Photographers & Triathletes Never Stop Learning
After recently finishing my third Nautica South Beach Triathlon in Miami this past weekend, with a better time than my first two, I realized that there's much to be said about the similarities between triathletes and photographers. We must never stop learning, continuing to develop new techniques, in order to evolve and improve our abilities. This is what cognitive thinking is all about, the ability to push your mind's elasticity, and teach that old dog some new tricks.
It turns out that whether you're talking about the best triathletes, or the best photographers, experience comes in handy, and the younger ones tend to waste a lot of energy. Across disciplines, it requires profound mental focus and efficiency, to either "get the shot" or cross the finish line. In my experience, eliminating the variables, as I like to call it, removes much of the chaos from the equation. So, like anything worth while, it takes intense training and tenacity to succeed.
A friend of mine didn't even know how to swim, before beginning to train a little over three years ago. He just finished in the top ten percent of his division, despite having flipped head first off of his bike, ignoring cuts and bruises to his shoulder, hip, leg and foot, and persevering for hist best finish time yet. Another competitor vomited twice during the swim, and managed to finish the race, while others were pulled out of the rough seas by lifeguards. As U.S. Marines like to say, "Improvise. Adapt. Overcome." That being said, many of the competitors on race day, have gone through the brutal training that it takes to become a member of the military, and a triathlon might just feel like another exercise, if you're a Navy Seal.
However, many of the people that compete in these races, actually feel like it's impossible to do something like this at first, but if you set up a twelve-week workout calendar, pretty much anyone can do it. Let's just say that, after the nineteen-mile bike, very few people run like a Gazelle. Many people are overweight, injured, and the most inspiring groups to see, are the disabled and amputees. Anyone can do this, and I often say that if I lost my sight, I'd still want to make photos.
Of course, these days, everyone is a photographer, as I said in my Apple store lecture in the Fall of 2011 in Chelsea, NY. So it goes, seasoned veteran photogs have been feeling threatened by the expanding playing field, ever since the Brownie camera came out. While the entry fee for a triathlon can be as low as $150.00, around the equivalent price of a decent snappy camera, the truth is, it's always been a level playing field, and you're really in a race against yourself.