Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Avoiding distractions and getting motivated

As the title suggest, I am having some difficulty getting myself going in a single direction. I had hoped that doing a little pro-bono work would motivate me, get me a few calls for possible work, etc.
But it doesn't look like that is going to happen. Instead my phone ringing, one of the major local non-profits decided to approach the local photo club (of which I am currently a member). There was little to no reference to any payment to this effort. I have several reservations to this type of club venture (see post "Exposure/credit lines do not pay bills"). IMO, to do something of this nature on a large scale devalues photography and photographers. It is a win for the non-profits and a loss for local photography businesses.
I no longer see myself as a fit with the local club and its advanced amateurs. So, after the September meeting, I have left the organization. Most of the members have never made their living from photography. It is a sideline/hobby they enjoy and, if occasionally they get a paid shoot, it is just extra money.
While I have retired, I cannot cut off a potential money source for those local photographers that hope to get some of that business in order to survive. So, now I am back to square one. What do I want to do? How can I best enjoy my photographic efforts?
Since I have sold the majority of my DSLR gear in favor of lighter and less equipment, I need to take myself in a new direction. I briefly considered an online news magazine for the local area. Something of this nature requires a mentality that I USED to have when I was shooting for a newspaper. While I might (and I emphasize MIGHT) be able to pull it off, it just seems that it is a direction diametrically opposed to the equipment I now have.
And, to be honest, I was tired of carrying two pro bodies with multiple lenses. Not so much because of the weight (although my back and shoulders appreciate the lighter equipment) but because the equipment was more than I felt I needed at this point in my life. No more high school sports. No more rushing out of the office to the scene of a fire, accident, or some other malady of life.
I have read many blogs where photographers enjoy the freedom that a single camera and single focal length lens can provide. I have even had some trouble working with both the 35mm and 50mm focal lengths in tandem. That seems a little strange to me as I carried two camera bodies for most of my career.
While I will continue to shoot with both cameras, I believe it is time to work with only one at a time. I will just have to decide which field of view I want that particular day. After all, the great Henri Cartier-Bresson worked with only one lens. Why do I need more?
While I will continue to peruse my archives for images that mean something to me, I want to try and concentrate on images shot with the new gear. I think if I focus on these focal lengths both in shooting and only maybe, just maybe, I can find the direction and inspiration that I need.
With that thought in mind, here are a couple of shots.
The first pair are of one of my granddaughters (I have four!) and is a cheat. The shot was made in plenty of light but, as I was looking through the viewfinder, I saw an entirely different image. So I played with it in Photoshop. Image #1 shows a black&white version direct from the camera. A pretty blah image overall except I did like the back composition.

But this is image that I "saw" as I hit the shutter. What caught my attention was her smartphone lit up and the light it casts on her face. So I decided to work that thought and here are the results. Still nothing to crow about but, at least for me, adds something to the image. I did not totally black out the surrounding area as I wanted to have some "shadow" detail.

The next image is from my latest shooting effort. I spotted the side of the truck as I looked back when walking down an alley. When I first saw the truck, I thought, "there has to be an image there." I started back the direction I had just come to get closer ("zooming" by walking - a new experience for me!). But, as I continued to look through the lens, the image lacked that additional human element. So I waited. I saw one possibility as a young woman came walking toward me from the parking lot but she changed direction at the last moment and the image was lost. The image I got is not great as I would have loved to have had a full frontal view of the man but it was what I could get. Sometimes, in photography, that is all we can do. While the previous image is not a "true" image, I did not remove key elements and it is not anything that could not be done in the wet darkroom.

For all my flickr contacts, please keep posting. I draw much inspiration from the folks I follow. I don't always make a comment or fave an image but I always take a peek.
And, as always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....


  1. I love the second picture of your granddaughter. Such a transformation from the first picture - it has so much more atmosphere.

    Hope that as you continue to feel your way, that the direction you want to go in will become clearer.

  2. Transforming the image of my granddaughter did not take much doing really. I just used the lasso tool with a feather (forgot to write down how much of a feather!), hit inverse and then darkened the area to what I liked. Wanted to leave enough shadow detail to provide a sense of the surroundings.
    As far as my direction, I have always wondered what I wanted to be when I grew up.