Whether in photography or life in general, these two words can potentially carry huge meaning.
In photography these two words could be the difference between an absolutely amazing image and a very average snap shot. When used in retrospect it is too late and there is then nothing than can be done to get another chance but when you think of it before you click the shutter you open up your mind to all the possibilities that are locked up in 'what if' you can create magic.
What if the blade of grass and leaf was not covering this young leopard's face? Would it have been a better image? Probably, but it really does not matter as there is nothing you can do about it now. The image has been created and that is that. A quick 'what if' before the shutter clicked might have led to a different outcome but then again hindsight is always nice and clear. (I still like the image though!)
Now depending on your point of view on the age old cliche art imitates life and, whether for good or bad, those two little words are also a part of our everyday lives. Would it not have been easy if, like in photography, we can ask 'what if' before decisions get made. Before we speak to someone. Before life forces you to move on.
It seems way more likely that most of us will face those two words in retrospect as during this time of year we start looking forward to looking back. New resolutions. New goals. New dreams.
For whatever reason we all have to deal with our own 'what if' questions, however difficult they may be.
What if I said it?
What if I did not say it?
What if I listened?
What if I did not listen?
What if I told that one person how I really felt?
What if did not give up?
What if I did?
What if he was still in our life?
What if I accepted that offer?
What if I had the courage to stand by my own convictions?
What if I am better than I think I am?
What if it really is possible?
Life is not always black and white. Yes, there are things that are right and wrong but people's differences, personalities and ideas add color to our everyday life. When you can combine this color with a respect for old-fashioned values you will be able to live life to the full and not be afraid to face your 'what if' questions.
At the risk over too many cliches, life really is too short.
On a personal note, I feel there are things that I would have done slightly differently but I am grateful to say there are no regrets. There are most definitely a few key moments in life I might have decided to negotiate differently but the road these decision has led me on has been amazing so even if there was regret life found a way to make up for it. New possibilities. New ideas. It has been quite a ride but it is not over yet. In a very short time from now it seems things might change again. As long as I do not sit back one day thinking 'what if I made a different decision' - bring it on!
As you look back at 2008 treasure the memories and look forward to another chance. In 2009 live life to the fullest. Tell that person how you feel. Go climb that mountain. Take that trip. Take more pictures. Make the change. Follow your heart. Follow your dreams. Do everything you need to do so that when you get to this time next year there won't be any 'what ifs'.
Thanks to everybody for their support during this year. With a lot of things planned for the New Year I look forward to sharing more images. More stories. More of life. It has been a helluva ride but buckle up because here we go again...
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