The Habit

One of my favorite podcasts (or in this case, radio shows – except that I always miss the show on the radio of course) is “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me“, the news quiz on NPR. Driving to Joshua Tree National Park last year, my friend Tracy and I listened to the episode where novelist Nora Roberts made an appearance as a guest — and that same segment was part of a more recent “compilation” episode that I listened to.

While I’m quite certain :-) that I will not become a Nora Roberts reader, she said one thing that really stuck with me: when asked if she had ever hit a so-called “writer’s block” she responded (I quote freely from memory) that she did not because for her, writing is a habit that you just have to keep up. If you don’t write, you’re not writing. If you write, even if it’s nonsense, you still write.

I think this applies to other artistic endeavors as well, perhaps for all creative outlets that we choose: you have to keep practicing them, even if you’re not feeling inspired. I mentioned that I felt a “landscape and seascape fatigue” in my 2017: The Year in Review post – but at the same time, I know that there are photos “out there” for me as well — I just have to keep trying and practicing until they come to me. This bears the danger of repetition of course – whether that’s better than not producing any creative output at all is a different question I guess. :-)

Typical for the winter months, we’re seeing more extreme tides at this time of the year. Low tides are especially interesting because they are negative right now, revealing details and giving access to areas that are otherwise submerged by water. Shuwen and I went out to La Jolla last night to take advantage of these conditions… and of course, to practice the habit of making photos.

I only brought my 24mm tilt/shift lens with me because I’d like to slow down, and this is a slow lens – manual focus, manual aperture (and then the whole process of tilt and shift on top of it). While it’s easy enough and very versatile for real estate/architectural photography, I find it not just slow for landscapes and nature, but bloody awful to use, at least at this point. I have the feeling that I’m not really good at it because there are so many more things to think about in the process – and that’s just lack of practice. So I have to keep using it, trying, practicing, making this a habit too.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, out of all this, here is the first photo of 2018. I wish I had brought shorts and wading shoes instead of wearing jeans and sneakers, to be able to get into different positions and locations with the camera. Thinking more about “human gear” like clothes to bring, instead of just the camera gear, will be another habit to form.

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4 thoughts on “The Habit”

  1. That is a good segue to an article I wanted to write about my workflow and how I am strengthening it for this year out of pure necessity. It is true though isn’t it, keep doing a little bit during those tougher months when inspiration eludes you.


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