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“It’s simple: if you want time to slow down, become a student again. Learn something that requires sustained effort; do something novel. Put down the thriller when you’re sitting on the beach and break out a book on evolutionary theory or Spanish for beginners or a how-to book on something you’ve always wanted to do. Take a new route to work; vacation at an unknown spot. And take your sweet time about it.”

This comes from a great article I read in Sunday’s New York Times about the perception of time and how it seems to speed up the older we get. It’s a fascinating look at how and why this happens (as far as we know), and how new research has shown that learning new things can actually slow down our perception of time.

I immediately drew a correlation to landscape photography, and how I always feel that the more time I spend in nature, the slower time seems to pass for me. Perhaps it’s because I’m so concentrated on noticing the little things, or really focused on the craft of making photographs. In either case, the process of finding solutions to the challenges of nature photography work every part of our brains, from the technical to the aesthetic. And there’s always the physical aspects to working in nature, from hiking up mountains to maintaining our balance as we hike with a heavy backpack. In all cases we’re doing things out of our comfort zone, and that always leads to growth on some level.

Want to slow down time?

  • Spend more time in nature photographing familiar landscapes.
  • Take a photo workshop.
  • Join a camera club.
  • Learn a new piece of software.
  • Buy some photo books from photographers you’re not familiar with, or that shoot different subject matter from what you’re used to.
  • Study painters and other artists.

Do this for the next year and see if time feels different to you. I know it does for me.

Questions or comments, let me know! Thanks for reading and hope it’s helpful.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Thanks Robert for the reminder. Life sometimes gets way to fast. Slowing down captures the reality of life rather than the false feeling of accomplishments that come with a hurried life-style.

  2. When one is so focused in the moment one loses the sense of time’s otherwise fleeting nature. Photography is a wonderful meditation in that regard.

    1. Hi Jane, thanks for the feedback, and sorry for my delayed response, I’me traveling much of the summer. YEs I totally agree and often find my most meditative experiences to be when I’m in nature taking it all in. Often I have to remind myself that the camera is simply a tool and not the point of being where I am.



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