What do Trump, the Atlanta Falcons and broken drones have to do with this tree in Japan?Read More
This serene lake is part of a beautiful garden outside of Kyoto, Japan. We visited Japan in 2004 and as I browsed through photos I had taken, I had the reaction I often have when viewing older digital photos: I want to go back and re-photograph the areas we visited. But this desire isn't because I have a better camera or a better lens, but because I think I have a little better eye and also because I'm sure I missed some great shots.
I have many strong memories of Japan but one of the oddest involves the camera I was traveling with - a Canon 1D Mark II, which was considered a state-of-the-art dslr in 2004. The Japanese are gracious and friendly people but many were especially friendly when they saw my camera. They would walk up to me and, though they couldn't speak my language, would point to my camera, smile and shake their head in an affirmative way. The Japanese love quality electronics - especially electronics made in Japan.
Canon 1DII 1/160s f/6.3 ISO400 115mm
Something just occurred to me as I was trying to figure out what to write about this photo: I have taken around 75,000 digital photos over the last 6 years and when I look at them, I can remember a remarkable number of details about the circumstances surrounding each photograph. Why is that?
My answer has to do with flow, a theory developed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Flow "is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity."
In a crude way, my "focus" while taking photographs reminds me of golfers like Jack Nicklaus and other athletes and coaches who can remember amazingly precise details about every shot they hit or plays they made in games performed 20 and 30 years ago.
No, I am not Jack Nicklaus, nor was meant to be. :-) But I can get focused once and a while. When do you achieve flow?
Canon 1DII 1/80s f/1.8 ISO800 50mm (35mm eq:65mm)