So, I wrote a poem for the first time in many months and want to share it with you. Yet again I am looking forward to this month, and grateful to have had an awesome start. I pray October stays kind to me and to you.
Okay, enjoy the poem, bye.✌️🏾
Under dark skies City lights sparkle like stars But soon the sun will come To chase away wispy dreams
Of magic and spells Conjurings and potions Of wizards and witches And freshly mown grass
Deep in dungeons Ancient powers stir Waiting to be awakened On the day of the dead
To walk among the living And feel life throbbing Blood hot and red Awakens sinful pleasures
These are the last days of fall For soon winter comes Bringing endless night And warmth will be no more
I mentioned taking photography seriously this year in my memoir, right? If you don’t know all about that check it out here. Well, it hasn’t been easy at all but I think I’ve come a long way and I have learned a lot. (It’s belated I know but we are still in August so Happy world photography day! and if you’d like to see how I celebrated it, click here)
I love to tell stories and well this is a story, sort of, where I tell you how far I have come as a beginner photographer and how I’ve improved my skills. I hope you find it helpful if you are interested in jumping into photography or just taking it as a hobby.
Here’s an update on what I’ve been up to
I finished a 6month photography internship (I started late last year and finished sometime around March).
I was retained and have since worked as an assistant photographer.
Joined an online photography class.
If you are a beginner photographer and want to improve your skills, you shouldn’t be thinking of what gear to buy or how to get 1000 likes on Instagram. I’ll share with you the basic thing you need to know to start as a beginner photographer.
Start from where you are
As a beginner photographer, start from where you are. When I first started photography I used my phone, Samsung Galaxy GT18552 and I remember this because I loved that smartphone. My selfie camera was a mess but the main/back camera worked quite fine. After the first introductory class which I had during my final year in school, I was ready to take pictures everywhere I went. I was like Dora the Explorer without the backpack and monkey. I’ve discovered something new and exciting, and I wanted everyone around me to be aware of it. You can use your phone and if you can afford a DSLR camera, then go for it. The most important thing is to start and then you can build up from there.
Youtube is a great resource to learn a lot about photography for free. Yes! You can’t always know everything. Me? I don’t know everything. What I know about Snapseed and editing when I first started with my phone, I learned from those wonderful people on YouTube. Today I still use it to learn about lighting, focus, camera body and settings, exposure triangle, composition, photoshop, lightroom, and so on. It’s amazing for a beginner. There’s knowledge for anyone interested in learning and improving their skills. Fantastic❤️
Be patient with yourself. I am lucky to have people around who encourage me, and not because I am a pro or genius or anything close. With time I’ve come to realize that growth is a process. The child is the father of a man, is an expression by William Wordsworth which indicates that childhood traits and experiences impact the life of a man. So also as a beginner photographer, with years comes experience and improvement. I know so much more now than I ever did when I first started photography.
Believe in yourself
From phone photography to using a camera, it’s wonderful to see that I can chart a map from my early beginnings as a photographer to now. The journey has not always been easy like I said, sometimes excruciating. What stood out for me is how much believing in myself goes a long way. Not that getting support from people around me doesn’t count (it does), but I stand a better chance of accomplishing my best when I believe in myself. As a beginner photographer that’s like your super power.
Try new things
Don’t be scared to do shake things up. Move out of your comfort zone; pack your bags. You’ll find opportunities to explore your creativity as a photographer. Sure you may not take those images that will make people want to lick their screen as a beginner but you’ll learn a thing or two. Use the internet to find prompts or just walk around the house and look for something to shoot.
That’s the golden rule in my opinion. All the books, online classes, YouTube videos etcetera, won’t make a lot of sense if you don’t practice as a beginner photographer. I mean even the professionals do a lot of practice. Whether you are using a camera or a phone, don’t skip on practicing. It can be anywhere; on the bus, at a park, inside the house, at the mall, and so on.
What’s the point if you are feeling sad and awful all the time. You should be having fun even though as a beginner it won’t be easy. I know, I know, you are saying, ‘what if I miss the moment.’ Well, you missed it. Now focus on having fun, and keep an eye out for the next moment. Easy peasy😌😁. I’m still hoping from one place to the other looking for a niche, but I’m having a ton of fun and you should too.
My week? Well, it wasn’t bad but I really don’t want to talk about it. Today’s rant will be about something different. Can somebody please tell me how is it possible that we are in August, less than five months before we tell 2021 bye- bye. Was it not just yesterday we were all welcoming the new year? Because the year’s drawing to a close already. It’s happening, and I expect it will still throw surprises our way in the typical fashion of our world, and maybe I’m freaking out like the Barca fans because the future’s muddied with unforeseen events, but can you blame me? I’m aware that it’s no new phenomenon that time passes (flows with the natural order of the universe) but I’m known to be dramatic like that. What of you? How do you feel about the world year coming to an end? Leave a comment.
Okay, for today’s interview, we have a real OG, literally. Meet Samuel but everyone calls him OG Mage or Mage (His real name has been shelved for all of eternity). People say they know who they are and are comfortable with it, but not everyone who says this is able to show it. Mage however is the former; his aura alone speaks that he knows what he’s all about and he’s not shy to show it. From dominating a room to paying attention to the littlest details, he balances nerd and swag so well (imagine if Peter Parker got over his social awkwardness). Mage is also passionate about the things that he loves and he shares it recklessly with the people he cares about (he really can’t help it😂) and it’s so interesting to watch him in his element. Shall we?
Q. Can you introduce yourself and what you do?
A. My name Samuel Ogaba. But nobody calls me any of that, lol. On these streets, I’m know as “Mage”, “OG” or “OG Mage”. I know, I know… it’s a long story. I am from Benue State, Nigeria. The second of five children (I have an elder brother and three sisters). I’m a Software Engineer (At least that’s what my employment letter says). I work with a Canadian SaaS company. In reality, I’m a creator. I like to create things and Software was just another channel to create. But, when I’m not writing code or doing software related stuff, you’d find me Making music (writing, composing, recording, mixing and mastering etc.); indulging in creative arts (I draw, paint and meddle with some other art forms) and gaming (I’m definitely trying to go pro with this);
Q. Why do you do your job, and would you rather do something else?
A. Like I said, I’m a Software Engineer. I’d rather be living the baby boy life and collecting royalties from the things I’ve created but the universe is delaying my application for that. 😒 Honestly, I’d rather be an artist, in all forms I’m capable of. But Software pays the bills so who am I to complain.
Q. What is the best thing about what you do?
A. Best thing about Software is how it creates solutions to individual and business needs. I believe everyone has received some form of value from software. Being able to read this write-up online is an example.
Q. What kind of people do you allow into your circle?
A. You’d find that the people in my very small circle are like-minds with positive energy who are always willing to support and uplift each other. My friends are family.
Q. What do you appreciate about yourself and what would you like to change?
A. The thing I appreciate most about myself is my resilience, persistence, and positive attitude towards life in general. I amaze myself sometimes. I also appreciate the fact that I’m intellectually endowed. ☺️😎.
Q. Do you think we have a greater purpose or are we just waiting for our turn to die?
A. I can’t say for certain, but while I’m alive I intend to live life to the fullest and make sure that my kids have a better life than I do.
Q. If money was not relevant, what would you do all day?
A. Travel. Make music. Create Art. Find new food recipes to attempt. And play games 🤓
Q.What’s your idea of real success and how can it be achieved?
A. I don’t think I have my own “idea” of success per se. But if I set out to do something, and I accomplish that thing, that is success. I don’t need to succeed on a grand scale to be successful, I think. But that’s just my take. One thing is, I definitely don’t directly associate money with success unless what you set out to do, is make money. I think money is a side effect of the things we do. So I focus on making impact and creating value and that creates wealth, I think. So, in this rambling of mine, I’d say, my “idea” of success would be how much positive impact I’m able to make, while I’m here and when I’m gone.
Q. What’s your biggest complaint about the country?
A. The irresponsibility of our leaders. There are more detailed problems in the country, but I believe our leaders are major enablers of our problems while at the same time, not being subject to it. The country is starting to choke the people and we continuously have to learn to adapt to inconveniences until that’s all we know.
I don’t need to succeed on a grand scale to be successful, I think. But that’s just my take. One thing is, I definitely don’t directly associate money with success unless what you set out to do, is make money…So I focus on making impact and creating value and that creates wealth, I think.
Samuel Ogaba (OG Mage) on Thursday Talk Series
Q. If like a movie your life up to this point is played for you to watch, describe how you’d feel about it?
A. Make no mistake, it WILL be a cringe fest 😬… I don’t think I want to re-watch myself make all those bad decisions, relationships and corniness 😂. But, It’ll definitely make a killer move for everybody else. Maybe I’ll write an autobiography one day. For anyone who’s interested in finding out more about my boring self, look up @ogmageofficial on IG, and @ogmageofficial on twitter 👀 (yes, twitter 😎).
Thank you Mage for the interview, it’s my pleasure to have you here and good luck with creating. For everyone reading this, arigatou and thank you. Have a terrific Thursday.
Follow OG Mage
I’m being intentional about creating memories. That’s my size 40 shoes chilling at the beach😭😂
Disclaimer: Self reflection is a good thing and necessary to elevate our lives, it can also be challenging and requires discipline.
I know it’s hard to find out something different from the visual and mental representation that we already have of ourselves. From my experience, once you embark on self-reflection, you either feel like a million bucks or like roadkill. You know how it is with having a crush, you get to know them and eventually you get crushed because they don’t look so iconic to you anymore. Yeah, that’s how getting to know yourself better can feel, however, it’s not always the case.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
What Is Self Reflection
Self reflection is one of the ways in which we can learn certain things about ourselves that would help us change and improve our lives. When we self reflect, we take off the blinders and this allows us to see ourselves for who we truly are. When we are honest with ourselves, we are able to process our thoughts, learn from past mistakes and successes, and it gives us a fighting chance as we tackle the future. Another thing is that we are able to acknowledge our feelings instead of hiding behind them and this is a great way to progress.
Is Self Reflection Good Or Bad?
Self reflection can go both ways like I said earlier. When done in a constructive manner it brings about positive changes but if haphazardly done and focused only the negative aspects, it could cause a person to spiral down.
The brain is a survival mechanism constantly alert to our needs. Simi Rayat mentioned that if the brain receives signal that we feel threatened or out of our comfort zone, it is possible for our mind to deploy hacks and shortcuts to manage such situations. This will cause the brain to tell us lies that can mess with our decisions, thinking and interpretations.
Note: It is also important to try to understand where other people’s opinion of you are coming from in other to shield against the ones that have no benefits to you.
Why Self Reflect?
#For Growth and Understanding
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection, which is the noblest; second by imitation, which is the easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
Nobody that I know of has cracked the code 100% on how to elevate the way they see themselves, but a lot of positive changes can come through self reflection. This can go a long way to help you get clarity and find your purpose. It also inspires growth and a better understanding of who you are as a person. Always remember it is important that you don’t lose sight of who you are.
#Gets Rid of Insecurities
“Don’t become too preoccupied with what is happening around you, pay more attention to what is going on within you.”
Perhaps you are in a low place and struggling with general anxiety, one of the best thing you can do for yourself is to self reflect. To fix a problem, it is important that you have to first know where it’s coming from and tackle it at the source unless it will persist.
#Improves Your Relationships
“Before I ask you to sit with me,
I must be able to sit with myself,
Before I ask you to accept my pain,
I have to accept the pain myself,
Before I ask you to love me,
I have to be madly in love with myself.”
Many times we are the problem in our relationships and we are not aware of it, because how we see ourselves can be skewed and misinterpreted. We are only able to take the necessary steps towards self improvement when we become aware of our faults and flaws. Self reflection leads to self awareness, which leads to better relationships with our families, friends and colleagues.
#Promotes Self Acceptance
“Time spent in self reflection is never wasted, it is an intimate date with yourself.”
Paul TP Wong
When we are able to process our emotions and thoughts, we feel a greater connection to ourselves. It opens up our mind to several possibilities to explore those ideas that we have and channel them in a positive way. For example there are times I would repeat to myself, “I’m beautiful; I’m important; I’m not pathetic,” and so on. This happens a lot when I have intrusive thoughts that target my self confidence – pretty nasty stuff – and the only way for me is to channel positive energy to tackle them. I’m aware it makes all the difference to my physical and my mental health.
Ask yourself questions, especially the hard ones – you know those ones that makes you cringe or causes your chest to tighten . Be sure to reflect on your experiences; introspection is important and can help you track the things that you did, felt and thought at certain moments. You are going through your memories like a movie reel without editing parts of it. Don’t forget to take it easy on yourself, things that are not going right can be fixed with discipline and TLC (Tender, Love and Care).
I’m off to go do some self reflection (mehn things are about to get bloody up in here), wish me all the best.
When you see me sitting quietly, Like a sack left on the shelf, Don’t think I need your chattering I’m listening to myself. Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me! Hold! Stop your sympathy! Understanding if you got it, Otherwise I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching And my feet won’t climb the stair, I will only ask one favor Don’t bring me no rocking chair
When you see me walking, stumbling Don’t study and get it wrong. ‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy And every goodbye ain’t gone. I’m the same person I was back then, A little less hair, a little less chin, A lot less lungs and much less wind But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.
I was on a trip once upon a time. I took a night bus from Kaduna bound to Lagos. It was the close of the year and the holiday festivities were in full swing. Empty seats on all sides, there were scant passengers on board.
The night was cold and dark. I sat by the window and looked out occasionally when streetlights or lightbulbs illuminated the scene as we drove past.
I was wearing my old grey hoodie and black sweatpants and head warmer, with wooly socks. I’d told No’ to send me some albums over the weekend, so I listened to them as I burrowed into the seats until sleep claimed me.
I woke up early to see the sunrise. I got lucky. We were in Osun, I remember. And the sun was a brilliant orange ball in the sky that chased away the night’s chill with its warmth. The trees were tall and dense and small hills dotted the horizon as moved from one sleepy town to the next.
I didn’t wish for us to stop and stay for a while. I didn’t want to meet the town folks to ask how they got by. The magic was in looking out and watching the world go by, like waves on the seashores. Captivated by its beauty but untouched by it…even as I looked forward to finding new places.