A few years ago, I was getting bored with my photography. Similar to the perpetual tide, life has a way of ebbing & flowing and interests can wane. I wasn't bored to the point of selling my gear. God forbid. I was simply restless and not shooting on a regular basis.
My creative muse was nowhere to be found.
Although I wasn't overly concerned, I was frustrated. Everyone goes through these fruitless periods, but how & when do you emerge on the other side is always a mystery? When professional baseball players are in a slump, they revert back to fundamentals. All the things that got them to where they are become important again - hit the ball, field the ball, throw the ball and run the bases. Basics win games. Period. Get away from the rudimentary stuff and you lose your edge.
In his book On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft, author Stephen King discusses his creative challenges. As prolific as he is, he too has mental constipation (as my father use to call it) when it comes to his craft. Most creatives find a daily routine to be their greatest ally. Write early in the morning. Make your phone calls late in the day and so forth. He is no different. Mornings are his most productive time to write. Perhaps a rested mind first thing in the morning is key? Or maybe it's the excitement of a new day? Fact remains, he has difficult stretches like everyone else... after all, he's human. When he's struggling to find the right words though, he gets up from his desk and goes for a walk. He tries to rid himself of mental clutter and get back to basics.
A wise man once said, "Boredom always precedes a great period of creativity."
I'm not sure if my boredom was followed by great creativity? This would certainly be a reach (high expectations in that statement and way too much pressure!). Let's just say, I got back to basics and my muse magically reappeared.
I've always enjoyed the photographic process. I relish the belief the world slows down when I'm taking pictures. Things tend to move in slow motion and time becomes secondary. Morning dew, wild flowers and even a NYC bridge appear different when I'm actually seeing and not just looking.
I hesitate to say, you view the world differently when you're at peace with yourself. Sounds a bit spiritual animal like, but think about it - when you're relaxed, breathing easy and in your photographic zone, the world comes to you. Creative imagery seems more abundant and you don't seem to work as hard. It's almost effortless and the creative process becomes enjoyable again. We know it's true, we've all been there. It would be great to bottle a few of these moments and break them out in times of need.
I think my expanded addition of image boxes helped me to emerge from my slump. My Canon DSLR continues to be my camera of choice. It's the work horse in the collection (especially for sports). It also has a great fit & feel in my hands - something often overlooked by photographers. I've also upgraded to an iPhone 7 Plus, received a GoPro 5 as a gift and purchased a Sony Rx100 IV to boot. The iPhone is simply an evolution and a new one was required. The GoPro is self explanatory... action/adventure. And, the Sony camera is my generalist. It's like a utility player in baseball. It does everything well. It's not going to be an all star at any one position, but it plays every position with competency. The small mirrorless wonder packs quite a punch as well (21MP). It's small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, but bold enough to become a steady companion. It's now my travel camera due to quality, size and all its various features (i.e. wireless, b&w, miniature, toy camera, raw images, etc.).
All four cameras have given me a new sense of adventure. The ability to see things with new eyes. They give me a reason to wake up early and explore.
It's like soul food and a breath of creative fresh air at the same time.