Friday, July 29, 2011

Banishing "The Box" ~ Floral Friday!

(1/8 sec.@ F/16, ISO 100, 50mm fl, overcast morning light, handheld)

I had to banish the blahs. You all know the blahs... when that creative muse doesn't show up, when inspiration and creativity elope to some far off destination without warning. When you'd rather let your kids challenge you to the 57th round of Mario Karts instead of pick up the camera or editing. Nothing piques your interest, nothing seems brilliant enough, and every idea feels like it's been done before so why bother?

And I'd had a great week don't get me wrong. And I DID want to shoot something, the urge was waaaay deep down inside though. Then I remembered a little lesson I learned years ago. I was very focused on painting and sculpture but nothing seemed satisfactory. I'd labour days, weeks, months over something to get it exact but was always left wanting. It was enough to make me want to abandon art completely. Then an instructor on exchange from Europe noticed my struggle in class and asked me why everything had to be perfect. I couldn't answer. Why DID everything have to be perfect? Next thing I knew, he'd prepped my workspace with the sloppiest materials I'd ever seen together on one table with some plaster and said "Don't think anymore. Just create something delightful - for you."

Needless to say, when I abandoned myself to just enjoying the process I wound up creating an entire series of sculptures that even sold at the local art show before I could get them all out on the table for display. Banishing the pressure to accomplish the perfect piece gave me freedom to just enjoy being an artist. To break out of the box I'd put myself in. The blahs always seem to come in a box. Ever notice that.

I marched myself out to the front lawn yesterday determined to keep the blahs in the box and looked at my front garden. It occurred to me again that I haven't done enough artistic photography lately, that I needed to banish the typical approach to photographing the garden and just shoot with abandon and see what I end up with that delights just me. Just because. So I did!

The image above is one of a series I think I'm going to post - just because I truly enjoyed the process. I love the colors so vibrant and fresh after the rain we finally got. And because cone flowers are so stiff and sturdy looking I thought I'd do something fun to them, make them move or dance or twirl. So, I dialed in an exposure that would give me a slower shutter and give me ample time to move the camera around.  At times I knelt down and zoomed up into them, hovered way up over them and swung the camera back and forth across them, and for this morning's post I arched the camera from one side to the other almost in a circle. I immediately was personally delighted with this one... the composition is good (merely by chance, these don't always work, it's hit and miss... but soooo fun) and the speed at which I twirled the camera was just enough so you still have context.

And voila! Enjoying the process meant I could banish "the box". The muse eagerly returned, inspiration and creativity grovelled at the door asking for forgiveness, and my addiction to the Wii, banished. We spend a lot of time figuring out what our cameras can do for us - but have we spent enough time figuring out what we can really do with our cameras?

Thought outside the box lately? Need to banish it? Get out there and play. My playing wasn't anything spectacular... it simply brought me joy. Thanks for the ramble today folks, get out there this long weekend and express your joy while banishing "the box".

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