Break Free From Your Comfort Zone…

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Most of my attendees say familiarity can hamper Creativity. Hiking their surroundings, times and times wash out their forthright sight to the elements composing their environment. Their images become bland lately… It may be time to push themselves into some uncharted territory… All of us, inexorably, tend to establish what’s known as a « Comfort Zone »,  which is a limited set of safe, predictable and comfortable behavioral patterns that gives a sense of security and allows one to deliver known results with a steady level of performance. We all have our « garden », warranted source of acceptable images… And, inside our secret  yard, because our long practice of Photography, we’re indoctrinated with all sorts of rules and conventional wisdom : what I call « The Rules… » : Always use a tripod, Shoot during the Magic Hours, Compose using the Rules of Thirds, Expose for Highlights…Then, we always swim in the same waters, because the same causes imply the same effects. Too often, the end result is that we stifle our Creativity… Rules have to be known and most of the time, they have to be respected, but from time to time, you should play the « What if… » game…

The best Photographers know that this Comfort Zone is the enemy of artistic expression… We have all seen hundred of images of the same subject, shot the same way by hundred of photographers since the convention is to shoot this subject this way. We learn the best places and subjects to shoot and we replicate these iconic famous images made by others. By instance, think of these images of the Arches National Park…  I admit the subject is itself a narrow path to follow but the creative opportunities are vast. Try not to shoot the same images  that have been shot a million times before… Instead, try to seek new and unique ways of seeing the world. Try to walk away from the « safe » images ! First, look at your surroundings with new eyes… Go in the field at different times, try other period in the day… When, usually, you go back for diner, stay in the fields, even if you feel less « secure »… Especially, I would say, If you feel less secure !!  This will give you opportunities to get off the beaten path ! Sure, there’s nothing wrong with shooting icons but since they have been done over and over, it’ll be hard to shoot them in a truly unique and personal way !  Find places unknown or overlooked by others, then you will feel free to explore your personal vision !

The fields in this photograph are not very far from my country house… I was on my ATV, and a stormy light was pouring over the horizon. Rain was not so far… Any reasonable photographer would have run to a safe shelter but I thought that was an opportunity for a shot ! Fine weather does not have a monopoly on beauty… Try to get away from normal perspectives, Shake things up a bit and break free from your personal routines… Disrupt your own conventions, and then, you will discover a completely new world, even staying in your area.

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