Smoking a Pipe, Skiing, and Photography: It's All the Same

As Hard As It Gets  

Smoking Pipes is a pleasure I love taking part in, skiing on a mountain is a newfound hobby, and taking photos is my passion. What if I told you, smoking a pipe, skiing, and doing photography all have something in common? Well first off let the record show that this is not a pro smoking post by any means, I am against addictions. No they are all similar in another way, they are similar in the skill and determination needed to master them.


First we have smoking a pipe, it's elegant, aromatic, and relaxing. However should you ever give a pipe to someone who has never smoked one before, their experience may be awful, constantly having to relight the darn thing, having saliva build up in the bottom of the boil, taking too many puffs at one time that they start to feel light headed. Yes the experience can be quite rough for the novice pipe smoker.


There is a distinct art to pipe smoking, and even tricks you can do to keep it lite which can enhance the flavor and experience. When you first light it you draw the flame deep into the blow with slow long strides. The flame trickles down warming the soft tobacco. After this you press down the tobacco, which leaves behind a marbleization (I just made it a word) on top that is almost glass like, keeping the bowl warm and well lit. One could then slowly and calmly take in strides of the pipe and exhale sweet buttery aromatics, which the fellow man always love to take part in. To get to this sage of pipe smoking you have to learn tricks, practice, and attempt multiple times.


Another way skill and determination are needed is in Skiing. Going for my first time just a few weeks ago I know I still need lots more practice. However when you view other professionals zig zag all the way down the powdery mountain, you often wonder, how hard could it be? They make it look so easy. Yet, sure enough, as soon as I got off the ski lift I fall over and slid down on my butt. Getting up was the hardest part. Not really ready for the experience I embarrassingly rolled around in the snow trying to bring myself to my feet. To reach a level as other professionals, one needs to practice and take their time learning different techniques, much like smoking a pipe.


My favorite past time of them all is taking photos. Yet when I first got my DSLR my pictures were crap, and I had no clue what I was doing. I had little experience under my belt, let alone I didn't know what the plethora of buttons did on my camera. I started reading books from the library, I read countless blogs, and talked with other professionals, with one purpose: Get Better!


A few years latter and I have a good grip on photography, but the race down the mountain is not nearly over. I still fall over all the time, and choke on my own smoke. But I have to remember, if I want to improve and I have to relight, and stand back up so I can fly on down the mountain leaving a blazing trail behind! Don’t let failure, or the fact you have no idea what you are doing stop you from learning something new.


Work has been busy for me the last few weeks but it’s with little paying gigs. Sometimes I wake up and wonder, “am I even doing well?” I am busy with marketing and other projects to get my name out there, and, Lord willing, getting peoples attention. I have already fallen down a few times since I have been back in Oregon and I expect more obstacles to come my way. I just need the perseverance to push through and the strength to keep getting up!


I saw a really good quote the other day that I think is appropriate for this post: "When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure." Peter Marshall