12222009 MG 2676

© Brad Mangas

I shared this image along with a small explanation last night on the NPN Central States Forum. I did so without any forethought of what or why.

I stated how I was out attempting to capture the sunset but the western sky was full of contrails. And as I more and more find myself out taking pictures, when what I was after is not present, I just shoot what I have. In this case instead of the winter sunset over the lake, a contrail. Quite a difference huh. The shoot was unexpected the subject was unexpected and the processing of this image was unexpected. In a nutshell I preformed a few steps I normally don’t do or even consider.  Converted to black and white, added noise to it, which is just almost unheard of for a photographer of fine art nature and landscape endeavors, and put a funky frame around it. And what I ended up with is something I rather like.

What made me do all the unexpected things?  In the past I use to just get frustrated and try to force a shot of the sunset maybe from a different angle or maybe with plans to just clone out the contrails. And them more than likely be totally disappointed with the results because they were not what I wanted.  But I found myself immediately interested in shooting the simple contrail in the sky. I’m there to take pictures, to borrow a phrase from my very own statement page, to capture the world I live in at that very moment. That’s what photography is. And is becoming more and more so for me.

Vision, a subject high on the hill for photographers. To visualize a scene, to know in your mind what it is you want to create when you trip the shutter.  Does one have to have a preconceived idea and work on creating that image in a photograph? That’s a very common approach and one that is absolutely necessary for a photographer. I leave the house all the time with an idea of what I want to find and capture, to visualize. But what if you are unable to find what you have visualized do you still have vision? Or do you just retreat to the fact that what you had in mind isn’t going to happen today and go home.

How does one grow in any art form if they don’t expand what they do and reach out to something new. I don’t believe you can.  Vision doesn’t have to come before taking a picture, it could just as easily come during or even after taking a picture. So I think the moral to that little sentence is, take pictures and look at them. Don’t wait for that just-right preconceived image you had in your mind to come to you. Sure there are basic rules of good photography that more than likely need to be adhered to. But what are you missing while your standing around waiting for just the right moment?

I recently read the “Inspired Eye” by David duChemin and highly recommend his work, and a sentence stood out to me that makes perfect since.  “If I’ve learned anything about the nature of so-called inspiration, it’s that it is, more often than not, something that comes as a result of work and not a precursor to it”. Wow, so I’m not alone in this wondering around struggle of what do I need to do to become inspired? Inspired in a way that creates vision. Or opportunity for growth. I need to work. Not stand around waiting for just the right moment to come to me. I have to create it. Slowly, consciously, work at what I want to become. No miracle, not that I would mind one. Just persistence and work.

I write this post knowing that not only do I need to continue work in my photography, but also my writings. But I can’t just set around waiting for the flash of inspiration to come to me before I attempt to put words down. So I will work at it. Continue to work and grow towards the objective. What is the objective? When I find out how to describe it I will let you know.