Joan Didion, an American author best known for her novels and literary journalism, once described a ‘bankrupt morning’ as “…where you wake up, devoid of inspiration, for your creative projects.”  She also said, “Nothing is critic-proof.”

I saw her description of a bankrupt morning several months ago, wrote it down, and placed it in a prominent place on my computer desk.  I look at it every time I sit down to work on pictures, and I think about it every time I pick up a camera.  When I started this journey, there was so much to learn and I was so excited and I didn’t have a problem motivating myself to get out, find subjects, and take pictures.  Every now and then, I’d take a break and step away from my cameras for a day or two.  I’d do something else or go visit my photo mentors, and motivation would return.  This week was different.

In the early part of the week, I felt good.  One morning, I saw the clouds over the Sierras so I drove to my favorite pano spot and made this panorama.


As a self-challenge, I’m going to make a pano from this spot at least once a week for the coming year. I hope that Mother Nature cooperates and gives me variety in the scene.

I headed for Taylor Creek to see if the Kokanee were running and attracting the bears.  I found that the Forest Service closed a major portion of Taylor Creek to protect the animals from the stupid people who don’t know how to behave.  I wasn’t in the mood to walk the trails by the Visitor’s Center, so I went to the Big Meadow trail head and hiked up the hill.  I found a little wildlife and tried some panos with trees in the foreground.


In addition to working on my shooting technique, I am experimenting with different ratios. This one is 5:1. I wasn’t sure how much the trees would impact the view. I think it’s a good balance, but wish there was more fall color.


This is a 3:1 ratio, and I was a little higher, so the trees are not as dominant in the scene. I like it, too.


These guys don’t sit still often, unless they think you don’t see them and they can stay hidden.


I tracked this little fella’ for a couple minutes, and he held still long enough for this image.


And this small Chipmunk scurried a bit, and then stopped in this spot – the worst light in the world (bright background and sunny spot on the rock, with him in full shadow). But I got him anyway.

But then, things changed.  I would wake up motivated, but easily talked myself out of going out.  I sat at the computer and started to play with some older images – ones I hadn’t made time to edit, but ran out of emotional energy after a short time.  I was in a PHOTOFUNK!  I stepped away from photography, but found I wasn’t motivated elsewhere, either.  I turned to the books.  Trying to find a little motivation, I opened those expensive ‘how to take this or that picture’ and ‘learn your camera’ books.  I found a new tool in Camera Raw, and tried it out.  I’d been wrestling with an image I made a few weeks ago – great sky or great foreground, but not both at the same time.  This new tool allowed me to get both.  What do you think?


I was in the Pine Nut Mountains, looking northwest. This is a pano made from 10 images, and I shot it for the sky, but I wanted a nice foreground, too. No, I’m never satisfied.  But I’m happy I found the tool that allowed me to get the sky and the foreground.

And I got a call from a customer who had ordered some large prints.  He was back from hunting and we arranged for delivery – he loved the prints.

In spite of these successes, I still have a little bit of PHOTOFUNK left.  I’ll get over it, I know.  I have a show in a couple weeks, and need to get some printing done.  The creative juices will flow – I know it.  And there are those horses and raptors waiting to have a picture taken.

Thanks for listening and ENJOY!  PHOTOROGR

2 thoughts on “PHOTOFUNK…

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