Recently I saw a Twitter post asking for ideas to help them get inspired (from a photographic perspective). For a simple answer, I provided “Go for a walk in a city park, a familiar mountain hiking trail or in an older area of town. Take 1 lens & only B+W compositions!” to the Tweet.
The Tweet induced some contemplation on the subject; I think we all have moments in time where we have a lack of creative juices flowing. Times like these, we need that bump, that nudge that little extra something do imbibe a creative opportunity.
When my creativity feels low or I am in a place that lacks the views or scenes that typically strike me, I try to put myself into a place mentally, where I can try something new or if feeling overly lackluster, I will go out into a field nearby for sunrise / sunset.
This was the case last Summer during a period of time after I returned from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I had the great pleasure of early season camping (starting the day after the campground on the North Rim opened). So many amazing moments on that adventure that upon my return, I fell into a state of blah.
Little moments like this twilight scene above reinvigorate my creativity. Something so simple, yet creating a composition in this field was a little challenging. Partly because I was not quite 100% awake, but because I had become so accustomed to mountainscapes or desertscapes that a simple field with a tree can make for a fantastic challenge and work to get my creative juices flowing.
On another outing last Winter while out snowshoeing, the day was a bit subfusc while trekking towards Lake Helene. Rocky Mountain National Park is filled with amazing scenery yet this particular day, I wasn’t really “feeling it.” I had trekked a few miles when I stopped to snack on some trail mix. As I munched, I turned around and it hit me…a simple, yet (to me) impactful image:
Since the light was more flat than normal, this composition worked much better as a B+W.
In late April, while in Arizona, spending some time with my parents, I had a desire to be creative, but with nary a cloud in the sky and no real desire to drive a few hours into any one of the nearby ranges of mountains, I opted to put an extension tube and lens on my camera and see what I could acquire in the back yard of my folks place.
The sun was not really in the right place to shoot any of the flora & fauna in their back yard, but any chance I can take to practice with the extension tubes makes for building skills.
The experience was fun and I realized that I need a lot more practice with the extension tube / lens combo (inexpensive, yet decent macro photography technique).
I suppose the gist of this blog post is that opportunities exist all around to reinvigorate the creative juices; it is up to us as photographers to look around and perhaps locate the next best match to ignite our passions.
Maybe a walk in a part of town you have not been in some time where you create images using only a single lens and force yourself to shoot in black + white. So now you ask why I suggest black + white, I suggest this because you must look at a scene tonally, not the traditional vivid lights, darks, colors and drama.