One of my favorite places to visit online is It is a place featuring online classes in photography, video, design, crafts, business, audio, music and software training.

The live workshops are free to watch, and, once recorded, they are available for purchase. It’s a great concept as you can ‘try before you buy.’ I’ve been steadily adding to my library of purchased material.

One thing I find really cool about the live workshops is that you can interact with the instructors in real time.

The Art of Nature Photography

Not too long ago, I watched a live class titled The Art of Nature Photography with Art Wolfe. Art Wolfe is a famous nature photographer who’s traveled all over the world capturing fascinating images – something I would love to be paid to do!

During the workshop, viewers were invited to upload one of their own landscape images and Art was going to critique some them while on the air. I submitted an image, and it got selected for critique!

The image I submitted was taken at Joshua Tree National Park located in the Mojave and Colorado deserts in southeastern California.

During the critique of my image, Art said I had too much sky, and that I needed to crop it to put the focus on the rocks. So, I did, although I loved those clouds.

To have a little fun, I posted the before and after on Facebook, to let my online community weigh in on the subject. Interesting enough, there were different ideas on what would make a better image.

Not surprisingly, opinions were varied. Some liked my version better, some thought he was right on the money. Which image would you choose?

We Don’t All See Through the Same Lens

You can take two different people, give them identical cameras, have them both photograph the same subject. More times than not, you will get two different images.

Take two different people, with different life experiences, and you can wind up with two different views on a topic. Two children raised in the same household can walk away with two different views of their growing up experience.

In general, we’re not surprised to discover that we don’t all share the same life experiences, which in turn has some influences on how we see things.

Agree to Disagree

What I find a little unsettling is that old-fashioned civility and ‘agreeing to disagree’ seems sorely lacking today. It seems to be replaced by harsh terms and name-calling on social media and other online forums.

Are relationships worth sacrificing and are hard feelings against someone justified because someone doesn’t see the same way you do?

It would be easy to claim that this rigid attitude occurs most with the generations following us Baby Boomers. Unfortunately, I’ve observed this also among us who were raised in the era of “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.”

Where has civility gone? Where has respect for people with a difference of opinion fled to? Can this be changed? Personally, I think that some things are best discussed in person. Typing on a screen can be so impersonal.

However, when discussing controversial topics, I’m of the ‘agree to disagree’ camp. I’m making a personal commitment to not just tolerate an opposing view, but give the other person the opportunity to share with me their ‘why’ if they choose to. My hope is to inspire others to do the same.

What suggestions do you have to improve the way we communicate with each other? Do you think civility in conversation has been lost? Please join the conversation below!

Let's Have a Conversation!