I think these photos of the flowers out front of my apartment are proof. And I felt the need to post something because I haven’t posted anything in a while and I need a creative spark. Maybe spring will be just that.
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.
When 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.
Today, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When I interviewed for my first journalism job after I graduated from college, this spot was the home of a newspaper that was first published in 1825. Now, 20 years after my first full-time job in the business, it is home to a bank, a Target, a Five Guys and all kinds of other bullshit.
Also, I need to work harder on my 365 photo project and my “create every day project.” Work and life has gotten into the way, but I need to do better than this.
I haven’t really set aside much time lately to be creative. Work has been busy (it’s also creative), I’m trying to get back into running shape, and I’ve been lacking motivation a little bit. That’s too bad, since the purpose of this blog and this creative goal was to help keep me motivated but that’s just the way it is right now.
But instead of just blowing this off because I’m lacking the motivation to set aside time to be creative every day, I’m finding bits of time here and there to create. I bring my phone on a run so I can snap photos if I see something I want to capture, which is also helping me slow down on my runs, not go too hard or two fast in order to hopefully stay healthy. I bring my camera with me to work and snaps some photos of the building and my surroundings. I take time in the morning while eating breakfast to write in my journal. I’ll spend a few minutes editing photos before I go to bed.
I’m going on vacation next week. My plan is to take it easy and rest, but also to carve out some time for creativity.
Hopefully that will spark me back into my creative routines.
Driving around town, doing errands this afternoon, I really wanted to go for a run. I’m slowly working my way back after some arthritis-induced inflammation in my knees put me on the shelf for a few months, and I’m still dealing with some aches and pains. My knees are so, so much better than they were in October, thanks to a lot of physical therapy and cortisone, but the last couple of days I’ve been a little achey.
So I decided it wasn’t a good idea to run today, which would have been three days in a row. I haven’t run three days in a row since the end of September, so I need to cut myself some slack.
Still, I wanted to make use of the not quite spring weather, so I grabbed my camera and drove to the Back Cove. Last night, jogging with my running buddies, I saw a few spots I thought would make for awesome photos, so I went back there tonight.
And I made a rookie mistake.
Actually, I made two.
The first was I didn’t plan well enough. The sun was starting to set when I got out of the car at Payson Park, which was great, but I wanted to shoot the interstate from the overpass on Washington Ave., with the sunset, so I could get some good light trails and I was about an hour too early.
I knew that when I got out of the car, so I tried to kill time and make as many photos as possible. I took shots of the setting sun over the Back Cove from the path that surrounds it, with as many possible foreground subjects as I could find. I also took shots from Tukey’s Bridge, including that awesome painting in the picture to start this post.
That, however, led to my second mistake. The costly one.
Shooting so many pictures drained my camera battery. And since I don’t shoot nearly as much as I would like, I don’t charge it that often. And, you guessed it, as soon as the sun really set and the sky started to get dark enough to get those light trails, my battery died.
It wasn’t a total bust. I captured a few photos I like and I found a couple of spots that are definitely worth trying to shoot again. So, regardless of my carelessness, today was a win.