My creative lesson of week 17 — Flying with the muse

Week 17: Soft (2020)

26 April, 2020

I have been long enough part of the 52Frames project to experience some serious ups and downs. In a photographic way, of course 😁.

There are weeks where you work hard, pay the price and get some pretty decent photos. Other weeks you also work hard but only get a meh photo. And other weeks you have absolutely nothing.

No ideas, no spare cell phone photos that you took by chance that week.

Niks. Nada. Nothing.

Sometimes you use the energy of despair to make it work somehow. And other times you pinch your nose, upload a photo that you absolutely hate and move onto the next challenge as soon as possible.

And sometimes, in extreme rare situations, you fly with the muse. You either know what you are going to photograph and then go and do that and it turns out just as you thought it would.

Or, you set out on an amazing treasure hunt with the muse.

This is my favourite way of taking photos. You only have a half-baked idea but this is enough to start. As you start shooting, that one idea leads to the next. Then that idea has a baby, and then you are trying to coral all these baby idea grandchildren because there are so many of them and they all want attention.

For example:

You bend down to take a photo in a field. You see some awesome angles and take a bunch of great photos.

Then you decide, “Wow, this low angle thing is really working. Let’s go even lower.”

So you go lower and lower until you are lying on the ground and are shooting straight upwards. There are bugs and flowers and everything is just so beautiful that you have photograph it all.

Your arms are starting to get tired but there are still all these amazing shots to take. So you keep on shooting and mantra yourself, “This is the last one, I promise”. After every single photo.

Your back is sore and the mozzies are biting and the camera is getting HEAVY. Finally you agree with your body that, “yeah maybe I do have enough photos now”.

You shut down your camera,
dig out the lens cap from your bra,
cover the lens and
close the camera safely in its camera bag.

You roll onto your stomach and try to get up on all fours before you go for the standing upright attempt.

Then you see this gorgeous green bug land on a nearby flower. You do the reserve series of actions now:

Get the camera out of the bag,
take off the lens cap,
tuck the lens cap safely away,
switch on the camera.

You get two blurry photos of that beautiful bug, so you take your time to get the focus just right.

Then you click on the shutter and you hear a deep ‘dock’ sound and not the usual ‘click’.

The camera’s battery is dead.

All the sorrow and sadness of your entire life condenses in that moment because you couldn’t get a good photo of the beautiful bug. Slowly you pack everything away again.

Then you struggle up in the most inelegant way ever but you don’t care because your photo shoot ended before you were mentally ready. And because you are stiff as hell.

As you walk home, you glance at your cell phone.

“Wow, is that the time!?”

You had spent two hours shooting grasses and bugs and flowers in an open field behind your home. Your body is sore and those bloody mosquito bites won’t stop itching but you feel awesome.

You lived for two solid hours on another plane of existence. A place where there is no time, people or the rest of the world. It was only you and the camera and the field.

At home, you first plug in your camera’s battery. Then you take care of chores and family and things. And put some aloe vera on the mozzie bites.

It is already late when you finally have time to slot your camera’s memory card into your computer. As you start editing the day’s haul, you feel yourself edging out of reality again. You stop to make a cup of tea and tell your husband not to wait up for you.

It is going to be a long night.

The muse is not quite done with you yet.

Come and join us at if you also want to step our of reality and fly with the muse.
Usually it is a real struggle to get even one decent photo a week.