I've written so much about walking in a contemplative way that I though perhaps enough is enough but then it is such an important dimension of our craft that I'm compelled to explore it yet again. I think it also has to do with spending a week with a painter recently and seeing how different it was between us. She sets up a still life and then it's a concentrated effort to render the real...depict the subtle qualities of light and shadow and color. It is a process that takes several hours to create one image.
When I go out into the landscape I have absolutely no idea what I will be photographing before hand. I can spend an hour or more walking and absorbing the sense of place and I still may not have a clear idea. I let the whole process unfold in front of in a kind of organic way . Somehow I will know, something inside will whisper to me, when it is time to raise the camera to my eye and isolate a tiny fraction of everything around me...to carve out a single element that has drawn my attention. It is such an intuitive process; so unlike the painting process my friend follows.
1. Walk Slowly...I mean really slowly! I find that if I am rushed in any way it defeats the whole process.
2. Make frequent stops. Every step along the way has the potential of inspiring you...take the time to stop and look around.
3. Use all your senses when you walk. What do you smell? How does the ground feel under your feet? What sounds are trying to get your attention? It is all part of the character of the place you are walking in and it is all important.
4. Re-trace your steps from time to time. You will see a whole different landscape! I was rather amazed when I learned this simply technique. We seem to favor one side to another when we walk. We are either a left handed looker or a right handed looker! Walking back the way you came is a totally different walk!
Here is a link to explore other ways of enhancing your contemplative stroll...