Another week, another photography assignment extracted from Harold Davis article series Becoming a More Creative Photographer. The third assignment reads as follows:
Your assignment: Wait until you are feeling no inspiration and stuck in a rut. Choose a single lens, set it at a single focal length, and use aperture-preferred metering to choose one f-stop. Start taking photos. I guarantee that you will be surprised with what you come up with. This exercise is a great way to reinvigorate your photography generally and get out of a rut.
This week I had to visit Seattle for a couple of days. I love the trips to Seattle, such a change of pace. Tempted to leave my camera behind since I was not going to have much time for roaming around and, honestly, wasn’t very inspired when it came down to photography. So, before leaving home I decided to check Harold’s next assignment on the list. I just could not believe it. Really? OK. I grabbed my camera and threw it into my backpack and forget about it. The first day went by and after work I was walking back to the hotel. A bit reluctantly, I remembered the assignment and pulled out the camera. Not hard to choose a lens and a focal length. My x100s just has one lens and one focal length (the equivalent of a 35mm). I did not pick an aperture, the camera was on automatic aperture, so heck, who was I to go against the will of my camera.
I started walking on the way back. At the beginning I had to honestly push myself to take random pics. The day was gorgeous and the Fremont and marina area could not be a better scenario. After 20 minutes, I finally warmed up and start thinking about the possibilities around. After 30 minutes, I was wondering why I wanted to left my camera home. Really!? The walk back to the hotel eventually end taking 3 hours. The outcome? I was hocked to my camera again. Also 173 pictures. Yes, some of them are not even worth looking, but a few of them got me pretty happy to have forced me to take the assignment. It was not only about geometry, composition, and exposure. It was also about serendipity. Taking a step back and see what was going around. Would it be better if I wait a few seconds for everything to fall into place? How can I move around to get a different view of the scene unfolding in front of me? What can make this picture not absolutely dull? Anyway, as I said, I was glad that I forced myself to keep on the assignment track and that it got me out of the rut.