Sunday, September 6, 2009

Year 5 Day 5 - Motivation

(posted a day late, I think I will double post today)

I'm pretty motivated.

I can't say where it came from, just sort of fell in to it. I was taking mostly crappy photos, posting mostly crappy photos, and then it might happen, an accident, I'd post a decent one and get some encouraging feedback on flickr.

People I didn't even really know liked an image, and told me such. That probably explains the spark that lit the fire. But it is not what has kept me at it for a few years. Getting that external criticism was big though. Every image with views but no favs or comments, that says as much as the one with comments.

Read on for more.

So, that became a bit of a feedback loop - shoot, edit, post, get a response, and then want to shoot more.

But just having folks say "nice shot" isn't what it was about. It became more than that for me.

Photography wound up replacing another obsession I had - online pc video games. video games shared some qualities with photography- you could put in more time, get better, there was a bit of a community around the game(s)- I actually was in a gamer-clan for a while. But it wasn't anything I would call productive. It was a fun, yet time wasting thing for me.

Since I've been neck deep in photography the games haven't interested me much. I've fired them up a few times, and it was fun, but I no longer have a desire to stay up until 2am on a work night. Now I want to get up at 3 or 4am on a weekend so I can travel for sunrise somewhere.

The Motivation to do that is just there. And it is there almost all the time. During the work-week I'm watching the weather reports, forecasts, and thinking about my plans.

Photography is usually reserved for good weather, in my mind anyway, you know - go out somewhere and enjoy the day, see cool things, and try to capture some nice images.

But this year I have tried to embrace all weather - bad weather might just mean different images.

Tree Swallow in the Rain

I also took a day off of work and drove through some (light actually) snow to get to Delaware. I wanted to see foxes in the snow, and it was cool, I did. The refuge was mostly empty. It was a weekday and I almost had the place to myself.

Oh, To Be Free...

I was dreaming that I might see the mating foxes from last year again this year, but in the snow. I saw the female, ms. droopy ear, but I didn't see mr. fox or any mating. It was so worth it, don't get me wrong.

Fox In The Snow

It is days like these that keep me going. I used some previous experiences (location knowledge) to plan a trip, in spite of, and even because of some bad weather, and managed to produce some (to me at least) pleasing images.

Because there still is a tie to flickr, in the motivation, one of the things I try to do is limit my posting to one a day usually, and to not always feel a need to post something that is super fresh. I like to let my images age a little, and see what still catches my eye.

Keep some dry powder
If I go somewhere and see multiple cool things, and manage some nice shots of many of those things, I've learned to not race to edit and then post them. I might do quick edits on lots of them, and even post something right away, but I don't post a lot of them. This helps to not take multiple impactful images and have them compete with each other and lessen their overall impact.

Doing this over time helps to build a library of good images that are ready to be posted any time the mood strikes. And that can lead to a more even-keeled approach to sharing images...

One last things - For me it's not a job, so I take the day off if the motivation isn't there
Most weekend days I am shooting somewhere, both days, and many times EARLY in the day. But when the motivation isn't there I don't worry about it. I will only push it so far.

If I need to sleep in, if I snooze the alarm a couple times, I give up. This only happens a handful of times a year. I may salvage the day and do something else later in the day that's closer to home, but normally my photography-day begins well before sunrise... And if it isn't working then, I don't force it.



MRNot said...

I have thought a bit about trying to refrain from posting EVERYTHING I get that seems worthy immediately. I have come to the conclusion that I should stop doing that. So far, I've had trouble convincing myself. Gonna have to work on that self-discipline thing..