LO/LO Principle

October 23, 2017

Lock-On / Lock-Out (LO/LO)


I'm not a psychologist, but I am aware of a principle in cognitive psychology which has helped me in my photography.   (I've studied and read the work of the late Lou Tice and can recommend an easy read book by him: 'A Better World, A Better You'.)


Very often when I head out to a particular location to take photographs I have a preconceived idea of what type of photograph and scene I want to capture on that day.  This is good, because it means I have an objective for the trip which provides a focus and an intent which, in turn, improves my chances of success in obtaining the photograph I want.  However, like most things in life, there's a flip-side to this...


Being too locked-on to want you want can (quite literally) blind you to other opportunities!  Psychologically speaking, when we 'lock-on' we also 'lock-out' - our brains create a 'scotoma' (sensory blindness) to anything that does not contribute to the objective in mind and 'blinds' us to its existence. 


Therefore, whenever I head out for a shoot - yes, I have an objective I want to achieve but I also make sure to consciously break my attention from the objective and to take time to look around (and behind) me for any other opportunities available. 


For example, the image above is an image I captured on such an occasion: 


I was primarily focused on capturing an image of the Gleno waterfall and spent a significant amount of time (and frames) trying to create a balanced image. 


However, I also checked myself and consciously decided to detract my attention from the waterfall and looked around me for any other potential images - the above image was captured as a consequence.  I was so focused on the waterfall I hadn't even noticed (scotoma) how the light was falling beautifully through the trees on to the footbridge and the stream behind me!


So, always try to remember the 'lock-on / lock-out', principle - it could serve you well.  Steve.


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