Last week I made a short trip to Salzburg and, because I wanted to travel light, I took with me only the 50mm lens. Somehow by the time I got there, I completely forgot what gear I had and when ready to take a few landscape photos… of course surprise! It didn’t work as expected (usually I take landscape photos with the 18-55mm). I got a bit frustrated, but this mistake made me realised a few things in and outside of the photography framework:
1. Notice your habits and break them once in a while.
It seems I’ve created some habits that I wasn’t even aware I had – same motifs that I constantly repeat in my photos: long streets, panoramas, markets, buildings. Having formed such habits, it means that you have created a structured way of tackling a new place from the photographic perspective. And, of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing. When you are out of ideas, you can always just activate this pattern. The down side, though, is if you are constantly working this way, you might leave out some unexplored places.
How to get out of your routine? Pick a theme or focus on a certain element during your photo-exploration. It can be people, colours or maybe something more abstract such movements, light/shadow, dimensions etc.
But don’t chose your theme before starting your photo-exploration. Let the place pick the theme for you. Just observe the environment, enjoy it first and then take your camera out of the bag. Otherwise, you might miss the fresh vibe of the place.
2. Use your tools for what they are built.
Or the opposite don’t try to transform them in something they are not. With this I don’t mean don’t use your tools creatively, but rather know them first and use them at their full potential.
It wasn’t easy to break my habits and somehow I was falling back and had the tendency to shoot buildings or bridges and even to start thinking at strategies to get somehow a panorama pic. All this when it would have been easier to take close-ups or maybe portraits as this lens can do best.
And I couldn’t help notice a third point:
3. Real change doesn’t happen if you only change the tools you are working with. It happens if you also change the way you use them.
These observations work in the context of the everyday life as well. Just replace the word lens with point of view or personal filter and here you go. In translation this means: observe your thinking stereotypes and loose them once in a while. Your patterns of thinking might not work outside the walls of your home. Challenge them when you meet new people, visit new places or even when catch-up with old friends. Changes can happen: better understanding, deeper bonding, greater exchanges.
This reminds me also of Einstein’s quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Photos to follow.