For me, the awareness of what could be a good photograph is both more relaxing and more exciting than actually taking the photo.* When I’m carrying a camera, I’ve committed to a certain kind of awareness and try to get into a mental state where I’m seeing and noticing my environment—whether it’s whatever I’m walking on or something I’ve explicitly gone to see.

*Something which severely hampers my birding aspirations. I’m much more likely to just watch something happen than react by pulling my camera out.

The process of photography is a process of seeing. Yes I enjoy getting a good shot as much as anyone. But I prefer to do so in a setting where I have at least seen the possibilities first. So I practice seeing and awareness and let what I encounter filter through my mind. Most of my photowalk time is spent in this unfocused yet aware state. Only once something sticks, do I focus and figure out how to make it work in a photo.

I’ve gotten to the point now that I don’t even have to be out on a photowalk. The practice of clearing my mind and seeing is sufficient in any situation where I don’t really have to think about other things. I leave the “does this interest me” filter running when I drive. Same thing with riding a bus or train.

Just because I’m not actively taking a photo doesn’t mean I’m not engaged in photography.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

6 thoughts on “Zen”

  1. Pingback: Faith | n j w v

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