Myself and I’m sure every other artist out there has had periods where motivation and passion seem hard to find. These are the days spent out in the field where no matter the conditions or light nothing seems to “click”. I can’t count the number of times that I would set out on a photography excursion only to come home empty handed, being frustrated at myself for not being able to get the “shot”. What I didn’t realize is that by pressuring myself to come home with a “stunning” image to please the masses I was dis-connecting my mind and soul from nature.
Over the course of the past year I have learned a lot about photography, but more importantly a lot about myself. Just the other day I was thinking about what initially attracted me to landscape photography. I’ve always had a strong passion for nature and the outdoors. I spent a large portion of my child hood at the family cottage rummaging through the forest with my older brother, climbing trees and rocks and doing all the normal kid stuff. When I got my first camera it only seemed natural to photograph the world I grew up in. When I first started out I would go down to the lake for sunset whenever there was a dramatic sky, shoot countless long exposures well into the twilight hours and then get home and instantly process the images. I was fascinated by the strong colours and surreal scenes that I was creating and was excited to get back out as soon as I could. Not to long after though, these scenes started to become repetitive and I no longer got the same satisfaction from them, they would lose interest rather quickly. The following few months I really struggled to find the same passion that I had when I started. I would constantly seek the same conditions and light and then when I couldn’t create an image I was happy with I would sit there confused and unmotivated.
Solitude – Muskoka, Ontario
As time went on I started to realize that I wasn’t creating these images true to myself but more so in hopes to please anyone who looked at them. I would only deem scenes of grand vista’s and light acceptable to photograph, when really I was missing out on another whole side of things. I started to study other Artist’s work and writings who I looked up to and from this began to understand the importance of exploring scenes and taking the time to focus on the feelings and message that I wanted to get across to my viewers. Slowly over time I started to see and create images at locations I had previously struggled at. I learned that the exposed roots on the forest floor or the Granite peaking out of the hillside are just as beautiful as the grand vistas. I needed to infuse these passionate feelings that I had, no matter what the location was, into my images to really define my personal style.
The image below is one from last fall that I just processed the other day. I was visiting a small cascade in the forest that I have been to many times. When I arrived I had planned to create some images of the cascade, but after sitting there studying the landscape I realized that the moss covered rock set as a backdrop to the falls was equally as interesting. The fine texture and shapes created by the rocks as well as the moss carpeting select sections of the image was extremely pleasing, I could stare at it for hours exploring everything it had to offer.
To this day I still have many occasions where I will come back from a shoot empty handed, but I now approach these situations in a whole different mindset. Gone are the days of getting frustrated. Now, if something isn’t working for me in the field I simply put away my camera gear and take in everything around me, reminding myself how fortunate I am for all the things that are easily over looked in life.
I’m a professional landscape photographer and workshop leader based out of Muskoka, Ontario. My goal is to inspire and educate others artistically, creatively and emotionally through images, workshops and writings. I believe that individuality is the most important part of the photographic process therefore I strive to helps others develop their own unique creative voice.
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