Passion in Rain

Passion is the driving force behind creativity. Without passion, whatever we create will not engage others. When you create with passion, you lose yourself in time and space; you get totally absorbed by the now. We get in flow. It’s like entering a tunnel—as I have written about before in conjunction with creative—everything else is blocked out. It’s all about whatever you are creating and you will often be pushing yourself further than you could have imagined.

However, tunnel vision isn’t all good. Sometimes we need to have awareness around us as well. Passion can drive us blind. We have probably all witness the train wreck when someone blindly followed their passion and it wrecked their career and hurt both family and friends. Thus, as much as we want to follow our passion and let it drive our creativity, we will be will advised to follow Benjamin Franklin’s words: “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins” .

A passionate drive isn’t the same as blind passion. We need to be aware of the distinction. Some of the world’s creative icons, such as Steve Jobs or Pablo Picasso, let their passion take them to unfathomable heights, but it also drove them into recklessness and blindness.

Steve Jobs was a brilliant rule breaker who cared deeply about making his marks. His passion was like high-octane fuel. And his creativity seemingly without limits. However, it wasn’t all glorious. Jobs did break the rules, but often it was at the expense of people who got in the way. Yes, he was creative, but in other ways he wasn’t exactly a saint.

The art of Picasso was a gift to humanity, there is no denying that. Yet Picasso didn’t exactly treat women in the most dignified way. He once said: “For me there are two kinds of women, goddesses and doormats” .

What is my point? Certainly not that we should think that we are better than these icons. We are all human and we have no idea how we would have handled life in their shoes. However, we can learn from their creativity and the passion they brought into their creative endeavour. And we can also learn not to make the same mistakes, being both honest and aware about what our passion and our creativity brings into play.

I have certainly made mistakes in my life for which I am ashamed. Probably you will be in the same boat. We have all fallen short at times. We are humans after all. The critical point is whether we learn from our mistakes.

Passion ignites the best of creativity. However, it doesn’t give us carte blanche to do with it as we want. Let’s keep the words of Benjamin Franklin in mind.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken a Canon Eos 1D with a 28-135 mm lens the lens set at 28 mm. Shutter speed: 1/320 s. Aperture: f/22. The photo was processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Do you need some ideas to improve your photography and not having to spend a lot of money on new equipment? My eBook 10 Great Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Point-and-Shoot Camera might be what you are looking for. It’s an inexpensive eBook full of inspiration, and it’s available on my website http://www.munchow.no.

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Posted in Creativity, Photography | Tagged , | 29 Comments

Last Week’s Instagram

Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week. It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments, hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX-100 with the lens set at 22,7 mm (the equivalent of a 50 mm lens for a fullformat camera). The photo was transferred to my cell phone and processed first with the Snapseed app with various adjustments before uploaded in Instagram.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged | 36 Comments

If Only

Sometimes when I am down and feeling miserable, I wish that my life would be different. We all do, don’t we? How often have I not thought; imagine if only I had been one of the big stars in the photography world. How would my life not have been then?! If only…

Some time ago, I proposed a photo story for a weekend edition of a major newspaper. It was a story about the drug scene in my hometown, which had changed after a park where drug addicts and dealers had been gathering, was closed down. To my dismay, the proposal was turned down. I had been sure I would get the assignment.

When the idea was rejected, I felt as if my creativity had been belittled and discredited. I started to think what if the former editor who knew me had not just been replaced with a younger yuppie? If only I was a renowned photograph, surely he wouldn’t have turned me down, replaced or not?

Craving for success and acceptance for our creativity is a very human reaction. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily. However, the trap is falling in under us when we don’t see the difference between our creative abilities and the world’s reaction to it. When we don’t get the acceptance we crave, that is when we start to think if only… True creative people, though, don’t use “if only” as an excuse.

Creativity has always been about making the most of what you have. Sometimes creativity thrives when you are having fun, and other times it flourishes when you have your back against the wall. The latter was the case with a young man named Johannes who lived in medieval times.

Johannes was ambitious but short of funding. He got help to make what he called “holy mirrors” for religious pilgrims to buy. When the mirror was held up to a relic, it supposedly captured and reflected the glory of God. However, Johannes business idea flawed, among other factors because a severe flood delayed the pilgrimage until the following year. Johannes didn’t give up after this failure. Living in a wine producing region he was acquainted with the process. Suddenly he saw a different use for the traditional wine press. With a few modifications, he transformed the press from making juice to printing words. In so doing, Johannes Gutenberg had invented the printing press that changed the course of the word. The press was first used to print the bible and thus Gutenberg was able to provide people with a way to experience the glory of God, even if his “holy mirrors” had failed miserably at first.

Creativity is never about wishing things would be better or different or disasters wouldn’t happen to you. Creatives don’t use “if only” as an excuse. “If only” focuses on what might have been. Creatives focus on making the most of the raw materials that they have and under the circumstances that surrounds them. Taking these materials and combining them into something new is where creativity becomes art.

We should never forget that the creative path itself—creating—is what makes photography, or any creative endeavour you may embark on, such a fulfilling undertaking. Too often, we forget this simple truth as our desires for mastery, for recognition or even monetary gain possesses us.

Yes, we all dream of getting worldwide recognition, to become the next Richard Avedon, W. Eugene Smith or Ansel Adams. However, do not let this desire get in the way of your photography. Enjoy the process, move down the creative path with open senses and an open mind, breath, live, be one with your art, and do not get caught up with desires that may well turn you away from the path. And don’t use “if only” as an excuse.

I reworked my story proposal of the drug scene, sent it to a different magazine where it finally got accepted. These days a new issue of the magazine is out, with my story spread over 14 pages.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken a Panasonic Lumix LX-100 with the lens set at 10.9 mm (the equivalent of a 24 mm for a full format canera). Shutter speed: 1/60 s. Aperture: f/1.7. The photo was processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Do you need some ideas to improve your photography and not having to spend a lot of money on new equipment? My eBook 10 Great Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Point-and-Shoot Camera might be what you are looking for. It’s an inexpensive eBook full of inspiration, and it’s available on my website http://www.munchow.no.

Posted in Challenging Yourself, Creativity, Photography | Tagged , | 74 Comments

Last Week’s Instagram

Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week. It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments, hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX-100 with the lens set at 34 mm (the equivalent of a 75 mm lens for a fullformat camera). The photo was transferred to my cell phone and processed first with the Snapseed app with various adjustments before uploaded in Instagram.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged , | 38 Comments

When Time Is in Shortage

After I launched of my eBook 10 Great Tips to Take Better Photos last week, the reception has been above all expectations. Thanks to all of you, who gave me encouraging comments or kind-hearted feedback—and not the least, thank you to all who bought the book. It’s been a ride on high winds, taken me to a place of pure joy and making me want to start writing new books almost right away.

It has also reminded me of my intention I mentioned on this blog earlier this year, all the way back in January. Back then, I wrote that I had great plans for this blog of mine; I wanted to redesign the site and add more values in various ways to my readership. As such, this eBook is for me the first step in this direction. However, the reminder is in the fact that I had actually expected to also have redesigned my blog by now, as well as having launched more ideas and added new features.

The thing is—and I am sure you have experienced the same—sometimes we want to do so much, while time is holding us back or limiting how much we are actually capable of doing. There is just not enough time to go around. At least that’s our perception. It’s easy to get discouraged and stressed out by this apparent time lack. I have had to tell myself to lay such thoughts aside, not to discourage myself. I simply need to give myself some slack—we all need to do so, I would assume. Sometimes we push so hard, that nothing will ever get close to create a feeling of satisfaction no matter how much we actually are capable of doing.

In the end, I believe it’s better to be ambitious, have many plans, maybe more than is realistically pursuable, than sitting back and not push for much or anything at all. Some ideas may not be able to fly at all, some may need time to be transformed into reality, and maybe, in the end, only a few will reach realisation. It’s still so much better than doing nothing. In my opinion at least.

Another factor adds to this time balance. We have all heard and have probably experienced that time is relative. Isn’t it so that when we feel time is running short, we don’t manage to get much done—no matter how much or little we set out to do. The opposite is true, too, isn’t it? When we feel we are in no shortage of time there is no limit to how much we can get done.

Time is a mental state. We can actually control time. Of course, time never stops, but our experience of time is very much a result of our mental state. If we can relax our mind and not worry about time, there will suddenly be plenty of time. When you feel stressed out for time, try to impose a thought inside of you that there is plenty of time, and suddenly you will start to relax, stress down and time doesn’t feel like a shortage any more.

The last many months—or probably years—I have been flying around feeling the shortage of time. Never being satisfied with myself, never feeling I could get enough done. Launching the eBook actually provided me with a break. First of all because I had finished one of my projects that I had long been working on and wanted to finish, but never really had time for. However and even more importantly, the positive response on the book made me rethink my approach to time and gave me space to relax. This last week, I have allowed myself to think there is plenty of time for all I want to accomplish. It may sound strange, but suddenly it feels as if there is no shortage of time. It is really a mental state.

As a reaction to all this newfound time, I have decided to push on even harder. A couple of weeks ago I met up with Mary Shoobridge, a blogger that I have only had contact with in cyberspace. In mid-August she and her husband visited Bergen, my hometown, and we met face to face for the first—but hopefully not the last—time. One of the things that I brought back from that meeting, besides a very pleasant couple of hours with the two of them, was a question from Mary. She was inquiring about my Picture Critique I have in earlier years offered on this blog. When would I do it again? When I checked, the fact is that last time was back in spring 2015. Since then I have not had time to open up for another around of picture critique again. Well, with my newfound time and not the least because of Mary’s request, I will start a new round later this month. It will be duly announced here. However if you think it could be worthwhile to receive feedback on a photo of yours, you now have some time to either capture a new photo or search your archive for one you would like to have a second opinion about.

Furthermore, I want to flow with this positive response that the eBook has created. I am ready to start working on new books about photography as well as creativity. The question is where to start? I have far to many ideas for new books. So I have decided to ask you blogger-friends. Do you have any thoughts, any desires, any photo eBook you may feel the need for? Is there any theme I might be able to help you with through such an eBook? Please let me know. I will be delighted if you would like to give me some feedback.

By the way, if you haven’t gotten my new eBook 10 Great Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Point-and-Shoot Camera, you will find more information and may buy it on my website www.munchow.no.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken a Canon EOS 1D with 28-135 mm lens set to 28 mm. Shutter speed: 1/125 s. Aperture: f/11. The photo was processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Posted in Photo Books, Photographic Reflections, Photography | Tagged , , | 72 Comments

Last Week’s Instagram

Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week. It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments, hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with a Canon EOS-5D with the lens set at 60 mm. The photo was transferred to my cell phone and processed with the Pixlr-o-matic app.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged , | 44 Comments

10 Great Tips to Take Better Photos

I am very proud to announce that my first eBook about photograph is out today. It’s a book I have been working on over the last year—on and off, of course. Now it’s finally available. For me this is a natural extension of my desire to teach and help anyone interested in taking better picture. The eBook (and the next to come) will be an addition to the workshops I teach all over the world as well as my online workshops.

10 Great Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Point-and-Shoot Camera addresses a handful of challenges that most photographers struggle with. Over 45 pages this eBook will give you a handful of great tips (and some more background to better understand the camera) to improve you photos and make your photos connect with the viewers. The intention is to help you make better pictures without getting too technical or talk too much about visual language or composition.

My intention has also been to make it affordable to most people, which means that for only 5 dollars you get access to download the eBook (as a PDF-document) .

10 Great Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Point-and-Shoot Camera is packed with useful information, tips and great photography. The language is down to earth and not technical at all. It aims for photographers not quite confident with the photographic process yet, but who want to learn more and improve their photography. If you are struggling with getting your photos look good or too often find that your photos don’t quite capture what you had in mind then 10 Great Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Point-and-Shoot Camera is a book for you.

To get this book published is for me very exciting. I have for a long time wanted to publish my own series of photo books. And this is the first one. In other words; in the future more books will come, both for beginners and advanced photographers. More than anything I want to put together a book about the creative process, which is something I have already started working on.

So stay in tune for more. However, for now, maybe 10 Great Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Point-and-Shoot Camera is worth looking up. You can get it by clicking the button below. It will take you to the web site where you can order the book.

Posted in Photo Books, Photography, Practical Tips | Tagged , | 57 Comments