Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Focus, Literal to Focus, Figuratively

Someone on a CBC radio morning show recently waxed rhapsodic about Kodak -- in particular, about the power of having one's own camera as a youngster. You're no longer captive to the grown-ups posing everybody in neat rows, to their exhortations to "Stand still! Look like you're having fun!"

I've also found a camera to be a powerful tool -- again, as with zentangles, not for the product itself so much as for the process of taking pictures.

For example: now. I’ve been home for a month. I’m addressing the things I didn’t want to do, which I conveniently put off until “after I don’t have to be available to my brother,” by attacking them 25 minutes at a time. For me, it’s really working.

However, that leaves the multitude of things I *could* do, some of which I also *should* do. But which ones? How much new work do I look for when current clients continue to say they need me at *this time* but then their schedules slip or they go on vacation? Which of the many revisions I *could* be doing is the one I *should* be doing? And which of the new project ideas is the best one to start?

I can get myself quivering like a hummingbird.

Taking pictures calms me and lets me focus. It helps me figure out what’s important. All I have to do is walk out the front door and look down. Or up. Of course, that leads to shots like this.



Or as my husband calls them, “Here’s one you took” shots. Yeah, I like them.

But it's process, not product. When I look -- really look -- around me at the world, my quivering stills. When I amble (winter: slip and slide) down the path toward the water, looking up at the trees, examining the moss on the rocks, listening for ravens or eagles, I am there, doing that thing. When I go back to my work area, I often have answers. If not, I have new insights -- one of which may be that I don’t have to make that decision at this very instant.

It’s not a perfect system, of course. Sometimes I come back and nothing much, internal or external, has changed. But at least I’ve had a few minutes of peace.

Also, I have a whack-load of photos, many of which are out of focus or poorly composed or badly lit. Lots of shots of the ground. Many shots of "where the loons just were." But hey, deleting them is what Photo Friday is for, right?