I need a break. I need a break. I need a photo break.
I need a photo break. I’ve had enough. I’m done. Can’t we stop already?
Will it ever stop snowing? Raining? Blowing?
I’m tired of my work. I’m tired of my life. I’m tired of where I live. I’m tired of what I do.
I’m outta here.
Does this sound like you? Is this the voice in your head?
As winter grinds on (and it does for those of us in the northern hemisphere), does the urge to ESCAPE overwhelm you?
Some do just that, escape to a tropical paradise. But for the rest of us… we need a different solution.
Photography is easily neglected in winter.
We argue that it’s too cold, too dark. (With our apologies to our friends in the southern hemisphere who are experiencing the opposite. Your turn will come.) Our energy has been zapped by the holiday celebrations and we’ve got nothing left with which to be creative.
All true, perhaps, but not necessarily true forever. You can pick up your camera, dress for the weather, and find inspiration, and dare I say, energy, in the darkest days of the year. If it’s dark, bring your tripod.
You can take a break from your daily tasks and use your camera for a mini-vacation in your home community. How do those favourite spots look now? A fresh layer of snow can give the most ordinary scene a new coat. Do those favourite spots look different in the dark, by streetlight?
Are you usually a daytime-in-the-sunshine shooter?
Reenergize your photography by trying a different time of day. Dawn comes late now and can be remarkably energizing. Bring your tripod, and if it’s cold, dress your tripod for the weather. Thanks to an ingenious friend, my tripod now has styrofoam pipe insulation protecting my mittened hands from it’s cold metal! And for my cold hands? A mitten with a fingertip hole for my shutter finger. When rain is a risk, take a plastic bag to keep your camera dry.
Pro Tip: If it’s below freezing temperatures, when you come back indoors, grab your SD card — so you can see what you’ve got — but throw your jacket over your camera to let it come back to room temperature gradually. A quick temperature change can lead to fogging up your lens and more.
Still not feeling inspired?
Find a theme project, make yourself a collection of similar-but different photos. Or try a photo-a-day challenge for a month. The internet is awash with variations on photo challenges.
Here are a few to whet your appetite.
As I said here in my 365 article, doing a 365 project gives me a sustained surge of creative energy.
I’ve been out in the snow, up to my knees. Out at dawn. Playing with long exposures in the dark. And after every ‘I need my 365 jaunt’, I’ve come home with more energy than I left the house with.
How to take a photo break:
- Grab your camera.
- Dress for the weather.
- Go for a walk — or drive.
- Let go of any expectations about what you’ll photograph.
- Use this time as a break from your regular life.
- Use this time as an escape from what you have to do.
And, if this short photo break doesn’t work, join our online course: Take a Break: Photography for Self-care and we’ll inspire you even more.
So, do you have any other tips for taking a photo break?
We’d love to hear them. Let us know in the comments.
By Ruth Bergen Braun
In my day job, I’m a professional counsellor in Lethbridge, Alberta. (See my professional website here ruthbergenbraun.com) I work with clients who have a variety of life struggles — depression, anxiety, relationship issues, bereavement, trauma, and past and/or current abuse.
I have loved photography since my darkroom days as a teenager — long before we ever imagined the fun of digital photography. I joke that I’m so old that I took my first photography course B.C. — before computers. I have taken and enjoyed Marlene’s courses, both the Ruzuku format and Marlene’s content. I often recommend her website and online courses to people who want to learn more about both the art and technology of digital photography. I also have recommended her courses as “a gift to yourself” and thus, the idea for our course on using photography as self-care was born.
Follow my photography journey on my Facebook page.
Ruth’s blog posts:
- Photography as a gift
- Ruth’s first hybrid portrait
- 365: One photo per day for one year
- Pondering Imperfection
Ruth and Marlene co-teach Take a Break: Photography for Self-Care