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  • Kayla Sulak

Changing of the Seasons, and of Artistic Vision

I haven't been blogging lately, although it isn't because I've been terribly busy with adventures or anything like that. Quite the contrary--I've been relaxing, thinking, writing in my journal, campfire cooking, and doing not much of anything in particular around Bend... not even hiking lately!

This happened last year around this time, where my restlessness subsided in the late fall and I didn't travel anywhere for a while. This time last year, I panicked and felt a bit depressed about the change of pace; however, I've learned that the rest is necessary, and am welcoming what is apparently a seasonal, cyclical downshift in energy (maybe some winter hibernation instincts, no?). In addition, my motivation with photography has noticeably changed gears recently.

My motivation hasn't subsided by any means... it is just different. I don't feel the need to try for lots of shots on a regular basis. It's okay not to take new pictures for a couple of weeks, or to go on a hike without taking out the camera. I would rather add a few really powerful photos to my portfolio in 2018, instead of pumping out a lot of so-so, easily recreated photos. I'm intent on waiting for the special moments, and making images with real meaning, skill, and forethought (e.g. images which evoke a strong feeling, or which capture something special that couldn't be captured quite the same way twice). If there is some down time where I can't catch certain weather conditions to make the shot, or whatever the case, then the wait is okay.

You could say I am striving to be a bit more deliberate with my art. It is important for photographers to ask themselves now and then, what actually makes an image meaningful? Or, why do I shoot the things I shoot? What sets me apart? The answers certainly change over time, or may be difficult to answer at all. After asking these questions for months, I'm still trying to figure out what will set me apart from the crowd as an artist--but perhaps my devotion to my art, and my connection with nature are some of the things that show.

This recent change in motivation I've described may have been brought on by jumping into the world of printing, which drastically helps to refine my style/vision, because it forces me to analyze what is "print worthy..." but, I also owe it to some really amazing photographers for inspiring me, and helping to raise the bar--one being the very talented Alex Noriega who has some great thoughts on photography technique, which definitely inspired some of the philosophies I've adopted more recently.

Currently, my inspiration and artistic vision is very much focused on (or, at least, anticipating) winter conditions. It will be my second winter of "truck life" here in Central Oregon. Last year, I fell in love with all the snow. It was unlike any other winter I've seen before in Oregon! Rugged ice, sparkling pillows of snow, frozen mist, geometrical snow flakes... it's the stuff of pure magic. It cast a spell on me, and awakened poetry from somewhere deep within my soul. The cold conditions weren't too much to put up with, because I was in my happy, creative place in those conditions.

Winter may or may not pan out to be nearly that snowy in Oregon this year, but I am trying my darnedest to arrange a trip to Banff, Alberta in January, my only big winter adventure that's penciled on the calendar. I would love to see the cracks and bubbles of the frozen, icy lakes, if I can be so lucky to have the perfect conditions align with my visit... ha. During a recent journey there in the fall, I wasn't inspired to do much shooting, but my visions of the winter to come were a bit tantalizing and had my mind's eye going bonkers! I look forward to returning soon.

That is some of what's on my mind lately! Normally I strive to write blog posts that are a bit more like informative publications than journal entries, but this one was more of a rant. Blogging is difficult for me, because I let my fear of looking stupid hold me back from word vomiting, the way a person is supposed to do on a blog. I'll work on that.

Thank you so much for reading! Feel free to reach out with your thoughts--there is a form on the Contact page where you can email me! Cheers and happy adventures!

- Kayla


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