Goodbye summer, see you next year / by Craig Roberts

2010-07-16 007
2010-07-16 007

The photograph above seems to epitomize many things around me me right now ... the last days of summer are slowly slipping into fall, my kids are realizing that the return to school is just around the corner, and just when we were getting complacent enjoying the warmth (and dryness) of this particular summer season here on the west coast of B.C., we are quickly jolted back to our wet reality out hereLetting go.

This summer, more than anytime I can remember, I have struggled to find a voice within my photography; athletes encounter periods like these throughout their careers, whether it's termed "holding the stick too tight", or "choking up too much on the bat": a slump.  My slump was that every time I looked through the viewfinder I was seeing the same images that I had seen over and over in the past. Even the easy images seemed to be chore, and in my mind chore = not having fun.  So, what to do?  In my case, I'm still working to move forward, but essentially it has meant stepping out from behind the viewfinder and re-engaging myself in some of the fundamentals of photography.  

I've spent some time re-reading and re-re-reading books by Freeman Patterson and Yousuf Karsh, to reaffirm the value of creating strong composition and conveying passion in your images.  I've also re-listened to many of the fantastic podcast interviews Ibarionex Perello has with some of the top photographers in the world over at The Candid Frame.com, where I caught this great quote by Paul Gero about working to create your own style: " ... if they are noticing the technique, they are not noticing the content of the photograph".

I've moderated my latté habit to a more manageable level, and have in turn invested those funds in frequent trips to the Craft & Vision website to pick up e-books by the likes of David duChemin and Andrew S. Gibson, projects that they have created to showcase their voice.  I've spent time visiting blogs and sites of photographers such as Don Giannatti, Joe McNally, and Chase Jarvis ... folks who are willing to give back to their craft so selfishlessly & passionately, and not get caught up in the negativity that can be so pervasive everywhere these days.

Further to that, I have created my own photographic "project", a personal assignment I can use to motivate me through the times when I struggle for that motivation - where I can embrace the impending seasons of change - one with no defined deadline or pressure to complete other than from my own edification .

Above all, like the balloon in the top image, I'm letting go- and allowing myself to explore new direction within my photography without forcing convention.  To find my voice, my own style - something that I know I will not find within a Photoshop action or a Lightroom preset. 

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Finally, this image below was shot up at Edgemont Village in North Vancouver, while I was wandering around during their summer Evenings in Edgemont outdoor music concert series (a great family event, btw, held every Friday evening through July and August!).  Nothing special, the moment just spoke to me.

2010-07-16 030
2010-07-16 030