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Updated: Jan 14, 2023

My kids were watching "Encanto" on Disney+. Like all Disney movies, they have catchy songs that you can't help but hear, and then they get stuck in your head.

Encanto was no exception.

There was one song in particular that caught my ear. One of the characters in the family, Luisa, is super strong. She is the rock that the family depends on to shoulder the burdens of not only the family, but also the town they live in. She keeps it together, but as the lyrics of the song "Surface Pressure" go, "under the surface" she's barely keeping it together.

I think that's something a lot of us experience, especially in this day and age, but is rarely discussed. We tend to keep everything buried as to not look weak to others, including ourselves. You want to look like you always have everything under control, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. Stress is always a daily bombardment and can wear even the toughest person down from time to time. I get bombarded with stress daily between my day job, being there and providing for my family, etc. There's never enough time for it to be "me time" lol.

What does constant pressure and trying to keep it together look like if it could manifest itself?

When I try to imagine it, I imagine something like you'd see in the movies. Take Jurassic Park 2. There's a scene where the RV is dangling off a cliff, and one of the characters falls and lands on the front windshield. As she is moving, the glass begins to fracture and crack. I imagine my head fracturing in the same way, and my hands are the only thing keeping everything together.

I decided to take a self portrait to see what I could come up with. Since my kids were in the living room watching a movie, I couldn't setup my gear there, so I set it up in the kitchen. One of these days I will have a bigger house lol.

I shot this with just a little speedlite, the Flashpoint Mini R2, on full power, inside a 32" Godox octabox. Shot on a Fuji GFX 50R, with the 80mm f/1.7 lens @ f/2.8.

Shooting a selfie, at least to me, is hard. I don't know how a lot of you other photographers make it look easy. I took about a dozen shots before I found one I was happy with. I guess I can't complain. This whole process took me maybe 10-15 minutes from setup to an image I was happy with in camera.

I went to and found some nice cracked textures I could use for this portrait.

Here is the finished product. Starting to crack under pressure, but holding it together as best as I can.


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