It’s been a lean summer photographically. As fall
approaches, my folder of good summer images is painfully thin.
I suspect my lack of production this season has multiple
factors. One would be the professional distractions mentioned in the article
below. Having a lot on one’s mind, with the stress that goes along with it, can
definitely dampen the creative drive.
I also think that I’ve developed a bit of photographic
fatigue. Though I have traveled a bit this summer, for the most part I have work, and thus have to and stay close to home, driving though the same places I have been through before.
Often, I will see an interesting scene and then realized that I already have an image of it in my archives somewhere.
Sometimes it is worthwhile reshooting the scene if light is
better, or to acquire it with a higher quality imager, but that can seem tedious
relative to finding a novel subject for capture.
As I get older, I have become more discriminating. For
better or for worse, I am more selective on when I trip the shutter. I think I
have a better sense of “what works” in terms of good landscapes. I pass on
scenes I might have shot in the past.
Another issue is the loss of scenery caused by development.
On of my favorite local areas to shoot is the Butler Township-Conygyham Valley region of Pennsylvania, outside of city of Hazleton. I have a branch
office in the area; on a Monday afternoon after office hours, I like to drive
around, looking for scenic spots.
Problem is, that over the past 10 years, so many if the farms have succumbed to development, that the former scenic vistas are now cluttered with new houses. I have many images that would be nice to reshoot, but it is now impossible because the “view shed” has been corrupted.
Finally I think that believe that a portion of my decreased output
can be blamed on White Nose Disease.
Yes – I’m talking about the fungal infection responsible for
a huge decline in the Northeastern U.S. bat population.
At Nescopeck State Park, for instance where I often
hike, there is a large “bat house” erected in the park above an informational
display about the little winged creatures. In summers past, standing
underneath, one could hear the scratching and the cries of parent bats and
their pups, and note the telltale splashes of guano on the ground below. Not now, as the house is silent, the grass, unstained.
Now, I do a lot of shooting while hiking. The loss of the bats, combined with a wet spring and summer means that the flying insect population has seriously increased. I rarely had a problem with Mosquitoes before. Now when I stop walking to photograph something, I am swarmed upon by hundred of the pesky critters.
Forget carrying a tripod, you’d be bled dry before you could set it up. The best I could manage during this season have been a few “grab shots” before being assaulted and forced to start moving again.
I miss bats. I rarely see one anymore. Interestingly we had
one in the house several weeks ago which we gently caught and released into the night. Hopefully he or she is resistant to the fungus, hungry… and prolific.
Hopefully the onset of autumn will rekindle my enthusiasm a
Maybe I need to challenge myself, for instance limiting my
photography perhaps to a single focal length, subject, or theme.
Or, I need to buy some better insect repellent.