What I saw, this time.



Roxbury revisited, Roxbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

While I can understand the fun and excitement of the chance to photograph in new and different locations, there is a great deal of satisfaction in living and photographing in an area for an extended period of time. Granted, there are times when I start to feel as though there can’t be anything I haven’t seen and photographed already, but I know now that if I keep my eyes (and mind) open and a camera handy, I’ll be rewarded. It is a mental thing, maybe a bit like the long distance runner, who knows that if he pushes through “the Wall” of endurance, another phase of mind over matter (and pain) kicks in. So far this hasn’t failed, and I know that it’s just a matter of patience. At least in photography there is rarely physical pain involved! The reward is a better understanding and appreciation of where I live and nature’s endless variety.

I have passed this place more times than I can recall, hundreds certainly, but I had never seen it as I saw it today. It was partly the light, and partly the clearing fog, but more than that it was that I was mentally ready to see this image today. We talk a lot about being in the right place at the right time to make a photograph, but I don’t think we recognize that a very real part of it is being ready mentally, and spiritually if you like, to truely see what is before us. It has taken me far longer than it should have to learn that so little of photography is about photography. That is the sad thing about those who get bogged down in the technical aspects and gear. They miss so much. In Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence, he quotes the first line of the English translation of the Chinese instructions for assembling a bicycle, “First be sure your mind is right”, not get all the necessary tools together. Following those instructions, many of us would have saved a lot of money not buying cameras and lenses, and a great number would never have taken up photography in the first place.

Olympus OMD EM5 with 20mm f1.7 lens, processed on my iPad Air using Nik Snapseed and Stackables.


6 comments on “What I saw, this time.

  1. rblackcat13 says:

    I have been following your blog for a while now, I started cuz our last names the same & you look so much like my Daddy, but anyway back to the pic, there are many many pix that are absolutely amazing but this is one of the many that are gorgeous in it’s simplicity & just natural beauty I love it!!!
    Thanks for sharing your pix & blog

    Liked by 1 person

  2. csyoungjr says:

    Great photo & thoughtful commentary. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for your feedback. I’m pretty sure you are the first person EVER to ascribe anything like wisdom to me. You obviously have great taste!


  4. JohnAmes says:

    “so little of photography is about photography” is the photography insight that we all need to have. Fine post!


    • Thank you John. Since writing that line I have begun to question whether it was an original thought of mine or whether it floated up to the surface from the deep pool of stuff I’ve read on photography over the years. If I have “borrowed” it, it was an innocent mistake and I would be happy to credit the originator, if it wasn’t me. If you or anyone else can name the person I’d like to give credit where it’s due. Of course it is possible it was me as it is just vague enough to be something I would write! At least with you I have a strong suspicion you know exactly what I mean.
      As always, thanks for your time and attention. We will have to get together sometime and it better be soon. Neither of us are getting any younger.


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