The "Post-Photography Hangover"

Ahh, the joy of jet lag.  Having been awake since 4am despite being back in the comfort of my own bed, I couldn't help but think of the photos I captured this week in Istanbul.  The first thing I did last night once we got home (as always) was to download my images to my computer, make further backups & import them to Lightroom.  Typically I then take a few minutes to scroll through my images to see if I captured any portfolio worthy shots.  And what did I see?  Nothing.  Nada.  Crap. How could that be?  My wife and I had just spent a week in one of the most beautiful cities on Earth - a UNESCO World Heritage Site at that - and I'm not happy with my photos?!  Something isn't adding up.  Frustrated, I went downstairs to enjoy a much needed breakfast burrito and thought about my images for a bit.  After clearing a bit of the fog from my jet lag, I realized I was experiencing the dreaded "Post-Photography Hangover".  I've experienced it before, but this time seemed quite accute.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was hungry and had essentially been up for about 24 hours, but I wasn't happy with what I was seeing.  Usually this occurs after a long day of shooting, weddings were typically my worst culprits.  It sometimes took me a few days after the wedding to get the creative excitement back to start the work on my edits and see the images in fresh light.

I'll define this "Hangover" as a loss of creative interpretation or burnout from your own work.  Sometimes even though you may have captured some great images, you just can't see their full potential until you sit on them for a few days.  I remember two particular events, one a wedding and one a day of wandering around the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, that took me a bit of time to digest.  Once I saw the potential both sets turned out some of my favorite shots yet.  In fact, one of my favorite things to do is to re-visit images I shot months or even years ago.  Sometimes you see potential in images you had previously decided weren't worthy.  It is quite interesting the effect that time can have on the creative process!

So how do you cure the "Post-Photography Hangover"?  Likely no 'cure' exists, but I think the best idea is to give it a few days and clear your head.  Step away from the computer, go for a hike or just do something that clears your mind.  Give it time and you'll see good results.

So after having another quick look through my images from Istanbul this morning, the excitement is growing.  I happened on the image below and it really stood out to me.  It may take a few days or even weeks for me to digest the rest of the images and they may not ultimately produce my best work.  That said, it was a wonderful trip and I think I'll muster at least few good shots.  Now where is my coffee cup?

Istanbul
Istanbul

Two Days in Paris

As an airline pilot, I'm quite fortunate to get to see the world on the cheap and often on short notice.  So when the opportunity comes to make even a short holiday somewhere fun who am I to say no?  My wife and I happened to have 4 days off together recently and since the snowfall at home in Colorado had been mediocre we decided to skip snowboarding that week and fly somewhere instead.  So off to Paris it was. I once again used my ethos of packing light and brought along my minimum kit, although this time I did bring my prime Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens.  I'm unsure of what's easier, having two weeks to make great images or having a shortened time span of about 55 hours on the ground.  After getting home and sorting through my images, I was fairly pleased with the results.  I hope you are too!

Which Camera Should I Buy? (Part III)

Welcome back for the third and final installment in my 'Which Camera Should I Buy?" series.  Previously we covered camera basics and higher end SLRs.  This time we'll focus on the 'middle road' of cameras, which are the more advanced point & shoots. If you are…somewhere between the two worlds I mentioned in my previous posts, you probably need an advanced point & shoot.  This style of camera is a great mix between the SLR and more basic point & shoot.  Portable, advanced, and ability to produce sharp pictures make this relatively newer entrant to the market excellent candidates for a wide range of photographers .  There are two subcategories that we'll discuss: some still have interchangeable lenses for even greater creativity while others rely on a fixed lens with digital zoom.

The 'Fixed' Lens Compact This is what I carry on each of my trips when I'm flying for the airline each week.  In fact, it rarely leaves my messenger bag just in case I find something noteworthy in my travels whenever I have my bag (which is quite often).  For the last few years I've been using two different advanced compacts that I love for different reasons.  One of my two is the beloved Sigma DP1, which has no zoom, a slow start up time, slow shutter speeds and mediocre low light performance.  Why do I love it then?  The Foveon sensor contained within the camera is utterly amazing.  The color production, hues, saturation and sharpness this little camera produces are unparalleled in cameras this size.  Case in point from a courtyard in Guatemala:

This camera is more for the landscape and street art photographer who wants to take the time to compose images and make beautiful shots.  While I won't recommend this camera for everyone, a camera of it's quality just might be worth your investment down the road.

Now that I told you about a camera that I won't recommend for everyone, I'll move on to the my current camera that is my go to choice for this category.  For the last couple of years, the trusty Nikon P7000 has been the 'daily driver' that fits my needs for a true travel-friendly compact camera.  It does everything my beloved Sigma doesn't.   The newer version is the Nikon P7700 which has been upgraded from my current model in several areas.  Portability, great zoom capability, good ISO performance (low light capability), shooting in RAW file format and wide angle format are some of my favorite features of this camera.  Of course, the portablity factor is huge for outdoor action sports capability.  I can strap the camera case on my backpack when mountain biking for instance and be able to create great images on the fly.  Case in point this shot from Horsethief Bench Trail near Fruita, Colorado:

Definitely check it out and consider purchasing one in the near future!  Other options in this category include:

Canon Powershot G12 Sigma Merrill DP1

Interchangeable Lens Compact This is a category that allows for switching lenses on the go and a wider variety of creative options.  However, the trade off is you might carry more gear along thus it won't be quite as an all-in-one as a 'fixed' lens compact.  This category contains the hot up & coming mirrorless cameras that offer some distinct advantages to their predecessors.  While I don't own one of these yet, the Nikon 1 J2 is high on my list to be a partner to my other compacts.  This trend of compact cameras with interchangeable lenses does seem to be gaining strength, so if you want the best of both worlds between portability and creative options with lenses definitely consider this category.  Two other options which have garnered rave reviews are:

Olympus Pen E-P3Panasonic Lumix GF5K

I hope this series has helped narrow down where you should start your search and what kind of camera to look for.  Remember, always head to your local camera store and try before you buy.  And of course, being local-minded as I am - support local business and buy it from the store!  The support & knowledge that your local camera store will offer will pay dividends down the road as you embark on your photographic journey.