy is not what you make of your problems. Happy is what you make of the many other things that are also part of any given day, the things you only see when you are looking for them.

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