Ever been stuck in a rut? I sure have! They often feel safe, known, comfortable… and you don’t always feel “stuck” in them! Sometimes it can be just smooth ‘n nice, which ain’t all bad sometimes.
I always know I’m hovering near rut-dom when I feel a little bored by my own self. In photography, it might feel like I can’t find anything original in anything I see, maybe I’m a little bored with my photo processing, maybe it’s just the itch to see and do something different(ly).
In any case – I HAD a case of “the ruts” recently. When it happens, sometimes I’ll just step awaaaaayyy from the camera. Go out and enjoy life a little, without feeling like I have to find ART in every moment. Other times, I have an itch to photograph – but I just don’t want to look at another tree, ocean, beautiful sunset. Funny, huh? It doesn’t usually last too long AS LONG AS I take a detour from the norm to cleanse my palette.
Here are 4 things I do to banish The Rut:
1. Pick Up Different Camera…
This is the result of one of my recent detours. The hubs and I had a day off in Santa Cruz, California and wanted to go for a walk. We were in the mood to (maybe) do some photographing… but in my case, I didn’t feel like toting my brick of a Canon 5DIII – nor feel the pressure of being an arTISTE. Bleh to that! I just wanted to hang with the hubs and do snapshots if the mood struck. So I grabbed my little old Sony NEX-7, threw some water and another lens in a little bitty pack and headed out.
It’s so nice to give yourself that break. Creative juices just don’t like to be squeezed… they like to bubble up in their own time, with their own sense of grace. I find more and more I have to step back and allow that to happen! I can get super-focused (some might say driven). Sometimes I just need to remember the mighty Allowingness.
2. Visit Different Places…
We walked by way of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which was in full weekend swing. At first I couldn’t even see what to shoot! It was this visual cacophony… and so full of people! Ack! I get so used to looking at interesting and beautiful things in the peace of nature that my vision gets clouded to what’s fun and interesting in civilization. So I just looked around for awhile, not reaching for my camera. I also watched to see what Joe was looking at – since he doesn’t have any rut problems with his photography; he’s more of a weekend photographer. He’s also a jazz musician – and just sees things differently! I love looking at the world through his eyes sometimes.
Pretty soon, I did start “seeing different”. Shyly at first, but increasingly confident, cool little scenes and stories began jumping before my eyes! Today’s image was one such photo.
3. Revisit Distant Memories…
I used to come to the Boardwalk with my parents when I was a kid. It was ALWAYS my place-of-choice for my birthday; the fact that my grandmother lived in Santa Cruz as well made that annual visit a no-brainer. I remember on my 8th birthday I was finally big enough to ride the Big Dipper roller coaster… and my dad sat through it 3 times with me before I was satisfied and ready to move on. That was 50 years ago! So it’s a pretty nostalgic visit there, to say the least.
As for this Sea Swing… I loved the old photos up there in the dome. I found myself staring up at it for the longest time – then decided I’d shoot exactly what I was looking at. I liked the shapes, colors, details and partial view. I loved remembering how – even as a kid – it was WAY too tame for me! I never rode it, instead opting for the scarier, faster rides. hehheh.
This particular “memory lane” option (if it’s available to you) is cool because it takes you out of your usual time as well as place. It can even be somewhere generally historic, not just your personal history. Just looking at life through another set of eyes or era can really shift you.
4. Even Process Differently…
Stepping out of my photographic “norm” even made me process way differently than I usually do; brighter, more primary, more kids’ Saturday morning TV.
Ahhhh, it was positively refreshing!