Experiencing the Power of Sandstone Falls in West Virginia
If you’re like me — or if you are even the slightest bit serious about photography as a hobby or a career — then photography becomes the reason why you do things. It can be an all-consuming thing. You’ll find yourself planning trips around photography. Instead of visiting a natural wonder simply for the joy of seeing it, you go so that you can look for the photographs.
While you are there, are you enjoying the scenery? Or are you setting up equipment, taking photos and wondering how you’ll process and print them?
As you can see, the things that you do for fun quickly become a quest to make art and nothing more. Would you go on all of these trips if you weren’t a photographer? If you are like most non-photographers, you would likely travel and explore less often. Photography becomes the reason to do these things, and the sheer joy of the experience becomes secondary.
It is easy to get wrapped up, not only in the pursuit of art, but also in the mechanical aspects of photography. When you’re out taking photographs, you are focused. You’ve set yourself a goal to bring home wonderful images, and to that end, you are busy composing, searching for details, checking camera settings and mulling over the quality of the light. As you’re doing this, you forget to actually experience the world around you. It simply doesn’t occur to you to put the camera down, look, breathe and exist as one with your surroundings.
Here is an example: I recently had the privilege of traveling to my hometown to take photographs of waterfalls. Now, you’ve probably seen it in the news before... West Virginia has a reputation of flooding of near unimaginable proportions. The waterfalls that I was photographing were powerful, dangerous beasts.
I could have simply gone about my business and photographed the waterfalls in whatever way I saw fit at the time. But I didn’t. Instead, I spent time just watching the raging water while experiencing the raw power of God’s creation. The experience was amazing, and I feel that simply being there and looking, without taking hundreds of photos, helped me focus on my surroundings.
That’s not to say that you have to skip the photographs entirely. But when you do visit an area that inspires you, do what I did and take the time to become a part of your surroundings. Then, with your improved understanding and heightened emotion, you’ll be able to take better photographs.
So, why is it that placing yourself within your surroundings is so important? And how, exactly, do you, in our fast-paced world, immerse yourself? I have a couple of thoughts, which I will share with you... moneymakerphotography.com/dont-forget-experience-life-pur...