Taking photographs is a great way to get motivated to go out into nature (or anywhere for that matter!). Lately I have been inspired by a student to get out my old camera to do some old school nature photography as opposed to just using my phone.
The camera never lies
Starting as an ASDAN project, this is becoming worth much more than the credits earned. Taking photos is not only a fun art form, but a great way to express, document and reflect on your journey and is an alternative tool for communication and stress relief.
You can share your interests and thoughts, frustrations and joy and start to look for the beauty and optimism in the world.
There also are opportunities for social interaction as you meet people along the way, and later when you are showing and reviewing your pictures, and of course the positive feedback and happiness you give when sharing them with others.
Tools! Look past the phone and the easy filters! The solidity and weight of an old SLR Digital Camera, gives you something heavier to carry than your average I-phone – a chunky camera body cradled in 2 hands and that reassuring and quality click of the shutter. Theres also the responsibility and of being entrusted with using this valuable old treasure that makes it more of a valued craft.
Slow down and take notice! The actual art of taking the photograph often demands the photographer to slow right down and think about what they are doing, what they want to look for and what they see; how to frame it , how to time it and what settings to use – it requires you to be patient and really observe your surroundings and notice the details. Its not an easy skill to be taken for granted, double that if you are waiting for animals and birds to co-operate.
Communicate! If you are the assistant you are is depended on for holding equipment and passing it – the right lens, the tripod; timing is everything, as is co-operation and communication. Mutual respect is essential – like a game of follow my leader, you have to copy the photographer and be purposefully quiet and distant when needed.
Experiment! Once you have the confidence in your shots, the next step would be to start experimenting, pushing your limits and trusting your intuition; maybe it works, maybe it won’t – but learning with every take about aperture, shutter speed and composition.
Change your viewpoint! A photographer can get a new perspective, literally, by changing their viewpoint or lens, and seeing the world differently. By choosing what to put in and what to leave out of the frame, they get to choose the world they want to see or show, and to decide what to focus on – having control helps to build confidence and empowerment.
It can be often a good reason to focus on external environment rather be distracted by busy internal thoughts, easing anxiety and stress and giving your brain a break.
If you think about it, there are metaphors to be found in photography for life and understanding others.
It’s easy in our fast-paced society to rush to conclusions and assumptions about other people and the world, without waiting or listening – but it takes a patient soul to actually move slowly and wait quietly for the right moment to allow the real subject to shine through.