No pressure, just create

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I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself with this creative project and that pressure can be a little bit paralyzing sometimes. I want to get out a make photos, I want to write, I want to make stuff. Then I think too much about it and think of all the reasons I can’t do those things. And I usually don’t.

The last few days I’ve figured something out: None of this has to be a big deal. There is no reason put pressure on myself or to make these grands plans to be creative. I just need to get out and do it.

It hit me yesterday. After sitting down at lunch and writing for a little bit, I made my way home, thinking about why I hadn’t taken my camera out at any point to take pictures. When I parked my car in front of my apartment, I noticed some flowers at the house across the street. Now, I don’t care about flowers, but they are photogenic, so I pulled out my camera and started making photos.

IMG_0892.jpg I snapped a few photos of those flowers and kept walking down the street with my camera hanging from a strap on my wrist. On that stroll down the street, I saw many things to photograph. The old school fire alarms nailed to the telephone polls. The cemetery (though I’m still not sure it is OK to take pictures in the cemetery). The pine cones. The stop signs.

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What I figured out yesterday was there is always something to shoot. Walking a quarter of a mile down the street, I took 45-50 pictures. A bunch of them were the same thing, trying to get the photo right, but there was something to shoot every few steps.

Today I headed out to Portland and, while I’m still a little shy out doing street photography, I was overwhelmed with the things there were to shoot. All the people. The old school brick buildings. The cobblestone streets. The signage and the doorways.

IMG_0965.jpgCreativity doesn’t have an ordeal. It shouldn’t be something to cause anxiety. There are opportunities to create everywhere. It’s just a matter of making the most of the opportunity and enjoying it for what it is. For me, it is supposed to be an escape. IMG_0922.jpg

Why should there be any pressure in that?

A year on my street … busted.

May 8, 2018.jpgI was fixing a pot of coffee this morning, running through the things I might try to accomplish on my day off when I realized I had forgotten to do one of my simple daily creative task yesterday. Every day since Christmas Eve, I have stopped in the middle of the street in front of my apartment and snapped a picture of my neighborhood.

Every day, until yesterday.

I don’t know what happened yesterday to make me forget to take that simple photo. My mind was still a little bit in a fog because Monday was a horse shit day which included blowing out a tire on the way to work, but I felt like I was kind of past it on Tuesday. I woke up in the morning and went through my normal routine. I journaled, I did my physical therapy and I ran 4 miles. After my run, I had some lunch, relaxed for a bit, then headed into the office for my shift.

I never thought about taking that picture. It never crossed my mind.

This project is kind of silly, but it is something I started hoping to make creativity part of my routine. Now, taking the same picture every day isn’t really that creative, but it definitely became part of my routine. It rarely was something I even thought about. When I walked to my car to head to work or to the gym, I would stop, pull out my phone and take that picture. A couple times I forgot about taking that photo until late at night, maybe after work, but for 144 days I took that photo.

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I rushed outside just before midnight on March 16, when I remembered I forgot to take this photo. 

Until yesterday.

When I first realized I didn’t take this photo yesterday I was pretty disappointed. I was beating myself up a little bit for failing the most simple creative project I could think of. Then I just said, “Whatever. I missed a day. That becomes a part of the story.” Just like those blurry iPhone photos snapped in the dark, and those photos from a weird angle because someone was hanging around the street and I didn’t want them wondering what the hell I was doing standing in the middle of the street taking photos with my phone, that “I FORGOT” image is a part of this story. I’m human, I forgot one day. It doesn’t ruin the project, it’s just another page … err, picture … in the tale.

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I didn’t forget today.

I got back on track today, snapping the photo with my DSLR as I headed out to run errands. I’m back on track after missing a day, so that’s OK.

Hopefully, when this is all done, I’ll have a good story to tell.

Still going, sort of

94. April 5

365 photo project: Day 94. My priority right now is running.

This blog/website was supposed to kick start my creativity. It hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped, but I haven’t completely failed. Basically, other than work and the occasional blog post, creativity has been photography. And that has been a battle of fits and starts.

Lately, other things have demanded my attention. For one, running, which I’m starting to do on a more regular basis. Then there’s work and family and friends. It’s all good, so I’m not going to fret that I’m not necessarily being as creative as I want.

I have managed to maintain my 365 photo project, though that has totally taken a backseat to everything lately. Most of my photos this week have been quick shots taken on my iPhone for some lame social media post or another. Still, I’m 94 days into this latest project. The last time I tried, in 2016, I made it 128 days. Like this time, there are some good photos and some bad photos. I think I’ve done a better job this time around, but still, sometimes I’ve been lazy about it.

Hopefully, I’ll keep this going and I’ll continue to step out of my comfort zone. That’s the whole point of this, after all.

85. March 27, 2018

365 photo project Day 85. Reading IT has also taken a lot of my time. 

Street photography: Take 1

IMG_0433.jpgWhen I’m looking for motivation and consuming content, rather than creating it, I spend a lot of time searching the internet for street photography. I have watched countless videos where photographers give a point of view look at how they shoot street. My google search history is full of terms like, “Portland, Maine & street photography.”

The thing I haven’t done is go out make some street photography.

A few times I’ve left the house with the intention of walking the streets of Portland to shoot and back out because I feel self conscious about walking around the city taking pictures. I’m worried about people looking at the guy with the camera, wondering why he is taking pictures and he better not be taking pictures of me. Social anxiety and fear hold me back a lot, I’m working on it with varying degrees of success.

I usually head out to take photos of landscapes or sunsets or cityscapes. I did spend a little time a couple months ago shooting in Portland, but that was more of a night photography trip than it was a street photography trip.

IMG_0411.jpgToday, I forced myself out to take some street photos. I wasn’t out there long, maybe 30 minutes, and I felt really self conscious the entire time. But I did get a few photos and I learned a few things along the way. Mostly I learned to pay more attention to my composition, especially the lines in the photos, and not to rush so much.

Hopefully, today will also be a motivator to get out and shoot my street. Other than sports, I think street photography is my favorite type of photography. It’s such a great way to tell the story of a city and the people in that city. And more than anything, my goal in creativity is to tell stories.

I don’t know that I told any stories today, but hopefully it was just a start. Today was about getting out the door to shoot and to try to learn a little bit. In that regard, I think it was a success.

Staycation photos

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365 photo project: Day 78. The Portland skyline from Bug Light Park.

When work slows down after a busy season, everyone tries to take a little time off. When work slowed down just in time for my birthday, I was ready for a little time off.

I didn’t make any plans for this vacation, a nice stretch of nine days off, I just wanted to have some time to take it easy, and maybe catch up with family and friends. In that sense, vacation has been a success.

I also made a point to try to get out of the house with my camera and shoot some photos. I’ve met that goal with varying degrees of success. At least twice this week I have hopped in the car with the express purpose of taking pictures.

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Hadlock Field, the day after a snowstorm, and Opening Day is closing in fast. 

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My newphew in front of the dope graffiti at The Great Lost Bear. 

At the start of my time off, I took a trip to Hadlock Field and Loring Memorial Park to shoot the stadium and the sunset. Sunday, I took my camera to lunch with my family and snapped a couple shots, and Tuesday I went on a lighthouse tour. Well, I only went to two lighthouses – Portland Head Light and Bug Light Park.

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Portland Head Light. I should have stuck around for the sunset. 

Turns out, the sunset turned the Portland skyline this amazing red, orange, blue mix. I spent 30-45 minutes, if not an hour, trying to capture it. I can’t wait to go back, when I’m better prepared (I need a tripod and a longer lens to start) and try to capture it again.

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Bug Light Park and the Portland skyline. It was pretty epic. 

For the most part, this vacation has been a success. I’ve had some fun and created some images I’m happy with. I think I’ve learned a few things as well, which is really the most important thing about this “create every day” journey.