(Psst! Don't want to read the whole entry? Click here to go straight to the album!)
I don't know why I stayed away from my camera for so long. I honestly can't offer you any sort of valid explanation or excuse. There were so many days where I told myself, "Get up. Go take a picture. This is the thing you love to do. You live in NYC. It's impossible not to find something interesting to see." And then I didn't get up. I didn't do the thing I love to do. I just shrank back inside myself to hide. I was like this for months.
I spoke to a friend about this feeling recently, about how it's like an emotionally dulling blanket or haze of a never-ending lazy Sunday hanging over you. I wasn't depressed or hating the world, but I had somehow let some sort of irrational fear infiltrate my thoughts and create a hesitancy to do anything related to taking photos. The fear was so irrational that I can't even explain what exactly I was afraid of--probably whatever thing gave me the best excuse to not pick up my camera and leave the house on any given day.
But it's ridiculous. What was there to be afraid of? I'm just taking photographs, not being offered the chance to do open-heart surgery on an infant. So a couple of days ago, I left the house with my camera, lenses, and tripod in hand (well...on my back).
In order to help motivate myself, I created a plan with some loose goals that I wanted to achieve that day. My overall goal wasn't to produce jaw-dropping images or even a cohesive collection; rather, I knew I had to shake off the dust and take baby steps to regain my confidence. I needed to get back to basics and just play. I decided to head to Central Park because it would provide a great mix of nature, architecture, and people. I also wanted to use two lenses in particular--my Rokinon 8mm Ultra Wide Angle f/3.5 Fisheye Lens and my EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM telephoto lens. I love the fisheye because it makes me think about more creative angles, and I love the telephoto because it let's me grab more intimate moments without being in a subject's face (which is still awkward for me and a problem if I plan to try and do more street photography...but like I said, baby steps). I also brought along my tripod and shutter remote to set up certain shots. I ended up not using it as much as I intended, but it was still great to have it on hand.
Yikes, I was rusty. I was so, so rusty. But I found that with each click and new shot I tried to find, it got easier. It also helped that the Park was bustling with life that day. The plants, the people, the general vibe--it was one of renewal and hope. It was exactly what I needed.
When it came time to edit the photos, I also made it a goal to get back into the swing of how to editorialize and how to decide what I wanted the final image to look like. True to life? Clearly manipulated? Badly Photoshopped? I don't like to use filters too often or just for the sake of using them, but I made myself play with the images and adjust settings manually to figure out which styles and looks appealed to me or worked for the photos. As you'll see in the Album, I didn't pick a single streamlined look for the collection. I generally don't like to do that, but this was an exercise and attempt to find inspiration--so you'll just have to deal with that [enter new, racially diverse winky emoji here].
So check out the full album here if you want to see more of my attempts to get back on the horse. Hopefully, I'll have more new photos and blog entries for you sooner rather than later!