I love photography. Admittedly, I’m not very good at it. (At all). But I’m trying to learn. Yesterday morning I woke up entirely too early for a Sunday and trudged down to Miami Beach for a photography composition class. I spent three hours fiddling with aperture, messing around with shutter speeds and generally trying to not look like that one person in the class who didn’t know what the heck she was doing.
One of the goals of photography is to see things from a different angle. Don’t just stand there and shoot. Get down on your knees. Hop up on a ledge. Peer around buildings. Play around with the unexpected. I was trying out a bunch of angles around a palm tree yesterday when the instructor walked up to me and pointed to two screws stuck in the tree.
“Take a picture of that,” he told me.
“Um, okay,” I said. I stood in front of the screws, put my camera to my eye and shot this.
That’s a decent shot. It’s not very exciting, but it gets the point across that there are two screws stuck in a palm tree. But the instructor just shook his head. “Angles,” he reminded me. “How else can you get that shot?” I stared at the tree, then moved over a foot to the right, pivoted the camera and snapped this.
Whoa! So much more interesting! And that shot was there the whole time, just waiting for me to discover it. Who knew?
Like all things (such as, I don’t know, *cough*writing*cough*), the more you practice, the better you become. That’s why I’m signing up for the 365 Project. The idea is simple. Take a picture a day for an entire year. It can be a self-portrait or a picture of your child or, better yet, a picture of anything you come across that’s interesting. I have friends who’ve done this who swear that it made them better photographers, so I’m giving it a whirl. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to make my writing stronger too, without putting one word down on paper.
It’s what I’ve been calling “cross-creativity.” Creativity is creativity, whether it’s sitting behind a computer and hammering out words or standing in a field trying to get the perfect shot of a flower swaying in the wind. Work on one, you work on them all, I think. There’s something about the creative brain that lends itself to a variety of endeavors. That’s why I’m never surprised when I discover my favorite writers are also brilliant musicians, artists, singers, dancers, actors, or, yep, photographers.
What about you? What sort of cross-creativity skills do you have? And are there any photography geniuses out there reading this? And no, I’m not just asking because I want to send you annoying emails asking for tips. Well, not JUST because …