Yesterday pouring rain broke open to wide open blue skies and I knew this was the moment to put down the computer and work and get outside.
I had a new prompt I wanted to try for the upcoming session of Be Your Own Beloved but I didn’t know exactly where my feet would take me.
That’s the wonder of photo walks for me (and it likely is or could be for you too). I may go to the same place I went the week before but the light will be different, something I never saw before will catch my eye and new flowers will be bursting up from the ground or on the end of branches.
I headed down to the community garden that has become my new favourite spot. It is about a 10 minute walk from home and is on the edge of a park. It is most definitely urban, with trucks zooming by on the street nearby, dogs barking at the SPCA across the street (and lots of cute ones being taken for walks by volunteers) and plenty of folks working on their garden plots. Yet at the same time it is a really lovely patch of nature within the city.
On days like this, photo walks feel like a bit of a luxury, that I can put down my work and follow the lead of the light, but in a way they aren’t a luxury at all. They are a self-care tool I’ve learned along the way.
I remember the days when I first fell in love with photography. I was working night shifts, only getting to sleep in the morning and much of the year having only a few hours of light to experience before the darkness came again and I had to go back to work. It was a lifeline in those days, a way to deeply experience those few hours of light I have and to feel in some way….alive and a part of the world.
I notice if I don’t get out even for a walk around the block every so often I feel it. Yes, it is fun. But is is also self-care, making space to just put one foot in front of the other and go seeking some beauty. For me these walks began as self-care and now that photography is my work, I try to keep the same energy…not having it be about getting a certain shot or result. Actually I usually come home with at least a few photos that I love, often something that I couldn’t have planned out but found from engaging in that sense of wonder of just going out and being witness to the beauty around me.
I definitely find that it isn’t just a self-care took I need on days when it is bright and sunny and I feel energized. It is actually something I need to do on days when I don’t feel like it, as it has a way of shifting the energy, sending me home with a camera full of unexpected energy and beauty captured in my camera. It isn’t just about getting content for blog posts, by any means. It is about:
Engaging with the world around me
Clearing my head
Moving my body
Being open to the unexpected
Do you find photo walks are self-care too? Or could it be something you could try to create for yourself?