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on Feb 7, 2011 in Friday Thoughts

No Thoughts?

I’ve had a number of emails of late asking what happened to Friday Thoughts? It’s been quite some time since I’ve added to what I’ve come I find out are an important series to some of you. One writer asked pretty bluntly, “No great thoughts lately?” Ouch! That question had me thinking about this lack of Friday Thoughts and ponder whether I had any thoughts worth putting forth from my experiences. I had to think about the last one I wrote and that would have been for Scott Kelby’s blog at the beginning of the year. So it’s a valid question, this thought process thing so I gave it thought flying up to MT in the hopes that the answer might just give you thought.

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“Why hadn’t I had any Friday thoughts?” Most of my material for these come from my having time to have a clear mind to actually think. Busy is no excuse, just the reality. That time usually comes from when I’m driving alone to some project and I can have conversations in my mind about topics that appear in the emptiness of driving. Well, I’ve not been driving much by myself to project for the last few months because I’ve been so fortunate to have Jake with me (soon coming to an end as he heads back to college). I’ve been so spoiled with him doing the driving so I can read.

Now reading often brings thoughts to mind. I like reading other’s thoughts because that starts a train of my own thoughts as I combine their ideas with my own goals. Of late though, I’ve not done much of what I call “pleasure” reading but rather reading more technical stuff. It’s like reading material for a college class then sitting by a fire with a glass of merlot on a snowy day kind of stuff. So no inspiration is coming from that reading (but I am learning which later will cause hopefully a money making thought).

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But I think this thought stuff is pretty important to us creatives! Why? What is a photograph? In many instances it is a visual expression of our thought at that moment we went click. Our coming to that moment to make that click took some thought. While for many the thinking process is about f/stop, shutter speed and metering, that essential technical we need to write with light, but those favorite images come when the thought goes much deeper. Sharon at times will tell me to get out of the office and go shooting, obviously I’m bouncing off the walls when she says that. My reply quite often is, “My mind is not clear enough.” That’s just another way of my saying that I have too much life on my mind to let go and be a photographer. Just too much thought to operate!

On the flip side, I think out a lot of projects, planning them out in my mind and on paper. I put a lot of thought into some where there is a possibility of some control. And others the thought is no more than the gathering up of the normal gear for a basic project where the possibility of being skunked is just as good as success. This is a very mechanical thought process and I think of it as the same as thinking of f/stop and shutter speed. It’s the technical side of photography.

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Friday Thoughts though are more of the thought process that I feel creative have to think through for the true art of visual communication to come through. This is the process of where you look back at who you are as a person, digest those experience, good or bad that have carved out who you are and then tap into those life moments to make a new one in the form of a photograph. As I like to say, I have more faults then California, some shake up others and some shake up me. No matter which might be the case, with time the scare heals over and new growth comes from the earthquake. That growth is what spurs on my photography. But only when I think about it and make it part of my thought process.

To put this in immediate terms, where am I right now? We’re up in Yellowstone for the 847th time (I’m making that number up). I’ve been in this park during every month of the year and walked, driven and rode over most of the park a couple of times (put never flown over it, hint, hint flyboy!). I’m about to spend two weeks here exploring it, but it’s not truly new to me or my camera. So the thought goes through my mind more than once, “How do I make something new of an “old” place?” I mean some features haven’t changed in some million years yet I’m so incredibly fortunate to be standing in front of them again. How do I take that good fortune, what I’ve learned since last time I was standing in front of them and turn that into a photograph to inspire you? Giving that question thought has given me a headache!

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“I just thought of something!” When I would say that to me dad growing up, he would often come back with, “Did it hurt?” Thinking is something I do a lot but I don’t confuse it with a thought. Ever think of these two as being different? Thinking is a mental process, a thought is a mental process analyzed by the heart. So to answer the original question, I’ve had thoughts but they have been too close to the heart to share in words, but have tried hard to do it in my images.