Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Improving My Vision

In December last year, I bought a little point-and-shoot camera (a Fuji F30) with the idea that I'd carry it with me everywhere and use it as a photographic sketch-pad. I've enjoyed photography for many years (since I bought a cheap Nikon back in high-school), but I never shot enough to learn much (shooting film was expensive) and never even really considered carrying a camera around with me full-time.

Now that digital has made heavy photography approachable (it's free after the purchase of the camera unless you decide to print something), I'm learning to take every opportunity to shoot the world around me. Mostly, I don't make specific trips out to take pictures. Instead, I've forced myself to pay close attention to the workaday scenes around me.

I've been surprised, again and again, as I've engaged in this exercise, how much interesting stuff there is to see around me in what seemed, before I was really watching, an average day.

More importantly--at least with respect to a writing blog--I find that I'm seeing the world better even when I'm not carrying my camera. I can't point to any direct affect on my writing, but it seems clear to me that my ability to better see the world around me will improve my ability to describe it in interesting, meaningful ways.

Whether you're a writer or not, I can't recommend this exercise highly enough. The world will be a richer place for you, I promise.

If you do take this little challenge to heart, let me know how the experience goes for you.

P.S. The F30 is a wonderful little camera (good in low light while providing just enough manual control to let you do whatever management of the image-making process you might reasonably hope to do). But act fast if it sounds interesting; unfortunately, Fuji has supplanted this model with an F40 that is a downgrade in both low-light performance and battery life.

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