Hyper-Focus Photography and Sailing

By Thaddeus B. Kubis

Volume III. Issue 3.

Smart Device Photography By Thad Kubis at Osprey Point

I need to hyper focus, meaning I need to stay closely focused on any task to ensure that I fulfill the assigned task the best that I can. Sailing and photography, drawing as well, are my main tools to use this intense form of mental concentration that allows me to fully be in touch with my consciousness and convert an everyday experience into a memorable, positive  adventure  addition to add to my story.

Recently presented a seminar for Shardana Sailing Charters and Osprey Point Inn on smartphone/tablet photography.  The reviews and comments were all very positive which makes me feel good but I also realized that part of my “presentation skill set” is hyper-focusing on the task at hand. The audience was there in front of me, but also was a part of me and my presentation. I  was so intent on presenting the message “Smartphone Photography for the Sailor” that I went beyond the scope of presenting and became THE audience as well.

For me and perhaps for you,  great photos are composed in part by the photographer’s technical skill, equipment, and creative vision.  Certainly for me “hyper-focusing” on the subject is my other main “driver”.  The Zen term is being one with the task at hand. Some photographers use the term pre-visualizing and sailors use the term “in the groove” to define hyper-focusing.

Stop taking photos and start creating art!

New to hyper-focusing?

Smart Device Photography Sailing Students

Taking pictures is easy, you see something you like, raise the camera, smartphone or tablet and click the shutter. Creating art takes a few more steps and those steps include being aware of the light that paints the subject—-and the light is for many the “thing” that makes the image the image. Think about a scene or subject in the shadow, in the bright sun or in a muted lighting situation.  The dynamics of the image change based on the lighting.  The same is true with sailing.  Sailing in a light to moderate breeze has multiple levels of success, the force of the wind, the size of the boat and your skill set and that of your Captain/crew add to or take away from your experience – your story! When you are comfortable with your sailing skill set, you can sail in an intense wind. When you are comfortable with the boat, you can tack, gybe with ease and enjoy a greater level of the sailing experience. Part of your skill set, and comfort level is being able to concentrate (hyper-focus) on the task at hand, that is what I do when I teach sailing, Captain a Shardana charter, or take a photograph. I place myself (not lose myself) in the situation. Being hyper-focused makes any task easier, it removes the hard edge, the block that often is a key component, a restriction of any new or repetitive task. Hyper-focusing also reduces and in many cases removes the fear factor from the action you are undertaking.

Hyper focusing tips when:

Creating/visualizing an artful image              Sailing/Chartering a Sailboat

  1. Be aware of the light 1) Be aware of the conditions

  2. Understand the scene 2) Understand your skill set/comfort level

  3. Pre-visualize the image 3) Define the charter or sail

  4. Think of the viewer 4) Be involved at level that is acceptable to you

  5. What is YOUR end result? 5) Did the event add to your life’s story?

Simple?  Yes! Simple for all, be aware of the situation, often called “situational awareness” – danger lurks in the shadows and on the horizon. Define your goals and objectives, know your limits and your skill set, finally define the purpose of your adventure, be ready to learn, expand your skill sets and yes have fun. Hyper-focus on the situation and be in the moment— your moment and be ready to enjoy a great experience. Your experience!

When I Captain a charter or teach photography I attempt to allow all the crew or the students to be aware of the points listed above. I personally get involved wile allowing the photographer or crew to take the wheel; create an image and discuss what happened—good or bad.  I also ask they look beyond the task at hand and become the task at hand, closing their mind to the many distractions (for your safety, always being aware of your situation) that life brings and hyper-focus on your goal, action or objective.  You are now living in the moment, in the groove, sailing  and making your story.

Sailing and photography are more to me than just things to do.  These activities are deeply rooted in visceral and instinctive actions as THE things to do that all get better when I add hyper-focusing to the equation. This makes me one with the subject or scene… or wind, boat and water; making my life experiences  better, as they will for you.

Need to “feel” more, talk about hyper-focusing, photography or sailing, email me at thad@tbkphotos.com and we can engage on this topic and more. Do you need a copy of my smartphone cheat sheet for sailors, let me know and I will email you the free cheat sheet?

Thad Kubis

U.S.C.G. Master

Captain, Shardana Sailing Charters


Hyper-Focus Guru