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F-8 and Be There

Intro by Skip Cohen

Wandering through Suzette Allen’s archives, I came across this post from four years ago. I know there will be those of you who feel God doesn’t belong in a business blog post, but if you spend any time with Suzette then you know she’s one of the most focused and dedicated people in the industry.

You don’t have to believe what she believes, but however you get to live the words, “To thine own self be true,” what’s important is to follow your heart and as she explains in this post, “be there.”

By Suzette Allen

A famous photographer was sharing some beautiful images of stellar landscapes and skies with a group of photographers. His images were powerful and full of impact, with rare moments in nature where he captured dynamic light and elusive weather elements. When he was asked, “How do you get such great pictures – like, what exposure or settings do you use?”

The artist replied simply, “f8 and be there”. Such a simple, powerful statement because f8 is just a middle of the road general setting on a camera (not even a definitive exposure), but the real nugget in that statement is to just Be There. As in, get up before dawn to catch the glorious and fleeting sunrise. Or, be willing to go out in the rain (with hopes to see the sky break), or stand out in the freezing night and wait for the northern lights to dance.

It requires a certain amount of expectation and commitment to be willing to risk going out – because you may see nothing. Or you may see something amazing. But if you never GO, you will never take amazing pictures. You will only hear about them.

So today I was preparing for a trip to a convention where I will be helping in a trade show booth, assisting photographers with images taken with new cameras in a shooting exercise. Not really knowing what to expect or even what is required of me, I asked God to give me wisdom and help me prepare. It is pretty tough to prepare for something for which you have no idea what to expect. But I loved His answer: “Prayed Up and Be There”

Immediately it spelled out the scenario to me. The truth is there is no way to know what will happen or who you will see or what you will be required to do. There is a general plan of what will transpire (like the sun will rise in morning) but no details or guarantees. (like it could be overcast and dull or outrageous and fiery!) Just be prepared and ready (have a camera and set it on f8, ready to go).

So that is my new goal to be prepared; AKA, Prayed Up. Spending time in prayer, seeking His face and His desires and His presence is the best preparation for anything that comes our way. He will supernaturally prepare us for the moments ahead if we are willing to risk- to not only take the time to pray but to make the effort to GO with expectation and RISK failure or disappointment. I am regularly being stretched and put into situations that are far from my comfort zone, and sometimes, far from my skill and confidence level.

My best preparation and attitude for success in those times is to get “prayed up, and be there”. I can do that. I may not know what to expect or even what I will be doing, but I if I take the time to pray and listen, I will be prepared and adequate for the job (in spite of myself!) and have success, if there is any success to be had.