Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries. —Corita Kent
There are rewards for being present and staying in the moment, but it’s not always easy or convenient to do this. In fact, it takes practice – persistent and intentional practice. You can start anytime and experiment with what works for you.
One way is to remember the phrase, “ten more minutes.” In the creative process we all get “stuck.” That’s when it’s easy to pack up, give up and go home. The problem with this response is that often the magic awaits and appears when you give yourself and your subject just ten more minutes. Hang tight, dig in, let loose and play. You must pay attention to your intention. Try it . . . you’ll see what I mean.
Because I practice this as often as possible, the hint of magic often starts early for me (but not always). What I know from experience is that the first few images are likely to be the “handshakes” or documentary “see what I saw” shots at best.
I am committed to spending enough time to go beyond the handshake. I want to get to the essence. It helps to keep my camera down or in the bag, to take in what I see, hear, smell and feel in my surroundings. It’s important to begin by defining my subject before starting to shoot. I’ll seek out particular features and perspectives that peek my interest before setting up. Even using my phone to test compositions and angles can help me decide on what lens would work best for what I’m seeing. Bottom line, what made me stop?
A few weeks ago, while scouting for a workshop in Richmond, a patch of purple crocus were open and beautifully lit near the entrance of Maymont Park. On the way out, knowing how weather and light changes, I decided to spend a few minutes with one bunch of these flowers. I was using my Nikon D600 with 70-180mm micro lens and the Nikon 6T close-up diopter and tripod (in the beginning). Quickly, I realized that sprawling on the ground, handholding and manual focus were the only ways for me to navigate this particular creativity pool.
What you see in this series of images is a visual walk-through of what took place during 38 minutes with the crocus. There were 59 images captured during this stretch of time. They are minimally processed, uncropped and have no fancy filters applied. There’s time for creative play in post-processing later. I encourage you to do your best dancing in the moment. Strive to capture what you see and what you feel. If it isn’t showing up in your viewfinder, give yourself “ten more minutes.” In the selections I share here you’ll see the time, the image number and what was going through my mind and where I allowed myself to go.
The “handshake shot,” well … it doesn’t do those crocus justice, but it did get me started. There’s a distinct change in the tone of the images once I shifted into “the zone.”
In the end, a “happy, happy dance” happened, and I didn’t care who saw me do it. And when it was over, my breathing was easy, my muscles were relaxed, and the smile in my eyes and on my face was worth getting down and dirty in a public park. What I’m hoping people saw was someone immersed in the miracles of beauty in nature.
Give yourself “ten more minutes” every chance you can!