The Power of Yes

"Cynics always say no. Saying yes leads to knowledge. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes."  
-Stephen Colbert

One of the many highlights of being a photographer is the opportunity to meet amazing people, hear interesting stories and embrace the "power of yes."   

What is this "power of yes" you ask? You've probably heard of a similar, more famous phrase, "Fortune Favors The Bold."  I've literally have those Latin words attached to my right hand for the last few decades since they are inscribed on the crest of my Naval Academy class ring.  

To me, it means don't squander new opportunities, harness the confidence others have in you, and say 'yes' even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone. So where am I going with this?  The "power of yes" can apply to everything we do in life.  It's always at the forefront for me and since this is technically a photography blog, let me share an example from that perspective.

Today I received a message from a friend that the Fall/Winter issue of the The Mariner  (the official publication of the Naval Enlisted Reserve Association) is featuring my photography on their cover and in an enclosed article about a POW/MIA ceremony that I captured last August.   

The ceremony was one of the most moving, patriotic events I've ever witnessed.  It all started with a simple request from a friend who asked if I would be willing to donate my photography services to support a military ceremony onboard USS NEW JERSEY.   

For a photographer, it's always exciting to see one's images published in print or online, but for me it's even more exciting when my two passions, the United States Navy and photography collide.  I am so happy I said 'yes' to this amazing opportunity especially since this is the second time a picture from that event has been published; the first being an image used for Senator McCain's obituary in the October 2018 edition of the Naval Academy's Alumni Association, Shipmate Magazine. 

As the first month of this New Year comes to a close and I look back over the thousands of images I created (can you believe I took at least 4500 pictures in January?!), I realize how rewarding the "power of yes" can be.  Here are a few highlights:

Admiral James Caldwell, USN
In early January, I had an opportunity to photograph and listen to a comprehensive and interesting update on current U.S. Navy strategy and the nuclear enterprise from the Navy's Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, Admiral Caldwell.  The Distinguished Speaker event was well attended with over 70 Naval Academy alums.

In mid-January I was asked to help facilitate an ethics seminar for senior Naval Academy Midshipmen. Never one to leave my camera behind if I can help it, I captured a frigid but colorful sunrise over the Annapolis harbor that morning.   

US Naval Academy, Annapolis MD

Speaking of frigid, I dared to hit the streets of DC to capture the Lunar Eclipse with two other photographers just as insane as me.  By the end of the three hour adventure I think hypothermia was setting in since I lost most of my mental faculties along with my manual dexterity, by the way both are needed for photography!

The 20 January "Blood Moon" seen through DC's Netherlands Carrillon

I started the month with a DC Photo Walk so it was only fitting that I should end the month with a NYC Photo Walk.  A photographer I met during the New Year's Day walk invited me to photograph the streets of Manhattan, Chinatown, Central Park and Brooklyn last weekend (I'll be processing for weeks!)  While I've never been a fan of walking in 20 degree weather for long periods of time, I am so glad I didn't pass up the opportunity to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time in my life.

The power of is too short to live with regrets.  When's the last time you embraced "yes" and where did it lead you? Leave me a comment!

"Your life is made of two dates and a dash. Make the most of the dash."  
-Linda Ellis

Laura Hatcher is a retired Naval Officer, Mother, Harley Rider and Published Professional Photographer located in Northern Virginia.

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