Chris Johnston Photography

Getting into a state of flow

Despite a masters in journalism and previous jobs as both a copywriter and newspaper reporter it is still a chore for me to sit down and blog on a daily basis. I'm also a parent of 3 children and finding time outside of work to do this has been difficult.. To remedy that I am going to get up a little early to write (3:30am this morning). 

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I take photographs. It started in 2005 as a hobby but it grew into much more than that. Twelve years later it is an obsession that has taken over my life. In fact it is helping me to define the purpose in my life. 

I only feel truly alive when I'm taking photos. Time disappears, hours go by unnoticed, I get into what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a state of flow.

There have only been a few pursuits in my life when that has happened. The first was when I started learning about wildlife and spending time in nature. I spent evenings glued to my TV watching Marty Stouffer's Wild America and on weekends I would spend hours in the woods trying to get a glimpse of a snake or sitting on the side of a bayou trying to see an alligator. 

This lead to 4 years a volunteer at a local nature center in the wildlife rehab center and 8 years at the local zoo, part of that in the wild bird rehab center. When I took up photography it only seemed natural to combine my love of nature and wildlife with this new hobby.

The problem is that as a parent of 3 children I don't have time to spend hours in the woods scouting locations and building hides and waiting for wildlife to show. If I bring the kids they are so noisy that I can be sure no wildlife will ever be seen. 

This little wrinkle in my plans lead to landscape photography. It is as equally fulfilling as wildlife photography but in a different way. It doesn't have that same excitement as waiting in the nature for the deer to appear or alligator to surface but I get excited when I see the final image. An image that is the culmination of time spent in the field shooting and then post processing in Lightroom and Photoshop back at home. 

I'm on a journey to figure out how to fit wildlife & landscape photography into my life on a daily basis. I'm not sure where this journey will lead but I do know that the outcome will involve me taking photos full-time as a career. I'm not really made for the corporate 9-5.


 Captive deer with antlers in velvet at the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, LA

Captive deer with antlers in velvet at the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, LA