The day of photography that generated no photos.

Last week, I walked from Jay Street in Brooklyn, to Grand Central Station, Manhattan, an estimated 4.5 miles of New York City street walking.

My day was a great walking day, cool temperatures, bright blue skies and a desire to capture, make some art using as my main light stealing  (borrowing) device the L16 (#capturedbylight). The problem was by the end of the walk, I had taken no photographs. Am I disappointed, no, annoyed, no, it seems to be a day when my desires did not match my creative, visual expectations?

 I viewed many possible images, but nothing activated my mind to connect to my index finger and click the shutter. I had planned to walk up-town via Chinatown and did by zig and zagging on the east side of the greatest city in the world until I reach Grand Central Terminal to take the train home.

 Little excited me, the hordes of people, the crazy traffic patterns of the city, a fire department racing to and then setting up to fight a fire from the street on Broadway, and of course more – New York City always offers more. But this day was not my day.

 Why, I really don’t know (I actually do) and in many ways I don’t care, since my regular NYC walks have provided me with a life time of potential images to work with. From reflections, to puddles, to the subway, street trash, museums, parks, streets etc., and etc.

My photographic walk was a walk, why, well there seems to be some reasoning for this lack of creative expression.

First, I was not at peace with myself, I seemed to be distracted and unfocused on my prime objective – to create images, visually this just did not happen for me. I was far from being hyper-focused, a violation of one of my 3 personal rules of photography.

Secondly, New York City felt different to me, the city that does not sleep seemed to be to be asleep. Even, one of my most favorite walks EVER, my walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, was mundane, pedantic and in some ways offensive. The people, mostly tourists, seem to be not part of the scenery but disruptive to this iconic image of the “city”. Normally the people are part of the image, this time they intruded, invaded my vision and due to my own issues contributed to me not creating images!

 

Lastly, my goal was to “do” Chinatown and I was so excited to get to the destination, I may have alienated my creative vision with the anticipation to arrive in the area of choice. I was so caught up in the destination, that I forgot or ignored the journey. I also was expecting (unrealistic) a different Chinatown, a Chinatown that no longer exists.

 What does this have to do with you, little I guess, but I never have only perfect photographic days, do you? I once thought I did but in the end, those images, taken on a day when I was out of the balance with light, are not attractive, hold no interest, I now find them boring and are overall disappointing.

Light to me is on a basic level ROGBIV, B&W, plus T, yesterday the “T” was missing.

So, what did I learn for this non-day of photography, well life is a learning experience, I should not limit myself (I should have had my Monochrom with me, for I did see many B&W images)? I need to be free as the wind in my creative desires and allow the light to guide me to the subject that will allow me to press the shutter at the correct moment in time. That moment when light and subject are in perfect harmony. A perfect triad of light, subject and me.

 Borrowing light, for future memories,

 

Thad

 

PS: This gets weird, when I left my house, my Monochrom called out to me and said, take me, take me and I did not, when I returned home my Monochrom said, you should have taken me and yes I answered I should have.

 

 

 

Hyper-focus - Photography and Sailing

Hyper-focus - Photography and Sailing – March 2019 Blog entry

Thaddeus B. Kubis

Photographer, U.S.C.G Master/Captain – Shardana Sailing Charters

I need to hyper focus, meaning I need to stay closely focused on any task to, ensure that I fulfill the assigned task the best that I can. Sailing and photography (drawing as well) are my main tools to use this intense form of mental concentration, concentration that allows me to fully be in touch with my consciousness and convert an everyday experience into a memorable adventure, a positive addition to add to my story.

Recently, I presented a seminar for Shardana Sailing Charters and Osprey Point Inn on smartphone/tablet photography, the reviews and comments were all very positive, which makes me feel good, but I also realized that part of my “presentation skill set” is hyper-focusing on the task at hand. The audience was there in front of me, but also was a part of me and my presentation. I was so intent on presenting the message “Smartphone Photography for the Sailor” that I went beyond the scope of presenting and become THE audience as well.

For me and perhaps for you great photos are composed in part by the photographer’s technical skill, equipment, creative vision and certainly for me “hyper-focusing” on the subject. The Zen term is being one with the task at hand. Some photographers use the term pre-visualizing and sailors use the term “in the groove” to define hyper-focusing.

Stop taking photos and start creating art!

New to hyper-focusing?

Taking pictures is easy, you see something you like, raise the camera, smartphone or tablet and click the shutter. Creating art takes a few more steps and those steps include being aware of the light that paints the subject and the light is for many the “thing” that makes the image the image. Think about a scene or subject in the shadow, in the bright sun or in a muted lighting situation, the dynamics of the image change based on the lighting. The same is true with sailing, sailing in a light to moderate breeze has multiple levels of success, the force of the wind, the size of the boat and your skill set or that of your Captain/crew add to or take away from your experience – your story! When you are comfortable with your sailing skill set, you can sail in an intense wind. When you are comfortable with the boat, you can tack, gybe with ease and enjoy a greater level of the sailing experience. Part of your skill set, and comfort level is being able to concentrate (hyper-focus) on the task at hand, that is what I do when I teach sailing, Captain a Shardana charter, or take a photograph. I place myself (not lose myself) in the situation. Being hyper-focused makes any task easier, it removes the hard edge, the block that often is a key component, a restriction of any new or repetitive task. Hyper-focusing also reduces and in many cases removes the fear factor from the action you are undertaking.

Hyper focusing tips when:

Creating/visualizing an artful image               Sailing/Chartering a Sailboat

1)    Be aware of the light                          1) Be aware of the conditions

2)    Understand the scene                        2) Understand your skill set/comfort level

3)    Pre-visualize the image                      3) Define the charter or sail

4)    Think of the viewer                             4) Be involved at level that is acceptable to you

5)    What is YOUR end result?                  5) Did the event add to your life’s story?

Simple, yes, simple for all, be aware of the situation, often called “situational awareness” – danger lurks in the shadows and on the horizon. Define your goals and objectives, know your limits and your skill set, finally define the purpose of your adventure, be ready to learn, expand your skill set and yes have fun. Hyper-focus on the situation, your situation and be ready for a great experience.

When I Captain a charter or teach photography, I attempt to allow all, the crew or the students to be aware of the points listed above. I personally get involved, allow the photographer or crew to take the wheel, create an image and discuss what happened, good or bad. But I also ask that they look beyond the task at hand and become the task at hand, closing their mind to the many distractions (for your safety, always being aware of your situation) that life brings and hyper-focus on your goal, action or objective.

Sailing and photography are more to me than just a thing to do, they are a deeply rooted, visceral, instinctive action, THE thing to do, that gets better when I add hyper-focusing to the equation. I am often one with the subject or scene or the wind, boat, water and I am better for that, as will you.

Need to “feel” more, talk about hyper-focusing, photography or sailing, email me at thad@tbkphotos.com and we can engage on this topic and more.

Thad Kubis, U.S.C.G. Master, Captain, Shardana Sailing Charter, Photographer, Hyper-Focus Guru