OK, I've done everything around this place, now what?

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As anyone who keeps an eye on the Lens Flair thread knows, most of the stuff I shoot is still-life of whatever I thin will make a good picture (usually nature or buildings). Nearly all of my photos are simply from around where I live, a small town of 3500-or-so. There are maybe 4 or 5 photos I have (that I've considered worth posting) that aren't. I get most of my photos by taking my dog out for walks and taking my camera with me.

I'm starting to feel that I've photographed everything there is to photograph around here in terms of nature and I'm beginning to repeat myself.

It's good when something is "happening" (an event, some friends are playing football, etc.), giving me an opportunity to make photos. And, come spring, there will be some new developments with rain, things growing and what-not; and there are always macros to do in summer.

So, for now, I'm still in a bit of a hitch. I don't really travel a lot, because of financial and health reasons.

Any ideas what I can do for inspiration? Are there categories and genres of photography I haven't considered?
 

carolsLittleWorld

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You know, I was just thinking, when looking at the lens flair thread that "Epp_b needs a project." You are a really good photographer but, it strikes me that you really need to sink your teeth into something bigger, meatier than what you are currently doing.

Might I suggest doing a fine art style project? Maybe look through the photo eye website or look at something like Photo lucida to get some ideas for projects or themes? Could you do a small project to start and then expand it into something larger? Like start with 3 images and then take it up to 10 or 20? I bet you could do it and I (for one) would like to see it if you did.

Shooting for a theme is really hard to do but it can be very rewarding. I would suggest that you give it a go. You don't need to travel or spend a lot of $$$ to do it. One of my favorite photographers, Angilee Wilkerson is just about to open a one person show of her work, along the lines of the style that you do, called "No Mountains, No Waterfalls" about the local terrain in North Texas, very near where she lives. Trust me, North Texas is a very boring place. If she can make art out of that, you don't have to travel anywhere to do it either.

Good luck.
 

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Thanks for the idea, Carol. I don't really know how to define "fine art" or where to even start.

So far, I've been looking at National Geographic for inspiration.
 

carolsLittleWorld

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Fine art -> What you might find in a gallery exhibit. Galleries show "bodies of work" seldom single images. All of the work is usually related to other work in the show. Kind of like the way a novel rotates around a central theme, and everything in the plot adds to (solidifies really) that central idea. So, I would suggest you start with some kind of a theme or concept and then work your way backwards, to get to the individual images and complete the project.

To give you a specific example, I recently completed a body of work called "Drive" where all of the images were taken while driving, riding, or otherwise moving in a car. I started doing some work like that, just playing really, and then I started to think, "Ok, I need to drive by a construction site, a house, a landmark, a gas station, etc." Then, I started to shoot images that fit my theme, rather than just shooting randomly.

Angilee did her project on the dried up river bed near her home (called an arroyo in these parts.) She walked along it, mapped it, figured out where it came from, documented it, hunted down parts of it, brought home pieces of it, etc. to complete her project. She looked at the birds that frequent it, the animals that live there, the people, the fossils, etc. all to make her project come to life. After shooting for a long time (at least several years) she edited it down to a small number of images for her gallery show.

The idea is you define the project, the idea, the central theme, the concept, and then design the images based upon that. Think about what you want to shoot, how each image will be a bigger piece of the overall project, to get at the single images. It will really give your work a sense of purpose and make you think beyond the singular image into the "your voice your vision" which really gives your work a lot of meaning.

Anybody can take a great shot. Show me a body of work, hit me with a concept, make images that really speak to something, that's how you change the world and earn a reputation as a creative visionary.
 

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Do you have anything productive to add to this discussion, cv? ;)
I probably shouldn't say "maybe his wang is productive?"

Anyway, I'd almost suggest trying locations and images and the types of images that you normally wouldn't. For example, in the last half hour I've been taking random pictures of things in my room. Not very much turned out, mainly the lighting is really, really bad and since I'm using my face as a camera base half the time everything turns out blurry. However, since I'm using a different lens from usual, and am not really too concerned with doing anything good, I'm finding that some of this is rather interesting, and is making me think of different ways to approach different things. A picture of my toe (will not post, toe is gross), for instance, has given me an idea of how to photograph a person.

I suppose the suggestion boils down to do things wrong for a bit, maybe you'll find something right.
 

Cobol74

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Go Macro lens - small stuff enlarged. Or action - you know moving stuff like water droplets falling, frozen in time. There is a healthy Drifting Pictures interest on the board to - car shots whilst moving using rigs possibly?
 

carolsLittleWorld

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Since you are from Canadaland and you said you do not want to travel, maybe take a look at some Freeman Patterson for inspiration? He's a big fan of "shoot in your own backyard" and a great photographer. His books might be available in your local library already, so it probably wouldn't cost a thing to check him out and use him for some inspiration.

Those National Geo people are fantastic but they will make you want to travel. I know I cannot look at any Nevada Wier without getting the urge to buy a ticket somewhere.
 

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I have to agree with Cobol74, I would try to get hold of a dedicated macro lens. You can spend hours photographing anything you want within the home let alone things near to you in macro. If you don't want to get any equipment at all I think the best thing you can do is just go trekking somewhere you know of but don't frequent to give your photographs more variation.

As for fine art photography, I think it's a very interesting avenue to go down as you can literally do it anywhere you want. In fact the only downside I can see for doing fine art style photography is that posting the photographs separately in the Lens Flare topic would take a set of photographs out of context by posting them individually :p.
 

Jay

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Since it is a small town, how about taking pictures of the residents there? Post flyers asking for people to pose for pictures; you will be surprised how many will show up. Do something artsy; like romantic black and whites full of well placed shadows of the local poplace.
 

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People...hmm...I'm not much of a people-person. The thought of approaching someone like that terrifies the living feces out of me.

I think I do like the idea of macros, though. I have enjoyed using my macro diopters, but dedicated macro lenses are pricey. Is it worth it to get an older AI micro? I have two fast AI primes that I use for indoor photos without flash and I can usually nail the exposures pretty well, but that's because the lighting conditions are usually very similar.
 

Dr_Q

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Instead of a dedicated macro lens you could try to source some bellows to turn any of your lenses into macro-ish ones. This should work particularly well with prime lenses although I think you lose the AF and metering from your camera. There are a lot of older macro lenses floating around which I'm sure can be had for a very reasonable price.
 

sifu

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m42 lenses + extension bellows/tubes is a cheap way to start.m42 Primes are cheap and tubes dirt cheap.
 

markryder

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Myself, beeing a bit boored by the limitations of a normal photoshoot with cars - I'm going to try my hand at composite imaging. By mastering it, I could place a car in places you'd normally wouldn't be able to. And you got dull background? Stich one together from various photographs.

That's atleast my plan to keep it fresh. Mind you, is as much about improving my photography skills as its about about improving my photoshop skills :)
 

Davetouch

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I think I have about the same problem as epp_b here. Except that as much as I like macro shots, I feel I want to move on to something new. I found shooting even static cars back at Morgan quite fun, and would love to get to do things like Alok does (although maybe on a smaller scale - you know, I have a life and stuff :p). I can't think of things to do.

One thing I haven't done yet, (and I'm annoyed at myself for not having done it) is go down to Brands Hatch which is about 30mins door to door. My only worry is that I would get there and get stuff that is exactly the same as what every other spectator gets - zoom lens tracking through a wire fence. I have thought about possibly tagging along with a mate who does racing there occasionally and do stuff for his team, but I'm not sure. Thoughts people?
 
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