My Blog

Torridon day five (day three in the house)

27/01/2020
Musings on ‘flow’ and how to recreate it...
The psychological concept of 'flow' is an intereting and important idea that I have been considering for some time. I wrote about it in my article on 'Inspiration in photography' and I have been searching for the triggers that might make it reproduceable. It happened again today...

The day started with a major downfall of snow. Overnight we missed the threatened deluge as the bulk of the snow fell further south but it started snowing in Torridon around 10.30. I had an errand to run first thing and joined the boys towards the end of the morning session. Luckily I decided to keep my camera in my bag as the torrential sleet rendered the landscape a swamp with its inevitable impact on our gear. I love Dave's handheld images of the snow he made as I was driving over to meet up.

We headed back for lunch and afer much discussion we decided to head back to yesterday's location. I had been intrigued by the birch trees we processed the night before and having missed out in the morning I was determined to make an image.

On location I headed back to the best birch area and started working the options. For 20 minutes I struggled to see an image, using my Linhof viewer to scout out options. Then suddenly I saw my first image and I was away. The next 4 compositions flowed on in a matter of 60 minutes, each image pushing the ideas forwards. Only one those four images retrospectively was a failure.

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I have been trying to get to cycles of 6 in my photographic sequences and today gave up four strong images in remarkably short order. Another session will likely close the gap to six.

Once again I was in 'flow'. Why does this happen and how can it he triggered more frequently? Some factors are clear. The location was familiar. It was a strong, if difficult location. The inspiration for the day was clear in my own mind. I was determined to make images and had the confidence not to panic or bail after the difficult first 20-30 minutes. I was totally in the moment, the concerns and anxieties of the last week and the morning were gone. There was only the subject and my process and there were no distractions. And once I was in the zone I let the process happen. It was pouring with rain but I almost didn't notice. My craft and gear (think tank rain protector, wet weather clothes etc.) meant everything I did was an extension of my vision and never got in the way. All food for thought.

An excellent day yet again, and the excellent discussions 'apres photograhy' were once again inspirational.