Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Opportunity Knocks

Do you remember the ITV talent show, very popular in the 60s and 70s, hosted by Hughie Green and featuring the good old ‘clapometer’? Yes, that’s right – Opportunity Knocks – one of the forerunners of today’s multi-million dollar global talent show empires. And yes, unfortunately I remember the show but if you are of a younger age you may need to use Google to figure out to what I am referring.

But don’t worry – that is not the subject of this blog post. I am referring here to the old saying that ‘opportunity knocks but once’. The idiom intends to convey that you usually only get one chance to achieve what you really want to do. It may not seem too pertinent a piece of advice for those of you in your younger years, when your whole life stretches out ahead of you like a blank canvas and you seem to have all the time in the world to colour it with experiences. But believe me, the older you get the more apt this saying becomes. The time for an opportunity to present itself anew is ever decreasing. But let’s not get too morbid!

I have already written during this A-Z Challenge about the opportunity I had recently to start up a community choir in my home town. The timing of this just seemed so right that I could not pass up the chance to take it on and there was certainly no guarantee that the opportunity (or indeed that the absence of a community choir) would be there in the future. So, I decided to ‘go for it’!

That particular example is a rather big one – involvement in a group like a choir, whether as musical director, as a singer or in any other capacity, has the potential to be life-changing and it is certainly changing my life! But opportunities are not always as big or as obvious as that example. Let me tell you about a couple of smaller opportunities that came my way in the past year that I could have passed up but am delighted that I did not.

Last summer, the Tall Ships race paid a return visit to Dublin. I drink coffee with friends every Saturday morning and the owner of the coffee shop where we meet knows that some of us are into photography. He himself is owner of a yacht and he kindly invited a couple of us to join him, with our cameras of course, on a trip into Dublin Bay for the departure of the Tall Ships. I knew this was an opportunity highly unlikely to occur again so I said ‘yes’ and the next day had one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. The weather was fantastic; the ships were resplendent as they embarked from the quays of the River Liffey and approached us as we waited out in the bay. As soon as they hit more open waters, they raised their sails. We set our own sails and raced alongside these splendid vessels as they took their leave of Irish shores. The photos I got that day I will treasure for the rest of my life. Here's another one, with one more at the end of the post:

The second opportunity I want to relate is again pertaining to photography. I got a call a few months ago from our local Arts Club saying they’d had a cancellation for their next monthly Arts Show and would I be interested in doing a presentation on my photography. I was actually a little more nervous about this opportunity than I was about setting sail out into Dublin Bay! Apart from posting my photos online on Facebook and Flickr, I had never really publicly presented my shots before. But I decided to ‘go for it’.

Thankfully, the audience was very warm and welcoming which helped me overcome my trepidation on the night and they were very kind in their reaction to my photos. While this may not seem like a ‘big’ opportunity as such, had I turned down the invitation it may not have come my way again. It turned out to be an important step for me in terms of building up confidence in my own photography (I tend to be my own harshest critic) and in making some new contacts on the local arts scene.

So, a couple of personal examples of how it pays to recognise opportunity when it comes knocking. Now, off to think about tomorrow’s post. It may come as no surprise that, being P, it is about Photography!


  1. Thank you, John. All the very best with your photography - and your choir!

  2. Sorry I haven't popped by in ages John. Been caught up with other writing stuff and trying to keep up the A2Z myself. I love your photos. I went in to see the tall ships when they were in Dublin. A fab day.Hey dis you get up and sing an aul tune with Derek on Friday before I got there?

    1. Thanks Trish. Eh - no I didn't get up to sing with Derek! :-)