As promised above here are a few gifts for you:
First up here is the Four Stage Seeing Practice which you can use with the Sun Salutation Photography Activity, which follows it. The activity is ideal for a sunny day, whatever the temperature and is designed to support your well-being.
There are 14 more activities like this in my eBook Photography for Well-Being 1, available from all major online booksellers.
Four Stage Seeing Practice
Follow this Four Stage Seeing Practice to develop your ability to see everything that is there, encouraging seeing to become a centering experience when you are creating photographs.
- Anchor – When you arrive at your location take a moment. Sit somewhere and observe. Notice the breeze on your cheek and the smells that are about. Then tune into your visual experience. Notice the colours, lines, shapes, textures, and depth. Notice where the sun is and the direction of light. Notice bright areas and shadows. If it is cloudy notice how this affects the scene. Spend at least 5 minutes paying attention to what you can see. Whenever you notice your mind thinking, about the photos you may create, about what you are having for tea, about how daft you feel, return to what you can see. This is your anchor. Throughout your practice return to what you can see.
- Seeing – Walk at a gentle pace observing, but not looking for a photo opportunity. The photograph will find you. This is a challenge. There is a difference between attentive observation and looking for a photograph. The difference is this practice. All you have to do is to stroll and observe; wait for something to catch your eye. This should be a natural occurrence. Trust that something visually stimulating will arrive. That is all. You are attuned to your visual experience. Something will suggest itself as a photographic opportunity. When it does, stop.
- Resting – Look at what stopped you. Really look. Stay with the visual experience and breathe. Try to remain free from thoughts, ideas, action, consideration or internal chatter. Particularly notice any photographic thinking that creeps in. Just come back to the visual experience.
- Creating – Before you bring your camera up to your eye consider how you will use the camera’s frame to create an equivalent photo of what stopped you. Do you need to move in or out? What is in the frame? What is not in the frame? Do not overthink the photo to create a ‘better’ image. Press the shutter and receive the photo. Then walk on.
Mindful Photography Activity for Well-Being – Sun Salutation
- On a sunny day choose a location you love.
- Allocate a solid period of time – 1 to 3 hours would be ideal.
- Choose your favourite camera and lens or smartphone.
- Choose a camera setting you are most comfortable with, one that allows you to centre on what you can see rather than worrying about the technical choices. Smartphones will be on Auto.
- Follow the Four Stage Seeing Practice: Anchor, Seeing, Resting, Creating.
- Walk and do not look for a photo, let the photo opportunity find you.
- After you press the shutter, do not review your photo. Press the shutter and move on. If you can, turn off the review screen to support this intention.
- Do not delete any photos. You are not looking anyway, are you?
- Stop for rest and reflection when you are ready.
- Review your photos, looking out for those that you like most. Consider why you like them.
- Continue the photoshoot until you are at a natural end.
- When you return home and review your photos choose at least one to share.
- Repeat often.
This Activity comes from Photography for Well-Being 1. Each activity in the eBook has a common structure, they all include these six aspects designed to support your well-being:
- Creativity – Improving your seeing skills, learning and developing your photography skills and creating photos that you love.
- Being in the great outdoors (there are one or two indoor exceptions).
- Gentle physical exercise.
- Love – of a place, person, thing or experience.
- Mindfulness – through a Mindful Photography Practice.
- Social interaction by sharing your favourite photo
A Mindful Photography Activity for a difficult day
If you are new to my blog you may have missed this activity. It’s designed to support you through a time when you are experiencing thoughts and feelings that you do not like. You may be angry, upset, annoyed, frustrated, fearful or confused. Whatever it is that you are finding uncomfortable this activity is for those times.
• Set up your camera in a shooting mode that you can use instinctively. Auto is fine, or if you prefer a little more control use aperture priority (choose an aperture of f8 and ISO auto).
• Turn off your view screen so that you cannot see or review what you are creating.
• The purpose of this is to tune you in to what you are feeling and release the control you may experience about creating photos.
• When you are experiencing strong emotion, set your camera up as explained above, and go walking with your camera.
• Choose any location you feel drawn to.
• As you walk do not look for a photo opportunity, just walk, paying attention to what you can see.
• Notice the thoughts and feelings that relate to your difficulty.
• At some point something will catch your eye. Stop and consider what it is.
• Move closer. Frame tightly. Create the photo and move on.DO NOT look at the photo.
• Repeat this, paying attention to your feelings and the visual feast before you.
• Act instinctively and release your attachment to what your photos look like.
• Finish when you feel ready.
• Return home and DO NOT LOOK at your photos! Leave it a day.
• Next day review your photos and notice the feelings you experience.
‘A Guide to Multiple Exposure and Intentional Camera Movement’ (a self paced online course will be available in early 2021). Keep a look out for the launch date.
That’s all for now. I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and manage to get out with your camera.