Improve Your Photography – Step Back and Let Yourself “Get into the Image”
In the sense of getting into the zone to improve your photography, a lot happens before sending pressure thru the cable release. Before opening the shutter at a desired aperture. With the wonderful words of Bruce Lee, “I fear not the man who has practice 10,000 kicks once but the man who has practice one kick 10,000 times” preparation to a proven process comes to mind.
I firmly believe visualizing the final outcome of an image long before an exposure happens is merely a manifestation of one’s behavior or attitude towards the craft. I would affirm the only time I didn’t know the conditions of the landscape was when I left my area specialties; The Navajo Reservation and the Desert Southwest.
However I have the same approach to photographing a glorious formation or sacred landscape on Navajoland is the same in Alaska, The Yucatan or elsewhere.
Landscape and adventure photography provide plenty of time to get into the zone. Prior to the exposure of my images, prayer, Navajo chants and songs, music and meaningful literature is reviewed or applied. I often leave my home in Sandy, Utah or the Navajo Reservation homestead with knowledge of the land and area. With a prayer for a blessing of good light and good conditions. Regardless if an exposure is created, the true test is to be thankful for another day to “Walk in Beauty” among the land.
Among my tools of preparations is my Native American flute. It was handcrafted by world renowned, award winning Native American flutist, Charles Littleleaf. Along with the flute, I occasionally pack my didgereedoo from Australia. You can listen to the two instruments at www.fourthworldimages.com
I was born into using my resources wisely. The nearest natural spring was 2 miles away or the nearest township was a 40 minute drive should we need anything. We had to make all elements that sustain life, last and use it with gratitude.
To learn how to play these instruments was a complete task in itself. However, I am grateful for the chance to find myself alone on Navajoland and tune into the minute details of the composition. I have literally seen and measured light crawl up sand dunes, rock faces and desert shrubs for what often is the only exposure. Photographing with a 4×5 or an 8×10 absolutely gives me the advantage of finding wonderful compositions. Primarily because the film is rare. It requires a different type of seeing compared to my Nikon D700, D800 or D4 and has lead me to improve my photography.
I trust the Clik Elite Escape or Pro Elite as my outdoor camera backpacks to carry my tools, my camera’s, lens and literally, my vision. What I see is manifested in the exposure. Nothing like Clik Elite camera bags! Nothing.
I have to be tuned in not only because of the costs per exposure, but the pure fact that one day film will probably be extinct, just like some of the world’s animals or glaciers. Film photography is already headed in that direction. The wonderful Fuji Astia 100f has always been regarded as the premium color film emulsion. It is now gone. No mas. Not coming back!
Music allows me to settle into the area and fine tune the approach for a solid premium exposure. It is a time of rest before light makes contact with film. Knowledge of final presentation is the goal. Do I want to expose on color film or black and white? What will be the final size or measurements of the prints? Should I make a Silver Gelatin or a Platinum Palladium print? There is a substantial amount of attention a composition receives when behind a large format ground glass or a digital image capture system.
There are several questions I review to enlighten the mission. For me, Clik Elite adventure camera backpacks are the answer to carry out the invitation to capture the Light.
Want a test or a tour of getting into the zone and taking your photography to the next level? Visit a location near you and return home with only one exposure. Just one. Not 10. Not HDR. Just one. I promise you may develop a greater relationship with your form of image capture and will come away improving your photography skills – Digital or film. You will find more internal value in all aspects of your camera gear and photography equipment. You could come across the pureness of what I call creating a supreme image. Review all that you did before the exposure. You may see a difference in creating quality of the work, rather than quantity. You could come across a different approach and fine tune your process of knowing more about what you are really doing.
When I was in Alaska for 16 days, I took a total of 4 exposures on the 4×5. I felt that was right. I felt that was perfect. I knew it was enough. The natural light and conditions weren’t the greatest. However, to have memories of being in Alaska preserved photographically on 4 supreme sheets of film when the light is amazing. Denali’s peak showing and the wonderful sunset at 2:30am… those are moments I will never forget. Granted, I was able to run through tuning in with music and preparing for a wonderful return.
In closing, I have a book signed by Ansel and other literature pertaining to the craft of photography, one of my favorite lines of his is about getting into the zone. “More important than the current state of photographic materials, however, is the individual’s approach to photography”. – Ansel Adams
Don’t Miss the Chance to Improve Your Photography and Meet Mylo Fowler & Adam Barker
The Desert Southwest Workshop – October 11-13, 2013