The Importance of Doing

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”
— Pablo Picasso

There is great importance in the doing of things. Not simply coming up with a plan or discussing ideas, but real action. Not because there’s a payoff, but because you have no other option but to do This Thing.

Earlier this year, while in Nashville for a conference, I took a detour to visit my longtime friend Adam, who lives in Chattanooga with his wife and daughters. Adam and I were roommates back when he still lived in California and we were fighting the good fight of local journalism, working for a small daily newspaper. Since then, he’s gone on to move back into web design, and over the past few years completely dive in to the world of podcasting. Not only does Adam have a great podcast called The Gently Mad where he’s interviewed people like Seth Godin about life, work, and creativity, he’s also teaching other people how to create successful podcasts.

It’s inspiring to see how he’s had a vision for doing something, and has thrown himself into the doing of it.

But this isn’t all musings on old friends and getting stuff done. The portrait of Adam above in his office was a great chance to use one of the single-best iPhone accessories of the past few years: the Nova flash, the best handheld, “off-camera” flash for the iPhone. (Its creators providing a great example of seeing a lack, and filling the void.)

While the iPhone works fantastically for a variety of photos, it — like any other smartphone — falls short in the area of flash. Nine times out of 10, direct flash is not your friend. The Nova solves this. About the size of a credit card, about a quarter-inch thick, it has rows of LED lights under white plastic, and syncs up with its iPhone app via Bluetooth. The app allows you to adjust intensity and color temperature, and the Nova works anywhere within a 20-foot radius.

With the Moment Tele lens mounted on my phone, and the Nova set off to the side, I was able to keep Adam in that great, soft window light while still adding some fill flash to provide depth.
It helps to have great tools, especially those that don’t take up much space in your pockets.

As a gentle plug, if you’re serious about your photography and you wind up shooting a lot with your iPhone, pick up a Nova.

The Nova also came in handy for another recent portrait of someone who inspires me with his drive to do the things about which he’s passionate.

My friend Nate is a talented singer-songwriter who’s spent the past few years criss-crossing the U.S., playing for audiences small and large, sharing songs inspired by his life and experiences. He’s currently raising funds for his next album, which promises to be really good.

Recently, we had the chance to meet up for dinner while he was in Los Angeles, and I captured this portrait of him. This is another great example of the opportunities created by using the Nova. I positioned Nate in a darkened doorway and tucked the Nova on a door handle. With very minimal, helpful gear I was able to create a strong portrait.

That’s how we move forward: By the doing. And we develop personally by doing the things about which we are passionate.

What are you doing today?