When you first approach a subject it can be helpful to take an inventory of all of the components available to you.
At White Sands, New Mexico, I made a short list of all the elements available.
It quickly became clear that I was most interested in the sand dunes.
So I listed all the possible components of sand dunes.
Wind blown sand
Hard pack revealed
Hard pack lines
I quickly had a list of all the essential elements I had to work with.
I could search for one image that had them all.
I could gather one of each to tell a story of the composition of the place.
I could focus on just one element and find many meaningful variations.
I could look for images that had combinations of two (or more) interacting with one another.
Or I could look for them all to build an extended photo essay.
At this point, with so many ideas to pursue, it’s hard to get blocked creatively.
By taking notes, I was sensitized to and more conscious of my subject. I quickly gained many insights into how to best approach the subject, where to go, and when to be there. When you take this approach, you make visual search more efficient and focussed, saving time and energy for depth of perception. Being focussed doesn’t mean you can’t also work intuitively at the same time. There are always many surprises along the way if you just stay open to new discoveries.In fact, being focussed may help you realize more quickly what’s truly new and what’s the same old story. It’s easy to get fixated on a few things and miss other essential elements and creative opportunities.
Making notes on site can really pay off. And this is just one kind of note you can make.
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Find out about my 2010 White Sands Workshop here.