Inspiration Addiction

I’m walking around Walden Ponds, here in Boulder. It’s not quite sunrise and nothing’s clicking. I walk and look and walk and look some more, intently afraid I’ll miss something, but I don’t see anything that grabs me. Wait, there’s some mist on the pond to the south. Hurry there. By the time I get there a lot of it has dissipated. But wait, what about that tree. I try a couple of compositions, but don’t feel satisfied. I head back in my original direction. Negativity starts to creep in. Why did I choose this location? Why am I so uninspired?

Something about the pond to my right interests me. I try different compositions to capture the reflected sunrise along with the trees, and… I’m gone. My negativity stops and I start seeing interesting photographs everywhere I look and I’m doing my best to capture it all. I wander around for another hour and a half, till the sun is too high and I’ve exhausted every idea — completely unaware of my earlier fears and doubts.

And so passes another morning out taking photographs.

They don’t always start out the same, but they usually end the same. I’m happy, I’m quiet and I’m thoroughly inspired. This is how I start most mornings. When I’m finished, I usually head off to work or go home — so full that I don’t care if any of my photos turn out. I’ve had such a good time.

There are some photographers who like to have everything planned and designed in their heads before even picking up a camera, but I can’t work like that. I usually have some idea in my mind of what I want to photograph, and with that and how the weather looks I pick a morning location or I may have a longer trip planned in advance. However, when I get to the location and take out my camera, everything is up for grabs. I rely on inspiration to take over and I never know what I’ll actually be photographing. Sometimes skies, sometimes grasses, sometimes trees and sometimes actually landscapes.

The wonderful thing about inspiration is that it’s all self-generated. I am alone. No one is telling me how good or bad a photographer I am. I’m just standing there in wonder with what’s around me. I’m trying to somehow imprint some of that wonder onto my CMOS sensor. I may think about f stop or shutter speed, focal length or composition, but it’s all in service to capturing that wonder and not in service of making money or gratifying my ego.

Some of you may question why I need a camera or even leave my house to experience this inspiration. That’s a very good question.

~ by danbaumbach on May 2, 2015.

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