I saw this cartoon last night and then was having an related conversation with a photographer and I was reminded of the dry spells that all photographers go through from time to time.
We need to see the world around us and find and create images. When I first started in photography my idea was to go and create amazing images. I would often find myself over thinking about what and where to shoot. I did this so much that I didn’t spend nearly as much time as I wanted actually shooting. Photography was suppose to be my hobby and a release from daily work and life but turned out to be rather stressful for me as I just simply didn’t have the time it required. It became another thing in my life that I didn’t have time for.
It would think of single shot opportunities like driving out to Mt Fuji or up north to shoot the snow monkeys (both of which I haven’t found time to do). Think about it for a minute, a shot like that would be an experience and something I want to add to my portfolio one day but I, like many of you, I do not have a half or full day available to go and take a shot like this very often. Balancing work, family and life just doesn’t allow it.
It was frustrating for me to go out with other photographers and come back with one or two shots and they just seem to keep seeing shots I never saw were there. What were they seeing that I wasn’t? Why wasn’t I see these things? As photographers we learn to see the world differently than others. You need to train your eyes and mind to look for photographs. One of the biggest compliments to me is when I can get email from someone who says I photographed in their neighborhood, in areas they walk by each day and see things they have never seen.
As photographers we can all get into try spells from time to time. This was never more apparent to me then when I started blogging daily. Somedays I was paralyzed at the thought of needing to come up with something to photograph. I would be staring at my coffee trying to justify to myself that this could count for today’s posting if I shot it well. It was a surprisingly frustrating experience. What I know now that I didn’t then is I really didn’t know how to ‘see’ as a photographer sees. I would like to say that I can be just about anywhere and find interesting things to photograph. Often it will require adjusting technique or style but this is where making sure you are a well rounded photographer comes in.
Many photographers have their own way to deal with these dry spells and mine was/is was I call ‘The 2K Experiment’. The 2K Experiment is very simple. I have committed to posting up photography daily so I need content daily. When I don’t have the time to go on a half day trip to Mt. Fuji, which will be most days, I will go and explore what my neighborhood has to offer me. No excuses about no having time. Get out and explore the world around me within 2 kilometers. Why 2 kilometers? Well it seems pretty close to home and who doesn’t have time for a 10 or 15 minute walk? It’s good for your body and in this case for your photography. I think life would be pretty sad if you couldn’t squeeze in a quick walk before dinner, after dinner, after everyone has gone to bed, or first thing in the morning.
It sounds simple but honestly I have spent far too little time exploring my own neighborhood. Through this journey I have learn so much about my neighborhood(s) and found things I have never seen before. It has helped me to develop the ‘vision’ I needed. It has helped me grow dramatically as a photographer. After some time I expended this to my daily commute, lunch time around my office and my hotel when traveling on business. No excuses about being on a business trip so no time for photography. Grab the camera and head in a direction for 10 or 15 minutes snapping your way out and back. I am usually surprised with what I find.
People always ask me how I have the time to post daily. I am always thinking how do you not have the time. This has been a great tool to help me avoid the excuses that many of us use and help me to break dry spells when they arise.
Found so far:
I have found this ‘get out and shoot’ approach to have really help develop me as a photographer. To get better you simply need to practice. Daily shooting has taught me so much as I described in 10 things I learnt from daily shooting but The 2K Experiment has helped me get my vision to shoot.
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