Open Seasons


Long dry spell. Illness and recovery. Dog surgery and recovery. Work, lots of work. Busy life. Who has time for free time?

For the past few months I have been very disconnected from photography. Mostly for lack of time, but also for lack of success in capturing anything worthwhile or even finding anything interesting to take pictures of. The random family snap or personal work here and there, but nothing that motivated or inspired me. It was not so much that I was frustrated as I seemed to have simply given up. I made random attempts to work through the dry spell without success. I had planned on a photography day trip and long hike in Pt. Reyes in late October, but I could not afford the time off from work because of a new, interesting, very fast-paced project. Ugh, my one solo day of the year yanked away from me.

The past few weekends we’ve had our first rains and chilly days of the season, an event that I very much look forward to each year. Recently, I took a quick trip to Tilden Park to make my first Jewel Lake loop in months. Even as I was driving down the hill into the park I had the distinct impression that I was coming home. It was not just being in the park that was awakening, because I do that periodically with the kids over the summer, but it was the realization that I was there in the cold and rainy season. I realized immediately and as I started down the Jewel Lake loop that this is my photography season. I was literally and metaphorically in a dry spell over the summer and with the rains it was coming to an end.

I have been reading On Being A Photographer by David Hurn and Bill Jay (a great book!) and one of the key themes is choosing your subject matter. Their point is that you can only take good pictures of subjects that you care deeply about. The other day in Tilden I realized that A) I love to take pictures of the woods because I love the colors, textures and wild plant life, I love taking pictures of wet woods because of the dark, saturated colors and seasonal effects of water on wood, and B) I love the Jewel lake loop. I care deeply about that loop and that is why I am motivated to take better and better pictures there. I look carefully and I see the beauty of the woods and I want to capture it. This year I hope to take different perspectives from past years and show you something new.

So I’ll be out and about with my camera a lot more this fall and winter. Tis my season for taking pictures : )

Addendum: I have decided to retreat a bit. I have been in such a rush to always go out and take pictures that at times I feel like I’m way ahead of myself. I need to slow down and refocus on the basics, to study the great (not good, but great) photography of others. Study what they shoot, how it is framed, what makes it a great picture. And practice what I’m seeing. Slow down and consider before snapping the shutter. And think more about projects. Work through from snapshots to projects. Focus, literally, on study, considerate practice, and a project approach.

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