Thursday, March 7, 2013

Weekend Retreat...........

The other day I shared an image I took at our local park on Saturday. That was just one of many images I took and/or worked on this past weekend.

My husband was out of town, so I decided to have little "retreat"which began Friday evening. During this time, I discovered quite a bit about myself and the way I work.

For starters (and I think I have mentioned this before), I believe my attraction to iPhone photography has to do with the small screen used while processing. Many people I know process on an iPad, but for numerous reasons I don't do that. I find the small screen of my phone frees something up in me. I can sit anywhere and process to my heart's content without my inner perfectionist ruining the fun. 

This is not the case when I am working in Photoshop on a 27" monitor. The critics in my head come out in full force and do not shut up. "That's not sharp enough"......"That's too sharp"..........."That's boring"............"That's been done before"..............

What happens is I work on an image to death and if I like it, I share it. But for every one piece I share, there are ten others that are abandoned.

This is why I share many more iPhone images than ones made with my Nikon.

With no concrete plans this past weekend, I decided to challenge myself. First of all, I stayed within a 2 mile radius of my house, only venturing out to photograph at the park or to get coffee. On Sunday I never even got in my car. (I am grateful there is a Starbucks within walking distance of my house!) I had made a pot of chicken and vegetable curry Friday night that fed me all weekend!

©2013 Dianne Poinski
Another one from the park...........

If I wasn't taking pictures, I was at my computer. I systematically started going through my entire Lightroom catalog, picking images I wanted to work on. Knowing I had the entire weekend to play and experiment made me a little giddy.

I also discovered this weekend that having open ended time allows for a groove or a flow to develop. And that's what happened!

©2013 Dianne Poinski
River fog image from a couple of months ago.........

Things started clicking. I was trying new techniques, seeing new possibilities, but most important, I was not spending hours on one image. In order to not overwork a piece, I was limiting the attention I gave to each one and I believe that's what led to the surge of energy and creativity. As a result, I am sitting on about thirty almost finished, new images. Many of them are from photographs I shot months, even years ago, while others I shot during the weekend.

©2013 Dianne Poinski

©2013 Dianne Poinski
Marin Headlands................December 2012

©2013 Dianne Poinski
Poppy........taken on Saturday

©2013 Dianne Poinski

I won't bore you with any more, but I am sure I will be sharing other images from the marathon later.

During all of this, I felt like a writer that had just crushed through their block. I had banished the demons from my head for the weekend and concentrated on just doing what felt good, what felt right and what was fun. 

By the time my husband came home, I was ready to interact with other people again. I had missed him, but felt really good about the work I had done. I was relaxed and my creative well was full. 

The retreat was a success in that I learned how destructive perfectionism is to the artistic process. (I knew this already of course.........). The next time I find myself obsessing over an imagined fatal flaw in an image, I will try to remember the flow I was experiencing and either move on to another one or simply relax and let it go...........

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