As I sit here typing this at 35,000 feet, 28 minutes from my destination, tears are pouring down my cheeks because I'm pretty sure my life has changed. All because of a bubble bath. I love bubble baths, for a variety of reasons. They help achy muscles. They soothe tired bones. They revitalize. In more ways than I could have ever imagined...
I'm a pretty simple guy, very laid back usually. Sometimes too much so for my own good. While I was unpacking the 93 pounds of stuff that I had crammed into two cardboard boxes, I got inspired to do something. Everything was out of the boxes, now it was my turn to step outside my self imposed box. Leave my comfort zone. I set up my tripod. Secured the camera. Speed light in the corner. Test fired the remote trigger a gazillion times, because once I got in the tub, I wasn't getting out until my bath was over, pictures or not. Then, I jumped in. Feet first as it were.
I started snapping pictures. I was staring right into the lens, scooping up bubbles and blowing them towards the camera and firing away. Flashes going off, bubbles flying everywhere, and me telling myself that I would never post them in the Shutterfest Facebook group.
Well, that lasted all of about 15 minutes. Even though the pictures were crappy, I was going to post one. I found one I liked, well... one that I could tolerate, and brought it into Photoshop. I added a few bubbles, brightened it a little bit, and I was done. It was still a crappy picture, but I thought it was semi-amusing enough to post, so I posted it. Then, it happened. I became, “that guy in the bathtub with the bubbles”. People were commenting, liking, lolololing, and laughing. I got dressed, had some breakfast, and headed downstairs to hear Sal's opening remarks. I ran into Sal along the way, and he said, “that is not what I needed to see first thing in the morning!”. I told him nothing was showing, that I had cloned a bunch of extra bubbles to be sure.
During his opening remarks, Sal mentioned me. It was fun. It was a rush. I now didn't have to introduce myself to 500 other people! People were motioning towards me, waving to me, whispering about me, talking about me when they didn't know I was right behind them. All of that was amusing, but the absolute best part of this was when I heard a few people that I KNOW would never have spoken to each other, (remember the couch people?) used, “did you see the bath tub pic?” as an 'icebreaker'. If all it took for people who normally wouldn't be outgoing enough to even say, “HI” to a stranger, then surely posting a silly picture of myself in the tub surrounded by bubbles was worth it. THAT is why every few weeks I will try to call out the 'lurkers' and 'newbies' in the Shutterfest Facebook group. It's not to make people uncomfortable it's to help make them feel welcomed.
Another reason I like to call people out and have them mention something about them is to try to get some dialog going. Again, between people who normally may not talk to each other. Thing is, I try to pay attention to every word written. Sometimes that feeds my short attention span, and leads me off into far too many directions, but other times it serves a greater purpose.
A few months back I was browsing another photography group on Facebook, and a girl was desperately looking for tips on photographing a Military funeral. She wasn't very experienced, and she was tasked by her family to photograph her Father's funeral. My heart sank. Then, I remembered someone from the Shutterfest group was in the same state, and not too far away if I remembered correctly. I checked the list of attendees and sure enough, the person I was thinking of wasn't far at all. I messaged them both, and got them speaking, and the Shutterfest person photographed the funeral service. As far as I know, that person never mentioned this publicly, and the only reason I am mentioning it now is that wonderful things can happen when we put ourselves out there. I've met some wonderfully awesome friends through Shutterfest, and can't wait to meet even more in a few weeks. So, step outside your comfort zone, you never know where you'll wind up. I'd like it if you would join me to see where we wind up.