We like to occasionally look back or ahead to ponder and plan. The new year passage has always been a favourite for most. It is one of our social rituals. This year, it outlines for me the importance of rituals in our lives and how it prepares the creative soil for newness. Rituals are important pauses to acknowledge the ‘specialness’ of what surrounds us. It goes hand in hand with the zen of seeing. Rituals have all but disappeared from our lives. Many artists have used their own little rituals to enhance their special moments. Painter Joan Miro treated art class as a religious ceremony. His paint brushes were his sacred objects. Leonardo Da Vinci acknowledged the importance of his ideas by always carrying a notebook and writing them down, collecting them likes precious gems throughout his entire life. They make life feel more special. They are also helpful and important to tune into the needed discipline on days when motivation is low.
My ritualistic notebook is my camera but I have been know to tote a notebook like Leonardo on occasions. I have become progressively fascinated with video capture in 2012-13 which is now quite affordable, offering a new creative playground. If as myself, you are a photographer that has been interested in expanding your repertoire, video is certainly an appealing avenue with the advent of broadcast quality DSLRs and GoPro cameras.
So, inspired by my last blog entry and arctic like conditions outside, I put on inspiring music, cuddled close to a fireplace and, eggnog in hand, crafted for myself the ritual of looking at all the footage I had taken with my newly acquired GoPro camera in 2013 to try and make an interesting video. The objective was to create something heartwarming that also doubled as a new year’s message without the endless preparation and science that accompanies video. The first rule of an interesting video is to tell a story. Hence the storyboards. In my case, all the footage was shot, but no story. After looking at the footage, the ideas started flowing and I decided to play with my fascination for one of earth’s natural elements…water. There were times when, amidst these natural wonders, I had the feeling I could actually walk on water. I then realized I could…when its frozen. Plenty of that outdoors. So I shot the opening scene and the closing scene and put the rest together.
No big production, just a fun creative exercise to start the year, all from home movies and a little dreaming…something I am quite good at. I am certainly going against the grain here on what people do with GoPro cams, like diving out of airplanes or surfing the big waves or base jumping from high altitude peaks. But we are all allowed our own kind of MAGIC and your photography will bear yours as soon as you go beyond the science of these newly found gizmos.
So my wish for you in the coming year is to craft your very own rituals. You will find they help to go beyond technique.
In the words of one of my favourite creativity/photography coaches Selina Maitreya (from her book ‘How To Succeed In Commercial Photography, P.145) :
“Photography has long been referred to as ‘the marriage of science and magic’. While many photographers spend long hours working on the science of photography, perfecting their technique, most never get close to accessing the magic. Yet this intangible quality, the mystery that probably drew them in to begin with, is indeed what every viewer responds to.
Have you invested in discovering the magic or are you grounded only in the science ?
…creativity is not about technique alone, which is why stopping here, giving no credence to exploring the unexplained aspect of photography is a big mistake.
The magic I refer to and that I believe in is your connection to your divinity.
I would ask you to consider that a conscious connection between you and your higher self (with your scientific skills deeply rooted in your experience) is what enables your creativity to flow.”
Hope you enjoy this simple pause, calm and meditative, an invitation to create your own reality, your own vision.
May you feed on your CREATIVE PASSION, be overwhelmed by ALIVENESS…and,
Dream your dream in 2014
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Technical info : A big THANK YOU to musician Richard Souther for the permission to use his music.
I would rather give you inspiration instead of information. A lot of photography bloggers focus exclusively on the science while I prefer to share the creative aspects of visual imagery. Yet I recognize the value of the technical stuff so here is a bird’s eye view. Everything was shot with the GoPro Hero3 black edition, all handheld except for a few scenes where I rested the cam on a rock or branch and underwater where I used the headstrap accessory. I did not use the ‘eliminate shake’ option on YouTube because I wanted to keep the organic handheld ‘feel’. Most scenes were shot in 1440×1920 resolution at 30fps except the underwater footage (shot at 60fps) which I wanted to explore in slow motion (40%) in final video. The post production was done in Adobe Premiere, Photoshop and After Effects. If you want info on the effects used or have other questions, please comment or email me.