9 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Stale

Chase Jarvis posted a great article on what he does when he’s feeling stale. You may not feel like making a major life change, but reading his list might give you some ideas.

7. Carry a sketchbook or an iPhone. All the times in my life when I’ve been on the creative rocketship have included a sketchbook as a part of my daily routine. I’ve never sat down and particularly drawn a ton, but I jot notes, make sketches, and take notice of things that inspire me. For me, this has really transformed into a role for my iPhone. The camera is my visual notebook – a snap here or there, a dissection of the visual vocabulary around me. I couldn’t live without it. Voice memos that I mail to myself in brief moments of inspiration, or notes I jot and send myself via email. Whether it’s a notebook or a handheld computer or a pc you use for games and learn how to gain rank in csgo, the important thing is that you’re recording ideas, inspiration, emotions for later reconsideration.

Read the full article here.

2nd Annual Worldwide Photowalk


Julie and I recently signed up for the 2nd Annual Worldwide Photowalk in New Orleans.

This event, sponsored by Scott Kelby, Adobe, NAPP and a host of other companies, will be held on July 18th in cities all over the world.

A photowalk is nothing more than a group of photographers walking around taking pictures, then getting together at the end to talk about the day and show off their images. It’s a wonderful chance to get inspired, to meet new people, and to see how other photographers see the world.

Last year’s photowalk included 236 cities in 47 countries, with over a million photographs taken by 8,324 photographers.

We went last year, and the images in this post are some of what we came back with.

We started on the Canal Street Ferry for photos of the sunrise over the river, then caught the streetcar to the Garden District for a wander around the beautiful homes and cemeteries.

20080918184715_080823-2397Then we caught the streetcar back for a walk around the French Quarter before finishing up with lunch and sharing images.

The participants in this sponsored photowalk will (if they want) upload their images to groups on Flickr. All the images from our group last year are here on Flickr.

The photowalk leader in each city will pick out the best image from the day, and the photographer will receive Scott Kelby’s latest book, Digital Photography 3. The best images from each city will be reviewed by Scott Kelby, and the best overall image will get a grand prize, which includes a full version of Adobe Creative Suite, a Wacom Tablet, and two tickets to Photoshop World.

It’s a great way to spend a day.  We’re looking forward to it.


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Familiar Things

“In order to see, you must first forget the name of the thing you are looking at.”

— Monet

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen leaves in my pool and thought only about the effort it would take to skim them out. I’ve seen them so many times that each one became a familiar label: “leaf in pool”.

APAD-20D-041111-5183 One day, though, while making an effort to see things in a different way, I looked harder at the leaf, and began to See it. 

I saw the colors; the beautiful blue-cyan shades, the aging brown. I saw the shapes; the symmetry of the leaf, the velvet-like signs of surface tension in the water.

And I saw something other than “leaf in pool”. The label was gone, or at least temporarily misplaced.

When we are children, we think primarily in pictures, not in words. But as we learn the analytical skills of an adult, we depend less and less on the part of the brain that encourages visual thinking. This pattern becomes so established the we try to label everything we see. We rule out visual exploration, and concentrate on the data. How many of us, when photographing a bird, are concerned about the species more than the image?

FP-10D-040131-7624 I fell into this rut (“Oh, that’s an ordinary bird”). By doing this, all I saw was a bird.

I didn’t see how the sun from behind gave him a gorgeous rim-lighting, how he cocked his head to look at me with a very obvious curiosity.

If we want to learn to see, we need to learn to learn the recognize the value of the familiar.

How can we do this? This first thing we need to do is slow down.

“This benefit of seeing… can come only if you pause a while, extricate yourself from the maddening mob of quick impressions ceaselessly battering our lives, and look thoughtfully at a quiet image… the viewer must be willing to pause, to look again, to meditate. ”

— Dorothea Lange

mirrorcandle Try this: Close yourself into the bathroom. Give yourself at least twenty minutes to take ten images. If you aren’t feeling desperation by the tenth image, take ten more.

Force yourself to look at familiar objects in a new way. Look at things you see each and every day, and try to look at them as if you’re seeing them for the first time.

Take what you’ve learned and try it someplace else. Try another room, or your backyard. In my bathroom, I found a candle and two mirrors. A little experimentation, and I came up with this.

Abandon your labels. Learn to See.