Muscle confusion leads to growth. As I understand it, this is a key premise of many popular exercise programs. My son has been a CrossFit enthusiast for about a year, and his fitness level has improved immensely. Before CrossFit, there was Cross-Training. Today, my wife amazed me again by racing in another triathlon. Triathletes mix-up their training regularly in order to compete in a combined swim, bike, and run, and they are in amazing condition as a result.
I decided to bring my camera to today's triathlon. I don't normally shoot action sports--my normal portrait and artistic work happens at a much slower and more predictable pace, in air conditioned studios, and with lighting that I control. So, shooting cyclists as they rocketed past me was a sort of photography muscle confusion. The lighting was different and it was inconsistent. The correct camera settings were elusive. Shooting from a curb was physically awkward, and I was sweating profusely in the unusually hot and humid weather. I found it unexpectedly difficult to get the result I wanted and I became quite frustrated. My respect is now renewed for action photographers, who often have only a split second and a single chance to get the money shot. I had the luxury of almost 300 athletes passing by during a 45-minute period, and I was still struggling to get the shot!
In hindsight, I can see that this was important training for me. I have no doubt that occasionally stretching myself with unusual (for me) genres of photography will pay dividends in my primary work. This muscle confusion will keep me from falling into a rut, and it will make me a better overall photographer. And if today is any indication, it will also keep me humble!
Kristoffer Cox Photography: Artisan Portraits and Conceptual Images