I’ve noticed a theme developing with some of the pictures I take when out walking around, often on campus during a short break, which is less about the types of images I’m recording with my camera and more about the way in which I find them. This picture is the most recent example but I’ve seen it plenty of other times too, and the idea is that I often find photographic opportunities on the latter part of a walk. And I’m not talking some kind of milti-mile hike here, but just a short 5-minute walk around Theta Pond on the OSU campus. During the first few minutes I often look for picture opportunities but, and it’s weird how often this happens, I don’t usually find any. I end up just walking around looking at the trees, flowers, ducks, squirrels, and taking it all in for a little while. (Which, I might add, is one of the nice parts about working on a college campus.) I often snap some pictures here and there but rarely does anything strike me as interesting, creative, or…good.
However near the end of one of these walks as I get close to my building I have often found myself noticing more than I did at the outset, and this is when I get the shots I’m most happy with. This week’s picture, for instance, was taken just across the street from my building after I had walked around the pond and was headed back to my office. I saw a cluster of short, thick grass by the edge of a sidewalk and realized it would make an interesting picture. I crouched down low with my D7100 and a +4 filter attached to the 50mm lens and took a few photos with the grass severely backlit by the overhead sun, and was super happy with the result.
I think what’s happening here is that during the first part of one of these 5-minute walks my brain is just starting to clear itself from the tasks on which I have been concentrating and I find myself less open to artistic or creative forms of expression. After a little while of ambling around and just being a part of nature I think my mind starts to reset itself and by the end I am much more likely to see subjects, colors, and details that I had entirely missed at the outset. Of course all this is anecdotal and a conclusion cannot be drawn from just one person’s experience, but it does make me wonder about whether this is a legitimate phenomenon.
So my advice to you, readers of this blog, is the next time you feel yourself eagerly searching for a photo opportunity but coming up empty-handed, put your camera away and just exist for a little while–outdoors in nature if at all possible. Let your mind relax, wander, and soak in the sights around you and then pick up your camera and see what you can find. I can’t say it will work for sure, but I do think it might and I’d be eager to hear your thoughts about all this in the comments below :)