A look back - "Ghost Aspen"

I realized something, a while back. I have a bunch of photographs on this website – but most of them (my ‘older’ ones, at least) have never had their story told.

So, from time to time, I’m going to revisit some of my favorite images, and share a little about them.

If you would like to read more posts, in this series, just click the ‘A Look Back’ text on the right, at the top of the ‘Categories’ section.


I created this image at 8:27 am on September 6th, 2009. I got creative on November 21st, 2011 at 7:40 pm.


I'm on a panorama kick lately.

The number of panoramic photographs in my collection is smaller than the 'standard' format images.

As I mentioned in my Panorama Photography Tutorial, not every scene lends itself to the panorama format.

Perhaps that's why I'm drawn to them that much more.

About a year and a half ago, I went through a creative 'funk'. And I don't mean the James Brown variety of funk.

While the cause of this funk was not related directly to photography (it was actually my expectations of its rewards), I treated it as if it were.

However, I believe the lesson still applies.

Initially, I thought that I needed to get back to the basics. Work on the fundamentals. Go back to my roots, and spend more time in the field working on 'classical' compositions.

You know, wide angle landscapes with strong foreground subjects and dramatic lighting.

But actually, as I am understanding now (reading Steven Pressfield's 'The War of Art'),

the idea of returning to fundamentals is the antithesis of pursuing a creative path.

The concept (of going back to the basics) is flawed. Fundamentalism traps us in historical conviction, and quite literally, turns off the creative drive.

How can we actually grow, if we use the past as a guide.

You can only move forward, by looking in that direction. Otherwise you are just doomed to repeat the past.

And while that 'past' may produce beautiful art, you are not creating.

You are replicating.

You have to try new things, experiment, venture into new genres, abstractions.

Push yourself beyond the comfortably (and ultimately, complacent) boundaries of what you have done, so you can realize what you can do.

In my situation, the solution was not found simply by creating different art, 'stretching my creative muscles', or searching for a new medium.

It was realizing, and realigning my motivation to create. But, like I said, I think the lesson is still worthwhile.

You may have noticed my opening line in today's post - "I got creative on November 21st, 2011 at 7:40 pm."

Although I photographed this scene in fall, of 2009, I decided to play around with it in Photoshop. Historically, I had been a strong proponent of sticking to realism in my own photography. As if it had the same dogged rules to follow that journalism does. But regardless of my history, I decided to mess around with a concept I had in my head. I was able to mix real with surreal and create something entirely new.

I was no longer replicating.


If you'd like to learn how you can make your own surrealistic blurs (for panorama images or any format!), here's a step-by-step tutorial on how I created my digital panning blur.