What is one thing you take with you nearly everywhere? For me, it’s my camera and hand sanitizer. Ok, that’s two things, but I have one of those little sanitizers in the jelly wrap carrier attached to my camera bag so technically it’s one thing. Right?
Since I started practicing mindfulness photography, I see beauty in some of the most ordinary places. If I’m inspired to photograph a subject, I want to have my camera within arm’s reach. I’ve taken some of my best shots during these unplanned moments.
I am a Project Manager by day which means I manage timelines, budgets, deliverables, risks and expectations as my core job. That’s a lot of mental work! Photography is a creative outlet that allows me to put hurriedness and stress aside, to focus a few minutes (sometimes more) on something that nourishes my spirit and brings me joy. Once I have this meditative time with my camera, I am recharged to hustle a little while longer. But when I am behind the lens, it’s all about me and the present moment – not work, home, dinner, errands, or anything else vying for my attention.
If you are looking for a reason to never leave home without your camera, here are a few:
- Be prepared when opportunity knocks.
How many times has something caught your eye and you wished for your camera to take a picture of it? Yeah, you may have had your mobile phone with you, but you really wished you had your good camera. That used to happen to me – all the time! Like they say, “hindsight is 20/20”, so there may be other things I regret about not getting a good shot, but it sure isn’t because I don’t have my camera with me. I have a small Ona messenger bag that is just big enough for my Nikon D5500 body, one lens and a few accessories like a cleaning cloth, battery charger and lens cap.
2. Take a mental break at any time
Stress seems to be a normal part of everyday life for many of us. Hurrying to get things done, rushing to get somewhere or anxious about something we think MAY happen – sorta sums up how I feel most of the time. When I am feeling overwhelmed, I can pull out my camera and flip through a few images I’ve taken or time permitting, walk outside for a brief photo walk. Being outdoors and away from my computer screen does wonders for my mental health. In as little as ten minutes, I can enjoy a mental detox and return to work rejuvenated and ready to do more mental heavy lifting.
3. Learn to see clearly
Leaning into photography has helped me learn to see clearly. By leaning in, I mean surrendering to what I see without adding preconceived ideas or learned perceptions about my subject. I don’t pass on shooting a subject because I think it is ugly or that the image may not get many likes on Instagram. I simply shoot subjects that connect with me. When I shoot without judgement, I create with authenticity and reveal the natural truth of my subjects.
You bought your DSLR camera to use it, right? But, you can’t use it if it is in your closet. So the next time you head out the door, make sure your camera goes with you!