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08-05-2016, 07:42 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Have you ever reached the point when you stopped shooting?

I can tell for sure the wish to shoot less started building up when got K-1. After the first excitement and crazy lens testing I started feeling like the camera is changing me.
I still don't understand how, but the more I've been shooting with K-1, the more I felt like I have to slow down. Like the camera itself has been pushing me to stop.

It has been about 3 weeks since I stopped shooting.
My Lightroom catalogue is the total mess, with about 22K pictures, and about 80% of them is the total rubbish. And I still don't know how to organize it efficiently.
I can't judge my own work, I don't see where is good, and where is not really a winner.
I still don't know much, and don't use much photoshop elements, just very basics.
I don't use my strobes, and don't use flash when I should.
I still don't understand how the heck to use light meter.
I don't know how to pose people.
I don't like just chase lucky shots anymore, it became too boring.
I have an amazing camera, and we don't match. It pushes me to improve.

So, suddenly I love reading (specified- reading photography materials) instead of shooting. Love the fact that I understand much more than before. I enjoy it, but... I don't shoot. Three weeks is the longest time ever I've not been out with the camera.

Have you ever get the similar feeling? Have you ever stopped like you needed a break to recharge and start all over? If so, for how long?

Last edited by micromacro; 08-06-2016 at 09:03 PM.
08-05-2016, 08:21 PM   #2
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Back in the late 80s / early nineties, I had a Canon AE1 program, that used to get a huge amount of use. Then Canon changed the lens mount without any adaptor, but I refused to buy all new gear (would have had to buy new body and lenses). Learned a lot from that camera but basically ran it until the shutter got tired (made noises but still worked). Anyway last used it about 1995. After that work and other hobbies (Gliding etc) got in the way.

Fast forward to late 2009 and the purchase of a Pentax K-x. A new learning curve but it was great fun! And currently a K-5 and hopefully soon a K-1.
So my photography break was 14 years and I think I'm probably better for it (better at "seeing" things I think).
08-05-2016, 08:22 PM   #3
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Hi Lana. WOW. So many questions !!! Sorry to hear that you have stopped shooting and that you have doubts. I do not know what expectations you had of the K-1, or how you thought it would help you with your photography. All I can suggest to you is do not be too hung up on what is a good photograph or not. You are the best judge of your images. If you like it, keep it. If not, delete, delete, delete. As far as the technical stuff goes, only practice makes it work. What is your favorite subject to shoot. I think mine would be macro. If you have a favorite, maybe concentrate on that for a while and see if your mood improves. If not, maybe a break would do you good. I never lost the passion for photography, but I did stop shooting for a couple of years because film became too expensive for me. Then digital ( K20D ) reignited the spark, and I have not stopped since 2008. I hope you can get over this quickly and find the " spark " again. I have seen some of your images posted on the forums and I like them very much. Good luck.
08-05-2016, 08:45 PM   #4
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It can be hard to get in the groove sometimes. I "force" myself to get out and take some pictures every day. Take baby steps and pace yourself. Not every photo has to be a masterpiece. Set up a still-life to test different compositions, shoot it in the dark with flash, try it at different focal lengths from different angles. Buy some junk at a thrift store for a photo shoot and just play with it. Nothing beats getting lost in the moment when playing with the camera.

08-05-2016, 09:05 PM   #5
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This year has really been slow photographically. I bought a new computer the beginning of March and spent a couple weeks figuring out issues and then getting a different machine 2 times. Last week of March I got a new car after a few weeks of research. Last couple weeks of May was buying a condo, then a couple weeks of actual moving. Then a couple weeks of furniture assembly and getting home furnishings and settling in. Two weekends back I was shooting some motorcycle action and slipped on the dirt trail and busted my butt which is still sore. Last weekend took some architectural shots nearby and the photo nazi ran me off. We're having the usual heatwave so it is sort of hot to be out and about. Now I'm broke and can't afford any events...
08-05-2016, 09:06 PM   #6
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Kids got me off track. I had two and still did manage to shoot a bit, then one developed emotional issues, and it was all consuming. After things cooled off several years later I got a deal on a k50, then some more deals came my way... Now I have too much equiment.

My advice try project 52. Or build your own project 52, set yourself a goal - a realistic one - and work on it. Flash work sucks? Put a few flash topics in the 52 weeks. Posing sucks, hire a course and then try it. Taking and writing down your goals will help. I'm trying to motivate ny dad the same way. He is a gadget freak, and has a rough time concentrating on anything except the equipment at times.

Last edited by UncleVanya; 08-05-2016 at 09:14 PM.
08-05-2016, 09:08 PM   #7
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Yes, shortly before my daughter was born. That hiatus lasted for about eight years. My attentions and energies were directed other places. I picked up the camera again and was pretty steady doing about ten rolls a year of slide film doing landscape stuff. The quality was high, but the volume was low. That continued until about 2004 when I bought a Canon G2 digital followed by a virtual orgy of work with the K10D purchase in 2007. In 2009, I found film again in the context of a figital hybrid workflow. Woo! Hoo! I was a photo shooting fool!

Then for some reason in 2014 things started to taper off. Yes, I was excited by and still love my now-two-and-half-year-old K-3, but for some reason the desire to go out and do the craft has dulled a little. I am very happy with the output quality and fairly satisfied with the direction and flavor of my work, but the exploration and discovery aspect is more subdued. It is harder to get off my rear and actually go do the shooting and when I do, the process is just a little too routine.

I am thinking maybe a photography road trip might be a good idea...

08-05-2016, 09:26 PM   #8
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Hi Lana.

I recall your input from past Single In Challenges, and your best work is excellent, so there's no reason to put yourself down. If you have lost your mojo, taking some time to read around areas you perceive as gaps in your knowledge is perfectly fine, but picking up the camera to put those ideas into practice is the best way to consolidate that new learning. Just do it.

If you want to get more critical of your own work, start by looking critically at that of others: what you like, what you don't like, how you might have done better in the same situation. You are welcome to go through my flickr stream and rip my images to shreds with impunity

Get back into a Single In, or Daily In, or anything to encourage you to think about your craft. Slowing down is not necessarily a bad thing! Shoot nothing but macros for a while. Put your flash on the camera and use it for every shot for a few days. Or commit to using a tripod for every shot for a while. Try the sunny sixteen rule for unmetered shots with an old manual lens.

The K-1 is a wonderful tool, but without the inspiration of the photographer it is useless.

08-05-2016, 09:55 PM   #9

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08-06-2016, 01:22 AM   #10

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Happens to me all the time. Yesterday was the first time since I got a new to me K5IIs that I got out and really gave it a test. Even though I want to go out and shoot, I know why I don't. Part of it is because my depression has come back a little bit and part of it is because I worry about my father and the problems I have in my life. If I sat here and tried to explain, I would almost write a book.

Sometimes, to get back into the knack of things, you either need to take a step back for a few days, or weeks, or you need a change of pace and place.

When it comes to organizing, all I do is save my photos by the date I took them, and if I need to location. Example, the photos I alluded to up above, I took 185 photos of a local band, when I saved them in my computer, I saved them by year/month/day, the name of the band, and where they were playing. out of those 185 photos I took, I will be lucky if 75 of them will be keepers.

Judging your own work can be hard to do, but you can do it. I can't really tell you how to judge your own work but one of the things you can do is to look at some of your photos and tag the ones you like somehow. Since you are using lightroom, use their star system and the photos you like, give them 5 stars. Then go back in a couple of days and look at them again. Some will still look good while others won't. The ones that don't look good, remove the stars. Slowly, you will start to see which photos you have taken are the keepers.

Using PS, PSE, LR, or any other editor just takes practice. When you edit a photo, click the save as button and give it a different file name or save it as a copy. Just like on judging, go back and look at the edited photo and f you don't like what you did, you will still have your original that you can re-edit.

Your concerns about the light meter, strobes/flashes and posing people. All I can say is read and practice. I have the same problem with the posing because nobody will take time out of there busy days and sit for me. I have thought about getting a foam head that is used for displaying wigs to practice the flashes but it really won't help with actual posing people.

I hope things get better for you.
08-06-2016, 01:31 AM   #11
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I picked up my first Pentax 45 years ago while in the Navy. The Navy also sent me to a 2 week photography school so that I could shoot pictures of the radar antennas I was "listening" to on other ships out at sea. After the Navy, finishing school, a job, career, wife and kids and everything else left little time or money for anything else. 10 years ago my wife told me I was going to be pretty boring in retirement - find a hobby. So, that's about a 35 year lapse.

Every time I upgrade to a new body, it seems as if I gain a new appreciation for the old one, while knowing the new one is so much better - K100 to K20 to the K5. I also go hot and cold on photography for several week periods - just too busy. When I do go out and shoot in spurts, the images may linger for a while before I process them.

I took a photography class (just the basics) over at a local community college - essentially an extension program. That was useful to a degree. A few years later I took a 3 day class (one evening and then a weekend) at the Mountain Preserve - which was very good, useful, excellent and very enjoyable. There was a lot of shooting in that, and I learned a lot, that I still remember and use today. The lady in the next office over, sent me a link to the photography programs over at the local Desert Botanical Gardens. Astro photography (which I already do, but this would be good), and Photography up in Oak Creek Canyon - all with a photographer from Arizona Highways. So, I am signing up.

Over the last 10 years, I have been hauling my camera equipment (well at least a body and a lens) out on business trips. Something to do in the evenings after work, other than sit in the hotel room reading email and writing reports. Different scenery, locations, etc. At times I have arranged my travel to say go out and shoot something in the mornings on my way to the airport - flying later in the afternoon. I just got tired of rushing around airport to airport. I would go on line to see what there is to shoot in the locations that I was in.

Now that I am retiring in a couple of weeks - I am hoping to go out and shoot more and just do things that I want to do - that interests me. I find that works pretty well.
  • I can't judge my own work, I don't see where is good, and where is not really a winner. - well, what I do is ask myself if I like it and what I should do to like it more. Especially since I am shooting just for myself and no one else - no customers, just me.
  • I still don't know much, and don't use much photoshop elements, just very basics. - Check out the youtube videos. I find them especially useful when I am editing a bunch of images and want to do something that I don't know how to do. Within an hour I have the information I need and applied to the images.
  • I don't use my strobes, and don't use flash when I should. - I only use natural sunlight, and especially shoot in the late afternoons and evenings (night) so, for me its rather than strobes, tripod and long exposures.
  • I still don't understand how the heck to use light meter. - Take a community college class or do a youtube search on using a light meter.
  • I don't know how to pose people. - Neither do I. I only shoot stuff that does not move (over a thousand years).
  • I don't like just chase lucky shots anymore, it became too boring. I choose a target of opportunity to go shoot and that approach has worked out reasonably well. I also started keeping a list of photo ideas as I have them. Things that I would like to do - especially around various times of the year when I can get the lighting conditions needed. e.g., the milky way (feb thru oct), grand canyon in the early or late winter with some snow (still need to do that), etc.
  • I have an amazing camera, and we don't match. It pushes me to improve. Well you are well equipped gear wise....

08-06-2016, 01:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Have you ever get the similar feeling? Have you ever stopped like you needed a break to recharge and start all over? If so, for how long?
Oh yes, I know the feeling you describe. In short, I think recharging is a necessary element of good photography and for ensuring one's development as a photographer. Actually, it applies to most anything not just photography, in my opinion. It's a chance to step back a bit, have a good hard look at what it is you have produced, what it is that you like to make images of, what you don't like, and where exactly you'd really like to go in the future.

As far as the duration of your break, don't let it go too long; the others here who have commented about the need for practice are correct, too. Take a break from your regular routines, but perhaps not from photography altogether. Some ideas there would be to focus on (no pun intended) the elements of images instead of the whole image. When I'm really having a slump, I tend to take on 'lo-fi' photography as a means of breaking the way I look at images which often is too technically-biased and less about what it is the image is supposed to convey.

One final word...While deleting is a necessary thing for most of us, be careful with your immediate judgments and using that delete key! I have gone back and flipped through photos from years ago to find that some of them were actually better than I thought or had a range of possibilities for alternative crops, treatments or combined presentation. With time, some things take on new life.
08-06-2016, 02:44 AM   #13
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Yes, definitely. I have periods where photography doesn't "pull" very much.

A lot of good things has been written here already, but what @photocles wrote above resonates very much with my experiences.

I think I sometimes get put off if I get all too serious about photography. It's a hobby, after all (for me and for most of us here). This month I mostly leave my K-3 at home and just bring a compact with me, a small GR. I find the immediacy of the compact a good way to take a break from the more elaborate process of dslr shooting. Others seem to get the same thing shooting with a Q. Just a thought.

Hope you can rekindle the spark, be it for photography or something else.

08-06-2016, 03:09 AM   #14
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I know I take too many digital images to know what to do with. So I've stepped away from digital except for particular family occasions and work and gone back to film for a bit. It slows me down some because I know I'll have to find time to develop it at some stage (I am also shooting predominantly black and white and developing that all myself). And when I say "gone back", I mean it - I recently bought an S1a and am awaiting its return from CLA & tuneup. The prior judgement required to shoot decently with that (esp. since any metering required is external) will definitely put a brake on things.
08-06-2016, 03:43 AM   #15
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Lana - I get this all the time. In fact, I would say I have bursts of shooting activity between the periods of inactivity Sometimes I'll be crazily active for a week at a time... and other times the only shots I'll take in a three or four week period are some tests to try out a technique or play with a particular lens or camera. In the periods of shooting inactivity I get to learn about the technical stuff that I couldn't learn by just doing, and that's helped me immensely (a good deal of what I've learned has come from this forum, through seeking advice and engaging in discussions, but I also read quite a lot of articles and books). That time is just as valuable to me as shooting time, and frankly I enjoy it just as much. In fact, I have so many topics I want to read up on right now, and other photography-related projects to tackle (such as creating presets for my Lightroom processing) that I doubt I'll get much time for actual shooting over the next few weeks. And then, of course, there's the rest of my life that isn't connected to photography... I need time for that too

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