How She/We/I Shoot Photos

Leaf Lost

Leaf Lost

PISGAH NF, NW of MILLS RIVER, NC—It’s funny how letting go, how not trying to control, often leads to surprising (and pleasurable) results. Case in point: the photo above.

I love this photo. I don’t know exactly why, but I do. Even though the subject of the photo—the reddish-purple leaf—is out of focus, there is something mysterious and intriguing about it.

A good photographer would have steadied the camera on a small tripod, a beanbag, or at least a rock, and closed down the lens a bit more to get the leaf in focus. But I am a bad photographer, a lazy photographer, a technically horrible photographer and I simply don’t care that much about going through a lot of effort to get a shot. My whole technique is I see something, I spin the aperture dial to my best guess and I shoot.

And that’s pretty much how I take 99% of my shots which is what makes me a such a lousy photographer. My point is I don’t try to control my shots—I don’t try to set them up. I don’t think about them, I don’t place things in the frame or take junk out.

Now what I said above is true, and it’s a nice rational explanation for how I take photos… but it’s only half the story.

Here’s what if feels like when I take a photo:

She/We/I see the Light within something, and a connection forms between us (see Step 7 of this practice). I spin the aperture dial until it feels right then We point the camera and push the button and I’ll know instantly if I got the shot—even without looking at the preview screen.

There isn’t a lot of control involved—of trying. It is almost as if a relationship between me/us and the object forms and then She takes the picture. I—this clunky thing whatever that is—am there just for the ride.

Note: I do do post processing work to help reflect the way I/We/She saw the subject when the image was taken (the Light/God within), but all the post processing in the world isn’t going to save a lousy shot… and when I do get in Her way, I take a lot of lousy shots.

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4 thoughts on “How She/We/I Shoot Photos

  1. Wayne, many of us would not agree that you are a lousy photographer. In fact, when a friend introduced me to this blog, it was the photos that caught his eye before the teachings-texts. If I take time to enjoy your photos in stillness, I often get a great sense of calm. I have experience this with calligraphy or Japanese ink-paintings at times, they cut through the stream of thought and bring you into a space of uncluttered awareness. I think this may be because the artist produced them from a space of (for want of a better expression) no-mind. Very powerful and very healing. Mind-created art (controlled set-up photos for example) will appeal to the mind – but can it make you switch into inner spaciousness! I have my doubts…

    • Thanks Jim. That’s a great comment about the source of art: from ‘space’ or from mind. Same could be said for spiritual practice.

      I obviously advocate the ‘space’ (living it) more than the ‘mind’ (inquiry)—though understanding it first is important.

  2. Yeah I know what you mean about taking pics. I do the same. When something catches your eye and you feel its the right moment. Many times those pics mean nothing to other people. For instance I was on the Danube and everybody was taking pics of the river and the surrounding mountains. Well I was photographing a butterfly instead. And to this day when I look at the pics I took in that whole vacation, that one with the butterfly still “speaks” to me the most. There is something about it…

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