I’ve been thinking about the creative process recently. How do you get out of a rut? How do you find inspiration? If you’re not in a rut, how do you find the next unique image. I think play and experimentation are really important tools.
When I’m out in the field and unable to deliver on my vision I may try panning or zooming. This sometimes reveals some colors, shapes, or textures that are interesting that I couldn’t see with my landscape-reality-goggles on. It can help me find new angles on a scene, and it can help me find something new to highlight in the image.
Another way I get out of a rut is to force myself to use a different lens. If I’m shooting wide angles, I put on the telephoto for awhile. Or, maybe I grab the macro. Sometimes I head out for the morning and force myself, regardless of the location, to use at least four different lenses. It’s not about getting portfolio-worthy shots. It’s about getting outside my comfort zone, experimenting, re-learning something I once knew.
Here’s an image I took in my dining room a few weeks ago. I cut a peony and set it up in a vase with a nice white background for a high key image. I was working with my Speedlight 580EX which can be controlled remotely with the 7D. This was an experiment in off-camera flash and a lesson in managing the flash from the camera using TTL. As I began to try new lighing setups I also turned it into an experiment with my macro lens with extension tubes. I learned a lot about my equipment. And, I liked how I was seeing new things in the peony. With the extension tubes, I stopped shooting a flower and started to look for shapes and light and composition.
NOTE: Before I get a lot of comments about the color. I also did some post-processing. The peony was white or light pink. With the flash, it was basically a black and white image. By chaning the white balance and applying split toning in Lightroom, I was able to create a soothing balance of colors.