Direct Perception

Hello and welome to My View for Friday August 19, 2011.

I hope that you are all enjoying your summer and finding ways to stay cool. The US has certainly seen its share of hot days this summer.

Back in January of this year, I attended a workshop in Delray Beach based on the Miksang philosophy of photography. My friends, Usha Vedula and April Siegfried, introduced me to this concept back in 2010 — or maybe even 2009 — and I was so busy at the time that I did not have time to explore it. This year, I’ve made more time in my life to venture out and explore ideas about photography to which I’ve not been exposed. I believe that this is necessary to keep my creativity sharp and continue to learn.

The idea behind Miksang photography is “direct perception”. In class, our shooting exercises consisted of going out with our cameras, hand held, and looking at our surroundings and allowing something to “stop” us. That is, allow ourselves to be open to whatever is in our area and the moment something catches our eye and draws our attention to it, photograph it. The instructors encouraged us not to get too caught up in “perfecting” an image, but just to capture what we saw that “stopped us”. Some exercises encouraged us to look for color, others texture, etc. This is a concept so different from my traditional training as a photographer where I would go out with an idea in mind and “work a subject” until I got something I liked.

Although I am certainly not abandoning my traditional photographic education, the idea of “direct perception” is something that I am incorporating into my photography. It is a very freeing concept and has me looking at advanced point and shoot cameras with capabilities of shooting much the way that my large DLSR and all the gear allows me to do. “Point and shoots” have come a very long way!! With a smaller camera in hand, I will be much more likely to capture images that catch my eye when I’m out walking Lilly in the early morning, out with friends, at the farmer’s markets, or just walking down the street.

April Siegfied started a discussion of this idea on her blog back in May if you are interested in reading what some other photographers have to say.

This image is one I took one morning by the pool at the hotel where the workshop was being held. The reflection of the hotel in the water caught my eye. My “traditional training” kicked in when I reached for my wide-angle lens to capture this image.

As always, I very much appreciate your comments and critiques. They make me a better photographer, aid in my growth as a person and offer me new experiences.

Delray Beach

Delray Beach Colors

January, 2011, Delray Beach, Florida

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 16-35 f/2.8L lens, ISO 400, f/8.0  1/500 sec, handheld

Thank you for visiting My View.

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10 Responses to Direct Perception

  1. Catherine says:

    Sweet indeed! I’m thrilled you’ve been able to incorporate the ideas we gleaned from Julie and Michael. Lovely image as well – love the colors, and I am always a fan of evocative reflections!
    Hugs, my friend!

  2. aprilS says:

    What a fun perception! I immediately have the feeling of diving in, and then surfacing to look up toward the sky.

  3. LakeLady says:

    We had a photography instructor that said when you something catches your eye – stop. He said it took him several times of missing a shot before he learned that lesson. If you pass it by chances are it will be gone when you return. Your image reminded me of that lesson – just another step and a different view. I like the image – it did take me a minute to “transcribe” it to my eye.

  4. Pixelle 2008 says:

    I too like this picture. What I first saw is an “open eye” on the world. At once the eye is seeing the world and the world is mirrored by the eye.
    Maybe we are what “stops” us …

    Direct perception. In French, we would say: “C’est le monde qui te fait signe”, not the inverse.

    It was very interesting to see the pictures created by the workshops participants. Wonderful.

    À bientôt.

  5. Debbi K says:

    Marti, I love the idea of Miksang. It’s organic and it frees us up to be more creative. I like how all the different shapes in your image above come together so nicely in the frame. I thought for a second I saw that water moving and it made me want to jump in for an early morning swim!

  6. martijeffers says:

    Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and leaving your comments. I love knowing how each of you interpreted the image!!

  7. aprilS says:

    I meant to mention that I don’t seem able to access the link to Lilly… I’d love to see her!

  8. martijeffers says:

    Hi April — the pictures of Lilly are on my Facebook page. I’ll get them posted to my blog soon so that everyone can see them.

  9. Ah… a flash of perception… it works strongly, even in a 2D-Version… :-) What touches me most about Miksang practise is, that it’s not about photography, but about the way we perceive the world…


  10. martijeffers says:

    Hi Roland — So true. Miksang is about the way we perceive the world. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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