Main Street Christmas Gifts

I have really missed posting. While Michaela has been cranking out beautiful pictures, I’ve been watching from the sidelines in a tired daze. My new job at UC San Diego is amazing but it’s really pushing me. I’m grateful for the challenge because I’m not a fan of resting on my laurels.

I want to learn.
I want to grow.
I want to create.
I want adventure.

That’s when you find out what you’re really made of and what you’re capable of. I don’t think confidence comes easy to many people attempting to create something. If you’re truly creating, you’re taking a risk. You’re in uncharted territory and experience offers no bolster or assurance of success in reaching your destination safely… or at all. No one succeeds all of the time.

The truth is… the gift creativity gives to the creator is not in the success. It’s in the daring. It’s in the having an idea and going for it. It’s in finding yourself, once more, in uncharted territory. It’s in giving yourself totally to an endeavor regardless of the outcome.

My mind has been on this track a lot lately thanks to Pinterest. It’s a great way for me to save design ideas and resources to come back to for work and it’s also a great way to find inspirational quotes, accurate or not so much… A couple of weeks ago I came across one from Teddy Roosevelt:

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

There’s more to the quote and I would encourage you to look it up if you find it as much of a spark as I have. It is a firm reminder to me to get my eyes off of the outcome and onto the endeavor. That’s where all of the passion and pain and perspiration are. That’s where I want to be, wholly immersed in whatever I hope to achieve. If it results in failure, so be it. At least I have tried and can hold my head high to fight another day, knowing that I did not let fear or timidity get the better of me.

What does any of this have to do with my picture? Maybe not terribly much but there are a couple of things. The Christmas tree got me thinking about gifts and endeavoring to create something is very much a gift. The manner in which this photo was obtained was quite an endeavor.

Michaela and I have been to Disneyland in the rain more than half a dozen times. If we’ve learned anything in those trips, it’s to understand that planning and preparations mean nothing. The other day when we got this, we assumed it would be cool/cold and dressed accordingly. It wasn’t. It ended up being far too warm for our attire.

Disneyland was busy, despite its reputation for rainy days devoid of crowds.

Everything, and I do mean everything, was soaked by the end of the night. Shoes, socks, feet, backpack and contents. Wet. Wet. Wet!

If you’ve ever tried taking pictures in the rain, you know that the biggest challenge of all is keeping the lens clean and dry enough to capture scenes you’re getting soaked for. When the towels you brought to wipe the lens are wet, you look to your shirt. When you’re soaked to the bone and your shirt feels more like a mop prior to being rung, you sort of give up and just wipe with any old soggy thing in hopes that somehow you’ll make the lens a little better (a pro photographer somewhere is shouting obscenities at the screen now). On the squishy walk back to the car (don’t ride the trams in heavy rain unless you like a soggy bottom), it can be difficult to maintain a positive attitude.

But you know what? You really feel alive when you dare mighty things and pour yourself into a focused endeavor. The Main Street Christmas gifts that came my way, came in the form of wet socks and a foggy lens that somehow made me burn inside.

Main Street Christmas Gifts at Disneyland on a rainy evening

About Matt Hansen

Matt is a photographer and designer based in San Diego. When he’s not working, he's charting his next adventure over coffee or craft beer.
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  1. I was just there over Thanksgiving weekend and wasn’t able to stay late in the park to take pictures myself. Thank you for this beautiful spot, it is a favorite of mine. God bless!


  2. Really appreciate this post, Matthew…the words even more than the image but it’s lovely, too. Merry Christmas to you and yours from two fans in Oregon.


  3. I understand the challenges you must have faced to take pictures in the park under such rainy conditions, but, Matthew, what a gift this shot is. As are all your shots. Extraordinary. Works of art all of them. Thanks so much for doing what you do. All of your fans appreciate it.


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