We live in a very noisy world, full of distractions and the pull to always be on and connected. It is harder and harder to find those moments when we are completely alone with our thoughts or so immersed in an activity that we forget about the stresses of daily living. It is in those quiet moments when the creative inspiration happens. Sometimes we need to disconnect to reconnect.
Photography for me provides that quiet time. I am not talking about the quick snapshot kind of photography, but a deliberate photography in which I am so focused on the process and the outcome, losing all sense of time. This was especially true for me when I used to work in the darkroom developing film and black and white images.
In the old days before digital cameras and smartphones, we were more thoughtful about creating images. Film and developing were expensive so we couldn’t afford to take hundreds of images of a subject just to get one good one. Digital cameras have changed the way in which we shoot. Now we can take hundreds of images, and we will eventually end up with a good one. Living in a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram world, we are all sharing images in record numbers. I don’t think every image we take needs to be shared. Part of being a good photographer is knowing when to edit.I participated in a photography workshop in eastern Oregon (images featured here)I spent 4 days with 10 other photographers of various levels of ability. Our workshop leader, Keith Skelton had scouted out locations and planned each day of shooting. Every morning we would shoot the sunrise and then travel to various locations for shooting and finally finish up with sunsets in the evening. Dealing with multiple locations and the changing natural light throughout the day was challenging, but it pushed me to make better images. It really made me slow down and think about the process, what exposure I was choosing for the outcome I was visualizing.
I am fortunate to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with endless subjects to photograph for Skynnard’s Lens. There is nothing I enjoy more than spending a day in nature with my camera, finding that quiet time through photography. It is a bit like a treasure hunt, being open to really seeing and finding just the right image to make. At the end of a day of shooting, I feel reconnected, grounded and refueled.
What do you do to reconnect with your creative side?