Composition is the heart of the photo. Composition leads to the work of art that starts from inspiration. Inspiration begins when you disconnect with the interior struggles of everyday life and free the spirit to experience the world around you. Truly being in the moment and experiencing nature links you with all around you.
It may sound like meditation, but awareness of your surroundings without interference of outside thoughts clears the mind and sharpening your senses. Images appear where you did not see them before. The elements begin to align and art emerges.
Joseph Cornell in his book “Listening to Nature How to Deepen Your Awareness of Nature” had this exercise. Walk into an area that you would like to photograph. Instead of setting up the camera and shooting. Sit down. Wait. Relax. Be still and sense the moment. Very quietly become conscious of nature. The Native Americans called this “silent hunting”. Nature will speak to you, but you must be quiet. Nature speaks softly. If you are patient, nature will reveal herself to you. And incredible images will appear.
There are many times that I have entered the woods with camera in hand and not found anything that I wanted to photograph. It could be that I was not ready or nature did not want to reveal herself. Perhaps she didn’t feel photogenic that day. Other days, scenes appear as if by magic. So don’t be disappointed if you can’t find anything to shoot on any given day. Use that time to scout the area for future opportunities and revel in the fact that you have a chance to be outdoors.
Take this as an opportunity to plan for future shots. At these times think, what if the light was coming from a different direction. Coming back in the early morning or late afternoon may produce a better image. Seasons change the landscape. Perhaps shooting in the fall, with the foliage in brilliant colors, or winter with a fresh layer of snow would create the photo that you desire.
Don’t rush yourself when seeking that image. Time with nature is a joy all by its self. If you don’t find anything to shoot, the sheer pleasure of being one with the outdoors is worth the experience.