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My Photography Practice

You may have read that I re-established my photography practice over six months ago. I determined that I would schedule a weekly session and follow a practice that was not outcome driven. So, how have I got on?

I thought I would share my regular approach and suggest some options that you could consider for your own practice. Here goes.

Tuesday afternoon is my scheduled slot. My intention, if the weather and body is kind, is to get out for between 1 and 2 hours with my camera. When I fail, I reschedule! On most days I do not have an outcome in mind, although I may focus the practice on a particular approach, style or skill. More on that in a moment.

My Default Approach

This is my approach if I am just walking with my camera at a location for an hour or two.

  • One camera – Fuji X-T4. One lens – Fuji 35mm f1.4. This is my walkabout choice. A lens that is equivalent to 50mm on a full frame, its light and easy to use. I also love its capacity for great bokeh.
  • Camera Setup: Aperture Priority – ISO Auto. Shutter Speed Auto. Aperture adjusted on the lens based on creative choice. If it’s a particularly dull day I might also take control of the ISO.
  • Creative Limitations – One shutter press per scene. No deleting. No reviewing. A maximum of 20 photos. These limitations are designed to help me pay attention to what I can see, to consider each photo with care, rather how we did when we used a film camera.
  • Wander without purpose, to follow what I see, to respond to what is there. I use the Four Stage Seeing Practice, which is part of my Mindful Photography 101 Online Course

What happens during the practice

I experience the following thoughts:

  • I’ve been here so many times, how can I see anything new? (Keep looking)
  • Why am I creating another photo of reflections? (Be aware of your habits, challenge yourself to take a different approach)
  • How many photos have I created? (Rather than look, I try and recall the photos I have created in the order I created them.)
  • Shall I just have a little look at that last one? Maybe I could make it better. (No)
  • Are any of my photos any good? (Yes!)
  • Is it ok to stop and chat? (Yes!)

Alternative Practices

I have a few alternative approaches, to shake up my creativity, that I employ from time to time.

  • Practice multiple exposure. Sometimes I’ll set my camera up in a ME mode (usually Additive) before I leave the house and determine to only create ME photos. In this practice I do look at what I am creating, I make choices to repeat photos, but I still do not delete, as the photos always look different on the big screen. I often try out combinations of extreme white balances, often when the light is flat. I generally combine up to three exposures, reduce the exposure compensation by 1 stop, that’s ideal in the additive mode. In most cases I use my walkabout camera setup, but have been known to try different lenses. (see below)
  • Different lens. I have a range of lenses that offer other creative possibilities. I choose one instead of the 35mm. A 90mm, 12mm, a pinhole, and macro tubes that work really well with the 90mm. In all cases I choose just to take one lens, to attune to how the world appears through that lens. Otherwise I follow the same creative limitations.
  • A new location. Generally, I follow my practice at a park or beach that I can walk to from my house. However, I have lived here a long time, so sometimes its good to go somewhere else, or even somewhere new. Now that’s a treat!
  • Practice with someone else. Occasionally I get to practice with a photography friend. This really helps to help you to consider what it is you’re doing and why you’re doing it. The discussion about approaches, techniques and skills help to deepen knowledge and explore new ideas.
  • Practice a specific genre. Street photography is one that I often return to, probably because I am mainly shooting in nature – it’s a nice antidote. But you could also consider Wildlife, Sports, Portrait or Landscape photography. Still use creative limitations and be aware of your desire to create a ‘good’ photo. It’s a practice. The practice is the thing. Just do it!

The Photos

All the photos attached to this post were created this week following my basic practice in one of my local haunts, Singleton Park, Swansea. I actually finished with 17 photos of which these are my favourites.

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