Photographer Filtering out Distractions




I had a bit of an accident yesterday and scalded my wrist. This pretty much knocked me for six and all my plans from thereon in were scuppered. We had to spend nearly two hours at the Walk-in Centre but they soon sorted me out. So my partner lost two hours work, I ended up further behind than I should have been and really should just have slowed down. It would have saved pain AND time. Time I really needed to get on with photo processing and new images.




It made me think, though, about filtering out distractions. The scald was done in the first place because I was trying to do too many things at once, reached over the kettle and caught the blast of steam on my wrist. I’m old enough to know better, but was NOT filtering out distractions. I seem to be much better at that with a camera in my hand. Filters on cameras, of course, can filter out unwanted flare etc, framing filters out unwanted objects that might distract the viewer and Photoshop filters can be used to remove distracting elements either by calming their colours or blending them into the composition better.


My neighbour's front garden


In life, we are constantly distracted. Advertising, yet another human catastrophe, noisy neighbours, a TV show, phone calls. What stops you concentrating? My pet problems are

1/ Noise-unfortunately I live in quite a noisy area. People shout when they could walk and talk, their dogs bark incessantly, their children scream.

2/They throw rubbish around and let their kids run riot.

3/Terrible human tragedies

4/Phone calls.


I cope with number one by wearing headphones and playing myself music when trying to write or process images. The music depends on what I’m writing/doing. Today it’s Anastacia. I need cheering up and some extra energy.

The rubbish? I try to concentrate on the beauty around me. Today’s photos are by way of antidote, but there’s one shot of the stuff that could depress me if I allowed it to. Spring is here! Flowers, greenery, new life. We have to celebrate the positives in life or we’d truly go mad. I do my garden, make my bit of the planet as rich in wildlife as I can, grow beautiful things to surround myself with.

Tragedies? All any of us can do is sympathise, contribute to relief efforts financially and refer to our spiritual beliefs for comfort. Then go back to putting beauty and joy back into the world. How else would there be any balance and how else do we stay sane in a mad world?

Phone calls? Can’t hear them with headphones on. That helps. But if stuff has to be dealt with then do it as soon as possible then get back to work!

Housework? Do it as quickly as possible without scalding or maiming myself, and try not to let it distract me if there’s stuff left to be done.


Grape hyacinth. Small but a welcome distraction!

On the subject of filters, I’ve recently been given by my father and a friend, some new filters for my camera, and some extra ones for Photoshop. So I’ve definitely got plenty to do learning how to use them and finding out what I can make them do. I’ll keep you posted as I hopefully make progress. I’ll try to filter out the distractions that slow me down. What do you need to filter out?



10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hitzeman Photography
    Mar 18, 2011 @ 16:14:52

    Good thoughts, Chris. I filter out: commercials, violent TV shows, most news shows. In photography, the spot healing/cloning tool in Lightroom and the cloning tools in Photoshop work wonders.


    • chriscaff
      Mar 18, 2011 @ 16:40:22

      Thanks Hitzman. Good points about Photoshop tools. Commercials- YES! Violent TV? Most of the time. Fiction doesn’t bother me as much as the reality of the news, though.


  2. photosbymartina
    Mar 19, 2011 @ 03:55:31

    I enjoyed reading your post about the realities in life of distractions. Yes, wearing headphones helps. I almost watch no TV and read more than ever to catch up on the news. Having small children now is not something I can filter out, but I can lead them to the outdoors where they love to make new discoveries in nature. Going to some parks helps if there are not many people there. We vacation in remote locations instead of loud parks. I love your hyacinth photo!


    • chriscaff
      Mar 19, 2011 @ 16:08:01

      Thanks Martina. Small children? I sympathise. Mine have left home now, so I’m after a more peaceful life. I don’t blame you for going to remote locations. I do the same, even finding campsites where I can park my camper without the noise of children to wake me in a morning1 (I’m a night owl). Thanks for calling and commenting!


  3. randywornhole
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 09:16:19

    Shame there isn’t a photoshop menu in real life to, to soften the harshness around us, to remove noise and to brighten the world. xxx


  4. crazygoangirl
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 14:43:32

    Great post! Filtering out the excesses of most things, is something I try to do on a daily basis, but it can get tough. I didn’t realize how draining noise can be, whether it’s the constant backdrop of mundane household chores and chatter or the god-awful drilling that will one day be someone’s home, it is exhausting! Sometimes I wish could filter out Life and live for a while in a vacuum. Some days that’s the only way I think I can get anything done that’s worth doing!

    And I don’t even want to think about when my 3-yr-old starts holidays in a couple of weeks! There is not a filter made yet that can make the incessant chant of ‘Mommy’ disappear…sigh…

    On a happier note…wonderful pictures. Love the grape hyacinth 🙂


    • chriscaff
      Mar 21, 2011 @ 15:12:31

      Thanks Harsha. I know, it’s hard to avoid the draining effects of noise. My antidote, when I’m stuck in the environment is headphones and ‘feather smoothing’ music. Otherwise I get out in my camper and head for the hills. Three year olds? They don’t sound as loud and tire more quickly outside! Good luck!


  5. inquisitorial
    Apr 18, 2011 @ 01:56:30

    Hi Chris.
    hiacynths are very beautiful. Love them, but there aren’t any here, so I’m just charmed by looking at their pictures. Great shot! I am not familiar with primroses but there are, too, beautiful and very unique. Spring is indeed wondrous with all its colors…


  6. chriscaff
    Apr 18, 2011 @ 10:25:46

    Thanks Inquisitorial. I’m surprised by you saying you don’t have hyacinths or primroses. They are very common here, and primroses are very hardy. My hyacinths are, too. Perhaps a trip to the local garden center and you could have your very own.


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