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Muscle Memory Applied to Cinematography and Photography

gary orona uranium truck boot

Uranium Truck Boot by Gary Orona

The Photo Shoots Itself: Zen and the Art of Focal Lengths

In physical fitness excellence comes from repetition and the concept of muscle memory. Your muscles remember stress and they build on it. The same principles apply to your creative muscles. This shot is all about the focal length of the lens. So here’s the setup.

A massive thunderstorm was approaching with a wall of black clouds right behind this group of scattered ones. I had just a few seconds before the sun was going to be lost in the approaching tempest.

With almost no effort I knew to get on the ground with an extreme wide angle lens to make that old boot imposing and powerful. Had I spent any time considering which lens to use this shot would not have happened.┬áSo the lesson here is whatever your craft is in life, do it over, and over, and over until it’s second nature. Build those mental muscles so that art happens without effort.

In Zen it is said that the master archer does not force the shot but rather, “the arrow shoots itself”. This level of excellence is not magic or some in-born ‘talent’. This is a product of repetition and love.

Good Thoughts – Gary Orona

BTW This was shot with a lens that would be about 16mm on a 35mm camera.


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Old Boot in the Uranium Badlands by Gary Orona reaches Nearly 100 rating

uranium truck boot gary orona

Uranium Truck Boot as photographed by Gary Orona

This shot of an old abandoned boot at a uranium mining ghost camp reached amazing worldwide acclaim as it nearly peaked at a perfect 100 rating on one of the largest professional photography exhibition sites in the world. This work is a perfect example of why it’s important to shoot constantly if you intend to grow as an artist. Had I not known exactly which lens to use and how to get myself in that perfect ground level position, this shot could have easily slipped by un-produced. Without experience, I would have simply walked right past this composition.

I often teach shooters to “find the spirit of the place”. Don’t just show up and start firing away. Walk the space and feel it, absorbing its spirit from inside and outside. Be at peace with it and then search compositionally what you feel. There you have it.

Good Thoughts- Gary Orona

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