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  • Writer's picturePaul Kessel

Avocados, Cross Country Creek and Street Photography

It is the time of the Corona Virus. Food delivery arrived and I sterilize the containers in the hallway outside of my apartment before putting the food away. After wiping items with disinfectant, I toss them into the apartment onto a rug about six feet away. The rug is nine feet long. When I come to four avocados, I throw each one inside. I notice that three of them end up at the very edge of the far end of the rug. That surprised me. I retrieved the avocados and tossed them in again with the intent to have them stop at the extreme edge of the rug. All four fall short or too far.

If you are still reading this and wondering what this has to do with street photography, or anything for that matter, please be patient. After the avocado event (I refer to it as an “event”), a long-lost memory comes to mind. I was at Disney World with my daughter and my father. I think my daughter was about eight years old, so this was about thirty years ago. We were at Blizzard Beach Water Park where there is an attraction called Cross Country Creek. On this ride, one sits in a rubber raft which moves around Blizzard Beach for perhaps a mile. The raft passes under a series of bridges where ice cold waterfalls pour down and depending on the raft’s location under each bridge, one gets soaked or not. It is possible to navigate in an attempt to avoid getting wet. To get to the point; the first two rides around, I tried as hard as I could to navigate the raft to miss getting wet. It was a failure under almost every bridge. On the third trip, I let the raft go where it may with no effort to avoid the downpour. We didn’t get wet at all.

If you are staying with me and still reading, perhaps you see what I am getting at. It is as follows:

For me (and maybe some of you), I rarely get a good picture if I am trying to make a good picture. If I forget about outcome and just go for the ride and enjoy the experience or seemingly mindlessly toss an avocado, good pictures may emerge.

Addendum: “Mindlessly” does not mean without mental activity or intent. In this instance it means being immersed in the process with minimum conscious effort. It has been referred to as “Flow” (A book by Csikszentmihalyi). Try to pronounce that name!

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Apr 09

Hi Paul. Your comments are informative and entertain as you have a special way of getting your point across. Delightful. Have you done a book yet with comments like these? A best seller for sure so I can refer back to them often that a great photographer is near at hand 🙋‍♀️🌻


Apr 22, 2021

I have been focusing on the same thing lately. It really does feel like a vacant mind state. I forget to restore my expo settings because that’s not the mind that’s in gear. Thanks for this

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