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Snow Color, Hudson Valley / Olympus E-M1, 1/100sec @f/8, ISO 400, 100mm, no filters

“If you aim to dispense with method, learn method. If you aim at facility, work hard. If you aim for simplicity, master complexity.” – John Daido Loori

For any given situation, a nature photographer is faced with a myriad of visual choices, yet there are usually only a few that actually correspond to what really excites and inspires. By that I mean that we look more than we see, and by doing so are often tempted to make images that are just images, which doesn’t correspond to what we feel.

Simplicity for me is trying to capture what matters, leaving the rest out of the frame. 

How do you know what matters? Pay careful attention to your emotions, to the way you react and respond to your surroundings. Then try not to filter them out with all of the self talk that often inhibits creativity – doubt, fear, self-judgement, distraction, and expectation. 

That’s the simplicity that can really offer a window into your personal vision without the baggage that fear brings with it. Of course that’s difficult to accomplish—I work at it constantly—but not impossible.

The complex is both the chaos of the landscape and our mental activity. Mastery is essential in both areas so that the creative side we all possess can grow and flourish. 

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. “Pay careful attention to your emotions … Then try not to filter them out with all of the self talk that often inhibits creativity…” That’s pretty much the way I’ve lived my life, Robert, and you’re challenging me to change. A tall order! I’ll give it a try. And I love that photo.

  2. An elegant image that reflects your wise words on simplicity ? Creating photographs ‘about’ rather than just ‘of’ something.

    I whole heartedly agree with the idea of aiming to ‘see’ rather than just ‘look’, using many senses to try and understand the essence of the appeal of a landscape (be it grand or an intimate abstraction). Then to try to subtract the things that don’t add anything to the ‘essence’. If suitable light and weather meet the idea in harmony then I feel ready to try and make a photograph that reflects my emotive response to my surroundings.

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