Zen Photography

Photography as a Form of Meditation

 

As much as I love running workshops and sharing my knowledge of photography with others, there is something special – almost therapeutic, about getting some alone time with the camera. There are times when everyday life can get a little stressful and just a bit overwhelming. Certainly 2020 and all the issues and restrictions revolving around Covid aren’t making things any easier. 

Stress is inevitable, especially with today’s hectic pace of life and quite simply, stress sucks! It can zap your energy, drain your motivation and leave you totally worn out from the day to day grind. Photography to the rescue!

Being Present in the Moment

Having a hobby that helps you to escape the stress of life’s everyday challenges is good for the soul. Photography can be Zen like, a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind.  Photography forces you to clear your mind and focus on the present, helping you to clear the clutter of everything else that is dancing around in your head. Photography can be viewed as a form of meditation. In traditional meditation you focus on your breathing in an effort to clear your mind of all other thoughts and distractions. In photography, breathing is replaced with the act of composing the image in the view finder. That moment, just before you press the shutter button, you are in the present.

Jen Johnson – a Mindfulness Coach (jenjohnson.com) describes it perfectly; “Photography meditation is a practice of being present with what is right in front of you in the moment, being still with yourself, and making a connection with the object or subject that has deeply moved you enough to want to photograph it”. 

We aren’t simply talking about a state of calmness as photography most certainly has moments of intensity, as the bird you have been wanting to photograph briefly perches directly in front of you, or as the perfect sunrise begins to unfold in front of you. It’s about being present in the now – being aware and mindful of what’s happening a the very moment you are composing the image. In that moment you are not distracted by thought of the past, bills that need to be paid or worries about what may occur in the future – you are simply focused on the here and now.

 

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity and without judgment. So how do we incorporate mindfulness into our photography? The next time you arrive at the location you are wanting to photograph, spend 5 to 10 minutes just immersing yourself in the surroundings of the location. Take a moment to just stand there and evaluate the light, study the shadows, breathe in the air. Focus on the sounds of the area, the waves on the beach, the birds singing their morning song or maybe the sounds of the city if you’re planning a day of streetscape photography. Now you are in the moment, you can unleash your creativity.

Zen Editing

How often when you sit down to edit your images do you find that you lose track of time, briefly forgetting everything around you as you get so caught up in the editing of the images you captured earlier? This is another example of mindfulness as part of your photography. Losing yourself to your creativity as you develop your raw images into beautiful works of art. At the end of it all you’ve had a momentary escape from the hustle and bustle of life and hopefully a few lovely images to sit back and admire.

In the end, all that is required is your camera and the practice of allowing yourself to be present in the moment, allowing your creativity to truly shine – this is Zen.

 

 

Looking for a bit of motivation to get your project underway? Here are some up-coming Photography workshops you may find valuable:

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  • Fri. 27th & Sat 28th Nov 2020 - Harrington Park
    Bird Photography Workshop

    Bird Photography Workshop

    Bird Photography is intensely satisfying. First there is the joy of simply being outside, in nature and amongst the birds. Then, there is the satisfaction of viewing your images and creating your own piece of art. 

    We are fortunate in that Australia is home to some of the world's most iconic birds with almost 900 species on offer, many of which are found nowhere else on the planet. The variety of species ranges from small birds such as the tiny Weebill, to the larger birds of prey such as the Wedge-tailed Eagle and the well recognised Emu. 

    The Bird Photography Workshop, held over two sessions, is perfect for beginning to intermediate photographers wanting to learn more about their cameras and for gaining a good understanding of the principles and techniques involved in bird photography.

    We cover the techniques to get the most out of your camera and tips on bird behaviour that will improve your chances of taking images that you'll be proud of. In addition, we will cover some of the essential post processing techniques for bringing your beautiful bird images to life. 
    $190

    Bird Photography Workshop

    $190
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  • Fri 12th March - Sun 14th Mar 2021 - Merry Beach
    Mastering Exposure & Focus- Merry Beach

    Mastering Exposure & Focus- Merry Beach


    Join us for a weekend in picturesque Merry Beach as we explore the essential skills and knowledge to create compelling images and use the surrounding coastline, and the abundance of Kangaroos and Rainbow Lorikeets as our subjects.

    Whether you're new to photography or an experienced photographer looking to consolidate your knowledge, this weekend workshop will assist you in understanding the key elements of successful photography.

    The workshop and accomodation is in the Merry Beach Caravan Park. Accomodation is not included in the workshop price.

    *Please Do Not book your accomodation until you have received confirmation that the minimum number of bookings have been met.
    $295

    Mastering Exposure & Focus- Merry Beach

    $295
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  • Thur 29th Apr - Sun 2nd May 2021 - Narooma
    Seascape Photography - Narooma

    Seascape Photography - Narooma

    Friday 13th Mar - Monday 16th Mar. 2020

    Take a break from the normal daily hustle and bustle, grab your camera and escape to the picturesque South Coast town of Narooma for four days of amazing Seascape Photography

    We will visit some spectacular coastal locations where you’ll get guided instruction on photographing seascapes that are both breathtaking and exciting to look at.

    The workshop and accomodation is in the Narooma Holiday Park

    *Please Do Not book your accomodation until you have received confirmation that the minimum number of bookings have been met.
    $395

    Seascape Photography - Narooma

    $395
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  • Thur 9th Sep - Sun 12th Sept. 2021 - Capertee Valley
    Bird Photography - Capertee Valley

    Bird Photography - Capertee Valley

    Spend three and a half marvellous days immersed in Bird Photography as we explore the Capertee Valley.

    Capertee Valley is recognised internationally as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and one of the top 50 Bird Watching places in the world. Home to around 242 species including the Regent Honeyeater, Painted Honeyeater, acred Kingfisher and the Turquoise Parrot to name just a few.

    Our 3 1/2-day workshop will focus on visiting the spots designated as the Capertee Valley Bird Trail.
    Our accomodation will be based in Kandos.

    *Please Do Not book your accomodation until you have received confirmation that the minimum number of bookings have been met.
    $395

    Bird Photography - Capertee Valley

    $395
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Brian Bird
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