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Hey, photographers! are you ready to go photoshoot. It may be summer or winter. Are you confident to hit the road with photography instruments in your toe? It’s very sad, that many of you photographers don’t understand how physically demanding photography can be. Most of the photographers realize this when they get left behind on the trail ahead.
The true fact is that you can benefit from better fitness, balance and proper breathing. Whether you are sports photography or wildlife photography, you need to keep a better health and sharp mind. In this context, I will be discussing how a good health is the most primary requisite of photographers. How can they build and maintain a good physique? And a little bit of gesture of my thought and personal practices that I am doing for years.
Photography is a physical activity for photographers. They need to be calm and cool, cautiously breathing when taking a photo. As they have to correctly kneel, sitting or standing. Also, they are required to remove fatigue and maintain strong posture.
Photographers have to hold a camera which has certain weights of different angles and heights. Thus it becomes mandatory to have a strong arm to hold the camera at a certain height. Most of the time photography involves not only skills and experience but you have to respond quickly to change climates and hard environments like crazy terrains. In those situations, it’s very hard to move with your instruments which weight is more than 10 kilograms. If you want to perform at a higher level of quality, then you have to be fit.
The topic of physical fitness is the trend of ignorance. Sometimes, no one even cares for well-being. Thus, it’s a sorrow that fitness is ignored by the photography community. Whatever, you need to be in good shape to be successful in photography like wildlife, landscape or newspaper.
Working condition for photographers varies considerably. Photographers who are employed in government and other advertising companies, usually work a 5 day 40-hour week. On the other hand, news photographers generally have to work for a long stretch, irregular hours and they are demanded to be available to work on short notice.
In common situation, most of the photographers work in uncomfortable or even dangerous surroundings. Specifically, news and wildlife photographers cover accidents, natural disasters, civil unrest, wild animals or military conflicts. Above all, it is seen that many wildlife photographers have to wait for long hours in all kinds of weather for taking a single shot of certain events. To do that, they stand or walk for long periods including carrying heavy camera and equipment. Thus, there is no other better option but maintaining a good body fitness and agility to survive in this tortuous conditions.
A simple list of reasons why being in good shape improves your photography career.
When you carry heavy packs through tough terrains can be very hard and demanding for your body. Most of the great and famous shots were taken after a very tough journey or in a tough condition. Like after an 8-10 hours hike you will be exhausted, but if the magic happens at that time, there is no other option, you have to be ready at that moment. So you have to be tough inside physically and mentally. You can’t let in your stress when you are shooting.
A basic weight lifting session, two or three times a week can really make you strong and mentally fresh. As a photographer, you don’t need to be a bodybuilder, you just need to make sure you can carry your camera weight and tolerate stress.
It’s really easy to get yourself hurt when you are carrying a backpack on a rough ground. For me, accidents had occurred for many times in my vernal age. Knees, ankles and my back were the easy targets as I was weak and at brisk health condition for not doing physical exercises. Here’s how my good shape improves my photography career:
Suffering is ensured when you explore remote and wild areas. But how good you are in body shape surely increases fun and impression of the adventure of visiting new places. If you’re tired and hurt during the trip, you won’t have much fun and you won’t take many inspiring images.
You’ll have access to more locations simply because you’ll be able to cover greater distances and reach remote locations that you might not have attempted before.
In the modern age, you don’t have to carry as much as weight than a photographer from the past. But if you are in good shape you will be able to carry more weight than usual. You can carry non-photography items like food, water, spare clothes easily which are very important for a long hike or an adventure in new places.
Many of the most beautiful and unique viewpoints we have encountered are located in the most of the remote and difficult terrains. Having good body shape, past experience and confidence will help you stay safe, uninjured and enjoy the ride.
If you are able to get to a location early, then you can get back from there early. If you have a fresh and good self-esteem you can get to a location faster. Thus you have more time for photography to concentrate on.
Being in good shape and fit means that you have more strength to fight off disease or injury. It is not an argument that if being fit and agile helps you recover faster and feel better the next morning.
The ability to get out day in and day out with only two days’ weekend between is very tough. Especially for photographers after completing a week-long workshop or trip to mountains. Freshness is very important for body and mind. If you are feeling well physically you can react and communicate with others well. So a regular workout helps you out greatly.
To me, the workout is the key to being open to the moment and taking advantage of whatever nature has to offer. When your mind and body are in sync, then you’ve given creativity the best possible environment to flourish, and that is so important to landscape photography.
When you travel difficult terrain and altitude regularly it increases your self-esteem with unique viewpoints and new experiences. These are original experiences that you get in your life. It will refresh your mind and give you a clear vision.
The more you hike, the better you’ll get. This means you’ll lose weight, become leaner, and improve upon all of the previously mentioned areas -a win situation.
General basic program of any fitness course for hiking and backpacking starts with cardiovascular strength, core strength, and flexibility. Each of them is equally important but if you can combine them together; it will be great for your body. I have been following a routine combining these three and have a great result. Fitness can give an effective life. I try to perform exercise every day which gives me strengths.
Core Strength – As a photographer, you need to be strong internally. To increase my core strength, I use a swiss ball along with many of the workouts that you can foresee in the Core Performance book by Mark Verstegen. It’s an easy routines book and you don’t require any elaborate equipment. Interestingly, you’ll experience positive results fairly quickly. Make an addition, push-ups are one of the best exercises, in the case you don’t do anything else.
Cardiovascular building – I try to regularly perform exercises that increase my cardiovascular system significantly. Normally, I take a walk in the morning for half an hour 3 times a week with my backpack. Also, a 50 minutes’ workout regularly that burns lots of calories and improves my cardio health. But, in the summer months, I add cycling ride every now and then when I am free. And for winter, I choose a more strenuous workout to keep me warm. I suggest you to remember to wear the right base layers and keep moving, otherwise, your body will cool off which is very uncomfortable.
Best is Yoga – Last, not the least, I practice yoga on the daily basis about 30 minutes to get eternal peace in mind. For over several years, yoga helps me to make my muscle strong and increase my flexibility. Also, it helps me really beneficial in so many other ways, both physically and mentally. In addition, yoga places the entire body and soul into focus and really helps to increase awareness and endurance as a whole.
Abdominal or Diaphragmatic breathing indicates using the diaphragm to help make body calm and to influence body’s reactions and concentration.
To do it perfectly, place a hand on the chest and another one on the stomach. After that, take a deep breath as far as you can to initiate air travels through the nose. Then, be sure about that the diaphragm versus the chest bubble up with air to expand and stretch the lungs. Hold this inflates position for few seconds as you comfort and slowly exhale all the air through the nose. And practice this breathing for a few or more minutes.
This inhalation and exhalation practice will increase your stability, control, coordination and mind peace. Most interesting part of this practice is that you can do this at any time of the day, even at the time of the photograph. For the best result practice at the dawn time.
Any fitness program like as hiking, backpacking can start easily and enhance your core strength & flexibility. Each is important on their own but I try to outline some strategies that are working for me over the years.
Walking to cycling gives a countless number of benefits to be happier. Dull pain, lighten mood & relieve stress all are possible in these exercises. These all help focuses and numerous physical benefits. A recent analysis shows that more people recovering from a stroke or etc.
Eye exercise is little more important in photographer’s work than other individuals. The eye can be made flexible and sharp focus, by keeping active & maintaining an exercise routine. For improving your vision, warm your eyes. To do that, rub your palms together to create heat, and place them mildly against your eyes for five seconds. And repeat this three times. Also, you can roll your eyes. To do that, start by looking up and then slowly circle 10 times clockwise and 10 times counterclockwise. And finally, focus. To do that, hold a pen at arm’s length and try to focus your eyes on it. Later, slowly bring the pen closer until it’s about 6 inches away from your nose. Afterward, slowly move it back, but keeping your eyes focused on the pen. Practice for several times. These exercises will strengthen the muscles in your eyes, improve focusing, eye movement etc.
Body position is a single most important for photographers’ work time. It needs to be vital position in the entire life. Stand in an athletic stance with feet shoulder-width.
At first, kneel down. Later, draw in the abdominal muscles and squeeze the gluteal, hips and thighs, as far you feel comfortable. Keep the chest lifted and pull the shoulders back and down toward the spine. Then, gently bend the knees and position the hips above the ankles of the feet.
Most of the time Photographer fall in injuries like as muscle pain or something else. Few time photographers who unconsciously competent does not have to change their position or camera angles but it is very harmful to them. They need change their camera angles or body positions to avoiding injury risk. Just not only health & fitness are ready but also need a camera to shoot an extended period of time for the sake of one or more perfect photographs.
The certain illness came from avoiding exercise. The dramatic improvement of chronic disease to mention here is like depression, anxiety, tempered mood & reduce energy level. The body uses carbohydrates, fats, proteins as energy sources. Benefits of exercise training are to improve cardiovascular system gets stronger & better at delivering oxygen. And, to burn out extra fat as an energy source.
Depression is a severe illness for photographers as it spoils many things. It prevents the creative mind from taking breathtaking photos. It is the just slow killer of the brain. Scientists are still searching for exactly which can be helpful to reduce depression through exercise. But, it is authenticated that exercise improves blood flow to the brain, help to grow of new blood circulation. Therefore, depression can be prevented and enhance the mind to take great pictures.
For me, it’s like I want to keep exploring and photographing wilderness as long as possible. Besides having a long and prosperous career, being in a great condition to enjoy my life. Whether it’s hiking with my son or biking with my friends or skiing with my wife, a well-fitted life is what we all strive for. Therefore, I would like to conclude saying this “workout regularly and bring it on good fitness”.
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