Picture this: inspiration

Sep. 24—I sometimes look for ideas for this column in the wrong place: the internet.

Why is this the wrong place? The internet is home to trends, judgements, drama, controversy, and, worst of all, commercialism.

So where should I be looking for ideas? The sky, the light, the land, plants and animals. Sometimes my dogs give me inspiration. "You're right, Hawken, the sky is beautiful tonight. I should photograph it."

Another great place for inspiration is when I am covering something that is part of a scene. Maybe it's a homecoming football game or a street festival. I take that inspiration and let it tell me to photograph more than just the obvious event happening before my eyes, like shadows and shapes. I did this at AdaFest last Saturday, and it made a couple of decent images.

All photographers get at least a little excited by the idea of acquiring new cameras, lenses or accessories, but I heard a telling phrase about that recently:

"Shop your closet first."

I am as guilty as anyone of looking at ads and web recommendations for various photographic hardware, and that phrase is so right: there are lots of fun, inspiring lenses, cameras, and accessories already in possession.

I'll keep pondering the idea of inspiration.