Break The Rut

When you hit rock bottom, there’s only one direction in which to go and that’s up.
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When you hit rock bottom, there's only one direction in which to go and that's up. So, when you reach that down point in your photography, it's time to celebrate as things can only get better! Glorify the situation and think about all the ways you can get out of your rut. So, many positive things can come out of being in one, it's a wonder we don't wish them upon ourselves more often! So, what can you do to get out of a rut? First off, as I said, celebrate the occasion as a whole new photographic field, and it may become a passion. Celebrate, as you'll be creating new and exciting images. Celebrate in that you're about to try something new. Celebrate in that once you're out of your rut, you may fall back into another, giving you many more celebrations! Here are some suggestions to get you on the road to celebration, should you experience the photographic doldrums.

Work A Different Angle: Break away from the obvious composition. You've shot thousands and they all look the same. If the standard photographic rule says that A+B equals C for a given situation, try using a D in place of A or B. For instance, in portraiture, the "rule" says the subject should be looking at the camera. If you like taking images of people, break away from this rule and photograph the subject from behind, from the side, from above or below, with a skewed horizon, or any other option you can think of that deviates from your standard compositions. Anything and everything goes. Press the shutter, even if you think it may not work. If it's a bust, the delete key is a mouse stroke away.

Use A Point and Shoot: Realize that every time you press the shutter, you don't have to create a masterpiece. In other words, have some fun out there. Leave the SLR at home. Go out for a walk with a point and shoot and snap away as if you just bought the camera and everything before you is a new subject. Don't be self-conscious about looking silly, if you lay down on the sidewalk, to try a close-up shot of your neighbor's lawn. There is nothing in front, to your side or behind you, that shouldn't be photographed. So, what if it's a snapshot, you're having fun. On one of my photo tours to the Tetons and Yellowstone, I used my point and shoot to make some wildlife shots, instead of using my standard equipment. I chuckled when I heard the simulated point and shoot shutter sound. But, I was having fun. What blew me away was the quality of the photos. So, for the rest of the morning, I used it right alongside my SLR and had one of the most memorable shooting experiences in a long time.

Assign Yourself A Subject / Try Something New: If you're primarily a nature shooter, get out and photograph anything and everything but this subject. The idea is to think out of the box and realize there's a plethora of subject matter beyond your comfort zone. Not only do I encourage you to temporarily abandon your standard subject matter, I implore you to try a technique you never utilized. Dust off and remove the cobwebs from the flash, dig for the filter that hasn't seen daylight for the past five years, walk the environment in the evening with a tripod and set the shutter speed to a 1/4 second or longer. Or, consider photographing nothing but silhouettes, use the lens that's hidden in the closet you thought you'd sell on Ebay, but never got around to it. How about breaking out the film camera and shooting a roll reminiscing about the "old days?" Regardless of what you choose, make a choice so you'll get out and realize that the rut you thought you may be in, has just opened a whole new door to your passion for photography.



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