Photo of hills in backlight at the afternoon.

Photographer’s block or just bad luck?

Have you ever gone out to take pictures and you just don’t make any? It’s happened to me a few times. Yesterday the afternoon looked nice and I went on the road to nearby Irazu volcano to photograph nice clouds and the landscape below. I don’t know if I was just too focused in this particular type of image or the weather did not help  but I spent the first two hours wandering around without seeing any images.

I was frustrated and I decided to change my point of view by driving back. All the time I was hoping to find landscape and front or side-lit clouds. Now I was facing the setting sun and desperately hoped I would see something that would resonate with my vision, even if I had to change my intentions.

Drizzle from the mountain began to fall towards the west and all of a sudden the air filled with gold. Light was beautiful but there was no subject! I stopped the car in front of two large live oak trees and made… a nice colored but boring picture of two trees. After kicking myself in the rear for wasting precious minutes (the sun goes down really fast in the tropics) I tried to relax and think about the situation.

What was nice about the drizzle? Its golden color in backlight. Shoot just the drizzle? No way: it looks good in relation to the surroundings. Was there a subject in that direction? I walked to the edge of the road and looked downhill. The photo you see here is just what I saw and I only needed to walk around a bit to make sure the leafless tree was in a nice place relative to the horizon. Straight shot. Just a bit of curves adjustment to keep the gold in the drizzle.

Photo of hills in backlight at the afternoon.
The first click worth keeping of the afternoon. Road to Irazu Volcano, Cartago, Costa Rica. Click to enlarge.

So, did I have photographer’s block and I overcame it, or did lady luck finally smile at me?

I don’t want to know.

I got a keeper.

Has this happened to you before? Do you think Photographer’s block actually exists?

14 thoughts on “Photographer’s block or just bad luck?”

  1. Quando saia sem destino para fotografar, acontecia que umas vezes tinha sorte, outras não!
    Agora passo o meu tempo a observar e a apontar na memória cada um dos momentos que gostaria de registar e quando as condições estiverem reunidas, lá sai o click! Mas a câmara está quase sempre por perto e se um momento surge eu tento registar.
    A minha câmara fotográfica é mais importante que o meu telemóvel! Mas o telemóvel também tem uma câmara!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the angles in this image. A friend of mine would say that ‘expectations are unfulfilled resentments’ and it does kind of connect with a photographer’s life, especially if you photograph daily. I’ve learned to take each day in stride and look for those opportunities even on the crappy, flat light days. Sometimes it just gets me looking deeper and photographing something that I would never in a million years have considered shooting. You persisted and were rewarded…lady luck rewards the persistent!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I do think photographers block happens. I don’t know if it is a lack of inspiration or just dis-interest, but I have experienced long stretches without exposing a shot. Forcing it to happen doesn’t usually result in “keepers” for me, but I find it better than giving up and doing nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You do have to be in a mood which is conducive to thinking creatively as well. Go out in a funk or a foul mood and nothing will be able to get the creative juices flowing. Better off going home and having a glass of wine to chill out. And there are just days were the weather won’t play ball with lighting as with your discussion above. On those days I tend to look for little things to pick out, eg an interesting but battered old sign, or a grass seed head, made prominent in the image by using a wide aperture to really blur up any distracting background.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve had the same experience. People think that as an experienced photographer, one can make a shot of a plain white sheet of paper interesting. Despite all the planning and research, sometimes there’s nothing to shoot. Many times, it’s that shot you get because you turned around at just the right time. I’d prefer to call it photographer’s luck, sometimes you have lots of it, sometimes, not so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sometimes I forget I am carrying my camera and become engrossed in the world around me. I could have probably taken loads of photographs but sometimes it is nice to be a participant rather than an observer.

    Glad to see a fabulous result from your photographers block 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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