I’ve come to appreciate the process my photography reveals to me, where it comes from to where it takes me. Some of my best and most enjoyable moments of capturing images have occurred without any agenda or expectations of what I’ll find. Of course, there are many times when the circumstances are not so much by chance but in these cases, there are expectations in place and the surprises of the moments are much narrower. Also, this is not to say that planning has kept me from getting images I enjoy. There are many, many places I’d like to go and photograph where planning and logistics would be a likely factor to get to “the place” at the right time.
A problem with being in a situation where you feel rushed can impact how good or not so good the experience becomes. There’s nothing worse than finding out that the shots were less than ideal after all the planning you did to be at a great place and you missed the moments completely right from under your nose. Or worse yet, feeling like the situation is in a “meltdown” and the moments speed away faster than your imagination right out of your grasp. For me the reality has been that there are always surprises in every situation that can disappoint to many degrees. There’s a better way to get through the surprises. Try and make a surprise out of the surprise. These situations will usually remind me that I really enjoy taking pictures and in the worst case scenario, I’ll just wing it – something good will usually happen.
Now, missing moments when shooting landscape and scenery is far from any equivalent of what I’d call a tragedy but many “diva spins” including my own, have occurred from far-less complicated situations.
This takes me back to the process I’ve come to appreciate about my photography. The lessons have come as tragedies that I’ve created and some as enlightenment I’ve received. The truth is that I’ve ended at “a place” that’s infinitely bigger than I am… A place that has been the stage for the past and will be for the future.
I think one of the challenges that photography presents is that there are times when you feel like nothing is new and fresh, that everything has been photographed many times before. It can feel like it’s just another sunset or sunrise, or building or portrait style, and you just can’t see the purpose of repeating the shot. Sometimes I’m not finding what I’m trying to capture through a lens yet the image feels like it’s somewhere there before me. I got past this when I realized that I never seem to have these attitudes when I’m experiencing these moments without a camera, no matter how many times I see a sunset. The reason is because if I’m taking the time to enjoy myself, it’s more about the whole experience… the feelings, the thoughts, the sense of the moment. Enjoying the moment first, and exploring different perspectives of what may seem like a trivial shot usually translates back as each unique experience, even if it’s been visited many times before.
I’ve always been fascinated with clouds because I associate them as part of the Earth’s spirit displayed in one of its most elegant visual metaphors. When I see how they move and change into shapes as the climate dictates, I can’t help but feel my own spirit connected to the Earth. Sometimes they look like a beautiful Serengeti migration in the sky moving along in the wind or they convect into bold displays of grandeur. Sometimes they hug the lowlands as fog or ascend to wispy layers of strata. When I take the time to watch them it’s like seeing life move in slow motion and it brings calm to my soul. When they leave us with only beautiful cloudless skies, I know they will always return in new shape and form for they are truly free spirits and masters of their realm.
Saturday March 27, 2010, the sunbeams were poking through this cloud layer beautifully just 2 hours earlier which got me to get out and find a location to catch the event. I caught the sun setting on this road after chasing it about 50 miles north of Dallas, TX.
Streaming video, streaming audio, streamers, the Akashic Stream. All essentially bridges where energy moves or travels between places. A symbolic visual could be this beautiful “stream of life” in the Upper Great Plains of North Dakota.