It always amazes me when I look back at my older photos from 10+ years ago and compare the quality with a similar photo I have taken more recently. I sometimes cannot believe that I used to think some of my older stuff was great, getting excited to share and show them off. I would spend so much time looking for abstract things to take photos of for practice and I would "edit" them to make them look perfect. Now however, I look at them and laugh to myself thinking how wrong I was. I think how much better quality my photos have become and how much I have changed for the better. But why am I so hard on myself? It is definitely true when they say you are your own worst critic. For all the improvements I think I have made there are still often times now where the photos I am taking do not impress me. I sit at my computer, editing and/or deleting the vast majority of my work, thinking that I need to do better. I get frustrated and sometimes I feel ready to throw in the towel on this whole dream. Why can't I just take what I see in the real world and throw it into my camera? It is often hard to remind myself that I just need to be kind and give myself more time. I believe that any art form, any skill, any talent is a life long venture. We never truly stop learning and growing in life. I always remind myself, the photographers I idolize did not start out where they are now, they worked at it. The photos I saw in the National Geographic magazines didn't come from brand new photographers who picked up their cameras for the first time that day, those people had practiced. My own grandfather didn't just happen to fall into photography out of boredom, he developed that skill over time. Skills equal the time we put into them. To really get to the level I would like to be at in this trade, I have to make a promise to myself. I need to stop comparing. Comparing myself to others and to the old me. I need to recognize that I am still learning. Learning about this trade and the tools at my disposal. I need more time. It has only been about 10 years (off and on) since I picked up my first "real camera" so I need to give myself the time to grow and evolve my skills. And above all I need to be kind. Kind to myself during this life long process and kind enough to let myself flourish. "Learning is a constant process of discovery - a process without end"