In doubt again

2009, Photography

In doubt again by Wouter Brandsma
Do you know that feeling of doubt? The feeling of uncertainty? Zack Arias told it so well in his film I mentioned in my previous post. He hated his photography in the winter, he thought it was bad. But when spring arrives the energy comes back again. Now, I wouldn’t call it a winter depression, but with the dark light and pooring rainfall it becomes so much harder to find interesting things to photograph. And this winter I made less photographs then last year. Why, I don’t really know.
In doubt again by Wouter Brandsma
Last year I had constant doubts about the reliability of my camera, the Ricoh GX100, but the camera was so much fun to use. It made me think differently and I saw compositions unconsiously everywhere. This winter I photographed with the much more reliable Ricoh GX200. No dust or other stupid things. The camera is solid. But the files ain’t. I have said it before in my first impression of this camera. And I did mention it again in my final impression of the camera. Maybe I am paranoid, maybe it is the flat greyish season, maybe I want them to be different (or the same, I don’t know). But what now?
In doubt again by Wouter Brandsma
… I hate that camera now. I think the files are horrible and I didn’t change a thing. No feel of details, no depth, no selective depth of field. Some things are because of the camera, some things because I don’t like it anymore, some things because I want to see things differently. This suit doens’t seem to fit me anymore. Maybe I need more sunlight. It is certainly cheaper then a new camera, and I don’t have the money for a new camera too.

Look, I don’t really believe that a new camera will make you a better photographer. You probably use the camera more often and that might influence your photography. I think you need to be ready for a new camera. But I think we are dependent on the seasons too, just like life. The changes of the seasons provoke us, but when the seasons settle in it becomes all the same.
In doubt again by Wouter Brandsma
At beautiful sunny days I love the winterlight, but I think the winter is awfull when the skies turn to grey. And it does so very often here. It seems the world turns grey. The leaveless trees show their naked truth and reality and that can be beautiful and freightening too. The spring is about new life, people start to shine, the world turning green again, colors apear, and it is time for discovery. The summer brings heat and moisture, I dislike blue skies, but love partly cloudy skies. The warmth bends the late night sunlight in such a beautiful manner with gorgeous shadows. Autumn shows the harshness and decay of our life, though sometimes very beautiful, you realize that the winter season will be back soon.
In doubt again by Wouter Brandsma
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

When the creativity returns, the joy of my current camera will return again, I think, or I want to believe so. It all is without contrast now, and my camera performs so badly without contrast. I perform badly without contrast.

23 thoughts on “In doubt again

  1. Wouter, I hope you break out of your funk. I feel funny saying that as you are so creative with your photos that I would love to be in a funk that makes me create photos like yours. ๐Ÿ™‚ Spring will come, it always does.

    Winter has been a struggle for me as well. So many days of pure white sky which blends with the pure white snow on the ground until there is no distinction between the two.

  2. Wouter, I think you have seasonal disorder ; ) But seriously, I think you need a larger sensor camera too. Perhaps you’ve outgrown the GX200. And in truth, no one camera is perfect for every purpose. Could you buy a used film camera and try that again? or look through your old film work for inspiration?

    Winter here in the San Francisco Bay area is my photog heaven. The rains come in the winter and everything is very lush and rich. I love photographing moss and wet leaves and rotting wood and puddle reflections and dark corners and clouds. Things are alive and vibrant and rich. In the summer it is warm and everything is dry and brown.

    1. I still have my Ricoh GR1 and a bunch of older film SLR’s. So, I think I will load one of these cameras with film again.

      LOL, I thought the summer begins in September in San Francisco? Foggy and cold in the summer ๐Ÿ˜€

      But you might be right about the seasonal disorder………..

      1. When I moved to California, for several years February was a hard month for me. Very deep depression. Months of darkness and rain by then. And yes, our summer is Indian Summer, starting around September. June-August is indeed cold and foggy in normal times. That was hard to get used to as well.

          1. Then again, the finns may enjoy a whole lot of sun during the summer months. Would be perfect to live there around these months and the rest of the year down here in the Caribbean!

  3. As you know, I just moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast and I’m trying to sort out where to go next as I consider this summertime! ๐Ÿ™‚ I just got a new DSLR in anticipation of restarting my part-time business but I’m having too much fun just photographing for me. Haven’t had the thing out of the box yet! Hate the bulk. Using the GRD even more, but not completely satisfied with the small sensor. And the G10 stays at home most of the time because it is not quite there yet. I agree with Andrew, you may need to evolve to a larger sensor camera in a smaller package and that is why I am looking to see what the Sigma DP2 and next generation Ricohs look like.

    1. You got a new dSLR? Congrats James. I keep a very close eye too on the DP2. It might be the camera to consider, but I had much rather have a 35mm lens on it. Nothing can be perfect.

  4. Yup spring will bring better cheer!

    A new camera will not make pictures better for technical reasons, but sometimes it does by making you photograph differently. In trying out a new camera (or lens) you end up taking pics that you wouldn’t otherwise have, in ways you wouldn’t otherwise have. Or at least sometimes I do. It makes me feel a bit shallow — surely creativity shouldn’t work like that? But we are close to our tools.

    Did you see the deals on refurbished original 5d cameras at Adorama? I have got refurbished stuff from them before and it’s been great. a 5d and 50mm 1.8 lens is all you need to cheer yourself up!

  5. Wouter, never measure a hobby/art/passion by numbers!

    Painters sometimes work a year on a project.

    Quality is never quantity.

    Do something in colour.

    get away from the feeling that’ you have to’ …:

    take pictures
    please viewers

    Enjoy the quast for a new camera, simply by taking that road.

    And… I often feel the same!

    1. I know Ronald. I hate it that camera manufacturers use those stupid numbers for camera naming. A passionate hobby and your GX200, WOW!

      It is not the feeling that I have to, but the feeling that I want to. Not to deliver, take pictures and pleasing viewers. But to draw my vision, to express myself the way I want to. That is my struggle.

  6. My GRD-II – my first ever Ricoh – arrived under the Christmas tree in December, and, being winter, it’s been hard to fully appreciate it yet. Still, I do love it, and I’ve all but abandoned the dSLR ever since receiving it.

    1. I followed your first attempts with the GRD II and liked so far what I saw from your work. A small camera can be great fun. It is just that I like to do things with a camera, I can’t do with this one. So I hope it just the winter..


  7. Wouter, you will be fine as soon as the weather gets nicer and the days longer.
    It is difficult to keep the motivation during winter to take pictures if everything is dark and grey.
    The camera might not as such be a problem more that you are looking for something new and unfamiliar.
    Best is take your GR1 out again for now and see how you feel once the winter is over.

  8. Hi Wouter,

    I know how you feel. I hate Winter, hate it, hate it, hate it. Here in the UK its sooo overcast, soooo grey, day after day unrelenting dullness. Just a few precious days of clear blue skies and crisp Winter Sun casting long lazy shadows. And then its gone.

    We actually did have some snow here and I managed to go out and shoot some pix with the GX100 and DW-6. The results were very pleasing. I find photography very difficult during winter, very frustrating. No colour, no contrast, flat diffuse light.

    Relief that winter is now behind, the spirits lift, enthusiasm builds, excitement at the prospect. The hibernation almost over. Once more to foray forth with cameras in hand.

  9. Funny…I’ve been complaining about my lack of outdoor photography interest this winter myself. Of course our problems are a bit different. I’ve become disgusted with the lack of snow, which I think provides better photographic opportunities than just plain old non-snow winter time.

    I love winter. The cold. The snow. The howling winds. But without those winter is a bore. Even I’m ready for spring and green and that is highly unusual.

    1. I agree about the winter and snow part, but we see that only on rare occasions.

      Today the meteorological spring starts so let’s hope for more warmth and green.

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