The dangers of rushing in photography (and the pleasures of giving it time)
Many of us who love photography also have challenging time constraints in our lives. It can be relatively easy to post some notes on a website or read a magazine or book about a photographic topic, but actually making time for it is often tough. The problem is that like most things that are worthwhile, making good photographs takes time and energy. It also takes patience and a lot of planning. Given the time constraints I mentioned earlier, how can you achieve a good balance with your photography?
At least for me, there's a therapeutic value with photography that helps make the decision more objective. When things get stressful, photography is a great way to detach from those stresses and devote my attention to something more pleasurable. This isn't something that happens in five minutes, though. Maybe I'm a bit slow, but I find that it takes me a bit of time to get into the groove of making photographs I like. I inevitably start out with some ideas that just don't work and then start getting my attention channeled on better images. It's during that time that the best photographs happen. How much time does it take for this to start happening? Usually at least fifteen to thirty minutes at a location, much of it spent walking around and thinking about shots. I've heard people mention a "zen-like" state they get into, and that's certainly my experience. It's very easy for me to tell when I'm in it, and when I'm disengaged. If I don't give myself the time to get to that state, things just don't happen.
If you're just rushing around and mixing photography with other things, it's difficult to do this. You may get fine snapshots, but it's unlikely that you'll get photographs you'll want to hang on the wall. If you're attempting something more meaningful, plan it out in advance. Give yourself hours of time for photography, don't mix it up with other activities, and plan in advance so the light is right for where you'll be. What you'll get back in return is higher quality photographs and a sense of calm and peace that's like an island in a sea of chaos. Not a bad thing given many of today's issues!
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