I love this time of year.  All of the seasons have their pros and cons, but spring is my favorite. Just seeing the planet renew itself with fresh flowers and saplings growing through the soil makes me happy. It also powers me with creative energy. The planet’s renewal might be a bit infectious. I feel myself getting antsy. I want to try new things. The same old tried and true methods of processing or shooting from an ant’s point of view start to not just bore me but frustrate me. I need to do something different. All winter long I stuck with what I knew as a way of getting by. As a way of getting out what I feel, it helps. But come this time of year, I want to do new things. I NEED to do new things. Instead of seeing a image I took and starting the same old steps I usually do, I start experimenting. I find myself reading more tutorials and glancing through photography books, magazines, going to more art galleries, browsing Flickr groups I might not otherwise have looked at 2-3 months ago.

There’s something that starts driving me to not just be creative, but to expand and grow my warehouse of creative techniques so as to possibly find a new way to do things.  It could be something as little as finding a new texture or finally being able to read my histogram correctly (I have such a love-hate relationship with the histogram, that’s another article ,I think), or only using one lens for two weeks and learning the ins and outs of what I like about it and what I don’t.* It could also be as big as buying a new lens, finally getting a lighting rig setup, taking a seminar. What I’ve learned though is that for one , it’s not usually just one thing that happens, it’s more often a few little things that I find or learn that keep this creative drive going.  Moreover, those so called ‘big’ things usually don’t allow me to grow as much as a many little things. (By “big” I am mainly referring here to cost. Though a new lens or a ghetto lighting setup doesn’t ‘have’ to cost much, you could be putting down upwards of thousands of dollars on equipment you might only use a few times.  So make sure you do your homework and be positive that what you are getting is what you need otherwise you might just be putting up an Ebay add in a few months… Anyway, back to spring cleaning.)

 


*the image above was one of the first images I did for my white album. It was the first time though I did it on purpose to get this effect.


This is the perfect time of year to experiment and take risks and find out not just how far you can go, but what you like and don’t like. Just because 40 other people you know are signing up for the ‘One light’ workshop doesn’t mean that it’s going to benefit you too. (Though, from what I hear it is pretty awesome.) By allowing yourself to expand into other areas that our outside your comfort zone you can pretty quickly ascertain what works and what doesn’t for you. Maybe you pick up a film camera on ebay or craiglist and give film a go. Only to realize that the instant gratification you get from digital just isn’t there, or that you really don’t want to develop your own film or pay someone else to do it. Cool you gave it a shot, you got that experience under your belt and you move on. At least now you know, you tried it and film just wasn’t for you. You like digital more because of..a,b,c…etc… On the flip side, you might find yourself totally enthralled with sitting in a darkroom and developing your own film, seeing the for the first time before anyone else the image you took and developed and printed and washed through the chemical bath.   This, this is what you have been waiting for all your life!  You take nothing but film pictures now and couldn’t be happier. You would never have known the satisfaction or disappoint of either scenario if you never took the leap and bought that film camera. It’s about the experience. It’s the journey that matters, the destination is icing on the cake.


*Here’s an image with a new processing technique I tried. I think I like it but for some reason it’s just not 100% right to me. I am fine with that. I tired something new and it sorta works for me on this image. Maybe the same technique would work better on a different image or maybe next time I will play it more. I did learn a couple tips and tricks through the process of working this though.


Spring cleaning isn’t about getting rid of everything and starting over. It’s about seeing what you don’t use and tossing it out, metaphorically. If something doesn’t work for you anymore right now, don’t do it.

Don’t:

  1. overlay the 2 same textures you always use together anymore
  2. climb a ladder and take shots of your neighbor’s roof anymore because the cats paw prints from the morning/evening dew are cool, no they were cool the first 2 times, the last dozen times is because you can’t think of anything else to shoot
  3. just simply slap on the 50mm cause that’s what you always use when you go out walking
  4. go walking where you always walk and could name every person that goes that time of day because you are always there
  5. shoot in auto anymore
  6. not shoot because it’s raining/snowing/tornado-ing outside. if you and your loved ones are safe, have a good supply of water and food, then you can shoot. do it, do it now, no seriously, stop reading (bookmark this page so you can come back, as soon as are done) and go shoot, just go take 3 pictures.
    I don’t ask for much in life, but I am asking now, go, go, go!

It’s spring time try something new and see if it works for you. Take the energy of this time of year and allow your creative side to flourish.  Do whatever, within the legal limits of the state and country you live in of course, you have to, to feel comfortable enough with your camera that you don’t even have to think about it anymore. It just becomes a part of you. It’s a vehicle that allows you to capture the world around you.

Do:

  1. bust out your camera manual you haven’t looked at since you bought it and read, read, read. Learn something new about it, love it, pet it, sleep with it, make it an extension of your mind’s eye.
  2. learn to shoot in manual
  3. try a new post-processing tutorial
  4. change your shooting angles up a bit. if you have never taken a picture of your neighbors roof, then do it!!!! if you have never gotten down to your dog’s/cat’s/iguana’s level before to shoot an picture, then bend your ass over and do it!!!!!!!
  5. think of a random subject and search for it’s group on flickr, pears and apples, anyone? monkey ranch? get inspiration or run for the hills…
  6. share what you have learned with other people. sometimes our greatest ideas come from those closest to us.
  7. try to get one image SOOC a week that you are happy with, if you don’t shoot much, try to get one a month, just try
  8. try taking images without using a flash/strobe/alien bees/the sun as your normal, go-to lighting source. use a lamp, candle, flashlight, many many matches
  9. more long exposure shots


*Here’s a new processing technique I tried where I used a few different techniques I haven’t used before. This I really like.

Start Cleaning and Start Growing