Letting the Light In

Abalone Shell, Close-up

The camera does it. Your eyes do it. So does your mind. Light. It is the photo in photography. It has many qualities and is incredibly transient. When you hold your camera to your eye, camera, eyes and mind line up, so you want to ensure you understand what’s going on with this axis of light.

First, is your awareness, second is analytical observation, then your intuitive exploration via your changing body position and camera position in relation to your subject. At each stage of preparing for your capture of light your awareness moves from the internalized, even autonomic, lessons learned and stored in your memory, to the prep work of choosing where and when to go to get your shot.

Let’s start with the arrival. You have determined where you want to explore making pictures, the time of day best for being there, and the season and how its colours will work with the light from the sky. You wander a bit until you find something. Set up your tripod. Attach your camera and chosen lens etc.; this part is like a ritual where you go through the motions in a repetitive and rhythmic way; this sets the mind to a meditative state and is a nice transition to opening your mind to the light you hope to receive on one hand, and capture on the other. Of course your subject is important, as is your treatment of it, but we’re focusing mostly on light, both as a real and transient thing but also figuratively in the sense that we also focus on the light that is in our mind, the inner eye that let’s us see into our inner life.

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