This year has been a tough year for me, photographically speaking. I’ve taken a lot less photos compared to previous years (though I’ve taken a ton of iPhone photos so maybe they balance out) just because I feel “it” is gone – it being any sort of vision or feeling or reason to shoot. I’ve spent weeks being frustrated with what I’ve shot, I’ve deleted tons of photos from various trips, and I’ve spent weeks not touching anything. In fact, it’s been about 3 weeks since I’ve even opened up Lightroom and processed anything, as evidenced by my lack of updates over on Flickr.
I know a lot of photographers go through this. In fact, I’ve read some inspiring blog posts from some photographers that I really admire, and to know I’m not the only one who feels this way is helpful. But at the same time, I’m not quite sure how to regain that feeling that I’ve lost. I’m not sure how to stop feeling that what I shoot isn’t a bunch of crap. I’ve had so many ideas about blog posts to do here and they’re sort of just… fizzled out. I don’t have the motivation.
I wonder if I just need to suck it up and take pictures, process pictures, and see if that changes anything. It’s probably the best strategy I have for now. Any other ideas appreciated!
As I’ve mentioned a couple times in the past, I’ve really gotten into iPhone photography over the last year. It’s easy because it’s always with me and the limitations of the iPhone actually allow me to be more creative in some respects. I also feel that I allow myself (subconsciously) more freedom in terms of editing when it comes to my iPhone photos. I think it’s so easy with so many photography apps at my disposal, and I almost feel like I can do anything with the photo because it’s “just” an iPhone photo. And I don’t mean that to diminish the work coming out of mobile phones – which is amazing in its own right – but just how I feel for my own stuff.
One of things I like to do is to add textures to photos to turn them more into drawings or paintings rather than a view of the actual scene. Here are some of my favorites trees at a local park through my phone!
While on vacation in Kerala, India, last year, we spent 2 days in Munnar. We visited a cloud forest (whose name I just can’t recall anymore) with the idea of seeing elephants. Unfortunately, that never worked out, because a few days earlier, an elephant had killed a man in the area, and the local guides said they would be unpredictable and it was too dangerous. Instead we did a mini-adventure, with fishing and a bootleg “zipline” – and I got attacked by leeches.
That actually sounds more dramatic than it really was (as I can look back a year later with some perspective) – but I hate leeches. Thankfully (I guess) these were super tiny ones, not like the ones from Anaconda 2 (ha, that’s my reference point).
Other than leeches, the jungle was absolutely beautiful. It was full of mist and had a mysterious, and slightly creepy, air about it.
A few weeks ago, I embarked on an awesome trip to Italy, one with stops in several cities, including Venice, Florence, Rome, and Pisa. It was 10 days but still felt short, as 2-3 days in each city is just not enough. But it was a great preview and now I know which places I would love to return to.
I tried to travel (fairly) light in terms of my camera gear, which included my DSLR with only 3 lenses (I ended up using only 1 of them the whole time), my G11, and of course, the iPhone. Actually, I used 2 iPhones, if you want to get technical. I have the 3Gs so I used that half the time, along with my father-in-law’s iPhone 4. The picture quality is much better in the 4 than in the 3Gs, and I’m eagerly awaiting the latest version so I can finally upgrade my phone as well. I took over 1k pictures between the 2 phones so that’s gonna be a fun time sorting through them. However, here are a couple of shots that I’m digging at the moment.
Welcome to Venezia! I was awestruck at first view.
Of course, we had a stop in Pisa
Neptune’s chillin’ in Florence
View from our hotel balcony in Florence
Not creepy at all!
Vesuvius in the Clouds
Please see my Flickr for more Italy photos. And I hope to post a few mini series posts here soon as well. *fingers crossed*
I – or, more accurately, Malhar – found this cairn at the top of a rock on Sentinel Dome in Yosemite. It was just a perfect scene to capture after the admittedly short, but still a bit strenuous for me, hike to the top.
The hike itself is under 2.5 miles, I believe, but there was still snow at the top so climbing our way through the super slushy and slippery dirty wet stuff was not fun. I almost considered not doing it because I didn’t even have proper hiking boots on at the time (a bit dumb, I know) but then I went for it anyway. And I’m glad I did! The views from up there was great – it was a 360° vista of everything. I took a bunch of photos but, as with most of the time we were in Yosemite, this was during the middle of the day, with harsh light, so most of the shots will probably not see the light (heh) of day.
I’ve seen some amazing photos of the tufas at Mono Lake (Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve). They are usually taken during sunrise or sunset – basically times when the light is doing something special and not just… there. Unfortunately, the way the timing worked out for us, we were there right when the sun was blazing in the sky, projecting harsh light onto the scene. Of course, that didn’t stop me from grabbing a bunch of shots (I still shoot somewhat indiscriminately, something that I probably need to work on). Basically, I wasn’t going to get another chance to be there for a while so I had to make do.
In the scene above, the tufa towers in the middle of the lake looked like people to me from far away. My first thought was, how the hell are people standing in the middle of such an alkaline, salty lake? Then I realized it wasn’t people. Heh. I messed around with the shot in Lightroom till I got to what you see above. What I love is all the layers that emerge in the water, as well as the outlines of the mountains in the back.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to go back and get a shot closer to this!
To get to Yosemite National Park, we flew into San Francisco, rented a car, and drove the approximately 3.5-4 hours. The drive afforded me some cool photo taking opportunities. Thankfully, my husband usually likes to drive and doesn’t mind if I spend most of my time in the passenger seat snapping away. Usually I’m snapping out of the sunroof or through my window, but occasionally he has to put up with me trying to shoot through his side. (With safety in mind, of course!) I bet he could go on and on about the antics he puts up with.
For most of the road trip, I had my trusty Canon G11 out to snap photos. Here is what I captured.
Getting off the San Mateo Bridge, I saw this water collected and the reflections of the towers caught my eye.
Yellow and blue is a great combo! These hills were full of photos. I took more with my DSLR on the way back, which I’ll post at a later point. (Hopefully!)
Gnarled up trees. I thought this worked best in b+w because it brings out the spooky quality of the trees.
Driving through farmland
One of my favorites.
I took over driving for a while as Malhar passed out on the passenger seat. We’d been up since 3am and he hadn’t been able to sleep on the plane. After me driving for about an hour or so, we got off the highway and started driving through way more interesting views. I was salivating over the missed photo opps and he took pity on me and took over driving again. What a guy!
This one is technically on the road back, but same difference! The day we left Yosemite, the skies were actually interesting – full of clouds and not just the straight blue skies we’d experienced while we were there. (Though I’m thankful for no rain, for the most part!)
I love this one! The palm trees are not perfectly focused and I wish I’d taken it with my DSLR, but it’s one of my favorites nonetheless. This shot involved a bit of maneuvering because the trees were on the driver’s side, so I was all up in my husband’s face to try to get the best view. I just love all the layers and colors in this.
Next I will slowly start to go through my DSLR shots and pick out some of the gems. If there are any!