In today's Quick Tips, we're thinking about keeping our mind in the present when we shoot

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We carry out countless acts every day that we don’t really notice, such as brushing our teeth, eating our lunch and locking the front door. Even when we take pictures we sometimes switch to autopilot, turning dials and pushing buttons without really noticing what we’re doing. We could be out in the landscape, carefully framing a mountain, but our mind could be elsewhere, judging, criticising, comparing our experience with one we had last week.

When we fail to pay attention to the present moment, and become preoccupied with the past or the future, we miss a great opportunity to experience the world as it really is: to really see the mountain, to feel the cold air, to hear the call of a bird, but when we ground ourselves in the here and now we make space for creativity.

  1. As photographers we are accustomed to observing the light, but how often do we consider how it affects our mood, and the artistic decisions we make?
  2. Consider the following before releasing the shutter – where is the light coming from? Is it hard or soft, warm or cold, bright or dim? How does each of these properties make you feel?
  3. Find an object (it doesn’t have to be photogenic) and sit in front of it – for the sake of this example we will use a tree. Soften your gaze and rest it on a section of the trunk.
  4. Consider all the forces that come together to support its existence: the roots that absorb moisture, the trunk that transports nutrients from the roots and so on. Try to take a picture that reflects this connectivity.