For the last few weeks my grand total photos taken with my DSLR can be summed up with a very low number. In fact it can’t get any lower without going into negatives. That may sound rather ominous for someone into photography to not shoot photos, but it actually isn’t ominous or alarming at all. Quite the contrary in fact!
For some time I’ve felt like I shoot the same things, over and over and over. I walk the same streets, shooting many of the same scenes I’ve shot before and that gets rather...tedious is probably the best word for it. So, during my recent visit to Austin to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with my very favorite redhead in the world my DSLR didn’t even leave the backpack. I carried it there, across seven time zones, but it never saw the light of day there. Weird you might say, and perhaps I would have agreed with you had this been about a year ago, but today I think that was a good thing.
Instead of being “hidden” behind a big, bulky black piece of electronics and optics I experienced things “live” this time around. My girlfriend has suggested many times I ought to be in the moment more, rather than take photos of everything and everyone, and I agree with her on that. At least partially! In some locations and situations I most definitely will be snapping away, but in the future I think I’ll be trying to experience things directly more.
I’ve got a very clear example from the trip that illustrates this adjusted way of thinking. My flight home out of the U.S. was from Newark, New Jersey and as the plane ascended into the clear night sky with a full moon I was rewarded with an absolutely brilliant view of Manhattan on my right. If it had been my “old self” seeing that I would have tried to stick my DSLR with its rather big lense close to the airplane window and I would have been frustrated at not being able to take as awesome a picture as the sight was to my eyes and brain. Now though I could marvel at all the tall buildings (I got to see the new World Trade Center with the brightly illuminated spire), all the lights from Times Square that must be almost blinding at street level, the circular Madison Square Garden which looked like a hockey puck down there and the reflections of the moon in the ponds and water bodies of Central Park.
In hindsight I was glad I didn’t have a camera nearby, because I would have been too busy trying to get as good pictures as possible to enjoy the sights! That could be another New Year’s “resolution”, along with using whatever camera I’ve got around like I wrote in my last blog post, to NOT take pictures all the time! It might seem an odd idea for a photography inclined person, but I think I’ll enjoy this approach this year; to be more thoughtful with what pictures I take, where I take them and what pictures to keep of the ones I do take!
And just as I wrote the first paragraphs of this blog post I saw a link on Gizmodo.com to some pictures that Vincent Laforet took from a helicopter at night, high over New York City which made me go: “Yes! That’s what I saw!”. So I am linking to that gallery right here, so you can get a hunch of what I saw and made me marvel at the views!.