Creative: The Sickness Returns

Yes I own a tripod. Yes I have blue laces. Deal with it.

A funny thing happened the other day. I was up north exploring, scouting, looking for images and suddenly I felt like I wanted to make good photographs again. This might sound strange. Why would I go out and not want to make good images? Well, for the past seven years I really haven’t cared whether what I shot was good, bad, indifferent. I was just going through the motions. I’d shoot things that caught my eye but I never looked at those images like I did prior to 2010 when my life was consumed by making the best images I could possibly make. From 1988 to 2010 photography ruled my life. I was consumed by it. Each day was a hunt, each period of good light was an opportunity to be exploited at the highest level. And then it stopped.

Post 2010 image making became a sidekick to the rest of my life, even how my brain was working. Sunset and sunrise became about hiking, biking, fishing, exploring or just experiencing without the hassle of looking through a little box. This was also the time that things like Instagram EXPLODED and the number of images I would encounter expanded exponentially. I was happily on the outside looking in when the need or desire arose.

Now, like a switch has been flipped, I found myself thinking “Hmm, I wonder if I can even do this anymore?” (This question is very real when you find yourself lifting your glasses to even see the camera in focus, and using the diopter when you actually shoot and you realize “I’m old and starting to break down like a sick Wildabeast.”) And the style of image I want to make is VERY different than what I was making before. I’m not sure I’ll ever have time to do a long-term project again. I’m not sure I even WANT to do a long term project again because I know what that entails and I know I’ll be in the middle of it thinking “You know, I’d rather be hiking right now.”

So my approach now will be different. Lone images, I guess. Random. But perhaps more technical than before. I’ve never been a nature photographer, not even close, but I kinda find myself thinking “Well, I’m out there all the time, in the wilds, why not make something good while I’m at it.” I have a camera that does 99% more than I’ve ever done with it. I wonder about time lapse. I wonder about shooting 4k motion. I wonder about having an 80-200 equivalent again and wondering how I would look at those style images differently than I did before. I wonder about still life images. I wonder about conceptual work. Just noodling, but it sure feels like the sickness has returned. God help us all.

16 Comments on “Creative: The Sickness Returns”

  1. Oh Daniel I read the headline and was instantly worried! Hope you notice that you as a person (even if we never met in person) and your work matter a lot to me… 🙂 So I am happy to read everything is alright!

    Love the words and what you write is the best in life! We going through stages and develop more and more… Isn’t this great!? Of course it is sometimes irritating when the mind is spinning and we need a break to organize the ideas. But this is what I LOVE!

    By the way I have red laces! HA!

    1. Wim,

      Got ya! I knew that headline would throw people. I’m evil. But you knew that. And yes, it’s a good thing. Making things is great.

  2. OMG its a slippery slope Dan. First you start using a tripod. Then it’s graduated filters. Then you’ll start manually focusing…

  3. Welcome back to the sickness: nice laces.

    I’m shooting Fuji too, just sold my Leica M10, no regrets. At some point I set my Fuji X100t to capture Raw + JPEG Fine and it was a revelation, I found myself thinking “Why am I attempting to reinvent the wheel?”. For over 90% of the time I use the JPEGS, if I have to crop I’ll use the Raw file but otherwise I just don’t bother anymore. It’s like using slide film again: shoot, edit, move on.

    Post processing is a pain.

    I feel liberated. My first Fuji-Blurb magazine is ready to order. Thank you Fujifilm (and Blurb).

    1. Mike,
      I just shoot RAW. I’ve been doing this for 15 years, so it works for me. I edit and covert, but I’m editing and converting less than a dozen files from ANYTHING I”m shooting these days. Having said that, the jpgs look great.

  4. I saw the thumb nail of this post and immediately thought oh, looks like I’m not the only one that has done in their camera lately (I thought it was a shot of the camera buried in sand at first). But after clicking through to the full size pic and the article I see it was just fancy juxtaposition. You see, you are still make great images while you are trying to talk yourself into making great images.

    Glad to see you are the camera are doing well. My camera and I went for a small unplanned swim in the ocean. Apparently ‘weather sealed’ doesn’t mean underwater weather…go figure.


      1. LOL…Not your camera, its still safely tucked in waiting it’s next turn. In September our friends up at our cabin had a mini reunion with all their kids and grand kids visiting. Saturday afternoon family dock walk, talking the kids into diving off the pier, me shooting from my dingy, kids swimming and then wanting to come in the boat, epic fail. On the bright side the memory cards and all the images where fine!

  5. I’m really happy to hear that your soul is asking you to get back in the trenches, so to speak. I know that only good stuff can come out of that, and I’ll be waiting patiently to see it.
    I really can’t deal with the blue laces …

    1. EB,
      This isn’t to say I actually have time to do real projects…but in theory. Blue laces take some time to get used to.

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