A friend of mine, who’s a professional symphony musician, says this about her craft. If you don’t practice for two days, you notice. If you don’t practice for four days, everybody notices.
This idea is occurring to me as I’m teetering with one foot on a not-so-stable log on a boulder strewn beach, looking for the right relationship between these two shapes and textures beneath me. Every micro adjustment in the viewfinder makes me feel a little different inside, and if I could just get a little more of the light colored shape in the left of the frame to tip a bit more, but to do that I need to hover a couple inches beyond my shaky perch to pull it off, and I’m looking for alternate solutions. I’m also trying not to over think this compositional problem, which is frequently the end of the effort. If it’s coming from the head, the heart has a hard time following. So I keep checking in: how do I feel when I look through the camera? Better? Good. Click.
I make this effort daily. Wherever I am, I work the craft and I post the result on my daily photo blog, Today I Saw, like I have for the past 11 years. This week I’m in an extraordinarily scenic environment, southern Vancouver Island, and I’m a sucker for rocks and trees and water. Trite and well worn this photographic terrain may be, nonetheless, I cut my esthetic teeth on Weston and Strand and White, and I still find personal emotive juice in their groove. I’m not making any profound photographic statements. I’m just chasing photographs where they feel good, to me. It keeps me limber.
The next time I perform on stage, when someone’s paying me to do this work, it’ll be obvious that I haven’t missed the practice.