The Christmas tree on Buena Vista Street has such a cool retro feel to it. Although it’s quite rich and vibrant in person, when I sat down to work on this photo, it seemed to take me another direction that had me thinking of vintage photos from the 1950s.
Disney California Adventure
When things get tough, the suspicion that you’ve made some mistake to get off course likes to try and sneak in. Or worse yet, that you’ll fail. But a little opposition or hardship doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re anywhere other than exactly where you’re supposed to be. Neither does a lot.
As I worked on this image, I got to thinking about how some bugs burrow into the earth for shelter. I can’t imagine they find it an easy task and they face any number of obstacles in addition to it. This, however, doesn’t cause them to question whether or not they should do it and it doesn’t stop them from trying. It’s inside them to do it.
I like to think that, as human beings, we have a little more than instinct to go off of. Of course we know to eat, drink and seek shelter; these are the basics of survival. We don’t stop there though. We dream and scheme and everything in between. We invent, we craft, we create. If God really did make us in His image and likeness (and I believe He did), then it’s really no surprise at all that our traits extend beyond instinct into the realms of creativity and choice. Ever had a dream so big on the inside of you, it seemed impossible? How do you suppose it got there?
The problem is, it seems, that we all too quickly forget in our own lives that great reward almost always requires determination, diligence and perseverance. When we hear the stories of those we admire, those stories are wrought with hardship and adversity. If their journey had been easy, they wouldn’t be remarkable enough to earn our admiration. When we’ve faced hardships along our own journey, we’ve given into those suspicions that we’re wrong, that we’ll fail, that we’ll never arrive at our destination and forgotten the very stories that inspired us to set out in the first place.
Facing trials and hardships doesn’t mean you’re wrong. You may not see how you could possibly succeed but that doesn’t mean you won’t. The Bible even affords us the wisdom to not lean on our own understanding, but to acknowledge God. Why? Because nothing is impossible with Him. You don’t have to understand how it will work. It’s like Davy Crockett said, “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead”, not “Be sure you know how things will work out and everything will be okay”. If you know deep down inside of you that what you’re doing is right, you can be sure you’re digging in the right direction.
I hope you’re enjoying the new website. It was a labor of love and I think it’s a far better platform for displaying pictures. We’ve been working hard to fix formatting on all the content we imported over. Three years didn’t seem like much until it meant fixing links and the like for over 900 images. Speaking of which, I’ve redesigned our photo gallery hosted through SmugMug to match the site and added a link to the navigation bar for quick access. Of course, clicking on an image will take you there too. The choice is yours! Tomorrow, we’ll be making a couple of new pages live that we’ve been working on. Thanks so much for all the support!
The sunset in Cars Land was stunning the evening I took this picture. It’s kind of hard to go wrong in that atmosphere. The textures just seem to grab on to light and color as if their very lives depended on it.
Picture, if you will, a hotel lobby. A hotel which, in fact, once reigned as the star of Hollywood. In the lobby is an elevator with a sign which reads, “Out of Service”, and those days of stardom have long since faded. The hour is late. The only choice now is a service elevator, the entrance to which is located in the boiler room. But these passengers aren’t headed to the upper floors. They’re en route to… The Twilight Zone. (Of course, this is only properly read with your very best Rod Serling voice.)
As wonderful as Buena Vista Street is, it’s become a hazard for me and Carthay Circle is my worst spot. I am prone to standing in front of the trolleys. I guess I just have no regard for the bricked safety zone. In fact, I would argue that all of the best angles on Buena Vista Street require standing in it.
Ornament Valley is one of the best places to dream. In this place, it’s difficult to imagine that there’s much not possible to people who don’t limit themselves or the scope of their dreams. It’s a choice that we’re all faced with every day – “Will I believe in myself and pursue what I’m passionate about?” For far too many of us the answer to that is “no” and we’re unhappy. More than unhappy we’re discontent. There’s a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self value when we let the desires of our hearts chart the course for our lives. That’s not to say that it’s easy because it’s not. It seems to me that just about any story I’ve ever heard where anyone accomplished anything worthwhile it took a whole lot of hard work and no small amount of courage or boldness. Sometimes difficulty is what keeps us from pursuing our passions because we fear risking failure. The problem is that life is constant risk. If you don’t risk failure, you risk regret; so we really can’t let the idea of risk hold us back because we’re surrounded by it whether we like it or not. Besides, you can pick yourself up after a failure but you can’t turn back time to fix a regret (Not even Cher could do that). Sometimes we get rundown amidst the hard work in pursuit of our dreams. It’s important in those times to surround ourselves with people who support us and things that inspire us so that we can be refreshed. Don’t give in to despair or disillusionment. Please never, ever give up.
Blue sky is where dreams take flight and imagination knows no bounds. But how does one get there? The answer is simple enough, though I’m guilty of forgetting it frequently. Inspiration is the fuel necessary to carry you up into that big beautiful sky. It can come in practically any form and need not always be sought after, but sometimes… sometimes it does need to be sought. Life has a way of getting repetitive and that repetition has a way of dulling our senses. We stop picking out the nuances that contain a spark of inspiration. The only real way around this is to deliberately break the repetition. It involves investing some time in yourself. It involves exposing yourself to culture and, if I may borrow a phrase from Don Hahn (a huge inspiration to me), it involves filling your bucket. You would never expect your car to run without gas in the tank. Why in the world do we expect to create works of beauty or achieve our dreams if we don’t fill ourselves up with the inspiration necessary for creative ingenuity? I believe that in order to live a life you’re proud of, you have to, at some point, stop telling yourself the lie that you can’t achieve your dream. You have to get up and do something to make it happen. Even if you don’t yet know what your dream is, which is okay, the very best place to start is to spend some time searching for inspiration. It might come from the pages of a book, scenes of a movie, a crescendo in a symphony, quality conversations with friends or family, the quietness of solitude, an unfamiliar setting, a scenic walk, time spent with God or a truly perfect piece of chocolate. It really doesn’t matter where you find inspiration, so long as you find it and find it repeatedly. Before you know it, all of that inspiration will overflow into something worth sharing with the world and the world, in turn, will be inspired by you.
Nothing says Happy Holidays like assorted filters and neon… to a car anyway.