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Photography Question 
Susan Patton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/1/2004
 

Frustration...


I am totally frustrated. It seems I'm getting worse instead of improving. I was up and out for sunrise this morning, new location, and lots of enthusiasm. Well to start with sunrise was a bust, but, all of my shots were flat, underexposed, and fuzzy. At one point a beautiful blue heron landed beside me..early morning light, beautiful creature. I thought I had salvaged my morning, but when I got home. You guessed it flat and underexposed. The last couple of months this seems to be the scenario. Someone please tell me it is typical to go through a dry spell!! I've been at this for several years now but it seems I took better shots 3 or 4 years ago. I use a tripod, I've tried matrix metering & spot metering. Most of the time I'm on manual but have even let the camera take control because I've been doing so poorly. Sigh...thanks for letting me vent. I guess tomorrow is another day.


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10/8/2005 10:53:59 AM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  Toga party!!.....:-)

Bob


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10/8/2005 11:44:41 AM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  bob is so right!
just figure out what you did wrong and you'll get it right.hopefully?
and yeah I think we all have those days.
sam


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10/8/2005 12:25:53 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  Actually, I was moping around the house this morning feeling kinda like Susan...and when I got on the computer to check BP, there were my feelings..not really the flat/fuzzy feeling, but the "I've lost my groove" feeling.....
I'm a bit too old for a toga party, but I can still handle a road trip....so I think I'll be off way early tomorrow morning to "the mountain" as I call it, Mt Rainier...get there before the sun comes up, or, at least, before the rain gets brighter..:-)...and see what I can shoot.


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10/8/2005 2:14:46 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I can vividly remember the days when everything was photogenic. All exposures were right on, every focus was tack-sharp, and each composition was more perfectly framed than the one before it. Then unfortunately, I would wake up, brush my teeth and get ready to start my day in the real world.

The point is, that we've all been there...done that.
The thing to remember is that we work with what we have and we learn from what we have done. If it happens to work out to our advantage, we relish the moment.
...And if it doesn't,...there's always tomorrow.


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10/8/2005 3:36:13 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I don't know how typical it is to go through a "dry spell" but I'm definitely in one. I went out yesterday and took around 250 photos. I probably only kept maybe a dozen, and none of those were what I consider contest worthy.


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10/8/2005 3:38:43 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Well, when anyone is going thru a slump, in baseball or photography, the way to get back out is to return to the basics.

If exposure is your only problem, then take some test shots to see whether it's you or your camera. Cameras do go out of adjustment (rarely). Maybe you need new (or recharged) batteries.

If you're shooting digital, check your histograms. Bracket exposures. It's like catching the ball with two hands to keep from dropping it... sure, it's cooler to take one photo (or use one hand) but it's better to get the ball (or the picture) than to be cool.

And finally, stuff happens. In 100 years we'll all be dead and the stuff we take seriously now won't even matter then. The only way to be really good at something is to relax while you're doing it so you can get into the zone where you don't think, you just do, and the results are great.


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10/8/2005 5:11:08 PM

 
Susan Patton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/1/2004
  Thanks to all of you for your encouragment. Bob, I decided to get the ole toga out of moth balls and forget about it. But of course I couldn't so I went to plan B (great advice John)and got Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" out of moth balls. I went to the beach tonight, sunset was a bust and I didn't get any keepers. BUT, they weren't underexposed and flat. (Well maybe a little flat but the light was lousy!!)
Now, where did I put that toga.


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10/8/2005 5:30:59 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  "The only way to be really good at something is to relax while you're doing it"
That's the part I keep forgetting.......


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10/8/2005 7:07:52 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Ahhhh..burnout..Been there; done that. :)
Fear not, nor let your heart be troubled.
With the advent of digital (film free) cameras came a new problem. Shooting til our fingers hurt! LOL..and with this grew yet another problem....Laziness..which sprouted yet another..Loss of creativity.
Remember the day when we shot film? God forbid we crank off 250 shots in a day using film! So; we thought long and hard about each shot..looked at it from every angle etc...
Now; we click that shutter release like there's no tomorrow and HOPE we get one good shot out of a million..and even if we don't, well hell; Adobe will save me, won't it? LOL

Susan, my best advice is to put the camera away for a short time. As you walk around each day, view your surroundings with a rectangular eye..vertical or horizontal will work. :)
Man-O-Man!..w/o a camera; yet seeking and finding a photo opportunity will frustrate you beyond belief!
Ever notice when you DON'T have your camera that the best photo ops present themselves? Oh how cruel. :)
OK..after you recover from the withdrawl symptoms, constrain yourself to your own backyard. "Seek out new life, new civilizaions and boldly go where no man has gone before." There is beauty in all, no matter where..one just has to see it. We need not travel the earth seeking "THE SHOT!"
The camera only captures a small portion of what our eyes see. It will not transmit smell or sound. Look for a shot that we can see, smell, and hear.
Be patient..Tell yourself, "Today I promise I will only click the shutter 10 times." Beleive me..If you adhere to this, you will find yourself taking great care with each shot.
Boredom: man..How many ways can we shoot the same pic? Thousands!

You're having a little burnout..this is not unusual..I think we all go thru it..I did..and I probably will again..when I do, I just find something else to do for a while.
The creativity and adherance to the technical will return.
No one wakes up in the morning and says "Today I will produce an award winning photo"
Photography does NOT come from the lens, or the camera or the lighting..it is born from the inner recesses of your mind and soul..then transmitted in a flash to your eye and finally to that momentary click when you capture it for eternity.
..and in the end you only need please one person..YOU!

YOu will survive it..your creative and technical skills WILL return.
In the interim, keep that camera strap snug, your glass clean and your light pure.

Happy shooting,

Pete


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10/8/2005 8:01:34 PM

 
Susan Patton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/1/2004
  Pete, you must have a pshchology degree. I think you have hit the nail on the head. The beauty of digital is greater freedom for creativity without the worry of the expense of film & processing. But I do click away knowing the shots are boring and lifeless. And maybe the reality is that my photographs are merely reflecting my lack of inspiration. I live on a small Island. Yes it's beautiful, but how many ways can you shoot that same stretch of beach? And that is my attitude when I walk out the door.

You know as I look back over the last few weeks the last time I got something I was happy with was during a middle school soccer game. (I work in a park and was killing some time at the end of the day.) I noticed a young man in the game that I had recently met through a handbell choir. Suddenly I had a purpose, it wasn't random shooting. The photos turned out great and the smile on his face when I gave them to him was priceless.

So maybe I do need to take a short break, review technique, and reflect on why I do this. What makes ME smile when I look in the view finder. Maybe then I'll get my groove back. Now if I can only keep my hands off of that camera!!

Thanks again for your all of your encouragment.



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10/9/2005 4:36:01 AM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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Thanks, Pete!! Makes alot of sense.
I was at my mountain today trying to find myself...taking the same stuff..got home and wasn't very happy...but I found a growling gnome in the top left corner of this pic I took...maybe I'll start looking for odd stuff....


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10/9/2005 5:33:54 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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I signed in first! I swear I did!!


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10/9/2005 5:35:13 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Bob...

Very nice gallery.


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10/9/2005 7:09:16 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  Thanks...:-)
I'll try to leave the camera at home for a bit, too. Altho I signed up for another BP class starting in November..Brenda Tharp's macro short class.....


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10/9/2005 7:24:09 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Sharon D

I noticed you said you went out and shot 250 pics. That's a LOT of pics to be taking, especially in one day. And I'm sure you weren't shooting for 16 hours so I'm guessing maybe 4. Let's say that's true, that's 62.5 pics an hour and 1 pic a minute. Personally I would recommend to anyone (not just you) to slow down. a hellalot. no offense but people get thier digis and the just shoot and shoot and shoot and sometimes lose focus (haha no pun intended) on settling down and composing. A while back Donna Kilcher and I went out on a shoot at the Rockafeller Hunting Grounds and I took 2 rolls of Ilford Pan F 50. I rated at ISO 25 to not underexpose. I only went through 1 and a half rolls. I usually average 1-2 pics I "kinda" like out of a 36 roll. That day I got probably 15 shots I liked. What did I do, I slowed down and thought about each and every shot. I wrote down every setting. I know you don't need to do that with EXIF data and all that junk but my point to everyone is drop your ISO, slow down, and completely think about EVERY aspect of EVERY shot. This should bring you out of a dry spell, or at least get your brain up and moving! And Sharon D I'm not personally attacking you, I just used that as an example. And you didn't say what you were shooting, could've been birds or sports or somethign that you needed to shoot that fast so please don't take any offense to this, I just just giving a personal testimony.


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10/10/2005 7:58:14 AM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  At the mountain yesterday I took 130 pics in 4 hours...you do the math...:-)
I think a part of my overshooting problem is that I don't get alot of time off and when I do get out I way overdo it hoping for something good to pop up when I get home...:-(...instead of taking good shots home with me...did that make sense?


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10/10/2005 8:19:11 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  I'm not saying it's bad to take hundreds of pictures I'm just saying that last time I went shooting I did slow down and got a lot more good pics than just running around shooting like normal. That's all. No disrespect.


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10/10/2005 10:14:31 AM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  No disrepect taken......I was only sharing my thots about why I've been snapping and hoping lately...:-)

Bob


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10/10/2005 10:47:51 AM

 
Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
  OMGOSH!!! I cant believe this thread! I to am dancing on the edge of burnout and about to fall in head first!! I work in a photolab so everyday a customer is screaming at me or cussing me because they use a OTUC, then put a finger in front of the lens and act like its my fult!when I try to explain you cant see your finger in front of the lens because your looking through a viewfinder, they tell me my machines must be messed up, then on my only day off I try to do my own photography only to realize im so stressed and wound up so tight I cant even relax enough to enjoy it ,its no wonder I cant quit smoking! will try harder ,will relax, will try harder, will relax..... sorry guys thanks for letting me vent too :)


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10/10/2005 11:18:40 PM

 
Susan Patton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/1/2004
  Welcome to the club Brenda. There has been some great advice here, including Toga Party :) Me, I'm taking a break (my Mom's visiting for two weeks so it's the perfect time)and then I'm not going to press the shutter unless I'm happy with what I'm seeing. Less is more can't be all bad. Good luck.


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10/11/2005 3:35:44 AM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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Welcome, Brenda!
I got home from work this afternoon, got dinner ready to put in the oven before my wife got home from work....the sun was shining, so I grabbed the camera (I know, I said I would not touch it for a couple days), and went out in the yard to see what I could see and I had plenty of time before I had to put the dinner in ....Well, it's a good thing my wife called to say that she'd be late, because I'd been in the yard longer than I thot and dinner is now 45 minutes late.....:-(
Bob


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10/11/2005 6:00:02 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  very nice bob.it is out there isn't it.
right now i'm watching a spider the size of a pin head weaving a web on the lamp on my computer table.the whole web is only the size of a nickle.
speaking of dinner.what will it have?we'll see,sam


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10/11/2005 8:26:58 PM

 
Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
  thanks for the warm welcome :) Bob I love those maple leaf shots!!Sam I cant wait to see the spider although my first reaction to seeing one is to get the broom. Susan I hope you have a great time visiting w/ your mom ,nothing like family to put you back in the right frame of mind.


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10/11/2005 10:53:23 PM

 
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