Friday, March 28, 2008

Photo Zen

CLYDE BUTCHER: "The less you have to think, the better photographer you can become."

PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: The scene doesn't exist; there is no tight cluster of trees blocking the way to this farmstead. There is a well-separated row of trees lining the country road where it winds past these ancient barns. Of course it's better not to think. The mind on vacation relishes pleasures that are invisible to the mind at work. That is the precondition to all of the methodology in the last three posts, and none of that methodology can really begin until thought engines are in cool idle, and eyes unprejudiced are open to delights.

I believe in practice; elements of technique that are not practiced into regularity and routine, will intrude. ...and in the right equipment; a new gadget, a broken widget, or a tripod that slips and slides is only overcome at mental cost. And perhaps along the same lines, I have come to value a practiced methodology of strategies that prevents the process of stalking the photo from becoming a distraction to itself.

Of course the most challenging distractions can only be overcome by spirit: appointments or deadlines to keep - threatening dangers of geography or weather - the call of a warm bed at a chilly 6 AM, coffee-less sunrise - the yearning at sunset to be at home having dinner & conversation with Jane. "The world is too much with us.... We lay waste our powers."

And so I attach this thought to one of those odd little compositions that keeps calling me back to it. I know some will find no pleasure in it. No matter. My eye was caught by... but, you see, one really can't meaningfully say what because it is a myriad that serendipped out of nowhere. It was the last shot of the day, and although camera and tripod were still on my shoulder, parts of me were already in the car recovering from the 4 mile trek. All at once the serendipity was just there, elbowing me, a cluster of small trees, a wall dividing a farmstead and blocking the way of my eye. I snapped the frame in spite of myself. Well, I actually snapped five, but none quite like this one. It was the very last shot of the day and automatically I had moved and zoomed through 4 shots and arrived at just this image that still pleases me.

I've been back since looking for the shot, thinking maybe it would be better with the warm glow and added definition right before sunset, but I've so far been unable to find this spot.

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