On the Road, Coming to …Grips!

(Finally…a photo blog…well, interspersed with a little philosophy…so it’s a phot-osophy blog…or a philos-graphy blog….never mind…)

     I’m afraid I have gotten out of the blog groove temporarily….but, I’ve been shooting a lot so I guess it’s an okay trade-off. (And the words are piling up in my mind waiting for my fingers to respond)

     I mentioned in my last post my disappointment at not being able to make the Seattle trip for the David DuChemin/CreativeLive workshop, but as it turns out, last Thursday morning I got ‘the call’ to pack, grab a rental car and head to Indianapolis for another Race week-end. Five races in four days culminating with the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ….I NEVER thought I would find myself at race tracks as much as I have this year!

     I was able to watch some of the workshop via internet, but being three time zones away, we were on slightly different schedules, though they provided a “Re-Watch” option. So, I tuned in after working…well, after shooting,… DURING editing.

      I did get a lot out of what I was able to participate in. One of the statements that was most thought provoking was David’s use of a Chinese proverb,

“What is in the way, IS the way.”

     That one statement particularly struck the proverbial  ‘chord’ with me. ( A Major chord, not a minor…)  Had I gone to Seattle, I would not have been where I was. What got in the way aimed me in a different direction. What originally seemed like a large boulder blocking my creative stream became merely the diversion of a fork in the flowing path… an exhilarating ‘rapid’.

     Photographically, the workshop also caused me to dig a little deeper into my own motivations and inspirations, and I found myself in a perfect place to throw these shovels-full into the holes of practical application.

     I ‘came to grips’ with my situational realities and embraced the portion of ‘the way’ in which I found myself.

     On these race assignments I am generally ‘covering’ one car/driver/team for a project that I am involved in. This time, I pushed myself to shoot every car. I was there…(location),  I am by no means an expert at race photography…(motivation), so I jumped in with both feet! (inspiration)  

     I found/created my ‘stance’, much like a batter must in baseball,… a sense of balance from anticipation to follow-through,… and shot and shot. I experimented with camera settings, consciously using my (granted) limited knowledge and expertise.

     I realized that it’s easy to over-anticipate, to rush to ‘judgement’, so I would take a deep breath and try to correct that failing on the next car. I don’t expect, or have aspirations to become a racing photographer, but I can say that by pushing my personal envelope, it unfolded and refolded  my skills into an Origami-like  experience that I’m sure will serve me in some future capacity as a photographer.  And, on top of that…..I have never sustained as much enjoyment in being at a race.

     One of the exercises that was a part of the workshop was for each participant to venture out, first thing in the morning, to do a ‘photo walk’… To capture images that expressed their Vision… to FIND their Vision by recording  and analysis.  Since I was up long before the broadcast started in Seattle, and hours before I had to be at the track, on Saturday morning I conducted my own ‘Indy’ walk. The picture above and these 4 or 5 on Flickr are studies of a sculpture that was just outside my hotel door.


(This link will open into another window… an internet window AND it just happens to be a window with my view….  One other picture from that walk, actually, my favorite,  will have to wait for the next post…IT happened to inspire thoughts and words that will require its own time and place.)

     The essence of this ‘photo-walk’ exercise is to seek  that which envelops the possibilities of capturing one’s Vision. To find something that you can make your own. You can shoot all day and the worst that can happen is that you throw everything away and start over.

     An important lesson in photography is that the ‘one that got away’ is only the photograph NOT taken. The mistakes, or bad ‘captures’ will serve as learning tools….What made that picture un-interesting? What would make it better?  Why does this one speak in hushed mysterious tones and this one shout in defiance?  Two years ago, what was I seeing that made me stop and take that photograph?

     My friend Steve once sent me this message,

“To be an artist is to be condemned to a life of impossible improvement”

But is it ‘condemned’ or inspired?…or both…?!

     Either way, I am coming to grips with the fact that in photography, as in writing, (and parenting and carpentry and love and friendships and fishing and…everything else…) the mistakes and weaknesses are to be embraced for what they are and are ‘Mulligans’ to be slipped discreetly into a back pocket, to be improved upon and corrected in the next challenge, the next day, the next minute, the next breath.

Every experience is a stepping stone.

What is IN the way, IS the way!



BTW, if anyone has been following along, I have now taken the second step in my project (see ‘Teaser’) AND have everything just about lined up for the “You be the Art Director” shot.

~ by rkpowers on July 30, 2010.

One Response to “On the Road, Coming to …Grips!”

  1. I enjoyed the perception of embracing whatever is “in the way” .. and the perception that “what is in the way” leads to self discovery … good stuff!!


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