With selective focus, I can cut out the extraneous junk and keep focused on what’s most important.
Any other Thanksgiving Monday I would have recuperating from hosting our family for dinner. But not this year. It’s 2020.
At the beginning of the month I started an October creative project on Instagram. I named it – not very creatively – October Project. Each day this month, I’ve been sharing one image taken during an October, past or present.
The daily connection to photos of Octobers past, like much of 2020, has been bittersweet. October has always been one of my favorite travel months, especially for photography. You don’t have to get up at 4 am to beat the sunrise. The light is naturally warmer, even on a day with open skies.
The more I photos I share, the louder the call to create new ones became. Restless after non-Thanksgiving, I gathered up my camera, tripod and headed to Taylor Creek Park, part of the Toronto ravine system, just up the road. The weather forecast called for impending doom – I mean rain, but after sifting through Octobers past, I knew that some of my favourite autumn images were made on days like this.
When I settled in to take this photo, I chose my tools deliberately. I know that with my long zoom lens, I can pick out the sumac leaves and blur the background out of focus. Several decisions have to be made. Counter intuitively, the image becomes more about what to exclude than to include.
Taking this photo got me thinking. In 2020, selective focus is a superpower.
The whole tree, or just a part of the tree? Part of the scene in focus, or all of it?
All of the news, all of the time? Or in limited, bite-sized chunks, at times when it can’t derail the day?
If this image is any indication, the simpler it becomes, the better it gets. With selective focus, I can cut out the extraneous junk and keep focussed on what’s most important.