February 23, 2014

Dead fish among debris in water

I have been a stills photographer from the beginning and I greatly appreciate the ability to make a photograph, a single image, which can tell an entire story.

However, the siren call of video has been blaring for awhile now and it is time to acquiesce.  I have been reading various books and have begun to noodle around with the gear.  My equipment consists of a couple of cameras that are definitely capable of professional results when used by someone with such a level of experience.  Being a relative beginner I am very aware that video requires a different skill set that will (hopefully) improve with an increased level of production as I practice.  (That certainly worked for the stills.)  There is also a learning curve with the software to make the type of video I have in mind.  And my mind is actually, precisely, the issue.

I currently operate with a stills mindset.

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. wrote Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success and it is worth a read. Essentially, Dr. Dweck sees the concept of mindset as “…the view you adopt for yourself…” (pg. 6) and it “…profoundly affects the way you lead your life” (pg. 6).  I see this as the mental map that one draws becomes one’s way in the world.  Dr. Dweck goes on to differentiate between “believing that your qualities are carved in stone –the fixed mindset…” and “This growth mindset (which) is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts” (pgs. 6 & 8 respectively).  There is much more Dr. Dweck has to say about her research on this topic and that is the reason for reading the book.  Briefly, it appears that having a fixed mindset creates either/or scenarios, which, may in fact, be quite limiting whereas a growth mindset opens up a myriad of possibilities.  One’s own thinking becomes the door that opens or closes depending on which view is adopted.

Active snowstorm photographed from hotel window overlooking stores and busy street,

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Here is an example from a trip this past week.  I have wanted some ocean and beach development photographs for another project on which I am working and had a perfect opportunity to make those.  The recent combination of snow and rain had stopped; the sun was out and the air was comfortably cold.

Looking down the legs toward the sand while walking on the beach.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

What made it even better was that the sand was tightly packed from the moisture that had fallen from the sky and the chilly ambient temperature-perfect for walking.

Tire tracks in sand in front of buildings near the ocean.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

So, I made the images and left for the long drive home.  The fixed mindset-“I need a set of photographs to illustrate a sociological issue”-was realized, but it allowed me to narrow my view of the subject’s potential and thus led to a missed opportunity as a day or so later the thought lazered into my head:  I should have (also) shot some video. Moving away from the “I am a stills photographer” (fixed) mindset would have opened up the possiblites of both visual mediums.  The fact that I have been able to learn to make the photographs I want does reflect the point that hard work can bring about change.  Given that the thought of shooting some video eventually entered my consciousness also reflects growth.

I just need to work to make those thoughts more timely.

Take care.


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