Creativity doesn’t only apply to photography. It is relevant to almost everything in our lives. From how we dress to how our homes are decorated and even how we prepare meals, creativity is involved.
Sometimes we get the creative doldrums. At least I do. Just when it seems like I have run out of ideas or don’t feel like getting outdoors with camera in hand I have a little secret. There resides on the desktop a folder with the name, “long exposure”. I had forgotten about it and while doing a little computer housekeeping came upon it.
I opened the folder to reveal a couple of dozen screen captures from the internet of drop dead, gorgeous landscapes from around the world. Beautifully toned black and whites, brilliantly coloured prairie landscapes with old, wooden grain elevators stading amongst towering storm clouds. As I scrolled through the screen captures something magical happened to me. My heart started beating a little harder. My breathing became faster and shallower. My imagination ran wild.
Why wasn’t I driving the country roads this morning and looking for photos to take I thought to myself. Could I make the four hour drive to the mountains to do some long exposures I had been thinking about and be back later tonight?
That is all that it took. I only needed to see someone else’s creative works to get that flame lit inside me. For me it can be that simple.
So here is what I do to help me fired up.
I usually don’t save photos from websites. I have a fair understanding of html coding so I can usually get around the various ways to prevent downloading photos but I don’t care to steal someones pics to use elsewhere. I only want something to help me “remember” what I saw inspired me. No, instead of trying to download photos I do a simple screen capture.
A screen capture is a simple “snapshot” of the screen. There are various programs for Windows computers that make it very easy. I use a Mac and with the Mac there are two easy ways to do captures. I don’t want to capture the whole screen. I just want a copy of the picture that I like for future reference. If I hold down the keyboard keys SHIFT+OPTION+4 the cursor changes to a tool that allows me to drag out the shape of a rectangle. I only draw out the shape over the photo that interests me and it is saved to the desktop. I drag that screen capture to my inspirational folder and it is saved for a later viewing.
Is it legal? Since I am only saving a low resolution grab for my own personal viewing I think that it is.
I strongly believe in protecting photographers rights to their images. I have many out there on the internet and would hope that others respect my rights as I respect theirs.
That isn’t always the case as I have gotten a few nice cheques from companies that have ripped off my photos for free, without my permission. The images that I have with stock agencies are compared to images on the internet with a special program that crawls the internet and compares files to the ones in their database. If there is a hit, a human will then compare the photos, get in touch with the stock agency which then sends out a legal takedown notice along with a bill for illegally using the picture. I think that I have gotten a few thousand dollars over the years that way. If you steal a photo from the internet and use it on your own website you’re taking the chance that you will get a take down notice and a bill that is actually higher than if you had legally purchased the photo.
Having said that… off I go.