It is always good to get out on your own just to make photographs. I don’t do it enough. It seems I spend way too much time editing the last images a made on the computer and don’t get out to practice the art of photography. So, I have made a regular schedule in my calendar to just go out for a day and take pictures. Photography is not just a technical exercise, but an art form as well. It is easy, especially for someone like me, to get caught up in the technical aspects and forget the artistic side. On my days when I go out to just shoot, there are a couple of things I specifically work on. You see, I have two characteristics that sometimes get in the way of my photography. One is that if there is a lot going on, and I think I can see lots of images, I race around trying to capture as many of them as possible. The other is that if I am in a very familiar place I sometimes find it difficult to see something new. And so, one of my exercises on my “free days” are to just hang out for a bit and take it all in.
When I arrive at a new location I just try and sit for a while and soak in the surroundings. Then I start to ask myself some questions. What is the light doing? What kind of light is it? What kind of shapes am I seeing? How do they relate? What patterns do I see? What is the larger picture? What is the macro picture? I also try to think about themes. What are the obvious themes, and the not so obvious? If I was going to tell a story, what would that story be and what would I say? Phew, it is a lot to think about! But it really helps in steadying the mind and finding images that are worth creating.
Recently, I went out and did a few “fall colors” sessions. I used this meditation when I arrived at the lake side in downtown Kelowna. It really helped in opening my mind to other possibilities. And, because I had a more certain vision in my mind, when I was back in the digital darkroom, I was able to create the images I saw at the time I pressed the shutter.