Last weekend, over 3 days and cycling 100 miles, I didn’t take a single photo. I lugged around with me my DSLR camera through 3 towns and a lot of countryside in between but with the exception of a single photo of a Chinese restaurant called Ming’s, taken on my phone, I didn’t do any photography. That one picture was only a bit of a joke to send to a friend we used to call Ming. The funny thing is, I haven’t even sent it to him.
You can read all about the 100 mile weekend’s adventure here.
Although carrying my DSLR with me, bad weather and tight schedules are often reasons I don’t get my camera out. Just two days later I went for a cheeky quiet school-night camp. It wasn’t far or adventurous, it was a local spot I have camped at before and didn’t have any real intention to take any pictures. My only plans were to setup camp and read a little bit before bed. When I looked back on 2017 I mentioned this camp spot, noting that it was the start of summer and the weather was so good I was as comfortable as being indoors. This time was a very different story. The night was dark, the floor was pretty saturated and the temperatures low. As I set up camp I remember thinking that I hadn’t felt my toes for about an hour.
With my hammock up I noticed that the moon was almost full and the sky was on and off clear of clouds so thought I would take a few quick photos. Before I knew it, I was having so much fun with the night photography I completely lost track of time and three hours had passed. I was experimenting with different camera settings, camera positioning, long exposures and playing with the focal length. The whole process was much more mindful and involved than usual. Finding the right composition and trying out different ideas was providing a wide range of results and I loved it. I even found myself wanting one of my business cards in the foreground and looking to cycling or camping gear think up a solution, when while I was keeping my hands warm, I felt a chewing gum packet in my pocket and had a Eureka moment! There I was, sticking a business card to a branch with chewed gum, staking the branch into the ground and moving the tripod to get the shot just right. That image didn’t work, but it gives you an idea of the sort of zone I was in.
Despite the cold setting into my bones, I was having so much fun I couldn’t stop. I kept thinking, just 5 more minutes, or 1 more image, when a new idea would come to mind or I would move my camera to a different location and start a completely different thread of creativity. Eventually three hours passed and I was really pleased with the results and I climbed into my hammock to stave off the cold catch some shut eye.