Only shoot when you feel inspired by what you’re seeing.
But what if you’re feeling so crappy, that it’s hard to muster up the effort to get up and go out and shoot?
Of course there can be many reasons for not going out to shoot images. Work pressures, family commitments, a bad cold, of simply not feeling inspired to go out.
I always felt that if I was feeling uninspired, then it would show in the final images. That’s true to some extent. When I was an amateur photographer in my early 20′s, I’d be so keen to go out and make images, that I’d convince myself that something magical would happen between me clicking the shutter at a rather mundane scene and the final transparencies coming back from the lab (these were the days when you didn’t really know what you’d get back, because film always looks different from what the human eye can see). But I’m of course further on in my photography, and I’ve come to recognise when it’s not happening. I a nutshell: I know when to stop, or when to not even bother.
But I find it so easy to talk myself out of going to make images. ‘It won’t be any good’, or ‘I feel pretty bored’, or in the case of this recent trip to Iceland ‘I feel like my head is going to fall off with the cold, so I’ll just stay in my tent’.
This is, to some degree, a form of procrastination.
I’m sure now, having seen the results from my trip, that I could have done more. I know I could have done more and I also recognise that although having a bad chest infection didn’t help me feel that great, it didn’t damage what I was feeling for the landscapes around me. It just stopped me from continuing on with my journey and cutting it short.
But every cloud has a silver lining, and I’ve learnt something about myself and my photography. I’ve learned that a form of pessimism can creep in when i’m not feeling great. It colours my outlook and any realistic barometer that I have (call it skill, intuition, whatever). I’ve also learned that if I keep going (not driving my health into the ground), but work towards making images, something will come.
Travel photography is hard work. I put 200% into making images when I’m away. I think most people who want to make good images in a foreign land don’t really appreciate this fact. Travel photography is a major commitment and it takes a lot out of you.
Rewarding though it is.
ps. The Iceland portfolio is now on-line if you wish to have a closer look.
pps. Click on the contact sheet above for a nicer view.