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Archive 2012 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?
  
 
cputeq
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p.2 #1 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Your problems (too much gear, backlog) is exactly what I use to kick-start myself sometimes. I limit my choices, and I shoot less often.

While I don't do project-based shooting like you do, I think everyone gets stuck.

The last time I got stuck it was because I was shooting full-sized cameras (5D2, 7D). The equipment was very good but just too damn heavy.

After about a month of me barely touching the equipment, I sold it off and jumped feet-first into m43, having never used it before. What a revelation!


I have tired of the system switching - I think my m43 setup is probably my final resting place for now - I've switched to about 10 systems in about 4.5 years and it's a chore. I'm way too busy to do such things now. Even now I have too many lenses - sometimes I just walk around with the GX-1 and 14mm and that's it - I must make do.


But the backlog - Slow down your photo taking I don't have the patience (or time) to do film, but try to limit yourself - either by forced using JPEG that you won't process, or by intentionally bringing tiny memory cards and making all shots count



Nov 18, 2012 at 11:58 PM
mortyb
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p.2 #2 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


cputeq wrote:
I have tired of the system switching - I think my m43 setup is probably my final resting place for now - I've switched to about 10 systems in about 4.5 years and it's a chore.


It's weird, but somehow I recall having read this before. I actually think it was from the same author as well.




Nov 19, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Xtobolic
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p.2 #3 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Do another kind of project, but this time, take people into the subject. Forests and urbex are nice, but maybe to "simple" in terms of your subject isnt moving and has no real emotions.

I discovered that I take the most pictures of material things. Like houses, cars, forests, trees, landscapes whatever.
But the pictures that I took that I like most are pictures of humans. especially pictures I took in a project (which I can't share because the pictures involve mentally handicapt persons).

Go another route, a less comfortable one, do something new, take just 1 or 2 lenses and a body. Forget about the lenses you have at home and why you maybe should have brought that other one that now stands on your drawer.




Nov 19, 2012 at 12:12 AM
scottam10
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p.2 #4 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Yep, agree with limiting yourself to just 1 or 2 lenses and a body each time you go out. I find that I just enjoy shooting whatever I have with me, rather than carrying a bagful of lenses which is heavy and slows me down always wondering if I have the right lens mounted.
- you can mix it up by varying what you carry, but I find it helps to leave most gear at home.

RE post-processing load: when it feels like a chore, you stop enjoying it.
This is just a hobby for me so I can always put the camera down for a couple of weeks; pro's don't have that choice.
I don't enjoy spending hours on a computer so my processing is simple - I shoot JPEG, then cull bad/weak photos, crop/auto contrast on the ones I like and that's it.



Nov 19, 2012 at 12:23 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #5 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Invert a technique / add a new one to your arsenal.

If you have been shooting infinity, shoot mfd. Been shooting handheld, shoot tripod. Shooting first curtain sync, try rear curtain sync. Drag your shutter, lie on the ground, climb a ladder, shoot landscapes in portrait orientation. Shoot high key, low key, etc.

Skip the GAS ... take a walk down a different path.



Nov 19, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Tariq Gibran
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p.2 #6 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


A few ideas I often sugget to students - and which I also retreat to as well:

1) Stop "editing" yourself before you shoot. This is basically the "shoot your way out of" the creative block. The idea is that at some point, the process will lead to something of interest. After all, it's human nature to make sense and create meaning out of chaos so the hope is that at some point, your mind will stumble upon something that's perhaps been lingering below the surface.

2) Dumb down your process and equipment. For instance, start shooting with disposable film cameras and remove yourself form the processing. Here, the idea is to reconnect to what is in front of you instead of over obsessing about the camera, processing and so forth. This can work really well with (1) above as well as sometimes when we shoot with this or that camera/ equipment - or use expensive sheet film or whatever - it's easy to self edit before shooting by rationalizing that the shot is not worth the time, expense and so on. Along the same lines would be to shoot without looking through the viewfinder (or do any chimping at all afte the shot). Try to imagine/ feel your subject and the moment you wish to capture. Yeah, I know, to some it may sound out there/ "metaphysical" but it can be surprising how much more connected one can become to the work/ subject with practice (and how good you can become at framing without a finder!). I did this with a TLR as a student all the time.

3) Another way to alter the process (I will not say dumb down) is to set up a system which controls how or when you actually shoot. Example might be - drive or walk around and take a shot at say every third song played on the ipod/ radio, etc., regardless of where you are at that point. Sort of the Douglas Huebler method. He was a conceptual artist who famously made a photograph upon hearing a bird call (pointing his camera in the direction of the bird call) while walking around central park, NY.



Nov 19, 2012 at 12:29 AM
saneproduction
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p.2 #7 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


rattymouse wrote:
+1000000

Pick up a Nikon film body and shoot some tri-x. If the weather is bad, minimize shooting the sky, try shooting some street.



Nov 19, 2012 at 12:46 AM
cputeq
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p.2 #8 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


mortyb wrote:
It's weird, but somehow I recall having read this before. I actually think it was from the same author as well.



Perhaps, but this time I really mean it!


*Secretly I've been having thoughts of picking up a D600 and 3 AI-S primes, but I stop myself - but that doesn't count because that's adding to my system and keeping m43



Nov 19, 2012 at 12:49 AM
rattymouse
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p.2 #9 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Makten wrote:
Me, for the exact same reasons. Except maybe for the backlog, since I just "let go" of any image that isn't processed in a couple of days, and I seldom shoot more than 10 frames per time I'm out.

I'm constantly waiting for THE camera, but it will never come and I have to learn how to deal with that. I think I should try to minimize my gear (again) and just use one lens and one camera for a while. But then I have to sell stuff I bought very recently, with great loss. Some might say "just use one
...Show more

You've soured on your GF670?




Nov 19, 2012 at 12:51 AM
chez
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p.2 #10 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Best suggestion is to get off this forum for a month and go out and shoot a project. Challenge yourself. If you are a street shooter, go shoot landscape. If you shoot landscape, go shoot architecture etc...

Getting hung up with gear and processing is a losing battle. Get a vision in your mind of a photo you want to take and don't stop until you have accomplished this.

And don't go into hibernation during the winter months. What a wonderful season to be out photographing...especialy if you have weather and snow. What more does one need. If I was to hibernate during the winter months, I would lose out half the year. I actually love as one season says goodbye and another makes its appearence. Keeps things interesting.



Nov 19, 2012 at 12:53 AM
 

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kewlcanon
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p.2 #11 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Use the crappiest P&S cam you can get and start shooting.


Nov 19, 2012 at 01:08 AM
rattymouse
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p.2 #12 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


kewlcanon wrote:
Use the crappiest P&S cam you can get and start shooting.


That would do nothing for me.



Nov 19, 2012 at 01:16 AM
cputeq
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p.2 #13 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Actually, if you really want to get unstuck - Try to duplicate the shots in Light: Science and Magic

I think that book is actually responsible for getting me stuck (I couldn't duplicate a rim lighting shot they had) and I gave up!



Nov 19, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Mescalamba
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p.2 #14 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Buying new camera and trying to master it. Pick something from "fringe division".

So far I didnt get stucked, I just need better gear. :/ Or I think I do..



Nov 19, 2012 at 02:05 AM
edwardkaraa
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p.2 #15 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


We all have ups and downs. Nothing to worry about. You will bounce back Carsten. Your interest in photography will come back by itself eventually, without any special effort from your side.


Nov 19, 2012 at 02:31 AM
wayne seltzer
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p.2 #16 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


Take a vacation in early Dec to a new place in the world where you have never been and enjoy exploring it and capturing it. Getting out in nature far from work and the grind with my camera is my therapy and keeps me out of photography ruts.
I have a backlog of images to process too. Hope to get some time this winter to catch up.



Nov 19, 2012 at 02:32 AM
millsart
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p.2 #17 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


When you don't feel like shooting, do something else. Simple as that.

Most of us don't really have time for all the hobbies we'd like to try so when the photography takes a back seat, we can perhaps pick up our guitar again, or maybe try home brewing some beer etc.

Instead of sitting online reading lens reviews, you can sit online and read about different malt choices for your homemade ale

Unless photography is what is keeping the roof over your head, there really is no reason to try to force it.

All that really does it makes it feel even more like work and less fun.

I'd try to make myself go on a photo walks etc with my gear, feeling I needed to shoot something, and darn if that added pressure didn't make me feel even less creative.

Better to just keep the battery charged and camera on the desk, so when a moment does arise, such as an amazing sunset, you can and will want to shoot it

Usually, after the thrill of a great capture, you'll find yourself wanting to shoot more again anyways, "problem" solves itself you could say



Nov 19, 2012 at 03:18 AM
freaklikeme
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p.2 #18 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


New gear can be a good motivator, and it's worked for me in the past, but I'm at a point now where I know that if I can't get the shot I want with what I've got, the problem is certainly not the gear, so I've found some other ways to kick-start myself. These are probably only realistic ideas if you don't depend on photography for a living.

I will pick a single lens and camera and use nothing else. I tried first to set a time limit on it, but I don't always have a full day or a weekend or a week to devote to photography. So now I stop when I've got five shots that I'd be proud to print. This works especially well when I work with lenses I've pigeon-holed for specific purposes, like my Summicron-R 90 that only gets used for portraits. I also keep a small notebook with me so I can note shots I'd like to come back and try with a different lens. So not only does it make me consider how to best use the lens I have, it forces me to consider all of my gear and gives me something of a plan for future outings.

I find ways to challenge myself with skills I lack. Moving to all manual focus lenses has been a big and persistent challenge for me (and an equal source of frustration, at times), so sometimes that alone has been enough to keep me going. But as I've gotten better, I've wanted to take on more, so I've been exploring different techniques to represent motion in still photography and matching them to different subjects and scenarios. It's not something I devote a lot time to when I'm otherwise productive, but I keep my eye open for opportunities. The next time I'm feeling stuck, I'll turn my full attention to it. Carsten, it seemed like mastering HDR pushed you quite a bit, so that may be all you need. How comfortable are you with strobes? How about macro?

If I'm stuck because I'm feeling like a miserable photographer who isn't worthy of the gear he has, I go to my never-fail spot where I always leave with at least one or two shots I'm proud to claim. My favorite is the zoo, which, yes, is much like shooting fish in a barrel, but that's the point. When you make it easy on yourself to get the shot of a subject you like, you remember why the reward of getting the shot is worth the effort and frustration you're feeling outside of your comfort zone. Then I feel like I've got a renewed purpose.

I find something easily accessible that changes over time, and I work on documenting those changes. I got this idea from a friend who documented the construction of Denver's Platte Valley developments over the past decade plus. It wasn't the only thing he shot, but when he was otherwise in a rut, it was something he could easily fall back on, and he really challenged himself in choosing his locations. I've been working on an open space that's being surrounded by development and, as an off-shoot, a rabbit warren that's being picked clean by predators with increasingly less space in their hunting territory. Every couple of weeks I spend some time checking on the rabbits.

If all else fails, take a break. Sometimes spending time without the camera makes you appreciate having it.



Nov 19, 2012 at 03:40 AM
LightShow
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p.2 #19 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


I go here for inspiration:
http://500px.com/popular or to http://500px.com/market/bestsellers

I've had a multidirectional life, too many interests, too little time, and the results are predictable,
try and go forwards, backwards, left, & right at the same time....
You go no where!
Spend a week doing like tasks, processing/learning programs one week, test lenses and film another week etc...

I sense a bit of obsessive compulsive tendencies in sweating the details
re: which paper is better, which lens, which program, which system etc...etc...etc... Stop it
Seriously you get far more enjoyment out of it if you don't sweat the small stuff, focus on the craft, not the tools.

Edited on Nov 19, 2012 at 03:47 AM · View previous versions



Nov 19, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Spyro P.
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p.2 #20 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself?


what millsart said
you dont shoot for a living, right?
Just dont shoot then, let it go, do something else or nothing at all, live life. Its the third time I'm doing it, first time it lasted 5 years, 2nd time it lasted 2 years, this time round it lasted less than a year and I'm already slowly getting back into it. Very slowly, and I dont touch my camera for days sometimes weeks, until I really feel like it.

I too had a massive backlog (quriously enough it was digital photos, somehow I always found the courage to scanvelop my film). The backlog was in a separate drive, so when I upgraded my pc I just formatted that drive. Delete, gone. It was crap anyway, I knew it, I was losing my interest, and I had absolutely no inclination to look at hundreds of bad photos just in case there's something interesting in there. Drop the baggage, move on



Nov 19, 2012 at 03:47 AM
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