Risk & Over the Top

By: Tenna Merchent on June 24th, 2011

Risk taking at Lightasmagic.com

I’ve been hearing this story evolve in my head tonight, and had to put it on paper so to speak. I was watching Max and Ruby with the boys, and typing when it didn’t seem rude. Then I kept going back and word smithing my thoughts.

I really liked the way it was developing, and I suppose the inner goddess decided to take the helm. I’ve been reading all sorts of stuff, aimed at feeding my creativity. The one site that I’ve actually posted on (lightasmagic.com), although it was a simple compliment I went back to tonight. I love his work and found him through the Nik podcast.

He took a photo of a gas station back area and made it into a piece of art! And he makes it look easy, which of course, in some respects it is, if you know all the moving pieces, at least like he does.

He’s a biker, as in peddle biker, not motorcycle. He got hurt and doesn’t compete any more. but still bikes a lot. An engineer by trade and an artist to say the least. For crying out loud, he’s made iPhone3 (not 4) a drooled over camera! Crazy.

So I decided to post my vision of the masses rising up against all the snobby ass professional photographers and actually creating some work that people like, instead of all this off centre crap that nobody cares about.

You may be thinking “And just what does this have to do with golf?” I’m the company photographer, writer, on-site creative. So please forgive my one day digression from all things golf.  Remember, I’m the one that takes all those over the top golf photos I share on this blog, hey, isn’t that how all this ranting got started?

The following is what I wrote and shared on his website.

I Embrace Over the Top!

Whenever I learn a new technique I love to experiment, and TURN UP THE VOLUME. Sometimes I look back at these ‘experiments’ and think yuk, “Did you really have to mess with the white balance so much that the clouds are various shades of grey, purple and pink? I mean what were you thinking! Couldn’t you see what you were doing?! Were you legally blind that day?!”

Then there were times, where I was pushing the limit to the extreme, and I look at those images and gasp, “Oh, I wish I had taken more pictures that day!”[i] I wish I had processed more images when I was in that frame of mind! I couldn’t do anything wrong that day! I should have bought a lottery ticket!”

Those are the presets that I backup and name crazy things like “Hug Bruce Lanai” because the little boy was hugging a stuffed animal named Bruce on the lanai when I was ‘Wonder Woman with a Camera,’ and every picture I took was golden. Incredibly, the photography gods further smiled on me with an AMAZING raw editing session where I yanked [ii] every slider until I found that magical image I was looking for.

I remember one of those golden days, where I took all my rejects and experimented to the max. I did things no self-respecting photographer would do, certainly not one who had been properly trained. The crazy thing is, my rejects became works of art. I showed stuff that I would normally delete to anyone I could. And they wanted to know how I did it! They were awed by my rejects!

Experienced Professionals [iii]

I went to photography boot camp, ugh, I admit it. Yes, I learned things I still use today, and I am so grateful for those skills! I also got to know a snobby and jaded photographer.

He said that if he is happy with two images a year, he was doing great. I thought, “Are you kidding? I love my pictures! I get an immense amount of joy out of taking them, editing them, printing them, watching them on Apple TV, sharing them with people, and making gifts. If getting to his skill level means I will only like two images I create a year, I’m bailing ship! I don’t want to be him, I want to love and enjoy what I create!”

I do understand his oversaturation of photography to a certain extent. When you do one thing ALL THE TIME it gets boring. You start to look for the unusual, the exotic, the thing that no one else has done. Given the internet and our knowledge of the world, that’s a pretty high bar.

So where does that leave me?

Enjoying the path.

I love photography. I love creating beautiful images, that when I show them to people they gasp with delightful shock.

Sharing and getting praise is fabulous. But the thing that makes me put my finger on the shutter, and yank those sliders, is some little voice, a magical, artistic muse, that wants to play. She wants to do crazy, some times beautiful, sometimes-tacky things, and I love her.

XO my dear Muse, thank you for being a part of my life. Please help me hold onto you and never look back!

You keep me forever young.


PS. End notes because yes, even though I have this amazing Muse, I also have an Inner Nerd, that is equally as cool, and I love and need you just as much! You rock my shy but brilliant nerd!

I have both the left and the right side of my brain and I plan on keeping them, meaning I don’t want to focus on just one skill set. I don’t buy into the whole “You have to be out of your mind to be good.” I’m going with you just have to have the inspiration, muse and nerd, in your mind, those lovely inner voices churning all the time because they want to be heard, and cooperating because they know that is the only way to get to the physical world. Wow, now that was deep and mysterious. No, no drugs involved, just letting the players play.

[i] Yes back then I called them pictures (verses images or captures). I was a babe in the woods, without the vocabulary to describe our art. But it didn’t stop me from having fun!

[ii] Yes we are called “Yankers” by at least one author. But how else are you going to find out what those charming sliders do?

[iii] I’ve had many lives on this earth, and when you do something for a long time, you can’t help but become opinionated about your profession, you feel like you’ve seen everything.



3 Responses

  1. Justin Balog says:


    Thanks so much for posting this! For some reason my site flagged you comment as spam, which it obviously wasn’t! I wanted to thank you directly for the comment because it is comments like those that keep me sharing and trying to encourage others. Anyway, I am so glad I found your site and the person responsible for such a thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it. I’m going to dig in to your site and check out your work.
    Thanks again!


    • tmerchent says:


      Thank you so much. I’ve told loads of people about your site, and your amazing photography. You have provided me with much inspiration, thank you for that!

  2. Mike merchent says:

    You’re a GREAT writer as well!