Photography Rut

So last year, I had experienced what every photographer does not want to experience.  It’s something that I like to call “photography rut” or “photographer’s block.”  If you have not guessed what this term means already, photography rut is what I like to refer to as when a photographer becomes uninspired and does not have that passion to shoot photos anymore.  It’s like hitting a wall where the things that you use to enjoy photographing is now boring to you and you can’t find new material to photograph- kind of like a writer experiencing a “writer’s block,” but instead it’s a photographer who doesn’t know what to photograph.

When I had experienced my photography rut last year, I didn’t expect it to happen so soon because I had only been serious about photography for about 5 years (which to me doesn’t seem that long).  Usually when I see something that I want to photograph, I become excited and inspired. But during my photography rut, I did not feel the desire to shoot pictures, especially things that I would usually take pictures of.  I began to notice my rut during the spring/summer time last year, which was the time when I would go crazy over the blooming flowers.  Don’t get me wrong, I was still excited to see flowers blooming (and who wouldn’t after being stuck in cold, snowy and sloppy weather for 3 months!), but I just didn’t have that desire to photograph them like how I use to.  Every year, I would shoot the same flowers.  It was a bit of a vicious cycle where if I had taken a “great” picture of them last year, I would try to achieve the same shot again, but also try to get different angles, aperture, etc.  However, last year, I felt like I had already accomplished what I wanted out of my pictures of these flowers and didn’t need to “up” my game because what’s the point?  It’s the same thing anyways?  I got a good picture before, don’t need to do the same thing again, right?  So, because of this thought-process and because last year was a terrible season for flowers and plants, I lost inspiration.  I was also experiencing a personal matter, which I didn’t think would affect my creativity, but it did greatly.  HOWEVER, things have settled down now and I am happy to say that I’m out of my “rut” and am happily shooting pictures away 🙂

Here are some pictures that I’ve taken recently:

Cupid Blowing Orchid Kisses

Cupid Blowing Orchid Kisses

Striped Orchid

Striped Orchid

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Robin

Robin

Magnolias

Magnolias

So my words of advice for those of you who are currently experiencing a “photography rut” is don’t fight it.  Yeah it’s going to suck and you may feel like a crappy photographer, but eventually you’ll be back in your groove.  Hey it may take a couple weeks, months, a year (or more!), but there will be a day where you are going to pick up that camera (and not feel like you have to, but you want to) and you’ll feel rejuvenated and inspired to take pictures.

Another tip that might work, but it might work against you is looking at other photographer’s work.  For example, like I said before, I tend to take pictures of flowers and so usually I’ll study the technique of other nature photographers who I admire.  This way, it inspires me to go and take a picture of a flower using their technique.  The reason I say this might work against you is that you may get frustrated because you can’t seem to achieve a similar shot or you lack the resources.  What I mean by this is that you don’t have the right setting or resources to take that perfect picture that you are aiming for.  For example, I love pictures taken in a farmer’s field, forest woods, sunset by the ocean/beach or of architectural buildings.  Maybe you don’t live near a farmer’s field, ocean/beach, have those cool architectural buildings around, or even have people willing to have their picture taken in these kinds of settings.  So, then you become frustrated and uninspired to pick up your camera and continue along the path of being in a “photographer’s rut.”

Anyways, there are some other great tips out there (I’ve added the links below), but I think the number one thing is don’t force it.  You’ll know when you want to take pictures again and feel passionate about it- Trust me.

Have you experienced a photography rut before?  How did you deal with it?  Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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The Daunting Project

I call this post “The Daunting Project” because this art project is probably one of the main reasons why I’m blogging and I’m hoping my blog will motivate me to tackle this project.  So what am I talking about?  Well, let me tell you…

The “daunting” art project that I’m referring to is a scenic painting of Fan Tan Alley in Victoria, British Columbia.  Located in Chinatown, it is five feet wide, and is recognized as Canada’s narrowest street!  This popular tourist attraction is a narrow red brick alley containing several shops and restaurants.  If you’ve been here before, it’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Diagon alley from Harry Potter!  Below are some pics of the alley that my parents took a few years ago.

IMG_0874fantanalley

IMG_0875fantanalley

IMG_0876fantanalley

IMG_0879fantanalley

So as you can see, Fan Tan Alley would make an interesting painting, right?  Yes it would, BUT I’m planning to paint Fan Tan Alley on a 48″ x 60″ canvas (yikes)!  Not only will this painting be the biggest canvas that I’ve ever painted to date, but it’ll also be my first architectural/city scene painting!  Now, I’m not too concern that it’ll be my first time painting buildings; that I feel I can handle, although I know I may face some challenges/frustration.  What I’m more wary about is the logistics of the whole thing in terms of how MASSIVE this piece is and HOW I’m going to set up my workspace.  When I paint, I usually set up my workspace in the breakfast nook at the kitchen table- computer, palette, brushes and paints on the table, and floor easel off to the side of the table facing the window.  If you can imagine a 48″ x 60″ canvas, the canvas is too big to fit on an easel.  Yes, I could rest the canvas against a wall, but having enough room to move around and sufficient lighting may be an issue for me.  Another option would be to register to an open art studio, but I don’t feel I would be as productive- it might be something I’ll have to explore though.  Just talking about this project makes me want to avoid it, but anxious to do it!

I’ve been wanting to paint this piece for quite some time now. Each year I’ll be like, “I’m going to paint Fan Tan Alley this year!” and I end up getting cold-feet about it or something else comes up that needs more of a priority.  So this massive blank piece of canvas is just sitting there, in the basement, waiting for me.  So like I said before, I hope this blog will motivate me to at least get me started in painting this piece.

However…

(Not) Surprisingly enough, I’m going to have to put Fan Tan Alley on hold because I’m going to be showcasing my work in an art show in June!  Just when I thought I’d start painting Fan Tan Alley, something else comes up…

Do you have a daunting art project that you’ve been meaning to tackle, but haven’t had a chance to get around to it yet?  Or do you have an art project that you started, but lost motivation along the process?  How do you get yourself motivated when you know there are going to be challenges ahead?  Let me know by leaving a comment below!

My First Post!

Welcome to Sonia Seto Studios!  I’m excited to have my blog finally up and running since it’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time now.  I’m typically a private person, so this is kind of a big deal for me in terms of comfort zone!

First, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about myself. I am a biologist who also happens to love art! When I was little, I was always drawing and making up stories with my crayons and coloured pencils.  Drawing was something that felt natural to me and felt good at it.  But when I got older and life became more serious, I decided to concentrate more on sciences because I loved animals and became interested in researching and figuring out how things worked and why things function the way they do. With that being said, creating art was more of a hobby to me during my university years.  However, now I am at a stage in my life where I want to take my art more seriously and want to try and find a balance between my two loves- art and science.

I am a self-taught artist who enjoys drawing and painting, but not limited to explore other avenues such as digital painting.  Thanks to my mom, when I had graduated from high school, she encouraged me to continue drawing and painting because she believed it was a skill that could easily be forgotten and knew that my art skills would improve over the years if I just kept at it. For one of my high school art projects, I was inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s style and decided to continue along that path by creating macro views of flowers using acrylic paint.  This required lots of references to look at, so not only did I love painting, I was also drawn to photography.  To me, photography still seems relatively new to me, but once I get into it, my creativity starts flowing and gives me a whole new perspective.

“My creative journey to discover, grow, and inspire,” is exactly what my blog is all about.  As a self-taught artist, I will be documenting and sharing with you my triumphs and failures as I attempt to explore the world of art.  This blog will also help motivate me to tackle some art projects/challenges that I’ve been ignoring :S.  I also hope that this blog would be used as a learning tool by other self-taught artists out there who are seeking answers (or need someone to relate to!) as I share some of my tips and tricks.

Thanks for stopping by and leave a comment below!  I would love to hear from you 🙂

(If you have not seen my “About” page already, the image below describes me perfectly!)

(Illustration credited to Rosemary Mosco, birdandmoon.com)