Craig Tanner talks about sometimes needing to give himself permission to shoot at first. Firing off 20 or 30 random shots, just to get moving. It gets you past that feeling that every shot has to be worthwhile or meaningful and just lets you engage and get to work.
This is one of the problems with doing your photography in Magical Far Away Places – because you can’t be there constantly, each time you go you have to run yourself up the creative on-ramp and the entire length of the creative acceleration lane before you really get moving photographically.
I found the above snippet from Gordon’s post to be particularly resonant. When I was doing most of my photography on the coast, each trip I would commit to starting out by just opening the shutter on whatever caught my eye, without any expectation that the first photos I made would be any good. And, indeed, the very first photos I made on each trip were, without exception, meretricious crud. What surprised me later, though, was that often while I was on the beach, the feeling that I was getting nothing but crud persisted for quite a long time, but later examination of the film when I processed it would show that the good stuff started long before I felt I was on a roll.
I found that to be a helpful lesson – I’m a bad editor in the field. I can’t reliably tell if the photo I’m about to take is crud (which happens a lot) or a gem (happens rarely). The answer, as always, is to learn to ignore the censor part of my brain that stubbornly insists “Paul, what are you doing? This is crap! Go get breakfast!” and just keep going, pointing the camera at the scene that catches my attention and steadfastly letting the shutter go.