Q&A With the Authors

We would love to hear from you. Please post your questions about contemplative photography, comments about the book, or other observations about contemplative mind and life. We will do our best to respond to whatever you post. (Please keep in mind that we are running as fast as we can, and may not get to this as soon we would like.)

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Recent Questions and Answers:



I'm a painter who takes photos, too, and I've been thinking about contemplative art for a number of years. I greatly appreciate this book, the photos and assignments. As a painter, and similar to a musician, I am accustomed to listening internally in order to create a work of art. I have always thought of this "on the spot" creation as a form of awareness and contemplation. Yet, I'm fiddling a lot. I definitely want to make the best picture I can and there is a lot of correction on the way. I choose rich color, compose the image very specifically and use all the training and skill I have in me to produce a work of art. Is there a contemplative photography practice that incorporates and welcomes fiddling, use of lenses, enhancement and saturation of color and all those tools that go into making an pleasing image? There is great joy in playing with devices like these and the variety they offer; and a sense of offering one's best which holds merit.


There is nothing wrong with playing with all of those things. If you enjoy fiddling, that's fine. However, those things are based on concepts, the activity of thinking mind. Concepts obscure perception, and will not lead you to the contemplative state of mind. Try simply forming the equivalent of what you see. This is something you can explore, and then you can come to your own conclusions about fiddling.

Camera settings


Since I'm still relatively new to the DSLR world, I'm trying to shoot in Manual mode often, to get to know the camera well and how it works. I want to be able to use the spontaneity of the moment to capture what I see, but if the camera isn't set up just right for that particular situation, I then have to do more work to frame the shot once I've gotten the camera set up. Any tips on how to make this process a bit more smooth? Should I just shoot in Aperture priority or some pre-set mode instead?


To be honest, we mostly shoot in Program or Aperture Priority, since our main interest is in the perception, and simply forming the equivalent of that perception. The less you struggle with the technical aspects of making the photograph, the more you should be able to settle into the act of seeing.