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Sunday, 24 August 2008

Twenty Minutes

I have been watching some of the Olympic coverage this week. So much preparation goes into just a few minutes of performance. You can see the pressure and tension on the faces of the athletes. Now those of you that know me well, know that I’m no athlete! But you can make comparisons to photography and sport.
This summer I spent much of my time in the canoe. Lori and I traveled extensively in Ontario and we covered a lot of ground. This has been a particularly challenging year for me personally and professionally. My tank was completely empty, both physically and mentally. Having the time to canoe through the Canadian wilderness for a few weeks has restored my balance and much improved my frame of mind. I didn’t have the constant pressure of driving long distances for days on end. I let go, I didn’t push. Just paddled, read, swam and when the light was too good to ignore, I took photographs.
Was it my most productive year for images? No, not even close. But like the Olympic athletes, this is a physical and mental game. Sometimes you need to just let it go, don’t try so hard. Think, dream and wait for it.Nearing the end of our travels this summer, Lori and I found ourselves camped on a beach at the edge of Lake Manitou in the north west end of Algonquin Provincial Park. We spent a week in the park mid August. I didn’t shoot much but on the 5th day, we had a storm. After it cleared we crawled out of the tent, went for a swim, and then played cards on the beach. The light started to look sweet and when I could no longer stand it, I got my camera out. I shot as it changed. After the sun set, the light and clouds and reflections were still spectacular. I did what I have trained myself to do. I didn’t have to think about it. It’s just a reaction to the light. My equipment becomes an extension of my body. My movements are smooth and concise. I have an explosion of action. In 20 minutes it’s all over and I’m left with a feeling of joy and contentment.
Sometimes we have to let go of what we love to do. It will always come back if you let it. Sometimes we hold on too much, we try too hard. We push ourselves. Nothing is fun anymore and we loose our purpose.

For 20 minutes this summer, I was in my zone.



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