Rutt Buster: A Self Assignment Can Jumpstart Your Creativity

Light breaks through the storm clouds on Worcester Mountain in central Vermont.

Light breaks through the storm clouds on Worcester Mountain in central Vermont.

Now I’m not complaining because I do live in one of the prettiest places in the northeast.  Vermont has lots of open space, pretty rivers and streams, dirt roads galore, and tons of farms, but from time to time I do get somewhat bored with shooting in Vermont.  I’m sure it happens to lots of photographers, you know what they say; the grass is always greener.

Prior to the onslaught of fall foliage shooting that happens every year I found myself lamenting that I hadn’t shot many landscapes during the summer months.  My excuse is always that I’m too busy with house projects, caring for my young kids or shooting and processing weddings, or all of the above.  One Monday afternoon I found myself with some free time and some killer weather and clouds starting to break up over one the local mountain ranges here in central Vermont.  I grabbed the camera, tripod, and backpack and hit the trail.  One of the nice things about living and photographing in Vermont is the quick and easy access to a plethora of great outdoor recreation.

In just over an hour of hiking I found myself on top of Worcester Mountain with some dramatic clouds and late day light.  I was in heaven, it was just what the photo doctor ordered.  After spending an hour or so shooting different compositions and watching as the light and weather morphed over the range I packed up my gear and made the 2.5 mile trek back to the car by headlamp, fully charged and totally psyched about my experience, both physically and photographically.

I had such an enjoyable and productive outing that I decided to make it a regularly scheduled event.  Once a week on Monday afternoons I headed for the hills.  There would be plenty of late day light for at least a month so I could probably get in at least four weeks worth of summits.  In fact, I even called it my Monday night summit series.  As soon as my wife got home from work I tagged off with the kids and hit the trail.  Because it was literally on the calendar it was much more difficult to make up an excuse not to go out.  I got some great light, some great exercise, and some awesome images.

You don’t have to hike up mountains for sunset and descend in the dark to jump start your creative juices.  Try picking something you’ve never photographed before, like youth soccer, a town hall meeting, a local farm or simply some cut flowers from the florist.  It can be anything but the key is to schedule the time to focus on your new assignment.   Try it and I think you’ll be amazed at how excited you get about your new images.

Here are some of images I made during my Monday night summit series.

Sunset on top of Mount Abraham, central Green Mountains, VT.

Sunset on top of Mount Abraham, central Green Mountains, VT.

View from Mount Mansfield and Lake of the Clouds in northern Vermont

View from Mount Mansfield and Lake of the Clouds in northern Vermont

Alpine grasses glow with late day light on Mount Abraham in northern Vermont.

Alpine grasses glow with late day light on Mount Abraham in northern Vermont.

Looking south along the spine of the Green Mountains in Vermont

Looking south along the spine of the Green Mountains in Vermont

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~ by kurtbudliger on October 21, 2009.

One Response to “Rutt Buster: A Self Assignment Can Jumpstart Your Creativity”

  1. Spruce Mt in Plainfield VT would be perfect for you Summit Series
    its got a old fire tower you can climb also.

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