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07-30-2012, 09:38 AM   #1
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Is this normal?

For some reason, my thirst to hunt for new or new-old gear (from bodies to lenses, etc) feels like it's fading from my fingertips. I've been seeing lots of posts and photos through the local Pentax community I'm with, and even with all the hot talk about the K-30, K-5 and fantastic glass some of them have, something's gone. I don't feel so... excited anymore, about all the gear talk with my photog buddies.

Lately I've been finding myself inexplicably drawn towards some pictures, of differing styles, variations, some of the same type of subject, but never the same subject. Also, lately, I've been wanting more to go out, sometimes missing my camera even if I'm actually holding it. The photos I take lately - they don't feel like anything. Like they were snapped out of a mechanical reaction.

So, the question: is this normal? I am sure that more than 90% of the people in this forum have been shooting for years... or anywhere more than I ever did. Have you come into such... points in your photographic journey? That feeling... like your shots don't satisfy you, even though you've thought them up so hard and somehow achieved them anyway?

07-30-2012, 10:14 AM   #2
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Everyone has a dip once in awhile.
07-30-2012, 10:38 AM   #3
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Hey, you can't be creative all the time. Like Anvh said, dips happen. I usually get excited when I have some shoot coming up or get a new piece of gear but sometimes it feels good to just not do this too. Sounds like you may just need a break.
07-30-2012, 10:44 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Re: "something's gone. I don't feel so... excited anymore"

As long as there is no unrecognized medical cause behind it- then its not unusual. And especially if it does not extend into all areas of your life. Unless it is a means to your livelihood, sometimes you just need a break.

Even a more generalized malaise can hit people periodically. Sometimes, its just part of the human condition and if its any comfort to you, a few thousand years ago, someone had it MUCH WORSE than you:

The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

3 What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?

4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.

5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.

6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.

7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.

8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.

9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

07-30-2012, 12:21 PM   #5
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gear talk is what people do to impress people about what they know,

it sounds like you are more interested in what you can do, not what you know.

nothing wrong with that.

I have stopped prowling for lenses, (I have over 50 any way) and am spending more time shooting.

The point is, technology seems to be relatively stable at present, and therefore, the focus will shift from gear to technique. It will shift back if the next camera has the same level step in performance (iso / noise) as the K7 to K5 step did
07-30-2012, 12:33 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Whenever I get in a slump, I plan a phototrip somewhere. I feel that location is a great way to change things up. I also like to change genres when I am out and about. I change between macro, astromonical, people, street, landscape, night photography, flash, studio - whatever - to change things up.

I make sure I stay away from the traps of photography - namely shooting relatives, pets,weddings and the same scenes I see everyday. Trying to avoid a photographic cliche can keep things fresh.

I am hardly in a funk - especially now that I can shoot video too.
07-30-2012, 04:59 PM   #7
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I won't be as eloquent as psychdoc, but I'll take a stab at it:

When I mashed my wrist (due to the one & only real snowstorm we had in New Jersey this winter!), my priorities changed drastically. I couldn't drive for at least a month, so finding new places to take my K-5 was out of the question. My wife was kind enough to walk the dog BOTH times a day so I got fewer opportunities to photograph. I did tag along on weekends, but even so, it was quite some time before I could handle the camera without pain. All in all I've found more time for other things. Things like appreciating the gear that I have, rather than pining for something new (especially since I've only scratched the surface of my existing gears' potentials). And things like rediscovering family and friends, or just quiet times. The pace of my life, slowed at first by the constraints of the injury, has still not fully resumed its helter-skelter tempo. Maybe my overall energy level still needs time to regenerate, but my sense is that I took that forced hiatus and recomposed myself. I'm now back to walking the same old paths and that means seeing the same old scenery again. But I'm seeing it through different eyes and I'm choosing my subjects more carefully and taking more time to think (and breath) before snapping the shutter. Fewer pictures for sure, but hopefully more memorable ones.

We all encounter the occasional lull, the ennui that results from too much sameness. As others have said, break out and explore new horizons. Take time to delve into what you have and what you do in deeper ways. There may not be anything new under the sun - that doesn't mean we've seen it all with our own eyes already.
07-30-2012, 06:58 PM   #8
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Nine grandchildren, soccer games, baseball games, football games. I'm learning to put myself where I need for the shot I want with the lens I have at the moment and the shutter speed to make it come together. Keeps me busy and satisfied if I get but one or two good shots / event. Sometimes more. Hang in there the desire will come back as new avenues open for you.

07-30-2012, 10:39 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the reassurance and the tips. I was kind of thinking it's some sort of unprecedented depression. whew... I guess it's because I've been shooting too many in too short a time to really appreciate what I'm doing. Hope it won't take long to rise out of this dip.

@psychdoc

hmm, Lamentations... right?
08-01-2012, 02:08 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alizarine Quote
Thanks everyone for the reassurance and the tips. I was kind of thinking it's some sort of unprecedented depression. whew... I guess it's because I've been shooting too many in too short a time to really appreciate what I'm doing. Hope it won't take long to rise out of this dip.

@psychdoc

hmm, Lamentations... right?
Alizarine, I too went through pretty much what you've described - just not interested in taking pics and any I did take were just done mechanically.

One day I picked up an old manual focus 28mm lens - put it on my DSLR and decided to shoot some pics. What I found was when using a totally manual set-up (camera and lens) I had to fully immerse myself "in the moment" - slow down and actually see what I was taking a photo of - spent most of the day just in my back yard. Pretty much cured my ennui.

So, anytime I feel the photography blahs, I simply pick up that old lens and spend some time seeing!

Good luck - now go SEE!!
08-01-2012, 02:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alizarine Quote

@psychdoc

hmm, Lamentations... right?
Ecclesiastes...
08-01-2012, 09:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Ecclesiastes...
Oops, wrong book, sorry~ will send a PM

btw thank you everyone for your answers! I'm taking time off the viewfinder and learning how to "see" things first, strolling without the camera, framing scenes with my fingers, to make my hands miss the shutter button
08-02-2012, 01:12 AM - 1 Like   #13
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When work slows down and I get these stale patches, I set myself "limited time challenges" which could be for a day or up to a week depending, to make me both work harder and think more.

This could be in terms of a shooting projects i.e. only take images of pairs of people, people using phones or left handed only widgets, you get the idea. The projects are selected by randomly open a magazine page and using the first picture you come to as the project basis, so do be careful about the magazine you choose to open...............................................

Alternatively use only one lens for a period, preferably one you've not used in a while, this can be really tough at times especially at the shorter focal lengths. Your back will also thank you for this respite period of not lugging around all your kit.

Another I use is, so many images to be taken by certain times of the day, you note I use the word images to suggest that they have to be both well composed and technically correct as opposed to rushing a couple off to meet the deadline which is of course cheating.

I hope my thoughts may work for you.
08-02-2012, 02:40 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
When work slows down and I get these stale patches, I set myself "limited time challenges" which could be for a day or up to a week depending, to make me both work harder and think more.
QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Another I use is, so many images to be taken by certain times of the day, you note I use the word images to suggest that they have to be both well composed and technically correct as opposed to rushing a couple off to meet the deadline which is of course cheating.
Hey, this seems like an excellent idea! Limited... number of shots, just like in film days! Ayt! I hope I don't end up cheating by erasing =))
36 exposures per "shooting day" - like, 1 roll of film per day. Seems great! Thank you!
08-02-2012, 03:48 AM   #15
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Psychdoc, and "for everything there is a time".

Taking photos is something that comes to one some of the time and some of the time I let it go by. Relax and enjoy life, and then the pleasure of good things will be your experience. That also appears near the end of the teacher's book.
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