Morning routine…

or ‘the unanticipated benefits of a photography habit’.

Hands up if you’ve never deliberately attempted to start a habit of some kind…

Me? I’ve tried loads, and I mean loads! But the fact is, I’m rubbish at it. I’m really good at reading the books that tell you why you should regularly do something, I understand the benefits they tell me I’ll see as a result of establishing these habits, I want to experience those benefits, I really do, but in the end, I just don’t seem to have what it takes to tick the habit box. A few days into trying anything habit-like and chances are I’ve already lost the plot.

But there is one thing I do which I think does qualify for habit status – not a habit I ever deliberately intended to make a habit, but which has happened anyway, and that is the habit of taking a photo (or several) of the countryside every day when I walk the dog.

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Long-service readers will know this began with photographing a particular oak tree in the lane. But although I decided to record the oak, I didn’t set off with any intention to make it a permanent thing, I didn’t anticipate any particular benefits of doing it, I simply wanted to see how that tree changed over the period of a year.

But you know, it’s now well over 3 years since I started taking those photos and I still do it every day – I think we can agree that counts as a habit.

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Now let’s be honest, this habit hasn’t done a thing for my ability to keep the house clean or tidy, it hasn’t turned me into a highly successful business person, or (sadly) prevented me from eating my own weight in cake at the slightest provocation.

But you know, there are a few benefits I think do stem from this habit.

These days I am much more in tune with the changing seasons. The whole cycle of life, the ever-changing weather moods and the ebb and flow of energy is something I feel better connected to, even anchored in, and much happier as a result.

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And this once fairly ignorant wildlife watcher has now become fascinated by the flora and fauna in one mundane English country lane. I now own and frequently consult books on wildflowers, trees, insects, mushrooms and birds – and now, just occasionally, I can actually call something by its proper name.

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Having never really been able to commit to a daily drawing practice, I do find that looking carefully at the natural world around me has improved my eye for texture, pattern and subtlety in colour, with the added benefit of having a record to go back to if I want to research something for an artwork. It may not be the creative habit of Twyla Tharp, but honestly, I think it works for me.

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But the best thing of all, is that when you’re having a dull miserable winter and your friends comment on how it seems to have been grey for so long, you can immediately jump in and bore them rigid with precise details of exactly how many days it’s been since we had any sunshine and then show them all the photos to prove it… I know, because I am that woman!

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So there you have it, an accidental habit worth having…

I post a picture from my walk most days over on my Instagram account, do come over and say hello if you’re on IG.

I don’t own a camera – all the pictures are taken with my smart phone, which is tucked -dawn to dusk – into the pocket of my jeans. I was thinking just the other day how lucky I am to live in the digital age, and giving thanks to the inventor of the camera app.

Do you have any accidental habits that make your life better? Do tell…


13 thoughts on “Morning routine…

  1. I am right there with you on photography habit and giving thanks to live in the age of both digital and smart phone photography. Aren’t we a lucky bunch?!

  2. I too take lots of pics on daily walks with an iPhone camera – just so brilliant, so easy, so quick. I’ve only recently discovered your IG account and your blog, but I’m enjoying your pics particularly because we live by the sea, and it is very beautiful, but I don’t see a lot of trees – the few that there are are usually very misshapen from the wind. It is a delight to see your woody tree pics, and I think you’ve got an excellent habit going there!

    1. Isn’t that one of the great things about IG – I follow several people who live by the sea for the same reason – to get a fix of something I don’t otherwise see very often. It’s wonderful to have a community brought together by the power of photos 🙂

  3. If only taking a photo every day could offset cake eating! My children find it difficult to understand how we used to take photos that would then sit in the camera for months until we took the film to the chemist to be developed. I recently discovered an old camera with a half used film in it and can’t decide if it’s worth finishing it and taking it to be developed. I suspect that if I do, it will prove disappointing.

    1. Ah! Can you still get them developed? We have a laugh here because when I was expecting my eldest daughter, we went to Barcelona for a holiday and I kept wondering if anyone could tell I was pregnant – I was about 4 months gone at the time. About five years later, we found the film from that holiday and when we had it developed I looked HUGE! Those were the days…

  4. I love the image of the frosty field. I share your photography habit and carry a camera with me wherever I go, just in case. I also make notes, but often on random scraps of paper or in one of various notebooks I have, so often make the resolution to limit myself to one recording source. Been trying to develop that habit for years!

    1. Oh this made me laugh, because I too am a random note maker, and yes, I also struggle with having everything in one place. I’m getting a bit better by choosing smaller notebooks which I can keep in my bag or a pocket, but if you manage to crack the secret, do let me know!

  5. Lovely photographs, they really get across that act of noticing the world around you, all the wonderful shapes, textures and colours, and the changes that are constantly going on as the seasins move forward. I’m very pleased to be living in the digital age too, to be able to take such beautiful photos and share them easily is fab. I must get into Instagram next too!

    1. Hi Phil – I’d love to see what you made of IG – look forward to it one day. The digital world has done so much for artists don’t you think – not just technically in ways to express ourselves, but also by facilitating communication between ourselves – it’s no longer necessary to feel alone in a garret when you can post pics on social media! The sense of community is a wonderful thing…

      1. I completely agree Anny, im a big fan of the digital age, although I’m a bit of a dunce when it comes to using some of the technology ! But the way we can communicate now, share ideas, get feedback and support is just fantastic 😊

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