“How you do anything is how you do everything…” wrote Derek Sivers a few years back.
Before (re)discovering this quote, I’d been realising recently how my photography has been falling back in line with the rest of my life.
Put another way, how I photograph has realigned with how I live – simply.
For exercise… I don’t have fancy equipment, clothing, or a gym membership. I have a yoga mat and a pull up bar on our bedroom door frame. Since October 2010 I’ve practiced 20 minutes of yoga every morning combined with daily gratitudes. I do seven pull ups every time I walk past the bedroom. I’m experimenting with “Sevens” in the evening – a set of seven pull ups, seven push ups, seven squats and seven breaths of rest, repeated as many times as I can. I also walk a fair bit. This year I’ve started tracking my activity and with a little extra effort I’m managing 11,000 steps a day.
For music… I burned and then sold my 600+ CD collection years ago, then lost the digital files in a hard drive fail. Since, I’ve built up a small, discerning collection, starting with essentials like these and these, and more recently, this. Virtually all of my music comes through my iPhone and earphones or a pair of very robust and portable Ultimate Ears Wonderbooms.
Online… I’ve gradually dropped the maybe a dozen websites and blogs I began in earnest years ago and was no longer keeping up with but still paying for, and now just have my old blog archived on WordPress, and this one, 35hunter. My main site from my creativity coaching days simply redirects to the archived one.
For footwear… A past chapter of my life featured 15 pairs of trainers. Now I have two pairs of trainers, and one pair each of work shoes, walking boots, wellies and flip flops.
With clothing… I recently bought a new coat (after seven years of good service from my old North Face) that consists of a waterproof outer shell plus removable fleece lining, so it gives my three options in one. I don’t really need any other outdoor wear.
I drink… Mostly water, with two or three cups of mint tea a day, and an occasional hot cocoa. I’ve never been fond of alcohol or caffeine so nothing to give up there!
With food… I have a pretty consistent diet now. Breakfast is apricots or grapefruit with Greek yogurt, then home made spelt or rye bread, toasted with butter. A carrot, banana or home made cereal bar is my morning snack. Lunch is usually salad based with couscous, quinoa or orzo, then frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc) with more Greek yogurt.
A later snack might be peanut butter on crackers or oat cakes. Dinner is usually something delicious created by my wife and five days out of seven influenced by Joe Wicks, whose menus generally work really well for us both. Then finally an evening bowl of bran flakes or porridge oats with almond milk. I usually manage to fit in two or three squares of the heavenly Green & Blacks 85% dark chocolate in somewhere too.
I’ve cut my sugar intake by half to two thirds in the last nine months, and more recently halved dairy (cows milk) and bread too. I was shocked at the sugar content in previous favourites like orange juice, oranges, grapes, cereal bars, dried fruit and muesli, as well as more obvious culprits like jam, marmalade, cakes and biscuits. My digestive system and my head are really appreciating the changes and the simplification.
My cameras… Maybe 18 months ago numbered over 60, plus 25 or more lenses, in I don’t know how many mounts. I was in an anxious and unhappy spiral of buying up and testing any bargain I could find, thinking finally This time I might discover the one perfect camera/lens that would make me want to sell everything else…
But I realised there isn’t a perfect camera (just invisible cameras), and I didn’t want to be a broke camera tester, I wanted to be a photographer.
Now, I’m down to four film cameras – a Spotmatic F, Contax 139 Quartz, Olympus Mju 1 and Ricoh R1.
On the digital front, two Pentax K DSLRs, two Ricoh compacts and recent new love, the tiny Pentax Q total the kit. Plus nine lenses in M42 and K mount (and the lens the Q came with). The M42 lenses fit the two film SLRs, and both M42 and K lenses fit the two Pentax DLSRs.
With my photography… Whilst I still have film cameras, I haven’t shot a whole roll of film in possibly nine months now.
Digital just suits me better and offers me the main aspects of photography I value (wandering woods, fields, sleepy villages, and churchyards hunting for beautiful things to capture) in a compact, convenient and very enjoyable way.
My subject matter tends to be natural, and my compositions simple, most recently enhanced by shooting almost entirely in black and white.
Processing I’ve been honing ever closer to zero, and with the Pentax Q I might just have reached that.
How I photograph, is how I live. Simply, without fuss, stripped back to the vital essentials.
This keeps me focused, mindful, calm, and with enough space to breathe and be appreciative of all I do and have.
How do you photograph, and how does it fit with how you live overall?
I’d love to hear in the comments below.
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