After contemplating the reasons why I made some mistakes on shooting yesterday, I realized that I experience the pressure to shoot as much and cover as much as I can when the sky is changing particularly if I have have invested time and money to get there. You invest a lot of time and energy in nothing sometimes. You can turn up and turn up and get nothing. But when something is handed to you, there is the pressure to make the most of it. Rushing does no good.
I have shots that I may have hit the focus on the lens because parts of them weren’t sharp. I shoot everything in manual and forgot to change my ISO and ruined a bunch of shots because I took a chance on a slower shutter speed. Setting up my tripod was not an option, because I really wasn’t here for this shot, I was aiming for that one, but if I don’t get this one, I’ll regret it…
And why was there noise in that other shot, anyway? I’ll need to do some technical testing…
There are a lot of moving parts to capturing an image. Focus, exposure, depth of field, framing, composition, ISO (light sensitivity of your medium), visual distraction, light, digital noise, bits around the frame, foreground, background, depth, leading lines, etc.. I don’t aim to merely reproduce a scene I see either, so there is a certain amount of acquired knowledge in knowing what I can do with an image later. I got one image earlier in the day of a forest I know I will need to shoot again. But I’ll admit it. I was surprised that I could do nothing with this image.
I don’t regard this as a particularly bad thing. Pressure causes mistakes, but with this mistake making helps me learn the lessons more deeply than simply getting it right sometimes. This stuff has to be automatic, the camera an extension of our body, the mind singularly focused. These things don’t happen by accident with photography like many people seem to think. When shooting landscapes – scenes that you would think are just there for the taking – but you find they are not just sitting there waiting for you to capture them. We are more like hunters of the weather.
Some shots are obvious.
But in my contemplation, I also have to make sure I don’t confuse the joy of being presented with a good opportunity for the joy is knowing I’ve got a good shot. Sometimes the most awe-inspiring thing does not translate well. Or maybe you have let old habits interfere with making good decisions in the present.
And I also realized, I’ve been setting my bar higher and higher. It’s getting harder to get the images that I want to make.
If you are an artist that is starting out, or perhaps one that is stuck, you have to understand that creativity is the act of creating, which is an act of doing and that doing is a process. Don’t let perfection stand in your way. Don’t let yourself get fooled into the idea that the next things you create will be something beautiful or whatever it is you want to strive for and therefore you must wait until you have the right idea, the right situation, etc. It’s not going to happen. It’s a little like waiting to go to school until you learn something. Just do. Discover what comes out, discover what your process is, what works for you. This is what art is. It’s work. You got to show up for the muse.
I made some mistakes, but then there were these…