"I am almost always in a rush, even when I'm sitting down doing nothing. I'm often thinking of what lays ahead, a dozen different thoughts fighting for some elbow room inside the little space within my skull. Meditation helps a great deal in quieting the noise and providing me the breathing room to focus, but nothing really does it for me as when I go out with my camera and begin to photograph."
I saw this opening paragraph today in a great post on Perello's blog. Our lives are so hectic these days that I think it can be a challenge for us to step out of that mindset. Like him, I find that meditation does help to stop the chatter for a while, or at least dial it back a bit. But the only time I can truly say that I'm completely in the 'now' with a quiet mind is when I'm out taking pictures, especially when I'm by myself in nature.
To be able to experience a quiet mind like that to me is one of the greatest gifts photography can give to the person behind the lens. It may take a while once we get out there to get away from our habituated mind. But after a time it's almost like the lens itself falls away and we interact with our subjects in a way that most people don't get to experience.
In order for this to happen though, we can't rush from spot to spot looking for the next good picture. Slow down. Stop. Look. Use your other senses to perceive your surroundings. See the interplay of light and shadow. Try to see not just what initially caught your eye but instead what the real essence of your subject might be. In doing so I think you'll find that your mind will quiet down and you have a much better chance of capturing a meaningful photograph. And even if you don't, slowing down and 'seeing' has it's own benefits beyond any picture.