Over the holidays I've been taking pictures. Endlessly. The past few months have been wonderful in terms of getting to practice the art of photography even if it means shooting for a wedding or a portrait session. Since the hobby has turned into more of a vocation, it's also started to feel a bit like work.
Then today on the way to McKinney I spotted a tree standing all by itself on the opposite side of the road. I flipped a quick u-ey (pronounced yooey), hopped the curb, and parked on a small turn-in to the undeveloped property. Camera in hand, I jumped out of the car and in a few steps found the right spot to stand for a decent shot. There was really nothing particularly special about this tree. I suppose the beauty was in it's relative nakedness. In a field stripped of everything else, surrounded only by groups of trees in the distance, it sat by itself, bare but content.
I kept telling myself before u-turning, Don't turn around and get out of the car. It's a stupid tree. There is nothing even that grand about it. Plus, there is nowhere to park. And what if a cop pulls over and asks what I'm doing? I don't want to have to answer any questions. Just keep driving. Throwing aside my Lazy American Syndrome, the better part of my judgement was confirmed after the sound of a few clicks of the shutter.
Hmm...spot the tree at half or third? Landscape or portrait? Both. Yes, both. SNAP. Horizon line at the foot of the trees in the back at a twelfth or sixth? Perhaps equidistant from the root of the main tree to the bottom of the frame. Yeah. That'll work. SNAP. Eh, maybe I'll crop it and see later. SNAP. This is kind of fun. SNAP. God, I'm cold. Why did I only wear my hoodie. Seriously, just a hoodie? No shirt or real jacket? My hands are freezing. SNAP. What's this barbed-wire fence doing here? I guess I'll take a picture of that as well. Whatever. SNAP. Hmm... SNAP.
In just five minutes and only 14 hours into 2013, the universe gave me a proverbial kick from behind and reminded me that it's actually okay to enjoy this. To have fun. This thing I called a hobby and now sort of call work doesn't have to be work, or even feel like work. I've just been calling it that all along.
I did enjoy the rest of the brief, impromptu shoot. I allowed my creativity run free and my gas pedal to not feel so overused. It was cold; it took work--but it was worth it. It's my hope for the new year that I remember to enjoy the improvisational moments, lest I, again, regret all those "things I could've done but just didn't feel like doing" from 2012.