The V Word


I start my day. I have my camera on a tripod over my shoulder and I’m wandering around South Mesa. I look at this. I look at that. I feel a little holding in my body and as I let it go, I feel the fear and contraction leave me. I become more relaxed and more focused. Now the day really begins.

Outdoor photography seems to be for many people a macho sport. We read about all the challenges the photographer had to deal with to get his shot. Even the expression “getting the shot” has a macho feeling of accomplishment to it. Even more macho is the expression “nailing it”.

Being creative and expressing that creativity through photography is a very different experience for me. It’s all about vulnerability. There, I’ve said it. I’ve called myself vulnerable. The next thing I write about is expressing my feminine side.

But all kidding aside, being creative is all about being vulnerable. With me, being vulnerable starts with letting go of being afraid. On trails in the foothills and the mountains there’s always a possibility of an encounter with a bear or mountain lion, but I’m not talking about that kind of fear. That fear, or rather wariness, is just part of being in the mountains, and in a way it’s also part of being vulnerable.

I’m talking about more emotional fear, but I really don’t want to talk about fear here. I want to talk about vulnerability. For me being vulnerable is no different from being open.

One of the reason that nature appeals to us so much is it allows us to drop a lot of our social defenses. We aren’t being judged by the mountains. The creek doesn’t think you’re a wimp for not wanting to get your feet wet. We can totally be ourselves in nature.

In that vulnerable openness, with everything around so much more alive and vibrant, how can we not be inspired and be creative. In that vulnerable state, love arises and what better place to experience and express love than nature. As I walk along, I’m loving the grass. I’m loving the flowers. I’m loving the trees. I’m loving the creek. What better subject matter for a photograph than something you love. One might not generally find a flooded creek so compelling, but, when one is in love with what one sees, one sees art in places not seen before. With some skill and luck perhaps we can capture that love and share it with others in a photograph.

So, you tough guys can go to Half Dome, or the Maroon Bells, or Delicate Arch to do your art. I’ll just wander around some unknown mountain path and be vulnerable and in love.


~ by danbaumbach on May 17, 2015.

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