Photographic Saturation – Knowing When To Stop And Breathe

In the last four weeks or so, aside from mostly family snaps with my camera phone, I can count the number of photographs I’ve made with my “proper” cameras on one hand.

Which, for a usually fairly prolific photographer like me, is most unusual.

So what’s going on, and should I be concerned that my photographic mojo forgot to wake me up before it got up and go go’d?

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Well, no, I’m not worried. It genuinely feels like I’m entering a new chapter of my photography.

Rather suddenly, I feel like I’m done with exploring new (to me) cameras.

My recent experiments with 4MP digital cameras proved I don’t need anything more than that, and certainly not more than the main 10MP and 12MP digitals I use most.

Also, overcoming my initial disappointments with the Lumix LX3 (aided mostly by foam tape and grip tape in equal measure!) I now really enjoy using it, if not quite as much as my “holy trinity” of the Pentax Q, Ricoh GX100 and Ricoh GRD III.

I don’t need to look any further for digital compacts that make me happy and deliver the goods.

Furthermore, buying my most recent camera, the Lumix GF1, has given me a great option to use my favourite old M42 lenses, which were gathering dust somewhat.

A final purge to sell my last remaining kit, means that bar a few bits and pieces, I’m down to the leanest and most satisfying kit of five cameras I’ve had for about five years. 

With family trips and holidays falling recently anyway, it just seemed to fit in with this becoming a period where I ease off, and take a deep breath or two, before resuming with my favoured few.

A side interest in cycling resurfacing after a couple of barren years has also occupied some of my time, both online (researching, learning, window shopping) and offline (actually riding the damn things), that I previously filled with photography in similar ways.

So what’s next? 

I have plans this weekend to get out with a camera again, most likely the GF1 with its native 12-32mm lens which has seen barely any action thus far. I’m keen to see how it compares in use with the LX3, as they cover almost exactly the same focal range.

I also want to look at ways of merging these two hobbies a little more, and rather than driving to local churches and favoured rural spots, parking up and wandering from there with cameras, I’m going to try cycling to a few of the nearest ones, chaining my bike up, and wandering instead.

It feels like an exciting new phase, but a reassuringly very calm and simple one. If that makes any sense. I feel relief more than anything, that the searching is done, and the future will be purely about making photos and enjoying those five gems I now have.

How about you, have you reached points in the past where you feel saturated with cameras and photography and have taken a break? How long did it last, and how it work out? 

Please let us know in the comments (and remember to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.

13 thoughts on “Photographic Saturation – Knowing When To Stop And Breathe”

  1. I completely understand where your coming from in this blog. I’m still very much at the beginning of my photography journey but part of the keen interest so far has been trying out different cameras that I’ve been adding to my collection, so similar shots of where I live haven’t quite bored me yet as each camera is a bit different. However, now I’ve made a decision not to buy any further cameras I’m very aware that if I don’t broaden my horizons on a regular basis of where I take photos, I’m going to get very bored of the same (or very similar) shots of Brighton 😐

    1. I think there’s much to be said about photographing the same subjects and honing our craft ever closer. I don’t think I’m bored of the subjects I photograph, just of the the buying and testing spiral.

      Didn’t realise you were in Brighton, I’m only about 15 miles north of you.

  2. Best advice … shoot a roll of film on a particular theme. If you haven’t read any of The Tightfistedphotography blog take a look at this…
    https://tightfistedphotography.wordpress.com/tag/looking-down/
    I’ve found this a really good way to find new inspiration even in locations that I thought I’d completely exhausted. I’m often surprised by how much time I can actually spend looking, finding and shooting images I’d not noticed before..

    Shooting a different format is also quite good. If you can get a cheap medium format camera – even if it’s just a box brownie – you’ll have lots of opportunity to see familiar places in a different light.

    Home developing black and white film in Caffenol can be very exciting (and cheap) – the moment when I take the reel out of the tank and pull off the first few frames of a well (or even not so well) developed set of negatives has a magic about it that still thrills me!

    1. Nigel, themes are a great idea whether we’re feeling stuck or not. I’d say I have several long term themes, subjects I keep returning back to. But choosing specific short term projects based on a word or subject or place always encourages further experimentation beyond our usual approach.

  3. Guess you noticed that I’ve taken an extensive breathing break from photography too. Sometimes you just have to stop and think about who you are, what you want from life and how to go on.

    I can reassure you (or scare you) that photography still takes up a large part of my mind. I just have to find the means to let it out again.

    Gear has definitely taken the back seat by now… wven film photography seems to have lost some attraction for me. Where will I go now? Dunno? But certainly my mind will stay in the photographic rut!

    1. I think the space things take in our mind is a very interesting point.

      I’ve noticed very recently since getting into bikes again, I’m often think about them now rather than cameras. I think my mind just needs some subject or other to occupy it, something to ponder and focus on. I’ll be publishing a post about this very soon!

  4. I took a break from having photography in my day everyday as my photos were becoming tedious and repetitious and stale. Now thanks to you Dan I am back taking one or more photos each day. Fancy me taking more photos than you in a month!!! xoxo susanJOY

  5. I feel the same as you, relief that the searching is over! I am extremely happy with my one film SLR 🙂 and I am looking at a digital camera that follows a similar form factor to replace my D50 and GX7. A secondhand Fujifilm XT-1 may well be in my future …. Then I will be down to 4 cameras: two “proper” ones, my Diana Mini and Superheadz UWS. I can’t believe I used to own 15! Way too many, no wonder they made me anxious :/

    1. Mel there are many fans of the Fuji X series, and very recently I considered an original X100 before I went with the Lumix GF1. If 15 made you anxious, try having over 50 plus about as many lenses! I somehow loved it and hated it in equal measure, but am so much happier now with a core kit of five digitals plus a couple of film classics.

  6. Avoid the X100, The lens is really soft up close. I am a huge FujiFilm fan. There are very few dogs in their lens lineup. But the X100 should be avoided for your type of photography.

    1. Thanks Corvus, yes others have mentioned it doesn’t focus particularly close anyway, certainly nothing like the 0.01m I have and use with my Ricoh and Lumix compacts.

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