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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shoot with the wrong eye



While watching Joe McNally demo his special grip last week, I was intrigued by the fact that he said it was ìfor left-eye shooters.î I'm a right eye, as are many of us—or most of us, I assume. So what would happen if we tried to work with our left eyes instead? Would we see differently, perhaps even more clearly? I wonder if it would have much the same effect as checking the effectiveness of compositions by holding prints upside down. This approach effectively turns off the part of your brain that identifies objects in order to clearly see the shapes, colors and composition.
 
Well, I decided to test this theory out to see for myself. And as it turns out, the disorienting effects of shooting with your "wrong eye" can actually be pretty interesting. I could almost feel my brain looking at the scene differently than when I look with my right eye. Not only was it uncomfortable and slightly disconcerting, it felt like I was very consciously looking through the viewfinder at a different image than the one I saw with my right eye. As best I can tell, the difference being that after you take enough pictures with your "good eye," looking through the viewfinder can become second nature. In some ways you may not even ìseeî what you're looking at. Or at least you don't see it much differently than when you’re looking at the world with naked eyes. After all, aren’t we supposed to see the world differently with our cameras? Looking with my wrong eye felt different, and different seems like a great place to start to actually see the world in your own unique way.
 
My experiment only lasted for a few minutes, and I wouldn't want to try it every day all the time, but as a change of pace and an awareness exercise it's a great approach. My head hurts a tiny little bit, which may just be psychosomatic. Or it could be proof that I was forcing my brain to work differently. Maybe that will come in handy in the future when I'm feeling stagnant or stuck, or maybe just to see the compositions I think I should be seeing.

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