A post from The Photo Forum…
- I’m sure it has a lot to do with the cold winter season and being stuck indoors. I really hate the cold and I was born and raised in Vermont, go figure right?Well lately I feel like I have been losing my mojo. I find my self picking up my camera less and less as time goes on. This is evident when I was going through my Lightroom library and reorganizing my photos, I noticed each year was less and less photos.
- Photography has been my only hobby that has stuck with me through the years and I certainly don’t want to give it up. I’m hoping someday it could turn into a career.A lot of people say I should go travel, sure I’d love to if they are willing to pay for it. Besides I’m not even allowed on a plane currently. (Stupid legal issues, working on it).Anyways, I’m not looking to travel right now. I want to know what you guys do when feel like I do, I’m sure every photographer has experienced this before, perhaps more than once.What are some things I can do indoors where its warm during the winter season that could help to get my mojo back?
Well, sitting around wasting time wont help. Put on some warm clothes or head where the action is indoors and start shooting. Jay Maisel sums up the solution…
“If you’re out there shooting, things will happen for you. If your not out there, you’ll only hear about it.”
Time and time again Jay’s wisdom holds true. Many of my best photos are based in this credo.
I was in my 60’s when I shot most of these pix. As I age it sometimes is hard to keep up the pace of my younger days. My feet, ankles and knees start giving out. But, I still do the best I can to witness…and document life.
This was a one shot wonder on a street. In the few blinks of an eye it was gone. You must always be ready…time waits for no one.
The key is to be able to shoot without having to think…it must be second nature.
If you don’t have the basics down…shoot your TV screen. Although there comes a time when we all have to put priciples into practice.
Once you have the basics down and you get out there… things will happen for you!
Once you are at one with your cam…the world is your oyster!
I went out for 10 minutes to test a used camera at lunchtime…now this is in a few museums’ collections.
Same with these…I was just out and about taking a walk with my infrared flash and they were just sitting ducks for my trigger finger.
If you need to develop better camera skills, learn to be one with your cam. Being one with your camera may sound kinda corny, but that is the best way to put it. When you shoot, you don’t want to have to think HOW, you just want to DO!
In the old days it was much easier to be one with your cam. We only had a few controls on the cam…shutter speed, aperture and focus. Some of the later cams had a built in exposure meter. If not, we used the rule of 16.
Or we would take a handheld light reading periodically. Don McCullin was known for constantly taking light readings.
Nowadays, with the modern cams, being one with your cam is not so easy. The cams are designed by camera fondling engineers. As such, nothing is easy to manually adjust. It is especially tough if you own a few different brands of little cams. The controls are all different on them.
When cams were basic, it was no big deal going from a Pentax to Nikon to Canon to Minolta to Praktia to Leica. The Leica had a rangefinder, but other than that the basic controls were the same between all the cams… shutter speed, aperture and focus.
Personally I don’t bother trying to be one with my Sony P&S pocket cam or my M43 gear. I know enough to shoot them on the dummy setting but that is about it. I don’t understand how to adjust menu after menu, fast on the fly. Even if I did, I’d miss the shots by the time I reset everything. Still I produce some nice work with them on the dummy setting. What I do work on is being at one with my DSLR and Rangefinder gear.
Jimi Hendrix used to carry his guitar around the house all day long picking and playing it. What’s the old saying….practice makes perfect.
While you don’t have to do the same as Jimi with your cams, you can do an exercise that will help you improve a great deal. When you watch TV practice shooting the screen. It is a great exercise for timing, composition, fast shooting and learning the controls.
A shot from my home TV
A shot from an air flight…no excuse to not practice wherever there is a TV.
Even if you find yourself in a peep show booth, while making a book about Amsterdam…shoot it!
Some photogs produce museum pieces from their TV…
When I shot this project I had to do it 4 times.
I used the Sony pocket cam first. The pix looked good in-cam, but on the computer they were poor. I reshot it with my DSLR. Things went better, but there was a reflection on the TV screen due to a room light. Reshoot #3 and things improved without the light, but still not perfect. A 4th shoot got it done.
All during the 4 shoots I noticed how I would shoot at the exact or almost exact timing when going from one shoot to another. This strip will illustrate what I mean. I got basically the same facial expressions in all four reshoots. I wasn’t trying to do it this way. I just naturally focused on the peak expressions, best comps or an interesting scene..
If you not one with your cam…give this exercise a try. If you like to shoot street style, shoot TV shows where you don’t know what is happening next. If you want an exercise like I did with Gone…Up in Smoke, shoot DVD’s where you can repeatedly shoot the same scenes and compare the results.
This is also a good exercise for those bedridden and in recovery. If you can open your eyes, raise your cam and push a button…no excuse not to shoot and stay in practice!
Photos used in this post are from the following limited edition artists’ books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
Peephole: Peering Into the World of 1970’s Hollywood and L.A.
Portfolio: Peering Into the World of 1970’s Hollywood and L.A.
Encyclopedia of Photographic & Fine Art Ink Jet- Printing Media -12 Volume Set
Bikers’ Mardi Gras
Gender Benders from the 1970’s
De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District
180 – The Circular Fisheye at Large
The Americans…60 years after Frank
Secrets of Candid Photography