Thursday, September 8, 2011

Go For A Walk

Cattle Grazing by Wayne-K
Cattle Grazing, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

While working on my 365 photography project, I would frequently rise early on Saturday mornings before the wife and kids woke up and go for walks around town. I carried my Nikon D80 and 35mm f/1.8 lens and enjoyed the serenity of a sleeping town. I didn't worry about getting a photo, I just enjoyed the beauty around me, and snapped photos as they presented themselves. Similarly, on weekdays, I would pack my D80/35mm combo into a fanny pack and jog the trails in the hills of the local regional park after the workday was done.

I miss the solo walks and runs, and the enjoyment and solitude of these photography experiences. Earlier this week, I decided to pack my Nikon FM2 manual focus film camera and 50mm f/1.8 and went for a trail run on the Pleasanton Ridge, a local regional park. I left my hiking partners and dog at home and went solo. This allowed me the opportunity to really enjoy the wilderness, absorb the warm afternoon light, and snap photos as my heart desired.

For me, two things make these experiences special.

First, the simplicity of the gear. I don't carry my entire camera bag, four lenses, flash, tripod, ND grad filter, kitchen sink, etc. I travel light, with just my camera and normal prime lens, and enjoy my walk/trail run. I don't worry about what I cannot capture (because I don't have my wide-angle lens, telephoto lens, tripod, etc.), I just enjoy the surroundings and focus on capturing what I can capture.

Second, I go with a clear mind. I don't think about work, the crappy economy, the idiots in Washington D.C., or global warming. I go solo, so I don't have to tend to my dog or feel compelled to carry a conversation with my companions. This frees my mind and body to enjoy the surroundings and stop whenever I want to snap a photo. It also allows me to slow down and consider my camera settings and composition, without feeling rushed.

Life is busy. Make sure you make time for yourself to enjoy some quality photography experiences, even if it's just for an hour after work. Keep it simple and just enjoy the opportunity to relax, get some fresh air, and maybe even capture some wonderful images.

On a related topic, I came across this great article today. It really summarized my philosophy on shooting and what I loved so much about my solo walks and hikes....and why I love shooting my Nikon FM2 and 50mm f/1.8 manual focus combo these days.

Barbed Wire

Lost Glove


No Mountain Bikes Allowed

Moon Over the Ridge

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