I love taking photos, especially when I travel or sometimes when I’m out riding my mountain bike, skiing and out road tripping. I also love taking photos of my friends doing what they do, or taking them for their Christmas cards and other such things. And sometimes I love taking photos just because I want to experiment with some creativity. The only times I don’t like taking photos is when I have to sacrifice a moment of enjoyment, like stopping during some amazing powder turns, watching life unfold in a foreign city or when I’m ripping some epic singletrack or basically when taking photos starts to feel like a job.
I seldom feel creative when I feel like I’m sacrificing one thing for the other. I’d rather enjoy the moment than alter it with hopes the altered moment will be better. I get lots of ski days in a season and ride hundreds, if not thousands of miles on my mountain bike in a given year, but the reality is that few of those days are epic powder days or mind blowing singeltrack adventures. Sometimes I have to decide whether I want to enjoy the moment, or capture the moment.
While I fancy myself a fairly decent photographer (when I actually do more than just point and shoot for giggles), I certainly don’t categorize myself as a “pro” photographer. I have a nice DSLR, have some cool mid-level lenses and I love trying to capture photos that will hopefully help me relive places I’ve traveled and spark memories of things I’ve seen. This especially applies to travel photography. I’m also the first to admit that I seldom share a lot of my photos with others because sometimes I want to remember them the way I want to remember them — without judgment, bias or critique from the general public. That may sound weird, but it is what it is. I did however start a website and do that thing for a while and even sold a few photos, but I haven’t been good about keeping it updated of late. http://barryreesephotography.com/index2.php#/home/
Anyhow, in the last several months it seems that I’ve fallen into that “point and shoot for giggles” rut and really haven’t flexed my creativity with the camera all that much. Here and there I will, but not as regularly as in the past. My buddy Jason is currently in grad school studying illustrative arts and is blowing my mind with his work. My good friend Jesse is of course crushing it with his amazing sculptures http://roguestudios.biz/. Similarly, my good friend Eleanor Moseman was just featured in an article in Nikon USA http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/hjbkuyyd/going-solo-a-two-wheel-photo-journey-across-asia.html. (No, I don’t even consider myself close to her level of talent!) My long time friend Marc Hudson http://marchudsonartgallery.com/, is also creating amazing things down in Santa Fe. My friend CJ, uber talented http://lathamjrphotography.com/. While they all serve as motivation for me to jump out of the rut and start creating again, I think it was more important for me to rediscover the spark for creativity from within. I personally think the best work always comes from within the heart, regardless of what art medium is chosen.
I had a fantastic mountain biking season, right up until the flooding here in Colorado washed away much of the local trails I loved to ride. I think a lot of the reason this season was so great is that every time I went out to ride, I focused on the ride and living in that very moment. If it was raining, I tried to enjoy it. If it was a day for lung busting climbing, I tried to get into the rhythm and enjoy the process. Blistering fast descents, well, let the adrenaline flow uninterrupted for a few minutes. Because of this, I seldom if ever took my DSLR along and mostly only opted to carry my little point and shoot. Part of that is because it makes me nervous to carry an expensive camera given my propensity to crash and harshly find the ground from time to time. Still, I just wanted to ride for the sake of riding and enjoy the scenery with my eyes.
This morning I was looking back at some of the snapshots I took while biking and stumbled upon a little project I did with my friend Bryan Kramer, who happens to race singlespeed mountain bikes all over the world. He’s a super cool guy who I always love hanging around with because he shares that live-in-the-moment attitude that I find so essential. I think being around him one evening back when I did this project sparked my desire to pick up the camera one morning and play around with some ideas. He fortunately humoured me and met me at sun up to take some photos and let me experiment a bit. Again, I am no “pro”, but it was a fun morning for learning a little about my camera — as well as how I could get my ass kicked by a guy with only one speed on his bike (I sport 30 gears by the way and sometimes would like another).
Looking back through these photos has gotten me back into thinking about formulating similar projects. Yes, I have some travels coming up soon and that is always my time to keep my camera at the ready and be creative, but right now I think I’m ready to narrow the focus and start learning some new things about photography and some post shooting production methods. Who knows where I’ll take this line of thinking, but I think it’s safe to say I’ll be hitting up some of my friends to use as guinea pigs in the coming weeks. Now that I think about, there’s that living in the one of the most beautiful places on earth that could factor into photographic creativity as well.
Thanks Kramer for getting out on a cold morning back then.
Travel light, climb high, ski hard, pedal far, live simply.