One Part Brain, One Part Heart

It takes a brain, and the act of using it to make pictures. The basics of exposure, focus and composition are employed by most photographers, no matter how automatic their camera may be.

Still, all that technical stuff isn’t the be all and end all of image making. It takes heart (not the organ in our chest), or better said emotion, to create powerful images.

It takes heart (not the organ in our chest), or better said emotion, to create powerful images. The brain should aid the heart, and the heart should aid the brain. The ability to see something special that others might miss, is the perfect blending of emotion (heart), and thought (brain).

The left side, or analytical common sense portion of our brain, and the right side, or creative, artistic part of that very same brain, are not created to be mutually exclusive. There is a reason why we have both, and photography is the perfect medium to mate them together. By its very design, photography is meant to be both technical, and creative.

Whether it’s brain, heart or the blending of both, every image we makes says something about us. Going over the images below, and saying I used 20% brain and 80% heart in this one, and 50/50 in that one would be pointless and dishonest, because there are only one or two pictures here where my memory would allow me to attach any sort of ratio. In fact, it would require too much of my left brain to do that successfully. Possibly more than I have. Therefore, I will simply make a few comments where my technical or creative memories are strong enough to make some sort of point. In actuality, I couldn’t have selected today’s photos any more randomly, if I had closed my eyes and stabbed my finger on a photo filled page.  I think that was the fairest way to choose pictures for today’s post.

I’ve said many times that the credit for any art or for that matter heart, that might happen to emanate from any wildlife pictures I have created, is a result of the art inside of my subjects. I just share what they have to offer. My brain might work overtime in an effort to capture those offerings, and my heart will surely be warmed by what I see, but my subjects are the artists.1Horicon09 004

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While most people would agree that subjects like butterflies and dragonflies might constitute ready-made art for a willing photographer, a tangle of Daddy-longed Spiders is something entirely different. Beauty and art, is in the eye of the beholder, or better said, a matter of opinion.8aSpiders 016

To me, close-up views of subjects like plants, webs, ice and more, lend themselves to bringing out whatever art we may have inside of us, better than any other nature subjects. The brain also works hard on the techniques needed to capture subjects up close. Exposures can change with magnification and compositions can be difficult when you are laying in wet grasses, or hanging upside down with one foot in the air. That last part is only a small exaggeration. Just the same, the heart or the right brain, is in ecstasy with this sort of photography. It matters little how straightforward or how abstract your picture is, the brain and the heart are a team.

The image of ice and grass, along with the frost covered leaves, as well as the tracks in white sand, are all film images. The first two are medium format and the tracks are 35mm.8Copy2 of DSC_9830

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I have been the sort of photographer who “needs” to make a variety of styles of images, as well as a variety of different subjects. That need comes from somewhere deep inside. Different subjects and circumstances, call for different sorts of technical knowledge, and that requires different ways of looking at your subjects. The creative juices begin to flow, when that need arises to view each subject independently from the last. One size will simply not fit all.  Ultimately, variety is the spice of life.15DSC_0249


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Moving water in any form requires a joint effort of both sides of the brain. Whether you have a very traditional waterfall landscape, or a study in the art of moving water there are many technical and many artistic choices to be made. I enjoy photographing beautiful falling water landscapes, and then moving in closer and closer. The more time I would spend in the field with moving water, the more instinctive I became, and the more fluid (no pun intended) my work became.

The final image of all water, is a medium format film image.18Slides3 012

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There are so many ways to challenge ourselves with photography. The brain and the heart both need those challenges in order to grow. Personal growth in life, aids you in your photography. Personal growth as a photographer, will aid you in life.


I am sorry to hear that philosopher/motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer passed away recently. Wayne was actually a blend of brain and heart much like I have written about in this post. Wayne was unique in that he was a science oriented psychologist of sorts, but still a great believer in God. It is doubtful, in my opinion, that he was a born again Christian, although only he and God know the answer to that. He is of a dying breed of humanoid that believe strongly in God, and Christian principles, but is not committed to a specific faith.  People of his mindset (many of our founding fathers), have done much good for the world around them. The entire base of his teaching was, we are creations of God, and the farther we move away from him, the weaker we become. The closer we stay to him, the stronger we are. I could never argue with that.

RIP Dr. Dyer.


Happy Trails,                                                                                                                                 Wayne



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