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When you do something over and over, things kind of become automatic.
I usually shoot portraits, so my fingers know what to do, instinctively, when thereâ€™s a person in front of my lens. Itâ€™s so instinctive that it seems effortless: it seems Iâ€™m not really thinking about it, it just happens.
Malcolm Gladwell writes in his awesome book Outliers that it takes 10,000 repetitions to master a skill, and itâ€™s true that drilling a skill, especially when we practice it the right way, does produce mastery at some point.
But once in a while, we need to shake things up. Introducing something new into a skill set stretches that repertoire. When we apply previous knowledge to new situations, we learn more.
Iâ€™m used to lighting people with portable flash units. When presented with a new situation, smaller subjects this time, the portable flash suddenly becomes a huge strobe in relation to what Iâ€™m lighting. So naturally I have to stretch what I know about the relationship between the subject and the light.
And, naturally, I learned a lot.
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