• Steve Ball

Inspiration - Can we find it?

Do we have to wait for inspiration to find us or can we seek it out and create it for ourself? I found myself reflecting on this point following a day's photography amongst the mountains of Wester Ross in NW Scotland. I also started to wonder about what it feels like to be truly inspired; what do we feel in that moment, and how often do we experience such occasions? Personally, I am finding that my level and frequency of inspiration has dramatically increased as I spend less time working and more time outdoors in nature. Looking back in time I recognise that my senses were dulled by the daily grind of corporate life, and things that should have inspired me simply passed me by. Fortunately that is behind me and I am now able to look around and experience the environment in such a way that I create my own inspiration.

The area around Glen Torridon has cast it's spell on me, one which will hopefully see me returning on a regular basis in the coming years. To be there is inspirational in itself; however I thought I would share a particular experience which goes some way to answering the question at the beginning of this article. It was an experience that made me feel like shouting with joy at the top of my voice; a feeling that I don't recall experiencing many times in my life.

The weather was challenging to say the least; heavy rain and strong winds, and limited visibility. Challenging conditions for landscape photography! However, the location amongst the imposing Torridon mountains, the mood created by the weather, and the sight of a golden eagle soaring above my head, all created a sense of euphoria in me. I felt so privileged to experience those circumstances, and the realisation of how insignificant I am in a landscape of such scale only served to reinforce the overwhelming emotion that I felt. Soaking wet, and battered by the wind, I persevered with my photography, looking for inspiration. I found it during a brief moment of distant light and a momentary break in the clouds. Satisfying to get an image, but not essential. It was just as satisfying to store that moment in my mind for future reference, and to recognise that I had looked for and found that inspiration; I hadn't waited for it to come to me. The lesson for me - don't wait to be inspired, it might never happen. Take time to really open your eyes to the natural world, be prepared to embrace the weather, and you might find that you are inspired more often and to a higher level.

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