The Wonder Years
Lately I have been dealing with a person who only does things because he can. Never could I imagine that this person would give a second thought as to why something needs to be done or even if it should be done. “I can do it, I want to do it, so it has to be done” is the attitude. After too many times of asking myself “why do such things” I have now become indifferent to anything produced by that individual. Working without purpose is at best a hit and miss affair, rarely addressing the issues of the day and I find it rather uninspiring in most cases. Reality is that the “because I can” mindset simply boils down to a “look what I can do” grab for attention. Kind of immature I think.
Seeing this day in and day out has led me to look at my own purpose in Avian photography. One of the things I have been doing is review my intentions before every shoot. When I get in the truck I always run my mental check list. “What is my purpose-why am I going out today? What am I trying to accomplish, what can I reasonably expect to achieve, and what are my wildest expectations? I answer all those questions before I start the engine. Coincidentally, that little exercise always puts me in a very good mood and helps me stay focused on the task of the day. I have a number of long term projects that make it a lot easier to shoot with purpose and there is always a need somewhere for a really good image. As I get a little older and wiser I also at times take a moment to ponder the purpose of each image I make. No small task because it is easy to get caught up in the moment but taking the time to think about the reason why and the place each shot will hold is invaluable.
My advice to anyone wanting to examine their purpose for making photographs is to drill down beyond the usual reasons. It is all very nice to think purpose is because of the love of the game or because I really really like Bald Eagles but try to hone in on those things that are meaningfull to you. It could be something like wanting to do a picture book about Raptors of the West Coast or maybe just birds in flight carrying prey. What ever that is get down to the nitty gritty and make that your purpose.
The moral of the story is have a reason to shoot. Having purpose leads to better vision and drive. In the coming weeks I will share with you my take on vision and drive too.
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