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| p.3 #5 · Getting Unstuck - How do you re-motivate yourself? |
This will probably be the longest post I have ever made But most was written by others.
Get back to basics. Forget all the other "noise". Take your D800, mount a 50mm lens, use M mode, shoot jpg. When you get home, review your shots. Delete (for good) all shots that doesn't work for you right there and then. Work quickly on those that do. End. Finito. Session's over.
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.
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
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.
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.
I do already often take just one camera, one lens, usually D800+50P or E-PL3+12/2. Every day to work, for example. My problem is not so much in carrying lots of stuff and not knowing what to pull out, or killing myself with the weight. My problem is more along the lines of not knowing what to shoot. You know, when the surroundings are too familiar. And switching up what I shoot (landscape -> macro, macro -> architecture, ...) doesn't really work for me, this is what I did last few times I slowed down JPG doesn't work for me at all, I hate the results to the point where it demotivates me, and most of what I do requires pulling back the highlights, boosting the shadows, or similar.
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.
The point about shooting people is an interesting one... I would love to shoot people, but I am missing two things to do so: time and studio. Street is not really my thing, I don't like sneaking shots of strangers, really. I have done it, but I don't really enjoy it. Studio portraits I would love to try, but my apartment is really very small, and bringing people back here would intrude on my family. I need to wait until my life changes a bit for this one, but it is there on my list of things I would like to try. The one thing which could work is to shoot strangers on the street with permission. I have wanted to try this...
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.
The ladder is an interesting idea, I have wanted to try carrying around a stool and my big GT3541XLS, and try shooting from 2m height to see what that looks like. I need to find a strong, light stool...
Tariq Gibran wrote:
1) Stop "editing" yourself before you shoot.
2) Dumb down your process and equipment.
3) set up a system which controls how or when you actually shoot.
I have to edit myself before I shoot, there is little room on my hard drive I do shoot with simple stuff regularly. My problem is more in the mind than with the equipment. 3) is interesting. I have to think about how I could devise a system which would inspire me.
Pick up a Nikon film body and shoot some tri-x. If the weather is bad, minimize shooting the sky, try shooting some street.
Ah yes, I forgot to mention my FM2 with Tri-X on my shelf To be honest, I prefer medium format. I should get my Hasselblad set up again, I did love that camera.
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...
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.
I will definitely go out in the winter, but surely it is better to catch up with a backlog in the winter than in the summer At least around here: little snow, short days, grey grey grey.
Use the crappiest P&S cam you can get and start shooting.
I use my iPhone like that. I have fun with it, but it doesn't really change my level of motivation.
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!
So you recommend to me something which got you stuck I have that book, great book, and I am about halfway through. I need to clean up my table before I could try those tips, and anyway, I have just one strobe and one flash, so I couldn't try everything. I could pick up another cheap flash I suppose.
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..
I am deep down that road. I need to back up a bit
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.
I am sure it will. I think that working on my tens of backlogs is probably the sanest thing I can do right now, as well as selling some equipment.
wayne seltzer wrote:
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 regularly go as far away as I can on Sundays, but I can't really go further. I work full-time and have a family...
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.
I do have a gift certificate for a beer brewing course I should do that sometime over the winter...
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.
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 all else fails, take a break. Sometimes spending time without the camera makes you appreciate having it.
I recently picked up the Contax Macro Bellows and a Nikon adapter ring. I need to find my Contax mount for my 50/1.7 but I looked without success so far. I need to organise an in-depth search. I never really lose stuff, so this is a bit weird, to be honest. I have a strobe and a flash, which should be enough for some macros, but I am also attracted to still lifes. I need more space in my mind before I attack anything like that though.
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.
I don't know why you say "a bit", when I clearly have "a lot" I am fanatical about finishing things I start. I don't mean finishing shooting HDRs or whatever, just not leaving things half-done. The more half-done things in my life, the less I can concentrate well on things I am doing. I need to work on the backlog
Spyro P. wrote:
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...Show more →
I have a fair amount of travel and family shots, and want to go once through my complete collection and delete stuff that isn't great. I have started on a few separate occasions and made some progress, but there is more to do. First I want to unify my library though. I hate having stuff in many separate places.
I think the worst advice is to buy something new. Mapplethorpe created wonderful floral images when he wasn't focused on people. Ritts had many personal projects aside from his fashion photography. Neither required new gear (maybe new film, though) to follow through with them.
There are many places to find inspiration - museums, bookstores, galleries, etc. As I am sure this comment will disappoint many people who read it, I don't think gear discussion is one of those places. You may need a computer to refine the images you take with your D800, but your computer can't create new images...Show more →
Yes, I should read more of my books.
Some things that have worked for me are...
1. Bring along just a 32MB CF card
2. Spend a day being a tourist in a different city.
3. Time your shooting outings to be very short.
4. Be spontaneous.
5. Get away from the forums and gear talk.
6. Do something else.
7. Do a "Day in My Life" project.
8. Don't buy anything new.
1. That would get me 1/2 shot But this tip is not useful for me, I am quite good at editing/restraining myself as I shoot. I know what kinds of shots I throw away when I get home. I will sometimes shoot them anyway, just to check if there was something there, then delete them on the spot. I don't need more editing in my life
2. No opportunity right now, with work and family. Maybe soon?
3. I think that doesn't work for my situation. It takes me time to get to places which are interesting to shoot, and once there, I don't want to turn around and go back right away.
4. I try
5. I was afraid someone would say that. I really enjoy the forums, the banter, the photos, the posting, ... I am not sure that it would help me. I should try it sometimes, for a couple of weeks at least.
6. Well, I do. I am a programmer, and am teaching myself Objective-C and iOS programming at the moment. I have a few ideas for apps I would like to try to write, and might even switch jobs based on this work. I also picked up a Raspberry Pi and will go through the programming tutorials. I haven't done hardware programming yet, and I would find that interesting. In fact, come to think of it, I have too many things there too
7. I did the one shot per day for a year project. Great, but I am looking for something deeper now, something less random, more focused. Urbex was it for the summer, but the opportunities and the light are not there right now.
8. I try
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I think it is quite clear that I need to work on my backlog, and stop buying equipment and sell some instead.
I have also realised that some of my old projects feel interesting to me again now, so maybe I will spend some time visiting my roots, so to say. For example, I love shooting in the Technikmuseum here in Berlin, old locomotives and planes. I should spend some time there again.