The road to improvement can, and will generate expectations, excitement and frustration to everyone committed to become a better photographer. It doesn't matter if you are a serous enthusiast or a professional photographer, if you are devoted to the learning process and aware of what it takes to reach your goals, you most likely experience these feelings. I believe the same holds true to all walks of life and, several factors related to these feelings will separate the ones that become successful, from the ones that will give up or end up settling for a lesser and easier to achieve goal. Another important aspect is to know how open you are to criticism. Are you willing to check your ego at the door, every time you are faced with an opportunity of learning? Are you ready to give up something you are used to, leave your comfort zone to delve into a whole new way of doing the same things you were doing before in order to elevate your work? The road to success, to achieve excellence, is an arduous one, with no end in sight and the latter is, what I believe, separates winners from losers, the ability to persevere even when your goal is out of sight. Of course, not everyone's goals are the same, and success can be achieved at any level depending on the expectations you set for yourself. My photography journey started many years ago when things were simpler, images were made by my camera and the results I viewed on my LCD screen were good enough to get me hooked. The ability of my digital camera to show the results right after I pressed the shutter amazed me, and at that moment, I embarked on a fantastic learning trip, an odyssey that is shaping who I am and who I will become, creating new friendships and also giving me direction to a place where I want to be. That place is my goal. I believe there are many reasons why we love photography, and non of them are because we want to be better than somebody else, so stop comparing yourself with other photographers and find your own identity in the branch of photography you chose, because that is the reason why the majority of the ones we try to emulate, are where they are in the first place. Photographers that achieve a high level of excellence made photography a way of life, gave up other things in order to focus on their craft, sacrificed time with family and friends, to learn, practice and explore every aspect of image making. So don't set your expectations too high if the occasional weekend shooting and spare time post processing is your level of participation. Every action produces a reaction of the same intensity in the opposite direction, if you know what I mean.
How bad do you want it? I ask myself that same question every day. Every time things don't go according to what I expected or hoped, that very question comes back to mind, and invariably the answer is "Bad enough to keep pushing forward" , "Bad enough to spend with photography, way more than I make with it in order to reach my goals". These are my answers, what are yours?