Screen Calibration, Life Calibration

Screen calibration, as it’s used in the photography world, refers to adjusting a monitor’s color and brightness to match a standard. Screen calibration helps you be more confident that your digital images will have similar colors and brightness when you print them.  If you’ve ever had the experience of picking up a print and realizing that it looks completely different from the image you saw on your screen, you’ve encountered the reason for screen calibration.  As I’ve learned more about printing digital images (this is a great in-depth CreativeLive class) and started trying out different printing companies, I’ve had to deal with calibration issues.  How can I be sure that my carefully edited images will look good when they’re printed?  Calibrating my screen calibration is a good place to start.

I’m reading a book called The Age of Overwhelm, by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky. This week I re-read a paragraph that caught my attention:

“Dr. Richard Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, discovered in his research that there are four independent brain circuits that influence our lasting well-being: our ability to maintain positive states or positive emotions, recover from negative states, focus, and be generous. I use this tactically when trying to recalibrate throughout my day. I’ll pause briefly and ask myself: so, where am I in terms of being in a positive state or actively regrouping from a not-so-positive state? Where am I putting my focus? And has any part of me-whether in thought or action-been generous today?”

Sometimes, like on Thursday of this past week, when there was a two-hour delay and my kids were fighting grumpily and the driveway needed to be shoveled and preschool was canceled for my three year old and I wasn’t going to get the quiet time that I wanted, I need some recalibration. But what is the calibration standard? For photography that’s a relatively easy question. You want your prints to look good so you buy a magical device that uses the standard to magically calibrate your screen. But in life? What’s the calibration standard in life? I like this author’s idea that we can calibrate and recalibrate ourselves to four things that influence our lasting well-being. If our long-term goal is our personal and collective well-being, then recalibrating to well-being seems wise.  Of course there may be other standards of calibration too, depending on our goals and values.  The image is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak.  What looks good to you might not look good to me, but the idea of finding your own personal standard and recalibrating your life to it regularly seems like a good idea.

As an aside, I think photography helps me with all of those for brain circuits. It helps me see the good things and hold onto positive emotions, and it helps me get past the bad emotions with more grace (trying pulling out your camera instead of getting angry the next time your child colors all over himself and his wall 😉).  It helps me focus on what’s happening in front of me, and it provides me with opportunities to be generous with my talents.

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