Sometimes as a photographer I need to remember that there is "always something to see"! Far too often we have so much going on up inside our head that we fail to notice everything that really is going on around us.
Take this image for example. A few days ago I took the kids to a beach on the island at low tide to find some critters. Everything was grey and muted, no blue sky, and aside from a few pieces of driftwood, there was nothing cool to shoot. Then about an hour later a tiny red dot caught my eye, I stopped, and forced myself to get down close and look. There I found a tiny (the size of a pencil eraser) sun-baked crab shell quietly waiting out its final existence on the beach sand. The color contrast was perfect, nice bright and red against the dark sand. I set my Canon Point and Shoot to macro and got really close in order to get as much detail as possible.
Sometimes we need to make ourselves less distracted. Maybe even train ourselves to have an internal alarm when we feel totally stressed. An alarm that triggers us back to a moment of reality where if we are quick and disciplined enough, we can stop and look around at what is really happening. We need to remember what life is really about, what is important (as opposed to urgent), and enjoy the fact that we are still ticking.
Mark Twight is an accomplished Alpinist and writes a lot about fear and talks about how he programmed his internal alarm. During training for a major ascent on a mountain range he would take one of his carabiners (for clipping safely into the rope and anchors) and open the gate and let it snap shut while focusing on relaxation. He did this over and over again until the sound of the carabiner's gate snapping shut made him automatically relax. I think we would have one more tool for getting back to reality if we all worked on our own stress alarm.
What will yours look like?