Inspiration can help keep impatience in backseat


Everyone who has raised a family has probably heard the words, “Are we there yet?”

Long ago when the cars were slower and prone to breaking down on long trips I can remember asking dad from the backseat, “When are we going to get there?” These comments were never received very well.

Today I sometimes feel we are still in the backseat with faster cars and amazing camera technology, but the one thing that easily gets lost is how to find inspiration in our work and off hours to use our creativity.

These are the thoughts that have been reflecting on for several months as I prepare to teach the fall Quest class, “Photography — An Inspirational Journey,” at Walla Walla Community College.

A real basic question the students usually ask is, “Where do you find inspiration and how can I get inspired?” For photographers and those of us in the visual arts we are blessed with many opportunities that modern technology has provided us.

For the first time in history camera sensors now have “retina vision” and can capture low light images almost equal to our human eye. With cameras built into iPhones, iPads and an array of point-and-shoot and larger cameras the opportunity has never been better to get inspired and be creative.

I am inspired with the light in all four distinct seasons we experience here in Walla Walla. In photography the photographer “paints with light” in every photo. Sometimes the light is brilliant or glowing at sunrise or sunset, and other times it can be shadows reflecting off ponds or window sills.

So where do we look for inspiration in our daily activities? Reality is we are so busy that we take the light of day for granted and many times we search for inspiration from other sources.

I find myself daily browsing through visual imagery web sites like National Geographic, Flickr, iStock, or Pinterest for inspiration and creative ideas.

Over the years it has become evident to me that we create when inspiration and our own innovation collide. So I will be mentoring the fall class students to take pictures of those things that give them pleasure and enjoyment. To focus on things they never get tired of and really love that are refreshing and give them a new perspective.

I have found that people who enroll in a class like this not only want to build new friendships, but find a new perspective with their cameras and share with others the adventure. So my goal will be to provide them with some camera and editing tools so they are no longer in the backseat asking, “Are we there yet?”

Some of those inspirational tools will be:

Walk outdoors and view your garden or visit Pioneer Park to photograph some wonderful flowers or roses and practice some macro photography.

Look for streams and water fountains that offer not only solitude to absorb the sounds away from the urban traffic clutter but practice capturing water droplets with a faster shutter speed like 1/500. You may even capture another reflection.

Keep an eye out for food that looks exceptionally appetizing and take a picture of the array of colors (to highlight the texture of the food take the photo at plate level).

Look for unusual architectural patterns or designs around the home or work.

Inspiration may come from a simple sprinkler design in your garden.

The key to finding inspiration is to surround yourself with a diversity of creative subjects and capture them with your camera, share them, and you will never be asking, “Are we there yet?”

Don Fleming can be reached at


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