|Kelp on a Sonoma County Beach|
A study published last month in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that photographing locations and events deepens our appreciation of them. The Journal is not open access, but here’s an interesting summary in Neuroscience News.
Many of my photographer friends have expressed this thought in their own way. Photography helps us engage with the world. We enjoy things more when we pay close attention to them and the camera is a uniquely useful tool for that.
|Emerald Bay (Lake Tahoe) Sunrise|
This is especially true during a particularly vivid visual experience. No doubt I would have enjoyed this sunrise over Emerald Bay (Lake Tahoe) last week without the camera, but seeing it through the lens made the experience more intense. Then there’s the opportunity to relive it and share it with others.
Even more connection comes from close inspection, though. There’s nothing like sitting quietly looking at what’s on the ground or standing with my nose to a tree to foster relationship.
I had a lovely conversation with Todd Pickering during last week’s Lake Tahoe Photo Workshop. He was talking about photographing details and how these images can tell the story of a place. Conventional wisdom says that a story is best told with a range of images from wide to close-up; the establishing shot, the mid-range, and the details. I like the challenge of giving the feel of a place with only a few details, though. Here are a couple of trios of examples. Can you begin to get a sense of the places from the details? I find them almost tactile in a way that grand landscapes often are not. I’m inspired to make this a storytelling project on my next trip; stay tuned.
|Details, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada|
|Details, Barker Pass Road, California|
Two side notes from the Journal article; Negative or stressful experiences tend to become more intense when photographed and, “Another instance where photo-taking did not appear to increase enjoyment was when taking photos interfered with the experience itself, such as having to handle bulky and unwieldy camera equipment.” Yes, I recognize that situation, but I'm not complaining,