Friday, August 5, 2011

My Photography Brain

Try not to be all jealous and stuff, but I’ve got quite a few compartments in my brain.

In fact, it is much like a small office building.

Some days, there is nothing better than shutting down the offices that have to do with household affairs, work life, and the rather big one that has the label "Misc" on the door, and going up to the second floor where all the fun stuff happens.

One of my favorite rooms holds my photography brain.

Any photographer can tell you one of the happiest times in life is when you have a camera in hand, lots of time on the clock, and no one nearby jabbering away about anything.

The door to my pops open when I feel the heft of the camera in my hand and out comes the photography brain, like a horse, ready to play, to meander, to run free.

A lot of you out there know exactly what I mean. 7:00pm to you does not mean it’s time to eat. It means it’s the Golden Hour. The birth of a child of a friend is not just a joyous event of welcoming a new life in the world; it’s the opportunity to meet a new, unselfconscious model. Weddings and birthday parties are rich food to the camera that eats it up and wants more.

Even more delicious, though, are the gifts of the everyday world.

A straight line of lawn chairs, the reflection in glass, the chance meeting of the picket fence and a vine, the half-opened flower, the crack in the sidewalk after the rain.

It’s all about capturing details that capture your imagination. It’s about paying homage to the small areas of life that often go unnoticed. It’s a way of slowing down life, of giving meaning and honor to the seemingly simple. It’s honing in, it’s stepping back, it’s standing off to the side, it’s looking at life through a frame that is of your own making.

It’s such a delightful way to view the world. It’s a re-envisioning. It’s a freedom. It’s a creative endeavor.

It’s just plain fun.

How painful it is when the photography brain sneaks out when there is no camera nearby! It can be madness, really, especially when you are in a place you know you will not return to or you witness a convergence of events that will never converge again.

Take for example a day when you are rushing into the hardware store for the simple purchase of a screwdriver. You find it, but on your way to the register, you see a box of nails spilled on the floor, splattered there, the shining points dazzling under the florescent lights. You stand and stare at this impressionistic work of art. It is beautiful. You imagine your camera in your hand, focusing on this dazzling gathering of steel piled on steel.

You think about the different angles from which to shoot it. You get down close to it, look at it from the side, your head resting on the concrete floor. You look up. A concerned couple is asking you if you are all right. No. You think. No, I am not all right because I do not have a camera in my hand and I need one right now.

You rise up off the floor and force your gaze away, only to be immediately fixated by the bright green coils of hoses that seem to rise up to the sky, seeking the light. People begin to move away from you.

The above scenario is exactly why some of my photographer friends never leave home without a camera. In some ways it's like giving the people on the street who talk to themselves old cell phones. It's just easier on everyone.

I know people who do not have photography brains. (Heck, I know a few people who don’t even have a second floor to their brains.) As for me, I am glad to have that compartment. It means I am rarely bored.

One time (and I am not making this up) I sat in a very boring lecture behind a man who had just had scalp surgery. He had a shaven head with large staples forming a line down the side of his head. The angle of the line of metal staples against flesh would have been enough to keep photography brain occupied for about an hour but then !!!BONUS!!! a fly came and balanced itself on one of the staples. It stood like a tiny winged gymnast on one staple then made its way to the next. Can I tell you how I was aching for my macro lens at that point?

All this talk about my photography brain has me ready to take it out for a gallop.

See you all tomorrow when we get to visit another room in my brain.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those of us who are creative totally understand! And too bad you couldn't get a picture of that guy's head.


I have photo's that resemble yours, but I have also got some good ones like you have I'm sure,

Have a great week-end.

joan said...

I totally "get it"! Unfortunately the door is locked and I can't find the freaking keys!

I love the photo of the hose. Who knew?!

Alison said...

Heigh ho, Silver, awaaaaay!

...and I LOVE this whole digital photography thing, because the skinflint in me doesn't have to worry about wasting film or spending money on developing 6 nearly identical shots. I can just click away.

That Janie Girl said...

Love those shots!! And I SO get your photography brain!

Old Kitty said...

I for one am DELIGHTED that you have a huge compartment in your brain labelled "photographer"! Yay!! Take care

Leah J. Utas said...

Yes! That's it. It's awful when you need to have a camera and it's not there with you.

Leanne said...

Sweet sweet Betty . . . I absolutely LOVE your brain. And ALL the rooms that go with it. Love this peek into how your mind works, my friend. LOVE IT!

Teresa Evangeline said...

A big fat YES! I love your shots of the supposed mundane that leap into the beautiful through your loving eye. I try to never leave home without a camera, but sometimes I think, oh, not today, and then I miss That shot. There were some yellow daffodils against a gray abandoned house outside Russellville, Arkansas many years ago.... captured only in my mind. The ones that got away are not men, for me, just photographs. :)

Unknown said...

Seeing beauty where no one else does. That's what makes you a great photographer.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

I, too, have a photography brain, but I realize now (after reading this post) that mine is not fully developed. I do try to have my camera with me at all times, but I sometimes lack the nerve to pull it out and begin snapping images of things like spilled nails on the hardware floor. Must work on that. I think I need to work on that second floor in my brain, too. :)

rainbow said...

When I was in the market for a new phone and realized I found one with a 5 megapixle camera too, of course I said "Sold" it has been great. But I still carry my camera also. If has been a part of me for too long. Sorry to say my photography room in my brain is the biggest room. THANKS FOR SHARING and letting me know I am not the only "Shutter Bug".


rainbow (Momma Lyn)

Unknown said...

Thanks for this insight: it's clearly not the way my brain works, but I so appreciate the work of those whose brains do operate this way!!! I'm a really, REALLY good audience!

Unknown said...

I so wish I could use a camera better than I do. I'm envious of those who can capture just the right moment. So glad to have met you from Lydia Kang's blog!

Lydia Kang said...

I love your photography brain! Your picts are always a treat when I stop by here.

Liz said...

There's no way I would have been able to take my eyes off that line of staples!

I really like the bicycle spokes photo.

Pearl said...

I feel the same way about words. :-)


Talli Roland said...

I'm envious! I wish you had a photo of that scalp surgery!

Unknown said...

Brian, you are truly an artist in every sense of the word!

jenny_o said...

I have a second floor but none of the doors say "photographer". Partly because of the scene you described with your head on the cement floor and the concerned couple, etc. Also because I don't take good pictures :)

But I love yours!

Elizabeth Grimes said...

I am just beginning to identify with some of these things! Learning to love photography more and more. Your photos are always unique and lovely!

Brian (not the cat) said...

My father was a photographer, and I've always loved photography exhibitions and books. There's a little strobe that flashes in my head when I see a really good photograph, and I have to say that that bulb just blazes away like a crowd of paparazzi when I look at your pictures. You really need to get serious and put together an exhibition.

Theresa Milstein said...

How wonderful to hear how a photographer's brain works. While I love taking pictures, I don't reach your passion and eye.

The picture with the spokes is amazing.

The story about the scalp staples has me curious to see what you saw!

Connie said...

I love your photography brain, Betty. :-) I know what you mean about not having a camera with you right when you need it. I have that feeling a lot.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Brian said...

That was such a fun description of your PhotoBrain! It so shows in your beautiful photographs. Unfortunately my biggest compartment is labeled "Distracted"! Have a fun weekend!!!

Marg said...

WE are thrilled that you have Photo brain. We love seeing your pictures. And wouldn't a fly on that guy's head make a great picture. Too bad, no camera. I do the same thing when I am outside with the animals. I see so many opportunities for interesting pictures of the animals and flowers and rainbows etc. Anyway, enjoyed hearing about your brain compartments.

Empty Nester said...

It certainly is most annoying when that part of the brain kicks in and NO CAMERA around! I try to remember to take mine everywhere---but it doesn't happen.

Ms. A said...

My "wanna be" photography brain, can't even decide on a camera. I think I'm down to one room and that one is so cluttered, I have very little access to get in!

4 Lettre Words said...

Fun, indeed! And, I love that bike shot. Too cool!

floweringmama said...

You never cease to inspire!

Sally Wessely said...

I think you have a whole entire compartment in your brain for photography because you took the time to develop what you saw in your mind's eye by using a camera. You have great skill with a camera. None of this would be possible if you had not spent a lot of time developing that compartment.

I love the bicycle shot.

Marlene said...

You definitely have an eye for photography, Miss Betty. Always interesting....your shots!

Chuck said...

Betty I am definitely with you on this one. When the day is overwhelming, I take a minute and walk outside just to compose some photos in my mind of what I see. Were it not for the need to eat and ya know...have shelter, I could spend most days camera in hand, ready for those "not to be missed" oppotunities. And I pity people who don't have a second floor for their brain...or more than one compartment!

Cloudia said...

my brain

likes YOUR brain!

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

Kathleen said...

Well put, my dear! Those times when the camera is not at the ready? I friend encouraged me to take "zen" pictures.

Sueann said...

Oh I have been there!!! So many times!!
I loved this post

Ann said...

I totally understand your photography brain. Love that shot of the bike tire

faye said...

I love this post !!!
My photography brain is working overtime
most days and never gets tired unlike my
'work' brain.

Hope you had a great weekend Betty !!

Hilary said...

Oh I share your photography brain and do try to bring the camera with me most places. As for the ones I miss, I just chalk them up to "mental snapshots."

Sara said...

1. I nearly choked on my soda when I got to the part about the fly.

2. Get yourself a cell phone with a fantastic camera, and you'll never be camera-less again!

3. Speaking of photos, there's a special one on my blog today, just for you... :)

Pat said...

The whole time I am reading this I am saying, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

I hear ya, sista!

I have a Nikon D40, which is kind of clunky but I have been known to shove it in my purse.

I am determined to get a small camera to have on me AT ALL TIMES!!

I HATE missed photo ops!

Baby Sister said...

Yet again, another part of my brain that wants to be revisited. I'm not nearly as good as I would like to be, but I still love taking pictures. Those of us who have second levels to our brains are very lucky, in my opinion. :)