Mindful Photography

I don't know about you but there's nothing I love more than putting on my leggings, a warm jacket and going out amongst the trees with my camera in hand.(Well apart from maybe doing a spot of yoga along the way!)

I can walk two steps and I see a picture-worthy scene in front of me. To be fair, this happens every step I take due to my love for all things nature which arguably is a good thing because the Earth is a beautiful place but it does also make me want to capture everything, I'm therefore a nightmare to walk anywhere with if you're wanting to get somewhere quick that happens to be the other side of a group of trees.

I recently went to Wynyard Hall to a Christmas Fayre with my family and obviously I was more excited about walking outside in the gardens. At one point my sister was getting all excited about sitting in a new fancy car, talking about it's stats etc, whilst I believe I uttered "oooh look at that tree," getting my camera out ready to take a picture of it. But that's just me, I see more beauty in nature than any man-made product. However, a camera is a pretty good man-made product for allowing us to capture the beauty in certain moments. 

In the past year, I've become so grounded and connected with the Earth that my love for nature has grown massively, so when I recently got my camera back out again I relit that spark of passion for the hobby. This time, the eye behind the lens was different. I looked at the world differently which brought a different angle to my photography. I wanted to capture the beauty in the world, I wanted to share the aesthetic pleasures I found. Beauty is everywhere. The more you look the more you find it!

Taking a picture, we bring ourselves to the here and now. We focus (pun intended) on what we can see through the lens.We're focusing on the present moment and that reminds us that the present moment is all we have. We take the time to ensure we have a good composition, and we can then capture that moment forever. In mindfulness, the more you are in the present moment, the more awakened and aware you are, like photography, the more you look at a picture you become more aware of the objects in it. There's such an obvious link between the two I don't know how I haven't noticed before.

As well, through photographing this way, I've learnt to take whatever picture I want, I don't take them for others, I take what I see and what appeals to me at that time. I don't like to rush either, I like to think and contemplate my surroundings when I see these scenes before me. Say I'm taking a picture of particular objects, I like to consider all the efforts gone in to each object in the picture. I do believe a picture can say a thousand words too, if you allow your mind time to consider.

Through mindful photography I align my eye and mind. I come back to the present moment and see things as they are.
Here are a few tips on how you can start being more mindful when photographing.

1. Go out for a walk.
2. Take a camera. You could use your phone but just try not to use it for any other reason than taking a picture, don't get distracted by those notifications. Maybe go on airplane mode.
3. Notice your surroundings. Take a deep breath in and let your senses do the work. Feel the warmth in the sun shining on your face, feel the wind brushing against your cheek, smell the woody earth and listen to the trickle of a waterfall nearby.
4. Just be where you are. Reconnect with nature.
5. If you see something you like or you might even just feel good in that specific moment, just take a picture because then looking back at that photo there'll be a meaning behind it. You'll remember it more because you were actually there and aware.
6. Take as long as you need. Take time to take it all in. Really come into the present and consider the life in front of you.
7. Make patterns or symmetry, go for any composition that pleases you.
8. Just do what feels best for you and don't worry what you look like when you're lying on a picnic table taking a picture upwards of the trees hanging over...

I've just set up a 500px account too, which I plan to put my photos on to, take a look

Lucy Steel

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