Unexpected Changes

It is said that change is the only constant.  A whimsical, paradoxical, and wise statement that.  And it is worth paying attention to.  Changes have crept into my photography and my creativity without my awareness, and I pride myself on some measure of self-awareness!

But it has happened and I am now able to take some stock and do something about it.  You see, my available time for photographing has dwindled significantly due to family and work constraints and I find most of my photographic opportunities centering around settings that require continuous servo focusing and fast shutter speeds: photographing my fast moving children.  At the same time I switched from shooting mostly in jpeg mode to using the Camera RAW format in order to have greater creative control in the digital darkroom.  And furthermore I switched from primarily using PhotoShop to using Lightroom to edit my images.  All of these shifts have changed how I work through my creative process and as a result have impacted my creative output.

Oops.  It is no wonder my creative satisfaction is down.  It is no wonder I am not really happy with the results of my photography.  No longer do images taken in black and white on my camera arise the same way on my monitor; camera RAW always shows up in color.  It is the raw, unprocessed (therefore not converted to black and white) image.  And I am less comfortable converting to black and white in Lightroom than I was in Photoshop, so I was drawn to creating images with a very different look.  As a result I created images that fit within my post-processing comfort range.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it is just that the images don’t satisfy what my heart wants to convey.  And that is the rub, of art at least.

I’ve also found myself wanting more and more gear; a sure sign, at least for me, that something is stagnant.  If I don’t feel like I have something to point my camera toward, what makes me think a it will suddenly arise before a new lens, new camera, or be drawn out of a WaCom tablet (ooooh but the lord knows I want one of those!!)

So, what is missing?  I have been asking myself this question and waiting for the answer to arise.  I have also been trying different things.  I am basically searching out what my muse, that creative energy, wants.  And slowly, as I ask and make time to hear the answer, it has been coming.  More black and whites images, fewer cliched images, and more stuff that “feels right.”  One does, after all, have to pay attention to the muse; she’s pretty cold hearted if you turn a deaf ear.

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2 Responses to Unexpected Changes

  1. T.J. says:

    I have not yet invested in any photo processing software and am only using the iPhoto that came on my Macbook. I have been thinking about buying Photoshop CS5, but have also been reading about Lightroom. What is your opinion now that you’ve experienced both?
    And, I ALWAYS want new gear! I wonder what that says about how stagnant I am? 😉

    Good luck rekindling your photographic passion!


    • Brian Miller says:

      Thanks T.J.
      I switched from Photoshop to Lightroom around this time last year and have just loved it. I did really like PS, but I found LR to be much more geared toward photographers and is a fully integrative platform. From archive management, to nondestructive development, to output through print or web, to creating slideshows with music, with presets and plugins galore. I would say I do 99% of my photo editing in it and 100% of my data/archive management. And with the advances that came with LR3 it is even better. All this for $300? Quite the deal compared to the cost of PS at double that. Plus LR is easier to use; much shorter learning curve. I highly recommend it! (Oh, and you can download a 30 day trial at Adobe.com to try it out.)

      For books on how to use LR I have enjoyed David duChemin’s “Vision and Voice” where he focuses on using the Develop module to help create your artistic vision. I also hear Scott Kelby’s LR books are really good too. I also get a lot out of the Lightroom Killer Tips blog.

      Hope this helps.
      My best to you.

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