Saturday, July 16, 2005

Creative Slumps

My latest trip to California was not designed to be a photo trip. My daughter finished college this summer. She is moving back to Texas. She wanted to do some last fun things in California. And, of course, there was packing. So, while I did some photography - it was on the back burner. I wasn't getting up at dawn to shoot (and dawn at Malibu this time of year is overcast). I hit the butterfly exhibit in Los Angeles at the heat of the day. While I got a few good shots, I had a lot that were not what I was hoping for. We made a few trips to the beach. At Point Dume I tried to use a fast shutterspeed to catch the power of the waves. Didn't really get anything that I thought was wonderful. I went to El Pescador and went back to trying to get silky waves. I had some success, but the feedback from the internet sites wasn't great (but I haven't published all of them.)

Debra was living in the upstairs of a beautiful house with a fantastic yard. I tried some still life shots inside -one designed for DPChallenge. My best shot of some copper pots had a blemish that needed cloning -against the rules for that challenge - so it didn't place well (of course it was top 20%, but . . . . . placing 100th out of 501 just isn't thrilling.) My outdoor still lifes of old watering pots, garden paths just didn't seem bright enough, colorful enough, etc.

Now I knew that I wasn't focusing on photography, but it was still frustrating to take series of shots where nothing seemed to be working. And I also know from experience that sometimes my shots need to "age". When you have just taken a sequence of shots, you remember what the setting looked like and you remember what you saw in the viewfinder. And when the photo does not capture the beauty you saw -whether from exposure, focus, etc - it is disappointing. Later, the memory of what you saw has dimmed and you can view the photo on its own merits.

The last couple of days of the trip, things picked up. We made it to El Matador beach. Lighting was great. I got some shots of the waves through an ocean cave. My daughter let me take some shots of her in a new dress - and she started having fun posing. (And she does not let me take her photo often.)

The last few days, I took some additional shots around the house and yard, and some of them look like they worked.

But since I did not do a lot of processing as I went along . . . . . it will take a while to find the gems (assuming there are some.)

I find that I get some instant gratification when I can take a sequence of shots and then find one or two to post to the online contests and get some "winners." There is some let down when none feel quite good enough. Let's hope that when I get started seriously working the shots, that like cream, some good ones will rise to the surface.


Karen said...

Well, even if your photo shoots did not go as expected, I really like this wave photo. And as a sidenote, I'm definitely seeing a life lesson in your paragraph about letting the photos "age." Perhaps you can use that in one of your Bible studies.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary Ann,
Glad you and Debra are home. Thank you for the help last night. I like the photo too and some day when I am at your house I would like a print of it. Your photos are very good. You should be proud.

Bettye said...

Beautiful picture. So beautiful I find it hard to believe it is "real."
As for the business of feed back that is usually one of the great frustrations of the creative life.
What you do and when you get response are often widely seperated.
As for the "ageing" process, or "resting" as I usually say, it is amazing what gems and slag present themselves when you look at something with a bit of time between the creation and the editing process.
I'm also finding more and more the process itself becomes adictive.
By the bye, I know you've seen the lights of Marfa and think they are car lights but I've recently come across some refrences to the "lights" in old journals before the road was there. It was even before electricity or cars. Some of the people traveling the region in the 1500's through the 1800's made comments about the lights. They attributed them to campfires but didn't find any campfires when they got to the places they thought they saw them.