Play Time Experimenting with Ideas and Dealing with Failure

The two examples I have discussed are ones that worked out. Many more end in failure, or have many disappointments along the way. Learning to deal with this is key to maintaining a motivation to pursue new ideas.

As I have already stated, I believe that the time limitation on taking photographs underwater heightens our fear of failure and stifles our desire to innovate. I get around this mental block by giving myself permission to fail by categorising dives, or parts of dives, as play. I'll say to myself (or even others) 'On this dive I am going to play'. I am taking the pressure off having to deliver polished photos and giving myself the go-ahead to experiment, even if it ends in failure.

Often a new image starts with an idea to try a new technique (such as rear curtain flash, a snoot, an unusual lens, etc.). A play dive allows you to see how the technique works on a variety of subjects and situations without worrying about creating finished images. Then later, with a better understanding, you can take the elements that work and create a finished image around them.

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