Where do they get the nerve?

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My wife and I have a “book” full of conversation starters for those times when we haven’t been talking much (which, much to her great consternation, is too frequent because I’m basically a huge introvert and very quiet by nature). The other night we were answering one question: “If you could do anything for a living, what would it be?”

For me, that’s not such an easy question to answer. You see, all I ever really wanted to be was a doctor (in particular, a neurosurgeon). I am old enough and wise enough now to realize THAT dream is never going to come true. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still imagine things that I’d love to do, and in the last 15 years or so since the photography bug “bit” me, I’ve come to realize that I’d love to be a professional photographer.

What keeps me from biting that bullet and giving it a go? Well, for one thing, I’ve never been a big risk taker. But the main thing is a lack of confidence. I mean, how do people get enough nerve and confidence in their photography skills that they feel okay about advertising their services, shooting weddings and portraits (that’s where the money is in photography) and “going for it”? I don’t know. I wish I had that kind of confidence, but I don’t. Still, I’d LOVE to be a professional photographer!

Every now and then, though, I shoot a photo that I think might be a good portrait shot. I think the one I am posting today might be one such photo. This was shot in a studio last week when they had an open house and invited photographers to come in and shoot. They brought in about 12 models (male and female) and we got to shoot for 3 hours. It was SO MUCH FUN and only served to fuel my desire to be a photographer. I don’t have the money to pay for a studio with all the sets and lighting, but you know, you don’t have to do that. This particular studio, for instance, has “memberships” for as little as $50 per month, and for that $50 you can get two hours of studio time each month…using their sets and equipment. So, the money isn’t an issue…but the confidence is.

Oh, well. I probably will have to be content to going to studios when they have open houses and shooting there…as well as shooting scenery, family and friends at events where we gather.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1973, the surprise attack by Egyptian and Syrian forces on Israel in October 1973 threw the Middle East into turmoil and threatened to bring the United States and the Soviet Union into direct conflict for the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Though actual combat did not break out between the two nations, the events surrounding the Yom Kippur War seriously damaged U.S.-Soviet relations and all but destroyed President Richard Nixon’s much publicized policy of detente.

Initially, it appeared that Egypt and Syria would emerge victorious from the conflict. Armed with up-to-date Soviet weaponry, the two nations hoped to avenge their humiliating defeat in the Six-Day War of 1967. Israel, caught off guard, initially reeled under the two-front attack, but Israeli counterattacks turned the tide, aided by massive amounts of U.S. military assistance, as well as disorganization among the Syrian and Egyptian forces. The Syrians were driven back, with Israeli troops seizing the strategically important Golan Heights. Egyptian forces fared even worse: retreating back through the Sinai Desert, thousands of their troops were surrounded and cut off by the Israeli army. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, together with his Soviet counterparts, eventually arranged a shaky cease-fire. When it became clear that Israel would not give up its siege of the Egyptian troops (low on food and medicine by this time), the Soviets threatened to take unilateral action to rescue them. Tempers flared both in Washington and Moscow; U.S. military forces went to a Stage 3 alert (Stage 5 is the launch of nuclear attacks). The Soviets backed down on their threat but the damage to relations between the two nations was serious and long lasting.

Kissinger worked furiously to bring about a peace settlement between Israel and Syria and Egypt. In what came to be known as “shuttle diplomacy,” the secretary of state flew from nation to nation hammering out the details of the peace accord. Eventually, Israeli troops withdrew from some of their positions in both the Sinai and Syrian territory, while Egypt promised to forego the use of force in its dealings with Israel. Syria grudgingly accepted the peace plan, but remained adamantly opposed to the existence of the Israeli state.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: By the early fourth century, the Romans had built a road network of 53,000 miles throughout the empire. Each Roman mile was about 1,000 paces (about 4,800 feet) and was marked by a milestone.

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