Photography and rocket science

It was nice of the space center to locate this solid rocket booster in the center of the tree arch. Hunstville, AL.  Rebecca LaChance, 2017.

It was nice of the space center to locate this solid rocket booster in the center of the tree arch. Hunstville, AL.  Rebecca LaChance, 2017.

We spent a few days in Huntsville, Alabama this week.  The Hubster was doing his government job/business and I was visiting a photography colleague and supplier.  Of course, if one is going to be in Huntsville, one must go to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the home of Space Camp. (Do you remember the Space Camp movie? Campers were accidentally thrust into space.)

Kids at space camp get to do incredible things. Obviously, the two at the top of the photo are simulating a space walk.  They also get to experience near-zero gravity in a large diving tank. Rebecca LaChance, 2017.

Kids at space camp get to do incredible things. Obviously, the two at the top of the photo are simulating a space walk.  They also get to experience near-zero gravity in a large diving tank. Rebecca LaChance, 2017.

The first space photographs

A woman scientist won the patent for her method to develop the first space photographs.  She used radioactive sulfur to pull bright colors and sharp edges from dark and blurry films. It's a fair bet that today we're all grateful for LIghtroom and Photoshop.  Overuse syndrome from keyboard strikes is vastly preferable to the effects of radioactive substances!

The Butterfly Nebula. Photocredit: NASA.GOV

The Butterfly Nebula. Photocredit: NASA.GOV

Where rocket science and photography meet

After spending hours with the Saturn V Rocket, I made connections between rocket science and photography.  And the connections were...creativity, inspiration, problem-solving.

How often have you heard, or read, of someone complaining they have lost their creativity or their inspiration?  Yes, we've all heard it, and maybe even complained a bit ourselves.

As I gazed at the hundreds, maybe thousands of miles of electrical wiring, the minutia that went into every square inch of the rocket, the unbelievable millions of parts that lifted the Apollo astronauts into space, I realized that creativity and inspiration come from knowledge, problem-solving, and constant work, constant evaluation, and reassessment.  It was only by testing a rocket thruster in a wind tunnel that a new placement of tail-fin structure could be created; first, as a thought, then as a product. The problems were the foundation of creative thoughts.

Not one scientist, engineer, mathematician said, "I'm feeling creative today. Let's build a rocket ship."  Three different "camps of thought" existed about the "best" way to heave humans past our atmosphere. No one had the answers. They had to test each answer and make corrections.

Not one person said, "I'm not feeling it today. I'm going to just sit here until I feel inspired. Can you tell me where to get inspiration?"  No, they had problems to solve so they kept at it.

Problems abounded. New methods of thinking, building, constructing, and transportation were required.  Yet, they worked every day, doing the work, putting in the work, making new advances to move to the next problem.

So the connection between rocket science and photography (or any art) is the idea of "keep working" every day.  Use the camera every day, even if it's to take photos of flora and fauna on your daily walks. Look for the problems in your work, what can you try that will solve the problem?  Collaborate with others to learn new ideas,  It's only by continuing to work the camera (or your brushes) every single day that creativity or inspiration starts to wind its way through your thoughts and your work.

Remember, the most inspiring words are "What if...?"  Ask yourself the question every day, experiment with your answers.  Repeat as needed.  And while you're at it, if your answer to "what if" requires new knowledge, go for it!  Learn as much as you can. Prepare your mind for those new creative thoughts, the brilliant inspirations.

And then...work them.

The next time you're feeling a lack of creativity or inspiration find a problem to solve.  Something will happen, I'm sure!

Happy Sunday!