There has been an interesting thread on the Leica forum about “photographer’s block”. I am not sure what the warning symptoms are but once you have it then at least for a while you are stuck with it. I was probably born with it and I am sure I shall die with it. Someone suggested the cure is to buy new gear. I think not. If there is one thing I don’t need it is more kit. I have a fair number of once used but now redundant bodies and lenses in the cupboard. Perfectly good Canons, 30D and 40D, even a couple of old film bodies. Some nice P&Ss including an excellent G9. I have an excellent 200mm F2.8 prime but rather on the old side – probably second hand when I bought it. None sees the light of day since I went Leica. Only the telephotos survive with my 1D mk IV for wildlife. No, more kit is not the answer.
I went out at 5.30am today, hoping for a glorious rich sunrise and some inspiration. Disappointment. Still, I learned just how many people are out and about before 6am. The temple in Pak Sha Wan was being opened, the incense coils were being lit, the floors swept and I was probably the first ‘tourist’ of the day.
I was playing with my trusty Noctilux 0.95 and this gave me a lovely shallow DoF. Sometimes I use it wide open just because I can but it does create the most luscious bokeh and bright, creamy images. I am not a landscape man but I did take a couple of pre dawn shots off the pier. Here is one:
I then drove off to photograph the Flame or Phoenix trees (Delonix regia) but was distracted by something much less aesthetically pleasing, namely a scavenging dog. The skinny pooch and his pal were rummaging around inside a torn, upturned, abandoned sofa. Heaven knows what they found to enjoy – maybe some rats or discarded food. They slunk away as I approached but their nerves were overcome by the lure of the lap sap. I edged forward again and as I pressed the shutter I must have crossed the circle of fear and the bolder hound turned smartly away. I used to regard any sort of blur in an image as a sign of technical shortcomings. Now I view motion blur as part of my limited armory of creativity!
This seems to me to work better in B&W. There is no dominant colour in any case. I captioned this simply as The Thief.
The final leg of the outing was back to the local town. Barely 6.45am and some of the cafes were full of people enjoying (?) dim sum. I was quite surprised by how alive the town was. There was a small pavement market going on, a few mats laid out on the walkway as optimistic hawkers tried to sell their wares, from ties to vegetables. I was at a loss to understand who would buy a tie at 6.45am. Almost in unison the cafes emptied and it was then obvious that these were the boat people, breakfasting before starting on a hard day’s labour. The shouts of the boat people replaced the background buzz of breakfast banter.
The hawkers too melted away faster than arctic ice and shortly after 7am the town was more as I had expected. I walked the length of the front as far as the second pier and found the local pilates class. Through my mind went the sound of Joyce Grenfell as the fruity-toned gym mistress from the 1950s films, probably The Girls of St. Trinian’s….. Knees bend, arms stretch.
I hope I can do this when I get to this gentleman’s age.
By the time I reached home it was almost 8am and time for my breakfast. The sunrise was nothing like that of the previous two days but at least I had discovered a different rhythm to the local town. I am now waiting for the inspiration to take hold but whilst I wait I have to go and stop the dog barking. Not the The Thief but a 5.8lb mass of fighting Pomeranian. Good morning, Lulu.