West Coast Road Trip - Day One (Part 3)

After the night tour at Stanley hotel, we decided to grab a drink at the infamous bar, with an incredible list of whiskies, gin, and various amounts of bourbon in stock. We had a very informative bourbon-type gal as our barmaid. Charlotte went with the red wine, and I went with Johnny Walker Blue label straight. Soon after our drinks came, a couple noticed us from the tour. By being the only person with a professional camera of the group, it was hard to miss. Especially when a Canon 580IIx flash goes off. The couple asked if I was able to catch anything, and I replied, “I honestly don’t know yet.” I haven’t looked, but I sure will when I get back home.” We are believers of the paranormal, and we had a great conversation with them talking about our experiences and amongst other things including  where they were from, what are drink choices are and about the road trip. 

After an hour, or so we decided to go to a local bar and grab some food and drinks. The bartender was super cool and friendly. After ordering, we noticed on the chalkboard above his nickname was Big Sexy. Which was hilarious! Remembering that there was a scene in Pineapple Express where Seth Rogan’s character was caught by the police, and the cop said, “Oh big sexy with them glasses.” Chucking for a minute about the scene. As the bartender came around, we called him by his nickname and he was laughing. A short conversation followed, and then mentioned he was moving to Fort Collins, and on this shift was his last night. He asked where we were from. We told him Philadelphia, because he definitely noticed our accents. The way we say certain things here on the northeast part of the country is definitely noticeable. For example, Philadelphian’s pronounce coffee, “Cuaw-fee.” I think it was when we ordered the BBQ cheeseburger with coleslaw and the mushroom and sautéed onion burger with sweet potato fries. Might sound as basic as burgers go, but they were so good, prepared with care, and with love. The owner/chef came out, and asked how our meal was and we told him, “It was excellent.“ His eyes lit up, and a huge smile followed. He then said thank you very much. Once we were done, we congratulated the bartender, and wished him luck in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Leaving the bar, it was very quiet and no one was on the road. Driving a couple minutes back to The Ponderosa Lodge, I noticed three coyotes crossing the road! I was like, “OH, OH, OH!” It is something you do not see on the east coast. Arriving back to Lodge, I decided to see if I could shoot the stars above the hill. With a full moon above, it illuminated too much and the stars were not coming through as planned. This shot to the right is the best one I was able to pull off that night. 

How to Stay Creative

For a lot of creatives out there, including myself, we have to produce day-in, and day-out so we can gain some traction in this digital world - Hoping our work can be seen by the right person, but what happens when you hit the “creative wall?” If you’re reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and it happens quite frequently, even for the most experienced. When that arises we often have questions such as: Do I like this, who would like this, and what can I do better from my own critique/criticism from others? In the art world, no matter if it’s journalism, painting, music, or photography, you have to hear the good, and bad. It’s a huge learning curve when someone doesn’t like your work, or you don’t see as many likes on a particular post compared to the other. One way to grow is listen to your audience, ask questions, and don’t be stubborn. An ego can’t make you creative; creativity comes from within, without barriers, and smugness. Have an open mind, and you will succeed.

With this in mind, what can you do to make your next piece interesting, awesome, and most importantly, memorable? First and foremost, do your research. Look at the competition in your similar style, and see what they’re doing, but do not plagiarize their work. That defeats the purpose for you to grow. To step it up to the next level, think beyond the box, and add your personal touch to make your work stand out. Similar editing styles do exists, but there are so many ways that can stretch your imagination. For example, everyone can take a simple landscape photograph, but making it creative with new perspectives from angles, adding layers with other photographs you’ve taken, or from stock images that is legally allowed for you to use from sites like pexel.com can dramatically improve the shot, making it original, and something you can be proud of.

Also, I cannot stress this enough, the most important aspect of photography is a story. We are engaged by reading stories told by our friends, historians, and those whom inspire us to find aspiration. It is the driving force to portray your work in a new light, and help guide you to success. Start by telling the world what it took to take this photograph, where and why did you travel to this location, and what experience(s) did you have seconds before you snapped that shutter? Your story does not have to be a novel, but a few sentences can explain your work, and people will follow, because they simply enjoyed it, and can’t wait to read more that comes in the future. It also helps you to stay creative, not just from your photography, but with your words. People can feel a lot, and tell a lot about someone how they portray a story.

Lastly, setting the mood. This is not only for date nights. Your workspace has to be an area where you can get in the zone, and shut of the outside world. Setting the mood is a vital step that should be practiced every time you’re trying to prepare yourself for endless hours in front of the computer, or preparing a blank canvas waiting for the brush sweeping your new palette of colors forward. We all have our on ways to meditate, but dimming the lights, listening to music, lighting a few candles with a glass of wine are great ways to whine down. Pun intended! Most importantly, and suggested by many, put the phone down. Make sure to silence it, or have it in the other room. The fewer distractions, the better. A workspace should be comfortable, and not disruptive. Make your workspace your Zen, be happy, and make it count.