Daily Inspiration #431 by Kevin Ng

Hi Steve,

I’ve been a reader of your site for a couple of years now and I very much appreciate the non-technical approach and practical manner in which you write your blog. It’s rather refreshing and certainly makes me want to check in everyday to see what you have to say…..so please keep it up!

Anyways, one of the reasons I’m writing this is to reflect on my rather long and continuing, albeit to a lesser degree today, period of “photographer’s block”. As it stands today, I’ve been photographically uninspired for over a year. Like others, I have the usual excuses – work, kids, family commitments and just life in general. Initially, (and at the time, with significant hope) I thought it was just a temporary thing. And so I followed in the footsteps of other photographers and simply put my camera aside. Well, several months passed and one word described how I continued to feel – “Nothing”. During my self-imposed shutter abstinence, I looked at various photography sites, read various blogs, magazines and books and did whatever I thought could stimulate the “photographic juices” – but as I already said…..”Nothing”.

As more months of “nothing” passed, desperation set in and so instead of taking a relaxed approach to “recovering inspiration”, I did the opposite. I forced myself to photograph….went for photo walks, setup shots to copy photos of those I liked and took my camera everywhere, even when I was inside the house! So did it work?….nope, still “nothing”. I found that I was beyond desperate at this point and simply resigned to the fact that I would never have the “creative juices” that I once had (or that I thought I had).

Very recently, my family and I went to Paris and London. While I was excited about the trip I was reticent about the photo opportunities that this trip could bring. Nevertheless, I packed up my Leica and 3 lenses (21mm, 35mm and 50mm) and set out to enjoy the trip, trying hard to ignore the impending failure to capture moments that were sure to present themselves but would be “nothing” to me. Well, as it turned out, it was not as big a failure as I thought it might be. A little bit of the juices came back, but certainly not to the degree I would like.

You might ask, “exactly what sort of inspiration submission is this supposed to be?” Well, I’m hoping that you’ll publish this so that you and your readers might help me recover my inspiration by sharing yours and their experiences with those periods of “nothing”.

Attached are a couple of pictures I took during my trip and I’d love to hear people’s thoughts. One thing I would say though is that my spirits are definitely higher as I just received a letter telling me that one of my pictures (not from this trip) has been included in the finalist group of a photo contest. While I’m certainly surprised and pleased, I’d be much more pleased if I didn’t still feel so close to the “nothing”…..but maybe it might happen sooner rather than later.

Best regards








  1. Answering to Steve and kevin… I mean, probably I’m a lover of the traditional black and white processing, I started with Photography (digital of course) just 4 years ago, after one year and a half I became a Leica fan, and men… M8, M9, even a MM but nothing is equal like Tri X or Neopan or HP5.. but if You use the digital files properly, You can get a gorgeus Monochrom image, and Leica files are properly for that.

    But the files in this thread seems to be not HDR, but so artificial. Ok for me if this is the way You are looking for.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not envious or something, but think a lot of us are behind a digital file looking as a black and white negative, with such a dynamic range and grey scale.

    I’m a bad photographer and better buyer and seller by the way! But at least I’ve could tried almost every single camera and leica lens.

    One day I will try to write a daily inspiration as good as yours.

    Take care dear Kevin and Steve.

  2. put your camera away and take pictures with your phone, a disposable or a polaroid. you’ll start seeing lots of little visual haikus everywhere you look. sometimes a rangefinder can be really hard if you don’t know what your looking for. It looks like you are shooting mainly wide open or at large apertures. instead of taking pictures to see what your lens can do take pictures of the things that YOU are interested in. If If that’s your family then great. don’t fetishize the Leica!

  3. I guess that is how HCB felt about photography towards the end of his career. He switched to painting. Sometimes street photography seems to be in a stand still. People tend to shoot similar images, just the people are different. Maybe we follow too much an imagery and style that we have seen before for too long. I think experimenting with new directions could stimulate. Sometimes new ideas come out of mistakes.

  4. I believe that this dryness of inspiration most often comes when you want to shoot too many different styles of photography : at some point, when you get some experience, you have got to make a choice and stick to it.

    Indeed, I strongly think that you cannot be into landscapes AND into studio portraits AND into street photography etc… It is simply too difficult to be good in all those fields, and you end up being good at nothing…

    This choice is not easy to make, and it has to be a very personal one. You have to ask yourself what kind of photography is, in your opinion, worth spending hours trying to get shots that you’ll be proud of. For instance, in my case, it is only after a few years that I totally dedicated myself to street photography and admitted to myself that I was mostly bored by other styles, like wildlife, landscapes, etc…

    Once you have chosen the kind of photography which is your thing, you just have to try to get better at it and try to find your own style. For instance, if you like street photography, you can try to improve by getting always closer to your subject, find new angles, etc…

    Once your mindset is focused on what you want to achieve, inspiration comes much more easily.

    At least, this is my experience!




  5. Kevin,

    I’ve made my living behind a lens for the last 44 years. There have been many times when I’ve just gone dry, especially when shooting catalogs. Often the last thing I’d want to do is pick up a camera on a weekend. Sure, there was always the obligatory wedding or family event, shots that just needed to be taken. Often those dry spells went on for years.

    I fixed one by taking my Linhof in the field to shoot landscape nudes. (Until my wife at the time stopped being understanding.) Another time I bought an 8×10 camera and started making Platinum prints. Then there was my infrared film period. And even a blue period where I made Cyanotypes. Anything to mix things up.

    Right now, I’ve dropped all of my photography services from my studio except for art repro, and just hike somewhere most weekends with my M9 in search of the next inspiration. I have my next few projects in mind and try not to resent time spent in the studio. My mindset now is 4×5 = work; M9 = MY personal work = fun = art.

    • Yes going dry… I remember a professional photographer and lecture at photographic college complaining about once again the advertising agency and client wanted their lingerie fashion shoot in th Algarve in Febrary because it was cheap to travel and stay there and you had winter sun: the trouble was there was not always sun ad if there was it was very low, the temperature was low and the models were freezing cold, the sand was cold, the sea was the tong colour … It was a continual recurrent nightmare each year. And you had to produce something different from last year…

  6. Hi Kevin

    I have been reading Steve Huffs site since it started and enjoy it for its photography and honesty, I was reading your photographers block story and having struggled through it myself recently I appreciate your pain and frustrations.
    For me I found that the business of a family 3 daughters a wife two businesses and friends in need just ground down my spark, I am a photographer and love my job immensely but when I found myself cruising and not pushing nor being creative but frustrated and not enjoying my work I really wanted to stop and do something else.
    I agree with everyone’s thought on Steve’s site re starting a project, but my thought would be keep it simple achievable not too complex, maybe 20 pictures. Set a deadline do it and move on to another and so on, don’t worry about perfection, but learn from each little set of work you do. As to subject whatever lights your fire, even if it’s just a little one to start, fire or spark that is, but don’t get all epic on a project to start with though! I would print small and spiral bind the work, write notes to be bound in, about what you were doing what happened about the images and about the things you witnessed with all your senses that you didn’t manage to photograph…. Having a small library of little journals you can look back on is a great way to remember how far you have come and a way of unpacking where you want to go and what to learn.
    I loved getting up early so I dragged myself out of bed at 3 and 4 am and set to work and just enjoyed the quiet the night becoming day, the stars falling into the dawn and I took pictures, I had forgotten how important the experience of the moment was as I worked and how one gives rise to the other, one enriches blesses the other. I found as I hung out in the moments that I loved that I had stopped experiencing my joy came back. I found I was giving to everyone and everything else but not myself, being a naturally solitary kind of person something broke and it was my creative spark. I had to take time for the me moments that the busy had stolen without me even noticing.
    I have picked up the books of on and by my photographic heroes, at the moment pondering Minor White and am really loving seeing his work afresh and the challenge it brings to thinking and feeling a little more deeply about what I do. Taking days and weeks to really read and reflect giving time to greatness has really helped.
    I have been pondering your photos on Steve’s site and your website and I really like what you do, you have been paid many compliments and rightly so. My thought is as you create little projects would be to investigate the creation of the single complete image a little more, maybe working up to the moment as Henri C Bresson did, dropping out, drawing in the elements in the frame that distract and add, leaving only the moment the feel of the moment that first caught your eye. As you do this, say on landscapes architecture non fleeting people moments as you slowly craft images in the viewfinder don’t become a “chimp” learn to pre visualize use your eyes and slowly take images. As you build your experience it becomes simpler even as the moments become more complex. Intuitively weeding out the clutter leading to that final image becomes easier and easier, It’s the little things so often that separate the good from the better the great, those things that a subtle body/camera/mind shift could have dealt to.
    Being better able to tell a single picture story will make a group of images a project far more powerful and meaningful than the sum of their parts.
    When I make myself slow down to photograph I place the light first, what’s it doing, and what do I want it to do, I then look through the image from front to back then left to right looking at the layers intrusions wonders patterns and placements then finally the subject and seeing how all the stuff around gives life to the thing or doesn’t. In this moment I love Ansel Adams thought about “its better to have a fuzzy picture of a sharp concept than a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept!” Best to be hung up on what’s important than what’s not, shoot for the memory of that moment rather than just perfect camera technique….but don’t be sloppy.
    I think how we process is personal without a doubt but it never hurts to look at the masters of our craft to see what resonates within us I use Lightroom 5 it’s an elegant solution to the digital darkroom not perfect by any stretch but more than capable. As a long time darkroom printer I carry over little things, I loved working on warm tone Agfa then Ilford papers and so I have made a subtle colour mix to give me something like this to take the coolness out of the print or screen experience. I tend be old fashioned just keeping shadow detail and just holding the Hi lights, sometimes I use a subtle edge burn to gently keep the eye on the path the image has internally and to stop it wandering off page. …and sometimes I just do it completely different!
    I don’t use film effects plug in’s I am happy with what I have at the moment, for me the “digital enlarger” is just that, if it lets me express what I’m doing, cool if not add another(I have 3 different types of enlargers in my darkroom). I suspect this will be my software experience over time.
    I do watch how I use the clarity slider it’s easy to overplay your hand with this tool, its super cool for creating that micro sparkle so to speak, too much and you can overplay your hand. I work the image up starting soft working up the exposure contrast etc too the final expression. I find if I start “hard” it’s tougher to unwind away from a gruntier first expression trying to soften down the image tonally etc. But…often the image, the file tells us what the print should look like, it’s a weird mix of exposure, density, light, detail , subject, moment and our style/personal like, telling us what to do.
    Printing is like photographing images, there are no rules as such just really useful guides, the moment is the moment, and what we frame up to how we print is all about expressing that.
    It’s really hard to dig our hearts and minds out of the holes we find ourselves in at times, (especially if we have perfectionist tendency’s) but for me getting back to what I love doing and experiencing moments with or without my camera, getting out their doing it simple, building in complexity over time not worrying so much about perfection or failure but practicing constantly in the moment really helped.
    The thing I love about Steve’s site is its fully human so to speak he wears his heart on his sleeve, and he lets us do the same, above all things I love this and this is how we should photograph how we should print, this is a place we can come and ask about us and get encouragement… in the end it seems to me at least pixel peeping perfection misses the bigger picture as does the worship of stuff.
    Take care

  7. Hi Kevin,
    i think every comment above already spoke out all the support you need, to push you back to your photography enthusiast. I had the same reason as you, back in few years, but i have got back on my feet now. Family come first, then work, then your ownthings…which is Photography, LOL. i had this agreement with my wife that i need my own time for photography weeks within a year, without any disturbance from works or family, and good thing is, she supported me.

    I agree with what Mars and Tibor have written. I also did that, put my self in photo projects, carrying around my “pocket” camera, setting it in 1:1 format, treat it like you are shooting with “instragram”, just make fun of it, for sure your “Nothingness” will be gone slowly.

    Btw, nice street shot you have got! keep shoting mate!

  8. Kevin,

    I seem to go through the “nothing” phase almost every winter. I’m inside the house more, the sun sets too early and the trees are bare. One thing I noticed last winter was B&W was interesting to shoot when there seemed to be a lack of inspirational colors around. I’ll probably shoot mostly B&W next winter.

    Not knowing your photographic past I don’t know if you ever shot with film before. And if you had, what are your opinions of film today. I moved to digital around 2002 after using P&S film cameras growing up. I didn’t really learn the important photographic basics until around 2008 on a DSLR. But I was finding my shots to be mostly snapshotish of family and wasn’t having fun shooting until last year when I rediscovered film. I have a Canon DSLR so I figured I get an EOS 3 that could share the EF lenses – a low cost way to try it out. I now have a Voigtlander R3M with a couple lenses. I now find I enjoy shooting film and the results I get more than I do with my 5D II.

    So if you’d be open to trying film, get a used Voigtlander and throw on your existing glass as a relatively low cost way of seeing if the juices start flowing again.

    I too cannot seem to pick a topic for a project so I just shoot whatever catches my eye.

    Kind regards,


    • I have and still sometimes do shoot bw – I find I get lazy with film though as I usually save up several rolls to develop and scan. That’s my only issue with film. On the other hand, it is nice to have a “surprise” when I do get to developing. Thanks for the suggestion.

  9. Kevin
    I fully understand your feelings about photographers’ block having felt that for some time myself. I find it helps sometimes to go back over your past images that you knew were good (and I’ve looked at your website and your images are very good) and recognise what made them special – maybe a time / place or a project /client / camera, concentrate on them and decide to make some more similar photographs. Sometimes just making a small book from a small event like a walk or journey can help (as in your blog) – I found Blurb helpful as you don’t have to actually order them! You could try the one image a day posted to a website.

    Or try something different. I went from mainly B&W or Colour people based images to documentary photography on post conflict landscapes (could not be further removed) with a 6×12 film camera and used subdued colours. Other possibilities are to do a specific short course, attend seminars, symposiums at a local university, visit galleries for art not just photography, or try a completely new style of camera 5×4, iPhone, an old folding camera, or a P&S digital.

    There is an alternative pull your socks up viewpoint – if you are a professional photographer not feeling like it / having a block etc just cannot happen and sometimes it is those images under difficult conditions that we need to take whether or not we feel ‘creative’.

    You are a photographer, you’ve made some impressive images and there is no reason why you won’t again.

    • Wow – thanks so very much for taking the time to comment and to look through my site. I like your suggestion about looking over old pictures. This is something I have never done – at least not in any sort of deliberate evaluative manner – definitely worth a try.

      Thanks so much and good luck with your getting over your lull!!

  10. Your shots are fine, Kevin.You have a good selection of suggestions here–setting yourself a target is important for you right now.Try the local amateur dramatic society—-dress rehearsal pics. are always popular–especially to the director.Give prints to the cast-they may pay you to shoot them next time.Good luck.Don.

  11. Dear Kevin,
    There are some ways to get out of the creative block. Here are some recommendations for you:
    1. Have a personal assignment in photography. Find something outside your comfort zone
    2. Participate in a workshop. The group, the communication, the cross-pollination may inspire
    3. Start a photodiary. It is like and assignment without an assignment. You may use you phone or any P&S for this. The simpler the better.
    4. Get inspiration from other photogs. Visit exhibitions, check out flicker randomly, follow magazines, blogs, etc.

    Otherwise, there can be some other problem in your life which simply blocks you. Find out what the problem is, find a solution, and highly probable the block will go away.

    I had such blocks several times in my life and the underlying problem was not in the photography domain.

    All the best and wish you an insatiable desire for shooting.

    • Thank you Tibor. I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment and yours and all the others’ suggestions will get the good ole “college try”. :))

  12. In Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones” she urges writers to write every day. It doesn’t have to be anything of consequence. The point is to write. Inspiration will come, you just have to be ready.

  13. Nice images Kevin!

    When blocked, just do what I do, and buy a new piece of gear! Just kidding!! 🙂

    You might possibly consider a photo ‘PROJECT’ though as something to spark your interest. I have so many projects in mind that I’d love to do that I’m not sure I’ll have enough time to do them all in my lifetime!

    What I mean by a ‘project’ is a long series of shots / length of time spent on a particular topic, or with a particular focus. A ‘deep dive’ into a subject matter or technique where you really immerse yourself! For example, you could:

    – explore in a documentary style a topic of interest to you (tattoos? old bicycles? elderly people? whatever!)

    – explore a particular photographic genre (night photography, model/fashion photography, rain photography? sports photography)

    – explore other areas such as a series of different photos containing the same prop… or a series using only one lens (35mm, 50mm)… strobist work, or a series of ‘low-fi’ photos, etc, etc.

    I guess the point is that when I’m feeling a little ‘down’ photographically, that assigning myself a ‘project’ really helps. Not sure if that will help you too, but thought it was worth a mention. Good luck!!

    • Thanks Mars – in the course of reading and replying to the comments here, I’ve resolved to come up with a project – I just hope it won’t take me long to figure the focus of the project. 🙂

  14. Please, don’t be offend but I have been reading for a long time in this website a lot of daily inspiration with ugly B/W conversions… Why do You destroy your pictures in such way? HDR or I don’t know how to call, please, We have Leicas, probably the finest lenses and cameras ever made. I think All of us need to learn Post Processing like CS6, LR4, SE2 and those programs..

    Anyway, enjoy your system.

    • I do not understand your comment as these are in no way HDR or even look HDR. Keep in mind that cameras today have huge dynamic range. I do not feel these images were “destroyed” by anything nor do they look over processed.

      • Mmmm.. I mean, probably I’m a lover of the traditional black and white processing, I started with Photography (digital of course) just 4 years ago, after one year and a half I became a Leica fan, and men… M8, M9, even a MM but nothing is equal like Tri X or Neopan or HP5.. but if You use the digital files properly, You can get a gorgeus Monochrom image, and Leica files are properly for that.

        But the files in this thread seems to be not HDR, but so artificial. Ok for me if this is the way You are looking for.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not envious or something, but think a lot of us are behind a digital file looking as a black and white negative, with such a dynamic range and grey scale.

        I’m a bad photographer and better buyer and seller by the way! But at least I’ve could tried almost every single camera and leica lens.

        One day I will try to write a daily inspiration as good as yours.

        Take care dear Kevin and Steve.

    • Instead of being offended, I actually flattered that you would think I have such photoshop skills. Each of us looks at things differently and so I can respect your opinions, but as I noted above, my processing skills are not actually all that advanced. I can, however, understand that it may seem like my last picture has some extra processing but actually that one probably has the least. It was taken with my MM and while I increased the local shadow detail of the lace dress to some degree, the “glow” that you may have mistaken as an HDR glow, is real natural light. The glow is coming off the reflection of the sun on the ground.

    • Reading from France. We have a saying that goes like : “missing an opportunity to shut the f… up” (sorry for the bad language)
      Bruno, unless the exif where manipulated, those where taken with an M Monochrom. As of the B&W conversion…

  15. Kevin, I can fully sympathize with your problem. I had a photographic block too a while ago. What worked for me may not necessarily work for you. Still taking things a bit more relaxed may be an approach to give a try. You mention that you take part in photo competitions. So maybe you’re taking things too serious and you’re too much focused on the result? Just guessing of course. Try to experiment with doing things differently than before, try other motives than you favored so far, you get the idea. Become a beginner again and try to rediscover your enjoyment. I wish you good luck.


    • I do participate in photo contests on occasion, but not with any regularity or consistency. Nevertheless, I think your comment about taking things too seriously does apply. As my wife always tells me, I have an obsessive personality (not in a sick and stalker kind of way – just so that I’m clear :)) and taking things too seriously probably has been a negative in this circumstance.

      Thanks for your comments.

  16. personally, i find that getting new gear sometimes help with getting the juices flowing, try a different format? maybe a 6×6 film camera,? or a Hassleblad XPan, a different aspect ratio may let you take different pictures and energize your photographic juices?

    • Not to suggest that you have it, but I have certainly gone through various stages of GAS. Fortunately, for my wallet and marriage, I don’t suffer from that disease anymore. However, your point is well taken about trying new things to re-energize. Thank you for your suggestions.

      • Sometime a change of photographic viewpoint can help – maybe looking down on a 6×6 SLR/TLR screen instead of an eye level viewfinder.

      • haha, well spotted, i do certainly have bad GAS, 3xNEX, 1xRx1, 1x Hassy XPan, 1x Bronica, 1x Voigt R3a + 50 lux. im going through rehab now though, trying to clear out some of these stuff, and then have a simple kit which is all i need, the RX1 has helped me realise this, but i really like the film shooting process so i want to get a 6×6 hassy if i can sell off the XPan

  17. Hi Kevin,
    I know what you mean about image creation block! Like you I’ve have a bit of a problem in that department. The Leica MM changed my mind, rangefinder cameras are so much easier to use than an all singing dancing DSLR. Most people don’t really notice them too much, anyway they are manual focusing cameras, who’s going to take you that seriously as a photographer? (They haven’t a clue about these cameras.) Keep on with your image creation! Carry your camera everywhere, you never know when you see your ‘perfect’ or even decisive moment! My little ‘Henri’ goes everywhere I go, you never know.

    • Hi Stewart,

      As I mentioned above, I also have a MM and like you, I do love it. Even before the MM, I have pretty much always converted to BW and it is indeed my focus. If I were forced to have just one camera, it would definitely be the MM.

      Thanks for your comments.

  18. Kevin if this is with no inspiration, then I’d like to see your photography with some….:-)!! These are moody solid images.

    If this was me I’d set myself some challenges to see if it helps. It could be that your bored rather than uninspired! Some of these might include:

    Choose a different focal length which makes you think about composition (including DoF)…..
    Choose a personal medium term project that helps you focus (e.g. street photography of a nearby city or your current city and try and see things you walk past everyday)…..
    Do a course of some sort and learn something new…..
    Try shooting differently than you normally do or have done so for some time (e.g. only shoot at f4 and up, if you normally shoot wide open)…..
    Try looking at subjects from a different perspective….all of the above images you seem to be standing up at their height….look at it from below, above, a different angle…..
    Take your camera out more every time you go, even if it is not pulled out. There just might be something you see and create an image which re-ignites the spark….

    Good luck!! I went through the same thing for 2 years up until September last year…

    • Sorry to hear about your “nothing” period, but, I find a little bit of consolation that others have gone through an extended period of “nothing” as well.

      Yes, as I read through everyone’s comments here, I really do think a project will do me some good – I just have to come up with a topic, subject matter or technique to give the project focus.

      Thanks for your comments and encouragement.

  19. Oh that “nothing”… I know it all too well. Thank you for your wonderful text and the pictures, both are wonderful. I have those “nothing”-periods on and off all the time. Usually I let go for some time, then I pick up some old or funny camera and just shoot: my favorite place (Val Verzasca), family, street… whatever happens, wherever I happen to be at the time. Half of these attempts make me sink into depression and desperation, because pictures just don’t show anything I had seen. But the other half of these sessions does work: nice pictures, nice feedbacks from viewers, a little report about the camera, lens or some gadget, In the end I came to the conclusion that inspiration is something that only seldom turns up all by itself. The easiest way for me to kill that “nothing” is a specific task: an old camera from ebay, a special theme… something you have to come to know, to plan, to think about. That helps a lot.

    • Some wise comments Holger – I have been thinking that I need to give myself some sort of project – just one problem though, I don’t know what the project subject should be :))

      But definitely, I agree with you, once I can get a subject that I’m passionate about, I should just go after it and accept that some pics will work and some just simply suck.

  20. I know exactly how you feel! I felt that same “nothing” for a very long time. And what brought back the inspiration was a trip I took to New-York. Unlike you I definitely felt what I thought was lost but the moment I came back it ended.
    I think that even when you force yourself to shoot you don’t feel the joy, maybe you have to stop photography for a while. Find an other hobby, see if inspiration takes you somewhere else.
    In my opinion you think to much about what you can’t do. So try something else! And who knows, it could make you miss taking pictures 🙂
    As for your shots, I really like 2 and 3. But I think the post processing is too obvious.

    • Thanks for your comments Anthony and I have a feeling that your comment about “thinking too much about what I can’t do” may be a good description of my struggles.

      I do find it interesting, however, that you consider 2 and 3 to be over-processed though because I am rather useless when it comes to processing. I only use Lightroom (I’ve tried Photoshop and I do own it, but I find it way too complicated) and with those two pictures specifically:

      #2 – I think I took that picture with my M9 and a summicron 50mm. I converted it into bw in lightroom, gave it some overall changes in terms of contrast and clarity as well as some localized adjustments, and finished it with some vignette and that was it.

      #3 – I took this with my MM and the Nocti. Similar to above, made some overall contrast and clarity changes and finished it off with some vignette.

      So if the above is over-processing, I have no idea what the right processing would be.

      • Thank you for taking the time to answer me.
        For the post-process I was specifically talking about the vignette (which for me is more of a lens flaw than a creative tool) and the dress in the last picture.
        I understand why you did it, I just don’t like it very much as it is obvious and take me out of the story you’re telling. The MM DR is pretty impressive on an other hand.
        But honestly, that tech talk is irrelevant. At the end, the reasons why I love those 2 shots and don’t like much the other 2 have nothing to do with DR or contrast or sharpness…
        This is mainly because of how they make me feel. And that’s all that matters. Sorry I misled you 😉

  21. Hi Kevin.
    A long time since we have talked (1x)
    Sorry to hear you are blocked at the moment.
    The first question I’d ask is, why is photography important to you?
    Do you need your work to be appreciated by others or would you be content shooting for your own pleasure if you considered your images good?

    • Wow Bob – really great to hear from you! If you’re reading this site, could it mean you have gotten your hands back on Leica again??

      You’ve posed some very good questions here and I can emphatically say that photography is important to me because it gives me a way to tell a story that I want to tell. Does my work need to be appreciated by others to make me feel good about it – I won’t lie, it sure feels good when it does? But, and it’s a big but, if I am able to “see” and get “that” picture/story, I honestly couldn’t care less what others think. However, as I’ve alluded to above, my problem is that I have really struggled with “seeing” those stories.

      • Hi Kevin.

        No Leica. Loving the E-M5 right now. Perfect for street. Wouldn’t turn a Leica down though if someone offered ;^)

        Those ‘stories’ can be really hard to find at times.

        It may or may not apply to you, but the more uncomfortable I am about shooting in the street (in terms of – am I going to get any negativity about it from people or the police) the worse I shoot and the fewer good images I get. That said, it’s been a long time since I felt that way. I now shoot so that hardly anyone knows I took a photo. At best they may suspect it, but I’ve never been challenged. That frees me up from unnecessary stress that can spoil things.

        Do you think this could be an issue for you?


  22. I know how you feel. I’ve another hobby I have done for 25 years and for the past year can’t seem to get the enthusiasm to go out and do it like I used to. It’s like I’m “burnt out”.
    I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll regain my enthusiasm when it happens and there’s no point pushing it.
    Funny enough, since being burned out I have started to get more into photography. I’ve gone from a point and shoot and started bring “snappy happy” with my OM-D. I’ve just bought another camera and completed a college course in Digital Photigraphy. I can’t get enough!
    I’ve come to the conclusion a love is either there or it isn’t. You can’t force it. Don’t shoot for thecsakecof it. Only shoot when something inspires you. If you go out with your camera and take nothing then so be it. Only take a photo when you get the urge.
    In the meantime, pull out your old photos and look through them. Would you take them again? Would you have done it differently? How about editing some to look different?
    As to the photographs below! I’ll be blunt. The first three are nice photographs obviously taken with a quality camera and lens. They have that silky feel. However, they are photographs that most would take and even to some extent holiday snaps.
    However, the fourth photograph is inspired. A work if art produced by thought and imagination. It’s interesting. It’s different. I spent a while looking at it. I love it. I wish I’d taken it.
    Now, don’t be too hung up on my criticism. Everybody thinks differently and likes different things. Some, maybe many, will love the first one and hate the last wondering what it’s all about. But the fact remains that the one I love IS different.
    Photography is knowing when NOT to take a photograph, and when you do to make it different and interesting. It should tell a story. Maybe the photo I love is such because it is different and tells more of a story than the other ones?
    The last thing I will say is that you must print off your “best” photographs. Frame them. Enjoy them. Don’t leave them on a hard drive. Seeing your work on the wall in your home will help make you want to go out and do it again. Perhaps take one to put on the wall in work? Give some of your photographs as presents especially to family. When you are gone your work will remain. Your family and friends will have a lovely reminder and momento. Okay, they may not love or even like the photograph but at least you are showing others your work and passion. You can’t make passion. It’s either there or not there.

    • I’m with you, Bob! I like all the images but #4 really caught my eye as well as it was “different”. You have some good thoughts about how to get past some of which I am doing right now.

      And, Kevin, there is some nice work you have sent. Keep at it but, like Bob said, don’t force it. Take some time to enjoy. I recently read about a workshop (I think it is the one run by B. D. Cohen of “day in the life” fame) where he sends his class out to “shoot” a roll of 36-exposure film but without a camera. They are supposed to find an image they would shoot and then describe it in minute detail in words! This, to me, is something I had never thought of but am thinking about trying it out as I shift from trying to get photo work to moving into retirement.

      Oh, one more thought. As part of getting past my photo block, I am rebuilding my website using as many different images as possible. With the transition to a different style of shooting (I used to be a newspaper staffer), it seemed the smart thing to do. But as I look through several decades of film and digital images with a different eye, I am sometimes drawn to the same images but also to different images that I dismissed years ago. Give it a try. It might be of some help.

    • Thanks so much for your comments Bob. Personally, I also really like that last picture as well and part of my issue is that I’ve struggled, for quite a while now, to “see” those sorts of pictures. The trip helped and my serious hope is that I will get more of the passion that you talk about back. I know I had it at one time and I simply find it frustrating that: 1) I lost it in the first place and 2) it’s such a huge struggle to get it back.

  23. I like your pictures posted. In regards to the “photographer’s block”, my recommendation would be to photograph what you innately love… kids and family. Sure, it’s not street photography but perhaps that will open up and inspire you to rekindle in a different direction. Good luck!

    • Actually I do photograph the family quite a bit and will always continue to do so. That being said, part of my goal is to expand beyond the family. This isn’t to say it isn’t possible to do artistic shots of family and certainly they represent a “ready-made” subject matter, but I guess I’m trying to challenge myself to go beyond the “ready-made, easy access” subjects.

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