Walking With The Mind

Walking With The Mind-3

It’s A No Brainer Really…

It is a ‘no-brainer’ really.

At age 53 you would have thought that I would have realised this before now. The quality of sleep affects your productivity. Very simple.

I knew this before today but was not very good in practising it. All sorts of things and reasons stood in the way.

In my earlier years, say even up to my 30’s, I was what you would call a morning-person and a night-person. Not a very good mix!

I loved to stay up late and wanted to get up early, particularly if there was a pre-Dawn or Dawn photography shoot on. I would be excited about this and had trouble getting to sleep because I couldn’t wait to go on the shoot.

Other things that impacted my sleep quality were the distance from where I lived to where I worked. When I got married we made a decision to live 100km’s SW of Sydney (there were logical reasons which I won’t go into here), the only trouble was, for most of that time it meant a 2 – 2 1/2 hour journey each way.

When I arrived home I was quite tired but quickly gained ‘a second wind’ which meant I would stay up late to enjoy the things I wanted to enjoy, then get up at 5.30am and on we’d go. This went on for 16 years…

My wife and I now run a Home Office for our business so travel times have obviously reduced, but that doesn’t always mean we get early nights. Anyone who has run their own business knows that to be successful you need to work more than 9-5 in it, plus I have other involvements as well as my ‘About’ page on this blog will attest.

I have a very active mind anyway and sometimes that stops me from getting to sleep straight away as well.

Friday night (after my Life Coaching session), I knew I should have turned in straight away, but became interested in a movie which did not finish till nearly 1am. Unfortunately I woke up at 6.16am. Not a very good sleep and although I did achieve some things yesterday, I did not get done anywhere near what I had planned.

Last night I hit the pillows early (for me) on a Saturday night, 10.15pm in fact and upon waking up this morning at 7.45am, I was ‘full of beans’ as they say.

Upon rising this morning I:

– did a bit of reading from 3 different books, including one on Art
– came up with 4 ideas for blog articles
– one poem
– wrote 6 1/2 pages towards a book that I have been wanting to write for many years
– actively jumped into some exercises recommended from the Life Coach session I had on Friday night
– started some house chores

all by 11am.

The lesson that I need to learn and actively apply to my life is that a good night’s sleep is invaluable.

In comparing how I feel today (to yesterday) maybe finally I will put some things into practice to ensure I get the amount of sleep I need to be as productive as I can be.


Written by David Johnson
17 April 2016

Creativity Burst!

Creativity Burst!

Where Is The Mystery?

When I first started photographing seriously (early 80’s), one of the attractions of photography was the mystery of how one would be able to achieve the image. In this instance I am talking about the technical process rather than the imaginative one that is connected with the idea or desire to portray a subject/emotion.

It was (and remains) a fascinating process. Light entered the camera and exposed the film which then was developed, then printed. There were a number of variables at each stage that could alter the way the image was captured and developed, let alone the printing process in the Darkroom.

To obtain a technically proficient image one had to perfect the techniques required to obtain the best possible image in your negative or positive image.

Fast forward to the Digital world. For some years now (due to the advances in technology, and indeed the Digital format itself), it has never been easier to obtain a ’technically proficient’ image in terms of the basic reproduction of a scene.

On the one hand, this is a positive, as it allows the photographer to concentrate more on the ‘creative’ side of things, knowing that they have the initial in-camera/process taken care of. On the minus-side it has taken away skills, enjoyment and a sense of challenge that many found to be a key part of the photographic process. Learning to choose the appropriate film, exposure, development time etc to gain a negative or positive that would help produce the desired results in printing was the goal.

There was a certain ‘mystery’ connected with the early part of the process i.e. through the processing of film and the effect of light on silver halides through exposure and development (before the darkroom printing stage) which has been lost to a certain degree. Once learnt, those techniques could be applied, but of course that took time…

I am not for one minute saying Digital is a bad thing as the Digital process has brought with it many benefits, one I have already alluded to. I shoot Digital myself.

Of course we do have the wonderful world of image manipulation programmes where we have the choice to alter images with abandon, depending on what we want to achieve. This is a great thing. With all this at our disposal though, sometimes I wonder if the technical aspects of photography have been made too easy?

Even though my passion for photography is as strong as it always has been I have (in the last few years) been slowly getting interested in painting and am currently learning Oil painting. There is certainly a ‘mystery’ there in terms of getting a ’technically proficient’ image.

I cannot just go out and purchase a brush/canvas/paint combination that will give me a technically proficient image. One has to endeavour to learn the skills, practice, make mistakes, learn some more, and repeat the process. (I am aware that I could do ‘Oil’ Painting digitally but that doesn’t hold an interest for me). Once I get better at these skills I will be able to communicate what I want to say, better and in more creative ways.

I love Art and my love for photography will continue throughout my life however my love for painting has increased with each passing year, to a point where I now aiming to allocate a certain amount of time every weekend to painting.

Much like coming up for an idea for a photograph or looking at a scene through a viewfinder, I can look at my blank canvas and proceed to paint an idea or sit outside and interpret a scene.

Ultimately though, what continues to separate individual photographers and individual painters is our imagination and the ability to convey the desired idea through creativity and technical skill.

Harry Callahan, Photographer – 1912 -1999 once said:

“The mystery isn’t in the technique, it’s in each of us…” – More Joy of Photography, Eastman Kodak – 1981

Where is the mystery?

“The mystery is in the learning and application of the technique which we then use via personal expression to creatively communicate our ideas…”

Written by David Johnson
2 April 2016