Whenever I go out “photographing” I usually have some general idea (at least) of what it is that I want to photograph. This past weekend I travelled to West Virginia with some friends from the Baltimore Camera Club. Although the trip itself has been planned for many months, I didn’t make my mind up to go until just the day before.
I have gone to West Virginia on 3 previous occasions to pretty much the same place. A place where I feel comfortable because I know what’s there and therefore I have ideas of what to photograph. However, this year we were going to a different place. A place that I had never been to before and because I didn’t leave myself enough time to research the area I simply couldn’t visualize in my mind what to shoot. I couldn’t come up with ideas. However, I figured that in the 4 or so hours that it was going to take me to drive there I would come up with some ideas. I didn’t.
Late into my drive and just before sheer panic set in I started to wonder if preconceiving ideas was so important. What if I just let the ideas come to me when I was in the field? This would be a radical departure from my normal way of doing things. I usually try to previsualize certain images based on what I have learned about a place through my research or prior visits. Although it made me anxious, not having clear ideas was also exciting. It was actually quite liberating. After all, isn’t this what creativity is all about? Creativity isn’t about mechanical processes or workflow, but rather it’s about using your unique vision to create something that you see within a scene.
This image was taken on the first morning of our trip at a small lake that had formed when a creek was dammed. The lake was filled with trees that stood in what was once a field. The trees were long dead and created an eerie atmosphere, emphasized by the calm, still water.