I think I’ve taken a good number of interesting and original photos over the last decade or so. However, I feel as though I’m running out of juice.

This happened once before, which led me to give up photography for a few years. All I could photograph, when it struck, was citroëns and the fens — and then nothing. I don’t want to be that stuck again. (Historic Mechelen got me back to the camera.)

image: backlit tree

Last time, ultimately, I got hacked off with the rectangle: photographs have to be shoved into them, no matter what the subject. I wanted to explore the power of changing the frame to suite the content, but could not do so. Now, digital processing means I am no longer stuck to the sad and tired five by three.

Mind you, I’ve still not escaped those four right angles. I’ve had to accept them because my images are usually presented digitally. It might be slightly optimistic to insist everyone buys devices with circular screens just to view arts & ego.

This time, the root problem arises because I was developing a taste for reflection, and life took me to somewhere with few of them. Luxembourg may have many things, but it does not have skyscraper forests nor chessboards of canals. I’ve found other interesting light, particularly translucent flowers, but flowers, as intense as they can be, are real. Reflections create the unreal. I’d much prefer to photograph things that don’t exist.

There might be a right angle way out of this, though. I know my photographic technique can be poor. I believe that, if I can address the weakness, I can find other ways to photograph. I hope, but am unsure, that this will avoid the risk of getting stuck again. So I’ve decided to give myself the goal of significantly improving my technique.

That’s why I’ve bought a slew of rocky nook books (I find I want to call them rooky nook, as in twitcher). They cover subjects where:

  • I know my skill is lacking, such as exposure;
  • there are new techniques (to me) that can clearly produce interesting results, such as multiple exposures;
  • I think I get good results, but can always learn more, such as composition;
  • there are useful ideas to explore and develop further, such as DIY photography.

There are some other techniques that I have no intention of trying, but I admire the results of those who do, and I’d love to know how they did it. For example, I’d be a useless animal photography: for some reason, wild animals do not respond positively to me shouting “get your arse over here now you f***ing useless piece of ****” — but I love to see excellent animal photos. The same applies to wedding photography: I could never negotiate the personality opera of two complex feuding families coming together for a marriage between their black sheep youth. Perhaps those two are really the same problem.

I’ve peeked at some of these ebooks, and there’s good stuff to read. But the real test will be applying what I learn.