View Full Version : the dreaded ramble
i notice things sometimes.
i notice that i have a tendency to ramble, in print and in person.
i notice that here, in print, and here (locally), in person, people tend to be polite but look away.
please lord, i can hear them pray, don't let him make eye contact or he just might never go away.
let me aplogize for this in advance of my next ramble and also let you know that i understand and if you prefer to not make eye contact that all is ok.
i live alone, well my dog might take offense to that, but for all intent and conversational purposes - i live alone.
except for the guys at the local pro camera shop and a few semi interested and paitient buds, you all are what i have to talk f-stops with.
i'm gonna imagine that a few of you are also in a similar position.
yes, this does make me feel better.
so my ramble?
these thoughts started as i looked over my list of incoming items -from ebay and other internet sources.
you all know about the 'p'...
now there will will soon be a 100/4 serenar w/ finder and case.
a lens hood that i hope will fit the 100.
a red & yellow filter (series v) to fit the hood.
a yellow & red series vi for the canon 50/1.8.
a red for the 75/2.5 (already have the yellow).
a yellow for the canonet - finally.
a yellow for one of the oly rc cams.
oh, can't forget the neg scanner.
that's a good list i think.
problem is i started to make another list - - - of other things i need/want.
maybe that 28, a 2.8 or even the 3.2
a 'better' camera bag
a grip for both cameras
improved wrist straps
better quality filters
films from every manufacturer
and several different film developers
that's a good list too!
i notice that i'm buying and reading more photo mags lately.
and that i'm pulling out old photo books from storage, along with photocopied articles from a favourite photographer.
reading more photo related stuff on the net.
that's a good thing too, i guess.
what i'm not doing is taking enough photos, or, studying the ones i have taken.
i did quickly look over the last batch of scans i had made and looking at some of those shots, i caught myself thinking "what the hell did you take that one for?"
at times like these when that great fear i hide (that i am a truly dreadful photographer) surfaces - i usually buy alot of new stuff or think about selling it all and getting a better stereo system.
at times like these i really miss my 3rd wife. she was the best damn editor i ever had.
when i would exit the darkroom ready to chuck it all, she would grab my contact sheet, study it for a moment or two and then say, "ok, this one, this one and this one. print those."
i would shuffle back downstairs, muttering and start to print. usually within a few minutes of printing i would begin to see the possibilities of the shot and become motivated and carry on.
all would be better for awhile.
why the ramble? i just don't like my stuff lately.
i don't see an improvement, in fact, i think i'm not as good as i used to be.
can one get worse?
have i lost my photo mojo?
tell me that you guys go through this hell sometimes too!
do you ever get so dissatisfied with your pics that you're ready to sell it all and buy a better stereo?
Joe...you're far from alone.
You may be interested in this post I made on photo.net for almost 2 years ago now: http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00474v
Joe, we've all been there. Going through dry periods and sometimes even turning away from photography for periods of time.
The threads in Richard's posting to photo.net make interesting reading.
Like many who responded there, switching types of cameras seems to help me when I get in a rut or a dry phase. I'll take the old Rollei TLR for a spin and do a different style of photography. I also like alternating between film and digital. For me, it keeps both technologies fresh.
Increasingly with RF cams, just switching cams is adds variety to the experience. I'll leave the Bessa at home, and carry the Canonet instead. Or tuck my XA in my jeans pocket and head out for a walk.
Just don't be too hard or judgemental on yourself. Sometimes I think we try too hard, instead of being relaxed about it and just enjoying it.
My $0.02 FWIW ...
I dont think you are getting worse, maybe instead you are shooting things you don't really want to shoot anyway. It's hard for me to explain but you kinda know when you press the shutter if the shot is a good one or not, if it was worth the effort, if you really saw something there or if you're just trying hard to make something out of nothing.
What I do is go out of town, visit a place where I have never been before or at least not in a long time.
For me I am less apprehensive when I am away from home, I find I am willing to get closer to people when I aim my camera their way. I see thing differently, I notice small things, big things, odd things and such. With me it's almost like a light comes on, my creativity goes up a couple notches.
By the way, I think these recent ones are great:
(BTW, if you do decide to hang up photography and get a better stereo.........can I have your Canon stuff? Just Kidding! :D )
Look at the bright side. At least you've got a pro camera store to go to. After I retired I worked at one part time, four days a week. I used to look at my boss and say, "I don't believe that you pay me to stand around talking cameras all day."
Since I moved I really feel the lack. I asked our local independent(as opposed to Ritz) if he carried Agfa Scala and he asked me what it was. When I told him, he told me that he had just told a customer that there was no such thing as b&w slide film. I didn't dare mention dr5.
The good news is that I'm not far from Ritz Collectibles but I don't know if they're the rambling type.
Joe, I understand you. You are not alone. ....what everyone else has said so far I agree with, it's what I felt and would have said if they hadn't already.
Misery loves company so here's my two cents worth. I started a project I've been meaning to do a couple weeks back, since I have sixty days off, I figured now was a good time to catch up on the (at least) sixty or so cameras I've picked up since New Year's day. Believe me they accumulate too fast, I picked up 5 more SLR's for a song last week. Anyhow, to make a long story short, I picked up 20 rolls of film I'd taken in for processing today. Between the inevitable light leaks, unforseen goofs (1 camera felt like it rewound till I opened the back and exposed the film, DOH) and shots for some reason the lab didn't even print(?) I noticed either I have no eye for photography at all these days or just that I've gotten really rusty. Then to top things off, I picked up my latest Ebay junk at the border today and junk it turned out to be, three cameras, three non working duds, not worth the cash to return them either. I may not give them all up for a better stereo, but I've got a '66 Rambler in the garage that could sure use the infusion of time and cash instead of wasting my time and efforts (not to mention cash) on a hobby that sometimes seems to cause more stress than relaxation. I hate to say it, but I think tomorrow I'll run some film through an SLR or two, and give one of my old Ciroflex a workout too just for a change of pace. Maybe I'll get a bit luckier this time. Anyone want a small mountain of cameras, LOL?
You may also enjoy this read that was mentioned on p-net: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/7.htm ;)
Mylord! You people really do ramble! :) I started to read this thread but quit after the second line of Joe's initial thread. :) Do you guys really think I'm gonna read all this? :)
No RML, you don't have to read the ramblings, just the spirit.
Mojo doesn't mean more Joe. We all slip in and out of slumps, never knowing when we will be inspired. At last weeks fair I took 40 something shots, nothing remarkable, but I found things to shoot at. This week, not necessarily my fault, but the shutter went off 4 times. It is all a function of place and time and seeing what is in front of you. We all live lives of routines, not ruts, but we see familiar things, the same things over and over. I have learned to instead of looking for other things to shoot, look for ways to shoot the familiar. A spider web on the patio when the light hits it just right, or the wind chime ringing. And I always look. I have read every book I have over and over, I don't need "instruction," I need to see how things are done. Look at the gallery here, and elsewhere. Steal ideas, figure out how things were done. I used XP2 for the first time and love the smoothness of my shots taken on it because so many folks here use it. I always am looking at pictures, to see what I like and don't. Keep looking Joe, you will find your inspiration. As we have seen here over and over, you can even find your mojo in a cup of joe.
Well, almost all I wanted to say has been already stated here. I really agree with Todd's point about 'going out of town'. For me, when I'm in that sort of hole, what seems to work is to go somewhere I've never been before or in some way change my habits. However I think that 'up' and 'down' periods are normal and part of life and not only about photography.
To some specific points:
1) Sell everything ? NO. After some time you'd probably regret and go out there in the quest for something, may it be the same you got rid of or something different. You LIKE cameras, it's ok, there's nothing wrong about it. A Canon P, a 7, a Leica M3, a Kiev a Zorki or a Nikon SP, we're lucky enough to be able to afford them and use them (well not we all can afford the SP, but you get the point :D)
2) Try not to feel 'forced to'. That's one of the worst ways to do something. Do it 'cos you like it, plain and simply to have fun. Share your hobby with more people, both here and out there in 'real' life. People make great photography subjects so it's handy to have them around ;)
3) Also, sometimes I find myself shooting something but being obsessed with seeing the results of that shooting inmediately. My short
experience tells me it's not a good thing to do (at least for me). Your 'fresh' opinion might be highly biased, let them 'marinate' for a while, to calm your anxiety it's a good idea to go out and shoot again, or even do something completely different, making your own pasta? :)
4) Look at other's people work, be it online or on paper. Look at single shots and contact sheets, then look at your own work again, you may find things you didn't see on first sight. Human minds need a constant flow of new ideas.
5) Don't worry too much if you're going 'slow'. It got me a lot to get started with this last roll on the CL, but then something happens, you see something or met someone and start talking and after that you start to 'see' again. Don't know why, but it happens.
6) Now this is something I found myself some days ago. Sometimes, mainly when visiting websites about lens reviews and looking at the pics taken with them I inmediately start browsing the Bay for that lenses. But then you may stop and ask yourself 'well, even if I have that lens reviewed there, would I ever be in that same situation to produce images like that one ? And if I do, couldn't I take a nice shot like that or similar one but using the lenses I already have ?'
That thought made me not bid on a couple lenses yesterday, a pack of 2 Serenars 100 and 85, the whole set went for $110 ! Bummer ! I should
have bid !!! :bang: :D
7) Something that seems to work ok for me is assigning myself a day for commenting the gallery. We're lucky enough to have some great work on it, and it may be a constant source of inspiration and new ideas, I can't recommend it strongly enough !!!
8) And that's all :) Gotta go start applying my own advices, I think, or still better, find a nice wall to bang my head agains it for that couple of nice Serenars I missed !! :mad: Just kidding, sometimes the trees don't let you see the forest: it was the only photo item of
that seller, I couldn't ask in time to get some answers about glass/mechanics shape, neither about the shippings costs here, and after all, such long lenses won't fit very well in my daily bag with all the notebooks and papers.
9) My apologies for such a long boring post, but the thread and subsequent links on it made a great sunday morning reading, so I thought I ought a detailed post in exchange :D
PS: And last entry, it's true there's no magic bullet, but sometimes changing your camera or getting something new somehow makes the point. However, that's not a rule of fact.
You need to meet a good woman that owns a camera shop.
Originally posted by Brian Sweeney
You need to meet a good woman that owns a camera shop.
Oh well, that was my point # 10 :rolleyes:
"Sometimes I think we try too hard, instead of being relaxed about it and just enjoying it." - Gene, I wanted to say exactly the same.
"Do not under any circumstances deal with these people, talk to them, read their websites or especially ask them for photography advice. To the innocent they seem like fonts of knowledge, however their sick, lifeless souls would love to drag you into their own personal Hells and have your spirit forever mired in worrying about how sharp your lens is. If you start worrying about this and you'll never photograph anything again except brick walls and test charts." Muhahahahaha! Ken Rockwell rocks:)
Joe, frequently aquiring a new interest will reawaken an old one. I think your current photos are just fine, but if you think you did better in the past, perhaps it is time to broaden your horizons with other interests. Soon you will find new photo ops from your new interests and aquaintances and, perhaps, a new life partner as well. I don't think that once one has sewn his oats it is a good idea to live alone. A broader perspective may also result in a more stable relationship than you have had thusfar.
Your post indicates to me that you may be somewhat depressed and if that is the case seeking professional help may be advisable.
Pardon me for preaching, but i mean the best for you.
I hear you. I hear you all. I have been treading water in a similar kind of soup for a few months.
I have considered selling off all of my collection of RF and SLRs.
I did do a smallish "out of town" trip - heading out before dawn to a beach and marsh - non-rangefinder - digicam and SLR - tripod as well.
results at http://www.wjgibson.ca/gallery4/HTML/index.htm
spotting the bat, made my day
I am taking off in a moment for a small car jaunt and will take out a camera that has sat for awhile - Lynx 14e.
I've hit slumps far too often, thought about selling all my gear and devoting my life to gardening.
But then, something came along. It was either the unexpected trip out of town, a photograph revisited, an unexpected compliment or simply a nice, sunny day at the end of a string of gray, cloudy mornings. Last time, however, I decided to "beat" the feeling by inspecting my old slides, picking and choosing the ones I'd like to scan, print and hang. It was fun and, while it didn't make me a better shooter, at least made me think that after my death, whoever inspects my binders will find a nice bunch of good shots... and a large cemetery for duds! :)
Something I did as of late was to look at Richard's shots (the "over the shoulder" series from Chinatown) and try to do my own versions. I managed one, which is, I believe, posted in one of the threads about Street Photography.
Now, I'm going to do as Oscar does, and pick a day or days per week to look at the gallery. It's always refreshing!
And, remember, if it doesn't work, we're always here, ready to talk f-stops and film!
Joe, just to say that I enjoyed reading your ramble. It read smoothly, stream of consciousness, another county heard from, so I knew exactly where you're coming from. Nice to make contact. Thanks
Originally posted by Brian Sweeney
You need to meet a good woman that owns a camera shop.
owning a camera shop is about the only thing that might lure me out of 'retirement' (afa women are concerned)
"Sometimes I think we try too hard, instead of being relaxed about it and just enjoying it."
gene, there is truth in that statement - it resonates in me - i am trying too hard, making it about the result only and not the entire process. i do need to enjoy it more.
so many wise and wonderful comments and all exactly what i needed to hear. i sometimes just need to say it out loud or write it down and try to exorcize this funk that looms overhead.
rich, interestingly enough i had come across that thread and read it awhile ago. i remember being surprised at it, but reading through it again was beneficial.
todd & rover, i do need to look around and figure out what i would like to shoot. i am a creature of habit and have been photographing the same area of town for almost 20 years now. i have never been really happy with most of those shots and so just kept returning in hopes of getting 'the' shot. the true unfortunate part is i'm tired of that spot and am in search of new territory.
remy, i am amazed at your level of patience and wonder where you learned it. ;)
oscar, i think i am addicted to ebay! i'm thinking about starting a support group. i wonder if it's possible to do over the net?
kurt, your approach is similar to brian's, find a women, although you also suggest a shrink. this may be a possibilty but the nature of my work slows the need for any more intensity in my life.
francisco, it is always reassuring knowing that there are people like you, ready to chat f-stops.
this is a great place indeed.
and michael, welcome to the forum! and thanks for the kind words re. my writing style. i love words - hate capitol letters.
ok, the bottom line is i already have a small but very nice home theatre set up in my extra bedroom. i have a great stereo in there.
i also have a stereo system in my living room, one in my bedroom and one downstairs in the computer room (aka - the basement)
i don't have one in the bathroom but i love singing in the shower so i think i'm ok there too!
i want to thank you all for taking the time, it is greatly appreciated.
Sometimes I think that a boot to the head is really all we need to get things moving along again.
I have gone through not just days, but years, perhaps decades of wasted motion. All potential squandered on the nasty business of living. And then one day, one fine day, something happens to give me a boot to the head - a metaphorical shock to my system; and it as if a sleeper has awoken.
I see things a different way - or maybe the same old way but from a fresh perspective. I'm not just a lousy photographer, I'm a lousy writer and a half-witted songwriter, and I even have been known to butcher a poem or two.
When I am asleep, those months and years tumble by and it is easy to say to myself "Oh well, you never were much of a photographer anyway. And besides you have to grow up sometime, and maybe even pay the mortgage on time."
Ah, but that's precisely the poison that we dose ourselves with. We fool ourselves into thinking that life is what happens while we are waiting for something else. In fact, it is the something else that we should be looking for - life just gets in the way too often.
I am awake at the moment - perhaps tomorrow I'll be asleep again, despite my best intentions not to let this happen yet again. So I have to treasure this moment, I don't know when I'll have it again - I may wake up and ten more years have passed. And I'll be pretty darn ticked off if that happens, let me tell you.
So, while I am awake, I am going to point my camera at everything that seems vaguely interesting. I am going to experiment. I am going to scribble a line of prose or poetry and be not afraid that it may stinketh up the joint.
I rejoice in my own roaring and ramping, and I dance the dance of celebration of myself, in a way that only a short, fat, bald man of 43 can. And that is - with abandon - but somewhat gently.
And that's the name of that tune.
Originally posted by backalley photo
"Sometimes I think we try too hard, instead of being relaxed about it and just enjoying it."
Now, after all these long rambling replies, you had the answer all yourself, wrapped up and spit out in one simple sentence.
i wish i was that smart.
i was quoting gene.
I hear ya. I'm probably going to echo what a lot of other folks have said, so with that in mind... WARNING: what follows is a bit of a ramble of my own... if you want you can skip right to the end, I won't mind :-)
I started "serious photography", whatever that means, a couple of years back when I inherited my dad's K1000. I immediately ran out and shot of several rolls of film, none of which were any good although I proved to myself that I could in fact handle basic photographic techniques. Got depressed and shelved the camera. A year or so later I bought a Minolta Dimage 7i digital camera. Shot a lot and nabbed some seriously great photos and then... put the camera on a shelf. Why? I don't really know. Maybe it just seemed too easy or seemed like cheating or something. Maybe I was just bored or burnt out since I took my camera with me EVERYWHERE. I recently started surfing the web while in the process of looking for a "spark", found this site, bought a couple of inexpensive RFs off eBay, a Seagull TLR, and a scanner, ran out and shot a bunch of film which was all... technically OK but still unsatisfying. Hmm, what to do? Am I really not any good at this after all? Should I just hang it up?
Then, my significant other charged me with a mini-project: she wanted photos of butterflies to decorate her house and said "Wait, don't you take pictures as a hobby? Would you mind doing this for me?" Oh, and the exhibit was ending the day after my upcoming weekend visit was to end. Suddenly, I had a project with a deadline and a subject I had never shot before. I packed up the trusty Minolta without a thought, scooted down to Indianapolis, and got busy. Result? We had a fantastic afternoon at White River Gardens and I got some of the best photos I've ever taken.
What did I learn? Several important things I think I wouldn't have, couldn't have, learned any other way:
1) I need a challenge to give me focus and to force me to stretch myself, whether self-imposed or from somewhere else.
2) I 'm far more comfortable with digital cameras than film. I hadn't realized how much working with film just feels alien to me, but somehow my digital camera "fits" me best and allows me to get past worrying about technique and concentrate on what I see (maybe this is the wrong forum to be saying that, but Epson IS coming out with a manual digital RF.... ahem, moving on...).
3) Change is good. Seriously. Normally I avoid change like the plague but like Bill said above, sometimes a boot to the head is what you need to get you past the flat spots.
4) Putting the cameras away for a while made me miss photography and WANT to shoot instead of feeling like I HAD to become HCB Junior or something.
5) It just plain doesn't matter if I'm any good or not as long as I enjoy doing it. It's nice to get good shots but at the end of the day, if I didn't enjoy taking them then it wasn't worth it, no matter how good the results were.
You're not alone, Joe. If you feel like you need a break, take one. Don't worry about for how long, just put the camera away for a bit. Walk around, see things without a viewfinder. One day, you'll see something that will grab your attention, an idea will form, and before you know it, you'll be reaching for a camera again.
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