This particular photo featured above is one that was taken after a portrait themed event in the park. So why did I capture a leaf? This was taken after I had packed up my gear and was just about to load into the car and head home. I looked around one last time to take in the beautiful scenery and it struck me how the leaves were falling all around us. Duh, I thought. I haven’t taken a good, simple detail shot of a leaf this fall. I grabbed the camera, crouched down and snapped a few right on the ground outside my car.
Often when I am taking photos for a particular project, theme or idea, I tend to get those blinders that keep me looking for only specific kinds of photos. I like to say I’m “focused” but in reality I hate it when I miss opportunities for great photos simply because I am not looking for them. This is one reason I enjoy the photowalk concept so much. We go out with a theme, but in the end simply being out looking for great photos frees me up to look for shots of any kind in a new environment.
When I get out with other photographers with the sole purpose of finding and capturing the best photos I can, I start to look outside my typical mindset of a good photo and search for something new. Of course I still have my style that comes through in everything I shoot, but I am keen to try and expand what my style actually includes. I enjoy watching the other photographers in their quest for great photos and often emulate (read that as copy, steal, whatever you like) their composition so I have my own photo to remember and learn from.
Photowalking has many aspects to enjoy, including the social and exploration opportunities, but we all take away from a photowalk what we put into it. I enjoy helping to organize events, meeting new photogs, and pushing my social tendencies to interact with new people. Other people like the locations we head out to, but choose to wander off alone to capture their own creative findings. These are all good things.
After an event, the photowalk keeps on giving as photographers share their photos online. I always have the “wow” moments learning from the perspectives and processing that others do mixed with feelings of inadequacy as I see such amazing talent in the group. I usually round this off with a renewed feeling of wanting to improve as a photographer, excited to get out on my own and on the next event to feed the need.
Photography for me is a sometimes paying profession, but mostly passionate hobby. I have come to fill much of my discretionary time with photography, and enjoyed every bit of it. It is one of those things I have so much room to improve, yet can feel a sense of accomplishment as I progress. I often compare it to golf, something at which I have much room to improve. Much of my game is merely adequate, but it is that every-so-often amazing shot you get in that keeps you coming back. In photography, when you capture those images that you are proud of, it keeps you coming back, searching to get the next great photo.
Canon 40D, 24-105L, mixed exposure values available on flickr by clicking each image.