For most Landscape photographers, like I, waiting to go away to capture some more scenes is excruciating. For those of us not blessed with ample time and a limitless credit card, the act of waiting for our trips to come about is often met with a heavy sigh or a stoic chest-beating whilst declaring to the world that “It’ll ALL be worth it!”
For those of us working other jobs, not primarily in the creative field, our planned trips are like the euphoric, vivid dreams we have when we lay down to sleep. To get through our mediocre daily-struggle with our creative minds let loose, but our physical bodies stuck in a chair, is often more tiring than a 12-hours-or-more on our feet taking images. To some it will feel like it takes more enthusiasm to put on a happy face and turn up to a job you know is not ideal, than it is to actually smile for real when it’s just you and your camera, the dawn, the birds, the sky and the sun.
So what do you do, between takes, between the trips and the excursions into the field, between the Mondays to Fridays where you feel nothing but trapped in your cubicle?
Well I can’t tell you what you do, but I can tell you what I do.
I write, and I read, and I move.
And I process, oh boy do I process!
There is the odd shoot here and there for the few times I feel that I’m having withdrawal symptoms, but often, this leads to more disappointment. Despite all the techniques for reinvigorating yourself to shoot your local area, sometimes, okay, often, I find that all the shots look the same. So I give in.
WRITE: Through blogging and sharing trips, I have come to LOVE writing. I find that in this down-time, I am capitalizing my time on doing something different – creating written work. It fills the voids between image releases, and breaks up the monotony of releasing new edit after new edit of old work.
READ: Books on Photography. On travel. On my future destinations, blog articles plus anything else I can feast my eyes on and give my mind a banquet. Knowledge is power and language is the juices that keep it flowing.
MOVE: Those of you that know me well, know that I also believe in maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. I train, I lift heavy weights, I ride my bike and I (mostly) eat well. I maintain my body so that I can count on it when I’m pushing myself and 10kg of my camera gear up that mountain for a shoot. How can you expect to go from nothing to everything without preparing your body? Do you really want to be struggling to catch your breath as you watch the photo opportunities pass you by? A strong body is a strong mind. Getting to the top of the mountain gets you strong photos.
While it may seem strange not to be actively taking photos in the time off, it comes with a realisation that there’s a big world out there. I’m probably always going to live in this city. I love it, but I’m not in love with it like I used to be. It’ll always be home, and that’s its attraction for me. I find that I am feeling and thinking better if it has been a while since I picked up the camera. I do not feel tired or struggling for creativity this way. Like a wind-up-toy, save and charge up some of the energies for when you’re really there to release them!
So when you’re like me, sitting at your desk and dreaming of far off places, take a deep breath. Don’t wish it to come so soon, work towards the greater good. Then, when you feel satisfied that today you’ve read enough, or moved enough, sit down in front of your computer and pull out those old images. Look at them with fresh, reinvigorated eyes, and do something differently.