Zen and the Art of Photography Pt 2

After my previous post I have thought of even more active practices to apply a mindset for more purposeful photography.

Thirty-Six Exposures

36 exposures waiting for something beautiful

When shooting digital images in the past, I would try to capture anything and everything with little to show for it. Using a 35mm film camera, you have only 36 exposure of film in one roll so every shot has to count. Digital is cheaper than analog so I can snap all I want, but with film, you have to be more intentional, more deliberate. Setting a limitation of only 36 images with my digital camera is a good thing. I can relax, focus on the present and focus on those images I want.

One Camera, One Lens
In the past, I would walk out with a camera and multiple lenses because “You never know when you’ll need it.” How many of those lenses were used- only the one. How liberating and relaxing is it not to think about that extra weight carried in the camera bag? Again, setting out with limitations creates intentionality.

Simply The Workflow
Shooting in jpeg as opposed to RAW format produces smaller images and faster transfer times to speed up the process. Removing Adobe Lightroom from the workflow allows me to work faster. Apple Photos app has improved to a degree where no other software is needed. However, if I want to process images even more, I have Pixelmator. Both are tied into the Apple photo ecosystem and allows you to focus more on what I want to do, such as make more images.

Delete Social Media
Followers, Likes and heart emojis do not ascertain your photograph’s worth. They do not reflect on what the image means to you. I publish photos without expectations or delusions of grandeur on my own websites because it makes me happy. With your own website you control the aesthetics, no algorithm, no tracking and no advertising. This is Zen.

Also, publish your work digitally, in the form of an e-book or portfolio. It is a better way to distribute to your website followers and loved ones in a .pdf format than print is. This is the way.

Less Gear, More Comfort
Instead of investing in that shiny new camera or lens, put your money into yourself such as a good pair of shoes. When I plan for a photo walk or hike, I want to enjoy the experience, in the moment without discomfort. If possible, donate your unused gear to someone just starting out. New photography from other budding artists is always a good thing.

Airplane Mode
The desire to check your notifications, read email or catch up on the latest news in your feed distracts focusing on the here and now. Your image quality will be affected. Be present in the moment.

Seeing your image materialize on photographic paper in a darkroom is one of the most amazing experiences you can have in photography. Likewise the experience when reviewing on your digital device. Apple Photos displays images much like an analog contact sheet. On an iPad it is glorious to swipe through, favorite, delete, edit and save. Looking at each image with intentionality is a rewarding experience after all your time and effort.

Reconnect with yourself in the outdoors while shooting. Focus on your breathing while focusing on your image, then snap. Create opportunities to get out and enjoy your surroundings, there is beauty in everything now go find it.

More Practices To Be Discovered
That’s it for now, but until next time- This is photographic zen. This is the way.

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