Traveling, or Not

Where I am Finding Inspiration for my Photos

Flower & Vine

The vine that hangs over the fence by my front walkway

Martin Banks
February 23rd, 2021

I took last week off from writing and editing photos and am behind schedule this week because of the break. I'm also behind because I got lost in editing the above photo. Typically, I might spend an hour or two working on an image to get everything just so. I'm not sure how much time I spent on that photo yesterday, but it was most of the day. It's exciting in a way because I got lost in a flow state where time became irrelevant. And I really like how the photo turned out.

But let back up to me taking last week off from writing and editing to talk about why I took the week off and why I didn't really take the week off after all.

Like many of you, who have been experiencing every day in the same quarters, I was bored. I was bored with the same food, the same walk around the neighborhood, and the same things to make photos of. I felt it was time to get out, change things up, and find some new opportunities for making some super cool pictures. I needed to go somewhere.

Camping is my method of getting away in the age of Covid, so I loaded up the truck and headed out to the back-country. I was excited because camping in the isolation of the Southern California wilderness is my happy place. Plus, the outdoors is a great place to practice my photography. I spent the better part of two days driving jeep trails and dusty service roads. My first stop was a primitive campground literally in the middle of nowhere. The gate was closed and locked. I didn't even know it had a gate. Anyway, I drove on, further into the middle of nowhere, exploring side trails as I went, looking for a spot to camp. More gates, closed and locked. What the heck!?

I finally settled into a spot under two giant coastal oak trees. A nearby hill gave me a vantage point for a sunset photo. I experimented with bracketing the exposures to end up with a nicely balanced image once I process it all. Hopefully, I will have that photo to share in a week or so. After spending the night at that campsite relaxing and playing around with different things to photograph, I hit the road again the next morning.

More gates that were locked and places closed that had always been open. I assume some of the closures were by the Indigenous groups who own the property and are keeping their community safe by restricting access to outsiders. It makes sense; I get it. So I worked my way east, checking for backcountry access as I went, and ended up at Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree is fine, but I've been there enough that I am blind to the beauty of the desert. I mean, how many ways can a cactus be photographed and still be interesting? After exploring the park for most of three days, I had enough and headed home.

Back home, while leaving down the front path for a Friday evening walk, my wife spied a vine coming over the fence with delicate yellow flowers. I remarked that I should make photos of the vine in the morning and see what turns out. Well, you can see what turned out. It is the above photo, and I am quite pleased with it.

I don't regret my little journey to the desert and back. It was good to get out for a few days. However, the voice in my head is reminding me that what I went out in search of - was here all along. I just couldn't see it.

Thank you for reading.

I would like to hear your thoughts and comments. If you have a story to share about how you cope with life over the past year of shutdowns and closures, please share it below. I would like to hear from you.