Not Much Creativity Going On….

It must be this time of year– I just look up this post from February 2008– Searching— about losing my creativity.  But there’s also so much going on right now and the first things I usually shove away when I’m stressed are probably the things I need the most.  I haven’t taken any photos other than the obligatory holiday snaps of the kids (and even those are pretty bad!).  I only picked up my knitting because it was an inexpensive way to make presents.

And I haven’t written any fiction– In fact I’ve barely kept up with my books reviews at BellaOnline.  Come to think of it, that is probably because my reading has declined.  Usually I always have a book in hand (or purse!) for those spare moments that I can delve in, but even that had become too much effort.

I think I’m about to get back in the swing of it all, but it feels odd to get back in.  Why is that?  Has it become outside my comfort zone in just a few months?  Or is it a fear that all of this “creativity” is frivolous?  I think that’s more it for me.  I wish I could silence that little voice (the one that doubles as my internal editor– my word he’s busy!) that guilts me into leaving all my hobbies.  “He” wonders how I can waste my time fooling around with the camera or liquid binder when we’re struggling to make ends meet?  Sure wish I could get him to shut up!  Anyone have a good way to get through this kind of stuff?

Photo Course- Lesson Two

You can see the whole lesson here.  It’s about shutter speed and aperture.  And I have to say it STILL won’t stick in my head.  I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to get this bit down, but it never stays with me, so I’m always fiddling and taking too long to set up a shot (which explains some of the problems I had at the park a couple weeks ago!)  The first two assignments are to take a landscape shot and change aperture and shutter speed to see the changes.  I wanted to get out this week, but the weather has been crazy!  It rained all last weekend (and my poor first-year Boy Scout was on a hiking trip in part of the Appalachian Trail).  Then yesterday, it SNOWED.  Not what I expect for October in the Philadelphia area.  And today is really cold (and I’m a wimp when it comes to cold).  So.  I may do some shooting out my back window 🙂

The third assignment I should be able to do, but I’m drawing a blank.  It says: Go out and take some pictures using shutter speed – either fast or slow – to create an effect. Be creative and have fun! Should be easy, right? Well, while I keep trying to find something fast, here are some from the past that I think fit this idea:


The bike ride one is from the same set that I used for this project.

Lesson 1 – Assingment 2

Take photos from different viewpoints–

A Great Quote

In reading a post at The Happiness Project, I was really struck by a Voltaire quote Gretchen Rubin included–

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

This is a constant for me. I don’t think even I recognized my perfectionist tendencies because, well, nothing around here looks perfect. Trouble is, I get into the mentality of if I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all. This isn’t really a good way to live. I’m constantly feeling less-than becasue i can’t do everything perfectly. What if I make a mistake?! And it’s so hard to tell myself so what if I make a mistake? In my very first post, I talked about this fear of mistakes and how I could bring myself to use a sketch pad I had bought. That was August 2006. Guess what? I still have not even opened the pencils.

Searching For Creativity

Creativity-wise, I’ve been feeling a little dried up lately.  Maybe it was the end of summer vacation finally wearing down on me (my boys were bickering constantly) or maybe I’ve just gotten out of the habit of creating.  Either way, I’m stuck and stagnant.  I think one of my biggest problems is that I complicate things unnecessarily.  Sometimes I find myself thinking, ‘If I had a usable office I could write’ or ‘If I had more room to set up a studio, I’d take more pictures.’

While, yes, these things would make it easier, I don’t *need* them to create.  I’m letting external factors dictate my productivity.  I realize outside circumstances are always going to affect my work, but can I still write at the dining room table until the office is cleared out enough for me to use?  YES.  Can I still take some beautiful photos without the “proper” lighting and set up?  Well, I have in the past, so again, I’d say YES.

I’ve been looking around online for some inspiration and I stumbled across a few blogs that I think will help me quite a bit:

  • Zen Habits -It’s subtitled “Simple Productivity”.  That sounds just about right for what I need.  The post that got me was 21 Easy Hacks To Simplify Your Life
  • LifeDev -I’ve looked at LifeDev several times over the last few months and always seem to find a relevant post.  I’m especially intrigued by Open Sourcing Your Creativity.
  • 43 Folders – I’ve not looked around this site extensively, but there seems to be some good tips and ideas to think about.
  • Be Jane – While this is not so much like the other three, I came across this “Women’s Home Improvement Community” while I was trying to decide if I should paint over the kitchen wallpaper or try to rip it down.  Turns out this isn’t such an odd decision– I found an article on How to Paint Over Wallpaper.  Turns out my wallpaper was glued to unprimed drywall, so this is the best solution.

Now, if someone could just tell me why I always manage to drip coffee on my shirt, we’ll be all set.

Outside My Window

They other day my son and I heard the neighborhood hawk in our trees.  I think he was in an argument with our very annoying blue jay because while we couldn’t find the hawk, the blue jay was flying tree to tree in a very agitated manner.  We went to my bedroom to look out the windows thinking we’d get a better veiw of the trees in the yard.  We still didn’t find the hawk, but my son did find a mourning dove sitting in a nest.  I got a pretty good shot with my zoom lens:

mourning dove in a nest

mourning dove in a nest

Kind of a companion shot to the dove in the chapel arches at Valley Forge Park:

mourning dove at Valley Forge

mourning dove at Valley Forge

Working on Shoot! The Day

In the comments, Ann asked to see pictures of the lightbox I made.  I pulled it out today to work on Shoot! The Day and as I gathered my various supplies, I acquired a ‘helper’.

Here is what my light box looks like:

I cut openings with about a 2 inch border into two sides and the top.  They are covered with tissue paper (the kind of sheets you put in a gift bag.  I also saw tracing paper could be used).  Covering with tissue paper was the hardest part.  I think tracing paper would have been easier since it is slightly thicker, but my box was too big for the pad of tracing paper I have.  It is also too big for the posterboard I bought.  I forgot to take a shot of the inside, but I curve the poster board from the top back down to in front of the camera.  This way the background is a seamless white.  I tried another shot after reading up on the technique a bit (at School of Stock).  seems my lighting was too low and I need to over expose more:

I’m taking a break from shooting because I forgot to charge my camera battery last night.  Even though I knew I was going to do this today.  Is that self-sabotage or what?  I’ll get more in later this afternoon.  Maybe even some with the kid if he is OK with being mom’s model 🙂