The Great Journey in Photography

Now Go Shoot

Yellow Finch

420mm f13 200iso 1/320sec

Continuing from what I was writing last week, one of the podcasts that I listen to whenever a new episode is released is the Digital Photo Experience with Rick Sammon and Juan Pons. I chose them because I like to listen to the show, it is as simple as that. There is no doubt that many of our choices are personality driven and it helps a lot to enjoy the information you are consuming.

On their last podcast Rick and Juan brought into the conversation a discussion about loosing motivation, how good photographers can get derailed and frankly overwhelmed by the competition and all the niches a modern photographer has to navigate. I thought it was a great conversation bringing up points that many others really don’t say. Anyhow, today I wanted to make just a few comments about maintaining motivation and staying away from the motivation killers.

Introspection is required. you have to do some serious thinking at some point, probably best when you are not in a funk, and id those things that can take the wind out of your sails. It is the little things that tent to trigger the downward spirals, and knowing what they are is the only way to deal with the drive they kill. For me there are a few things that often make me back slide. Probably the biggest culprit that makes me feel puny and insignificant as a photographer is seeing amazing photos from places that I really want to go to but can’t because it is just out of my reach. For example, I get a feed from National geographic that has a photos of the week section. Of course they are amazing images made at amazing places that I would love to visit but probably never will, because I just don’t have the means. After a while that gets depressing, can make one feel a little hopeless and insignificant I suppose.

When gear fouls up I lose time and opportunity to make great images and some times face financial setback. I don’t like that, it puts me in a bad mood and makes it a little less likely that I will get stuff working and get back out shooting as soon as possible.

Then there is a big one-overexpectation. I often set un-realistic goals and when I see that I am nowhere near them it can become discouraging. There is one upside to over expectation though, I am the sort who will never let go. I will keep going back time after time until those expectations become realistic and eventually, reality. It is a long hard bumpy road that always has failure and frustration, if you let it, it will slow you down.

There are ways to stay out of a funk too. Here are three things that work for me.
Take on a project. At any given time I am working on a project. One trick is to create a project that you will start and finish. I like to say it needs to hit MARC. That is, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Controllable. In general you want everything you do to meet MARC and it is essential for these little projects.
Buy some new gear. Probably the best side effect about getting new equipment is that it gets you out shooting. Testing and playing with new “toys” is always an uplifting experience.
Put together a portfolio of no more than 5 or 6 images. I don’t know about others but I now have tens of thousands of bird images and there are several that I consider to be really good quality. Going through the exercise of choosing just 5 of them forces you to review your accomplishments and the places you have been. God willing you will feel a sense of confidence and a lust to do more.

Now Go Shoot!

Thanks so much for reading. You can see more of my work at


One response

  1. Lovely pic!

    August 17, 2012 at 7:02 am

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