Buying my way out of a slump

At the end of the Single In April, I found myself in a photography slump. For the first time I can think of. My thoughts are that several factors contributed. For one, I rearranged my whole kit with zooms to have the flexibility for starting in home portraits and head shots. With said kit also still being able to shoot my friends bands. Not long after the lock downs/shutdowns got started. Along with quarantines. So all of that was out. And still out for some time. I was doing some shooting around the house and of the family like normal. Then rolled into the SiA. By the end of that I was feeling bored. Zooms are great lenses, and serious workhorse tools. But something just wasn't clicking and I have barely touched a camera.

Ultimately I have decided to sell off most of my kit and have a kind of do over. One of the fun ways out of a rut is gear whoring, right? Everything but one X-T2 is going or gone. I have a X-E3 coming from Steve. And will pick up a 23mm f2 from my dad. I will just shoot with that for a bit and go from there.

I would love to hear what other people do to get out of a rut. Switching gear is the only thing I could think of.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
I would love to hear what other people do to get out of a rut. Switching gear is the only thing I could think of.
I have tried the same tactic many times. It works for a while. I know you live in a much larger metro area than I, so traveling to the boonies is probably not an option, but I'm most energized by trying different things or going on day trips to different places.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
I'm not much help - because photography basically is my *therapy* (the solution, not the issue ...). But I know what you're talking about - from playing music; something I love to do but sometimes find myself unable to enjoy and desire. I found out something interesting: Just *doing* it (playing, in my case) helps - not fighting with it, just doing it. No thinking, no assessing, just doing it.

I found this quite enlightening:


Zack Arias is a very authentic guy; part 2 is worth it, too ...

M.
 
I have tried the same tactic many times. It works for a while. I know you live in a much larger metro area than I, so traveling to the boonies is probably not an option, but I'm most energized by trying different things or going on day trips to different places.
We used to hop in my Jeep and spend a day wandering rural areas looking for abandoned stuff and old cemeteries. I may need to get back into that.
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Real Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Bobby, my day job is being a writer - a fiction writer - and occasionally writers get into serious ruts.
I've had a number of different ways to deal with it or them.

But the one thing that has been better for me than almost anything else....has been allowing myself to try doing things 'the wrong way' - or trying to look at something (a problem, a project, a story, whatever) in a way that didn't seem 'right' or 'natural' to me. A different way to say it is --- in my ruts, it helps me to try things in a way that is opposite to what I would normally do.

I'm afraid all of the above is both vague and maybe too generalistic - but it's the closest I can come, when thinking about your question.

And by the way photographically speaking, it sounds like a good idea to me, what you are doing. I know I have the opposite problem: I've shot mostly with primes and in the past few years, the time I have allowed myself to use certain zooms...have almost been....liberating.

I also think it's not a finite journey - but rather a process. If that makes any sense.
 
Some great advice being given. I really appreciate it. For a very long time, I've had a camera at my side, even while at home. Always grabbing shots. The last few weeks, its barely been off of the shelf where I keep my photo gear.

Something else that just occurred to me while re reading everyone's replies. Is that I've had some kind of shoot coming up for me for a long time. Something I looked forward to, and to prepare for. Now there is literally nothing. And nothing for the foreseeable future.
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
In my experience, it’s not that you don’t think when using zooms but you think less than you would with a prime and eventually this was reflected in my images. From a gear perspective, my experience was to go back in time and purchase older equipment but even then it’s clear when looking back over my images that my best images have been when 98% of my time is spent with one camera’ not mixing it up between equipment. For the best start to getting out of a rut - shoot manually. You’ll probably produce less images but they’ll be better, and appreciated too.
 
One more thing I realized while looking at photos from the last couple of years this evening. The last few times I sold my primes to get a 16-55 for a specific need. Whatever that was fell through each time. One was trying to get back into major events, one was trying to get back into doing behind the scenes work, and this last one I mentioned in the original post.
 
At the end of the Single In April, I found myself in a photography slump. For the first time I can think of. My thoughts are that several factors contributed. For one, I rearranged my whole kit with zooms to have the flexibility for starting in home portraits and head shots. With said kit also still being able to shoot my friends bands. Not long after the lock downs/shutdowns got started. Along with quarantines. So all of that was out. And still out for some time. I was doing some shooting around the house and of the family like normal. Then rolled into the SiA. By the end of that I was feeling bored. Zooms are great lenses, and serious workhorse tools. But something just wasn't clicking and I have barely touched a camera.

Ultimately I have decided to sell off most of my kit and have a kind of do over. One of the fun ways out of a rut is gear whoring, right? Everything but one X-T2 is going or gone. I have a X-E3 coming from Steve. And will pick up a 23mm f2 from my dad. I will just shoot with that for a bit and go from there.

I would love to hear what other people do to get out of a rut. Switching gear is the only thing I could think of.


If that's what gets you out of your slump and you have the money to indulge in it, by all means do it. Half the fun is putting that shopping list together. Sometimes I 'shop' around on the internet and compile a wishlist of gear just for the hell of it, even though I don't have the money to spend.
 

gryphon1911

All-Pro
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Real Name
Andrew
Buying more or different gear is usually a distraction from the actual problem of the rut or creative block. It gives you something different to do for while as you are now concentrating on the new gear.

as you’ve realized , the issue is not the gear, but the change in life. Gigs have dried up. My business is currently at a standstill.

I’vebeen through this several times. I’ve tried putting the gear up for several weeks or months and seeing if that helps. It sometimes does. I focus my attention on something else for a while and see if that sparks a new creative direction.
Other times, I go and investigate and cover a different subject that I usually do not cover or is outside my normal wheelhouse.

I also discovered that starting my news blog keeps things fresh as there is always something to cover there. From local interested to doing interviews or exposes on people- all these things can help keep the mind going.

it’s rarely about the gear and more aboutkeeping the mind active and ideas fresh. Even if you have a ton of work or things to shoot, if they are the same and monotonous - your mind will start to tire of it and that can cause things to go stale too.

nutshell version:
Gear is a short term workaround
Find something to shoot outside the normal
Learn to shoot something new and use those skills to shoot the normal subjects in a new and fresh way
 

sh0wtime

Veteran
Location
Surrey/Hants border UK
Real Name
Adam.
i lost my mojo bigtime a couple or 3 years back. Had a few things going on & photography just fell by the wayside.
One of the seldom considered fundamentals of photography is that you need something decent to point your camera at in the first place.
Then you need good light. good light & good framing can make something mundane into something interesting.
The light & the framing is your part, you choose when to go & how to shoot it.

For me going on a walk everyday with a resurrected old camera has made me start to "See" at things again, it's easy to look at things but after a few shots you will start Seeing things again.
Yes i'll be glad when we get a bit more normality again & events are rescheduled, be looking forward to getting out there with full kit but for now Random strolls with vintage or resurrected cameras is keeping me interested.

All the best, hope you are feeling it again soon :thumbsup:
 
If that's what gets you out of your slump and you have the money to indulge in it, by all means do it. Half the fun is putting that shopping list together. Sometimes I 'shop' around on the internet and compile a wishlist of gear just for the hell of it, even though I don't have the money to spend.
In my case. The money comes from learning to gear whore and flip gear when I need to. Plus learning how to hunt for bargains. This time I was able to sell the 16-55 for enough to get a used X-E3 and 23mm f2. It’s not often being a whore is a good thing.


it’s rarely about the gear and more about
keeping the mind active and ideas fresh.

Oh i tried buying my way out as well.
I bought a 200mm f/2 that sat unused for nearly 2 years :doh: :whistling:
In this one case, I think the gear came into play because I had sold the gear I enjoyed to pay for the tool I needed for the job I was going to do. When that job disappeared, I got bored with what I had to shoot with. While that is a small part of it as you say. Hopefully a switch will jump start the creative mojo.
 
Buying more or different gear is usually a distraction from the actual problem of the rut or creative block.

I see it differently. After years of photographing solely with a single prime 50mm lens, I took the plunge and bought that Horizon Perfekt panorama, a film camera no less. I discovered I thoroughly enjoyed it, which led me to purchasing the cheapest fisheye lens to experiment on my usual digital camera. It's been fantasic, for the first time I am able to move away from 50mm shallow depth of field shots.

49930133982_5c6b2710e2_h.jpg


If you're a musician and you're a standard 4 string Fender P Bass player feeling the urge to expand your music, try a 6 string Warwick Thumb bass with that beautiful bubinga wood body. It will change the way you play, it will change your sound. It might even inspire yoy to get into genres of music you've never played before, especially with those two extra strings.

If you're a longboard skateboarder, buy that longboard surfboard you've had your eye on, get out to the ocean and ride those waves. It's kind of the same but also a wildly different experience.

If you're a mountain biker who is bored of your usual mountain trail that you've crashed through a thousand times before, buy that fancy road bike and hit that wide open country road for a change in scenery.

Jumping on new gear can turn your world upside down in unexpected (and amazing) ways.
 

gryphon1911

All-Pro
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Real Name
Andrew
I don't necessarily agree that the gear is what solved the problem. You are a musician, making music. Sometimes you need something different to get that sound you are after. A different amp, a different set of tubes for an amp or what not.

Some of your examples echo what I was saying, which is doing something different, but similar to spark the creativity.
 

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