#StayWild Tip: Take photographs mindfully. Before you press the shutter, enjoy the smells and sounds and remember the moment.
As The Wildlife Trusts initiative #30DaysWild draws to a close for June, I can look back on another month wisely spent. The beauty of the campaign is that it is achievable by most people; it’s not about capturing the rare spectacles of nature, but also celebrating the common, the everyday, and the hidden-in-plain-sight.
30 Days Wild guides participants towards the understanding that “wild” is accessible to everyone. Small changes in attitude, or alternative ways of looking can unlock all manner of marvels, and being able to look back retrospectively and share with others has been a huge part of the process. The diverse mix of experiences, photographs, poetry, adventures and articles, created by both experts and amateurs, shows that there is a real hunger for many people to connect (or reconnect) with their wild side.
I have accumulated a huge digital pile of photographs from my 30 Days Wild and 365 days Wild adventures, and decided that I would like to do something with them. I’m not a wonderful photographer, but I do believe that if you take enough of them, then inevitably some must be a little bit special! I purchased an eclectic assortment of frames – over 100 of them – from charity and discount shops, of all shapes and sizes, and started ordering prints of some of my favourite photographs to fit them. I plan to have them climbing the wall beside the stairs, an ascending gallery of adventures, mountains, creatures, landscapes, and lochs.
When I take photographs, I make attempts to take some of them mindfully. Mindfulness is one of those trendy words bandied around and seemingly appropriate for every imaginable situation. In this sense, I mean taking the time to understand – why are you taking this photograph? Ignore the technical aspect and try to understand what it was that triggered the urge to capture the image. Was it a specific subject – an animal or plant – or was it a vista that made you feel a certain way. As you take the photograph, be aware of how your other senses are stimulated – enjoy the sounds, smells, temperature and textures of the environment. Take a deep breath, and exhale slowly as you press the shutter (this has the added bonus of helping to avoid camera shake).
Too often we take photographs (especially on holiday) yet when we scroll through (or bound out of the chemists flicking through prints in the “olden days”), we are underwhelmed. This, I suspect, is because the sensual element is missing – the moment, created by a special combination of input is distilled into the visual component only.
By making an effort to be mindful of your photographs, you help to recapture the joy and pleasure you felt in that moment. You will enhance your powers of recall, and hopefully find that your photographs come alive.
As #30DaysWild passes I’ll continue to be blogging (probably not every day!) and will be chronicling my #365DaysWild regularly both here and on Twitter @proudfoot.