Seizing the Intuitive Moment


One challenge that I am confronted with again and again is being able to respond when something special catches my eye—when that intuitive spark flashes—to not hesitate, just to take the shot.

I often find myself reacting to a visual moment on an intuitive level without understanding why. Only after seeing the results do I begin to have a deeper understanding of why I was attracted to an image or scene, or why it “works.”


Strangely enough at that moment, I often second-guess myself into asking, why am I compelled to take this picture? Does it warrant being taken? One reason might be that when I began in photography I shot film—and with film, every shot counted. But I believe it goes beyond the economics and discipline of those early years.

Esteban (above)
was one of those situations where
we were having a conversation and the light was so perfect that I ran, got the camera, and snapped his photo.


Liberty's Light (at left) was serendipity.

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In the brief seconds before I take a photo I automatically, intuitively, evaluate the artistic-emotional needs to capture the image. In the end, if I do press the shutter, it is because I take a leap of faith and trust my intuition.


The other thought that speeds through my mind at the moment of hesitation is: I’ll just come back and get it another time. I try to make a note. But for practical purposes that unique moment will never return because Change is the constant in the universe and “magic” rarely repeats itself. The people will be different, the clouds will not reflect the exact same quality of light, the landscape will undergo changes, and most importantly, we too will change. It will never re-occur exactly as you are experiencing it at that moment.


If you happen to be someone who is a fastidious note taker as to location, time of day, and season, then maybe, perhaps on an outside chance, you may recapture something akin to that moment. But that is doubtful because you will not be in the same state of mind when you re-visit the scene. You will not perceive it in exactly the same way.







































Much of aesthetics and creating art is based on an intuitive feeling and being in a particular state of mind, or heightened awareness, where the external situation complements our own internal state. At that point the two align and are harmonized. Photographic creation is the act of seizing that moment.