Mindful Photography: The Four Stage Seeing Practice | Lee Aspland | Skillshare

Mindful Photography: The Four Stage Seeing Practice

Lee Aspland, Mindful Photographer

Mindful Photography: The Four Stage Seeing Practice

Lee Aspland, Mindful Photographer

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10 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Mindfulness + Photography

    • 3. Camera Setup

    • 4. Anchor

    • 5. Anchor Meditation

    • 6. Seeing

    • 7. Resting

    • 8. Creating

    • 9. Small Space Project Activity

    • 10. Wrapping Up

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About This Class

Mindful Photography is the application of mindfulness to photography. Join Mindful Photography developer and exponent Lee Aspland, as he shares the Seeing Practice that is at the heart of becoming a Mindful Photographer

Mindful Photography is mindfulness applied to and developed through photography. It is a mindful practice and it offers the opportunity for you to develop your ability to be present in the moment, connected to your whole experience, expand your perspective and therefore enrich your photographs.

Mindful Photography provides you with the opportunity to use what you see as your anchor; in much the same way as when you meditate you use your breath as an anchor. When you are out creating photographs, the visual experience becomes your primary sensory concern. You can be sitting or walking, observing your surroundings. Every time you notice that your mind has wandered off - planning a shot, dreaming of a photographic possibility, worrying about your ability or even just thinking about later in the day - you come back to the visual experience.

The Four Stage Seeing Practice

Observing the visual is at the heart of the Four Stage Seeing Practice. This practice will act as your foundation for developing a mindful approach to photography and will develop your ability to see; to see everything that is in front of you. Perhaps that sounds too simple. How difficult can it be to see? I believe that the speed we now take photographs, in that desire of acquisition, restricts our ability to see what is really in front of us.

The Four Stage Seeing Practice is a kind of meditation. It is in essence mindfulness applied to photography. It is at the heart of being present with your visual experience and is the foundation of becoming a mindful photographer. 

The application of mindfulness to photography has immediate outcomes. It connects you through the visual to the present moment. When you notice your busy mind, you can return to what you can see in front of you. This also has the potential to improve what you see and how you see. The practice of clearly seeing everything that is in front of you is something that you can learn and develop.

The Four Stage Seeing Practice is your foundation.

You can find out more about Mindful Photography at leeaspland.com

Meet Your Teacher

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Lee Aspland

Mindful Photographer


Hello, I'm Lee. 

I'm a photographer, author and mindful practitioner. I create photography that reflects how we feel about this glorious world we live in. My photographs capture a moment in time, a fleeting feeling or thought, a hope or fear. I call this Mindful Photography.

My journey to this understanding of photography has been shaped by life experiences. A health crisis in midlife has led to an exploration of who I was before and who I am now. I now use these experiences and the knowledge gained to help others understand their own journey through Mindful Photography.

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1. Introduction: Hello, timely as planned. Welcome to mindful photography. This course will explain to you how you can become a mindful photographer. What is my photography? It is odd and well-being. It is creativity and personal exploration. And it is also mindfulness applied to the art and science of photography. Mindfulness applied to the practice of seeing. It's mindfulness applies to the development of the technical skills and the compositional scales. And it's mindfulness apply to your own personal exploration and the creation of photographs that represent how you feel. That's quite a lot. Yeah. Well, we're going to start at the beginning with the development of your seeing practice. How you can improve how you see. It's one of the skills of photography that I very rarely taught. But I've been focused, pardon the pun, on that aspect of photography for many years now. And I know I can improve how you say. And that's what this course will do. How will it do that? You're going to learn something called full stage seeing practice. Why would you want to do that? Because it will improve your photographs. My VM photography has the capacity to turn your photographs. Good to Great. By me wildly. Well, as you can hear from my voice, I've experienced that degree of challenge in my life to do with my own well-being. And I've used my photography to get me back into palettes because that wasn't the only thing that they did that. But it was a fundamental part of me being able to process what I was living for. So I have a little bit of a rocket voice and my breathing is quite loud, but my health is now well balanced. And I use my time to create Cole says, and create photographs that represent how mindful photography can help you. Stay tuned and have a look at what else you can lead on this course. Bye for now. 2. Mindfulness + Photography: Hello. Let's start by asking ourselves why we should apply mindfulness to photography. For me, I had a great moment of understanding why we should do this. When I came across a quote by only Katya wrestle with the famous French street photographer who said that photography is putting one's head once I am ones hot in alignment. What does that mean? Well, let me just go into each one of those ones in turn. So firstly, let's start with the eye. The eye is all about what you see. And that's what this course is all about, improving PR aspect. But there is something that complicates what we say, because the eye only sees light and color and tones as well. The photoreceptors of the Bacchae or I, only 3% of them pick up color. The rest of them pick up terms, black and white. But all of that is created by light coming through your eyes and being received on these photoreceptors at the back of your eye. There then save as electrical signals to your brain. That's where the trouble starts. So when present, it's talking about yeah, I guess the first thing he was referring to, keep your head. What you had is doing is translating that visual information into knowledge and understanding about what it is ultimately will simply its labeling. Labeling what things are. Now, that happens because you need to know whether you're in danger, whether you'll save. Need to know the name of things. However, if you were to see like a camera, a camera that doesn't know the name of anything. You need to come back to how you see with just your eyes without interfering. It's Claude Monet said, in order to see, you must forget the name of things. So that's a little trick that we can perhaps use in future to develop, are seeing scales to truly see what is there. We must forget the name of things. So that's the eye and the head. What about heart? Now for me, while photography gives you the potential to understand how you're feeling about things. Because the more you practice mindfulness, the middle, you're attuned to how things are, and those things are what you're thinking and what you're feeling, as well as what you're doing. So if you are out creating photographs, you're paying attention to what you see. You should be able with practice to relate to how you feel as well. Compatibility helps move your photographs from good to great. And that perhaps is one of the key features of why you should embrace my photography. But let's get on with the saying. Let's look at how we can improve our seeing scales. 3. Camera Setup: Hello there. Let's talk about camera equipment choices that you can make to help people cover more mindful photographer. But so what I suggest you do is regularly used the same camera. Now, if that's your digital camera, there are some choices you can make about how you use. Those support your endeavors to become more mindful in your photography. So though he saw, firstly, turn the review screen off now with mine, I can turn it round. Looks a bit like a film camera. And that's the intention to create a camera where he don't review the photos. You don't then for delete the photos. Now you may not be an attorney was round like this baby to turn it off in the menu. Why do that? Why have no review screen? Well then that encourages you to pay more attention to what you can see. Because, you know, kinda make a judgment after you've created the photograph to whether you like it or not. So you pay more attention to the framing. Pay more attention to how you've got things arranged in the frame, a composition. So those things will be helped by, you know, having a review screen. Similarly, he termed delete because obviously our review them. You can delete them Kenya. So that's going to help you pay more tangency then kinda gulp a film camera. He could go further. You could say alimony going to take 24 photos. And those are some of that mindful photography activities I share. I like that. Then you've really got a film camera data. Key thing you can do is to regularly use this same lens. Now, I recommend a 50 millimeter equivalent lens. There's some information about that coming up on the screen. Now, I use a footie XD for the equivalent lens is actually at 35 male, but it's equivalent to 50 mils. Why? Use 50 mil lens? Because it's similar to how you see the world. You see that roughly 50 mils. Therefore, when you bring the camera up to your eye, the lens is view. The weld is going to be similar to yours. And it's going to be easier for you to create photographs that represent what you see. However, that's not the same. And the world of the smell, though, The smell of 50, sees the world at a wide angle. Something like this. Yes. I'm still stood the same distance from the camera, but it's now pretending to be as small and his own wide angle. So it sees the world differently. Now you can get used to, they see me use his regularly, but objects are going to appear further away like me. So it's small. Phone sees a wide-angle view of the world. Don't zoom, move close up. Simple tip. Another key tip for using a smartphone and turn it into airplane mode. That is just the camera, no distractions, no notifications. Then for goals, attacks, just the camera. The power will help you focus yourself on what you can say. You can discipline yourself to be active around no reviewing, and not deleting as well. Toggle support you as well. Okay. Final thing, small phone. He's an altar. You can put your camera in auto as well. That camera setup will help you focus on what you can see. Won't be worried about the technical choices. However, if you are comfortable with aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and you can make instinctive choices without having to think too much into it. Then choose something that you are comfortable with who? I use aperture priority. But quite often, if I wanted to focus on what I'm saying and not worry about the technical choices. I put it in all type. Why not? So I suggest you do that. When we get into practicing the four stage seeing practice, which follows this video, I'll see you there in a moment. Bye for now. 4. Anchor: Hello and welcome to the Fall stage saying practice. You probably know by now because you've had a little look of all state is 0. Anca seeing, resting and creating this video. And the next four will look at each of those in a little bit more detail. Let's start by saying why we're doing this. While. It is a kind of meditation and meditation with your camera. And it will improve. You'll see it. But you will see more clearly. You'll see what is there. And if you're seeing more clearly and saying what is that, you will create a boy interesting photographs. I promise they rarely does work. So we're applying mindfulness to the practice of seeing. And when you're out with the CAM, the first stage you're going to fall out is the anchor stage. You've got your camera setup. As I explained in the last video, when you arrive somewhere, now, in order to get to that place, you will probably quite busy. Maybe he walked there, maybe you drove that. But now you need to really arrive at your location. And that's what the anchor stage is about. You're going to sit somewhere quiet, peaceful hopefully. And you're going to follow your five senses into. So it doesn't really matter in what order you do this. And in the next video, and again, I'll give you an example of using PNG meditation. But I recommend that, but we basically, they're just going to sit somewhere who pay attention to each of your five senses. So I feel sad somewhere. For example, the first sense you might start it is today. But because you feel, I feel sad. Feel your back against the back of the bench with your feet on the floor. Maybe you can feel the sun on your face, that kind of thing. And then you go through each of the other five senses into it. Anytime you notice your mind taking you elsewhere, you come back to that sensory information. He finished with the Seeing sense, because that's the one you're going to follow in the practice. In the other three status. That's it. That's all it is. It's no more complicated than that. But you can also use this ion because state, again, during the practice at any stage, if you notice that you started to drift off, he noticed they started to know. Pay attention to how you'll see it. You can do the whole five senses again. So bring me back to the place that you find yourself. And that's why you've told me that because stage he then move into the seeing state. Okay. I'll see you in the next video where I'll give you an example of using the ANCA state as your meditative. Start to your photoshoot. Bye for now. 5. Anchor Meditation: Welcome to The Mindful photography, meditation, and yoga to be used as the first stage of the four stage seeing practice. Play this meditation. When you arrive at your location, find somewhere comfortable to set. Well, you can be undisturbed. Say come to play on your bench, overflow. Wherever that might be. Unbelief. Close your eyes. We've slightly away from the edge of your seat. So your back is not leaning against anything. Breathe deeply. Feel the passage of air through your nose. Cold air as you breathe in. As you breathe out. Take three deep breaths. Fill your belly. Fail it expand and the chest expand as you breathe in. And feta collapse as you breathe out. Failures seat. Noticed the pressure of your body against it. Kp backup, right? Imagine as a chord pulling you up through the top of your head. Straight. And now relax your shoulders. Feel your feet on the floor in front of you. And your hands and your lab or on your legs. Now open your mouth and Bree, three breaths through your mouth. And you taste them. Depending on the time of year, you might be able to taste something in the air. Let's now focus on anything you can smell. Here outside in nature. Maybe I'll just smell flowers, plants. The K, C. Notice what you can smell in your environment. Come back to your breath. Inhale to rise and the fall of your chest. And now focus on more. You can hear sounds that are bound to notice any one particular sound. Like birds singing. Stay with us, sound until it completes. Notice another sound. Maybe there's people you can hear, talking or chatting. Maybe you can hear a dog. Maybe you can even see. Concentrate on one sound at once. For a few seconds, ten seconds or more. Then switch to another sound. Now, open your eyes and look straight in front of you. Notice, well you can see not the names of things, but the colors, a shape, a full, aligns, textures and batons. And the space where there's nothing. Notice these things in front of you. And then slowly move your head left. Noticing more you can see. But judging where you can see, just noticing what colors, shapes, forms, et cetera. You can say, come back to the center, move right and do the same thing. Notice what you can say. Anytime you feel thoughts intrude, chatting while you were doing, and just come back to what you can see. This is the first stage of the fall. Stay sane practice. In a moment, you're going to get up and start walking through your environment. Continue attending to OT you can see Do not try to look for a photo. Just notice what you can say. Every time you notice that thought, particularly though photographic ones, come back to what you can say. This is your anger. 6. Seeing: Welcome to stage two of the four stages in practice. Hopefully you've had the opportunity to watch the ANCA meditation. So you'll know how to complete that when you're out with your camera. And then as you emerge from that stage, you start walking with your camera and seeing what is that? What was he doing? Those two things may happen. Firstly, you may start drifting off. You may start thinking about something that's happened in the future. Something that's happened in the past. If you notice yourself thinking, then congratulate yourself. Because that is what this is about. You notice, and you come back to what you can see in front of you. That's the meditative quality of this practice. The second thing that might happen is that you start looking for a photograph and thinking about what you're going to do. It hasn't actually happened yet. Noticing the looking gives you the opportunity to come back to what you can actually see. Yes. I'm encouraging you not to look for a photograph, but to see what is that? I know there is a slippery overlap that between those two things. But our intention that you're just trying to see what is there, is at the heart of this practice. Every time you notice yourself thinking about an effect photographically, future pass, you come back to what you can see. What will happen. What will happen is suddenly a photographic opportunity will present itself to you. And then you stop and follow the resting state, which follows next. That's all the rays. Sounds simple, but like any other type of meditation, it's simple in theory, but really difficult to attend to that level of noticing, to really pay attention to what you can see and to consistently maintain that level of concentration. I wish you good luck. Remember, it's a practice that you keep coming back to it. I, for now, I'll see you in the next stage. 7. Resting: Hello, welcome to stage three of the four stage same practice. This is the resting state. So there you are with your camera walking, seeing what is they're not looking for a photograph. And then in a moment, something stops here. And all you have to do is stop and really look how bought is there. See everything that is there. See like a camera. Notice your desired and labeled but things to name them. And come back to how the camera would say it. Think about a light pink color, aligns the shapes and forms, the textures and patterns that will be created when you press the shutter. But just rest with it. Notice how far away the subject is for me. Notice everything about the scene, how you feel about it, what is there? And then move on to the creation stage, which follows. In a moment. I'll see you then. Bye for now. 8. Creating: Hello, welcome to stay for the whole FIFO stage saying practice. You've rested in front of a scene. And now we're going to create a photograph. I tend to use the term create rather than take because that's what it is. It's an act of creation. And you are going to make choices now about how that is going to work. First thing you're going to do is you bring the camera up. You're going to place the frame somewhere around at seen in front view. Now, that is what makes him breaks that photograph. Where you place the frame. You need to notice or say in a Mozart of the frame. Look around the edges. You need to think about your point of view. We tend to take our photographs from fight, but roughly. But perhaps this particular scene in front of you would benefit from a different point of view. Something lower, something higher. To need to move right. You need to move left. And if you use a 50 mil lens, as I've suggested to, you need to move closer or further away. So all of that movement passes through your mind. Then you bring the camera up. In a moment. He pressed the shutter and he move on back to stage two of the same practice. So some people ask me, what is the length of time between seeing a photograph and creating it? Well, they often say is that all depends. Sometimes that seeing, resting and creating all happens quite instinctively and quickly. Sometimes he rest that and you're really not sure know what stopped, stopped here. But something isn't quite right. Something doesn't quite resonate. A maybe it's in that moment that you need to move around, decide how you're framing and maybe not even create the photograph. But stop and go back to stage 2. Okay, so those are the four stages ANCA, seeing, arresting and creating. In the next video, I'm going to be talking about you applying those to a situation. The project is called head a small space. That's what you need to find somewhere interesting to create your photos. And there you are going to follow very interesting mindful photography practice whilst you use the full stage. Same practice. I'll see you in the next video. Bye for now. 9. Small Space Project Activity: Hello, Welcome to the small space project activity. This is your opportunity to use the full stage saying practice to create 20 photographs in one hour in a small space. The pie small space, I mean something about a 100 square yards. Want to encourage you to stay in a small area and to really walk around the area. Noticing what you see. Now, looking for a photograph, noticing what is there, waiting for an opportunity to jump out high. So that's 20 photographs. They are now one every three minutes roughly. I don't want you to go over 20 pure and that's okay. So as your guide to have your view screen turned off, as in the advice, you will find it difficult to keep count. So what I suggest you do is have something to help you do that. You could use a little stones, the cast aside each time you press the shutter. Or you could use sweets, or you could use nets. Whatever is suitable for you. That will help you keep within the count. Because you are now reviewing the photographs. You're not deleting num. You're really paying attention to what is there when you're in the creating stage. So the create the best possible version of the paragraph. Each of those 25 aircrafts is of a different subject. So you keep moving off to you've created one photograph. And so that's a Fraley who follow me if I set the camera up as I've described, use your favorite camera and lens. Do the 20 photos in a small space. Hopefully, this activity will slow you down and then you will see more. And you will create wanted to photographs that you read enough. All you have to do then is share your favorite one he photographed in the group with a short description of how you found the activity and what it did for you. That's a simple, but it's actually harder than it sounds as well. Okay. I love. I wish you good luck. I look forward to seeing your photograph in the space below, and I'm going to get on and do mine now in this space, time by the side of a light. And there's a little building to my left is some trees in front of me. And I'm just going to walk around this a 100 square yard space, creating 20 photographs in an hour. And then I'm going to share my favorite one or two at the end any second. Now on this video. All right. I look forward to seeing you all. Bye for now. 10. Wrapping Up: Congratulations on getting to the end of the goals. I have p53 opportunity to put the full stage saying practice through its paces by completing a small space project. And I look forward to seeing you Phyton comments in the student projects pikes below. I just wanted to talk a little bit about well next, rarely. So opposed steady-state in practice is just like any other practice, and particularly any other Mindful Practice, and let it benefits from repetition. My intention generally is to try and to the practice. Once a week. I try to schedule the time when I do that and try to keep that regular within the confines of my busy life. But that's the best way to try and attend to a practice, to do something regularly. And through that process of doing it regularly, you'll notice how you all with that. So like any other practice, you kind of notice when you get it, right. Because quite often we have quite a strong judging mind. And we notice the things that we do right? And the things we do well. So that's in the night chat off paying apprentice, things don't go quite right. So you could say it's equivalent to falling over and getting back up again. You just go back to the practice. The benefits of doing a regular way. It will improve, you'll see in And because they wouldn't previous CNG and well, improved your photographs as well. But you remember right at the beginning when I talked about All right out here, personal and his definition of photography. But putting ones I, one's ahead and one's hearts in alignment. Well, we have the potential now with a full stage say in practice. But those first two, the eye and the head in alignment. So what you're working towards as you continue to practice mindful approach to photography is a connection with this. Because anybody can take a photograph of a saying. They can learn the technical and compositional skills. What makes it different is your personal interpretation. And in order to do that, you must attend how you feel about why you all, what's coming on. That connection between you and you'll find across is what will transform them from good to great. So keep up the practice. Look into more aspects of mindful of the Tokyo Bay. And I look forward to seeing you on another goals in the future. Bye for now.