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We all know the saying 'comparison is the thief of joy'. No matter how hard we try it can be hard not to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others sometimes and falling down a rabbit hole of self doubt. As I said in my previous post, this is the year when I am putting my fears aside and really working hard at pushing my photography forward.

Part of this process is finding photographers on platforms like Instagram that inspire me, photographers that are way ahead of me in the game. This is good in the sense that it gives me ideas about how to improve composition and editing and ultimately gives me a goal to aim for. It can however be a double edged sword. Seeing how far I have to go and how good these creatives are at what they do inevitably leads to self doubt and a feeling of not being good enough.

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I know this is a common experience for a lot of people, especially in the creative world. In the past I would let these feelings of negativity get to me, the result being I would just stop trying. I would let that nagging voice inside my head telling me I am not good enough win. I think this is partly the reason I fell out of love with photography last year. I felt like everyone was much better than me and I was just a big failure who shouldn't even bother trying to improve because I will never succeed. What I failed to realise is these people who are top of their game probably went through the same thing but instead of giving up they just worked harder until they got where they wanted to be. 

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Recently something has changed in my mind set. I had that light bulb moment and I finally realised that I definitely won't get where I want to be if I don't even try. This is not rocket science I know, but isn't amazing how we can all let self doubt cripple us?  This is going to be a long process for me and I am certain that this self doubt will be something I have to constantly deal but the way I react to it will change. I need to get out there and start just taking photographs, going new places, trying new ways of shooting. It doesn't really matter if I end up with the most amazing images as long as I try and learn from my mistakes. The point is to just keep moving forward no matter how small the steps.  

This is exactly what I did on Sunday, I hopped on a train to the Peak District with the sole purpose of just taking photos. I did a little hike and I managed to get some nice photos along the way. The weather although unpredictable provided a very nice stormy backdrop making for a more interesting landscape. This little excursion has inspired me to go and do some more exploring of the Peak District next weekend and try and get some even better images.

Finding Inspiration

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My main goal for 2019 is to push myself with my photography. 2018 was very up and down and I went for long periods of time feeling very uninspired and there were months where I didn’t even pick up my camera. The only exception to this was when I travelled. However, even during my travels it felt like I had fallen into a bit of a rut and I wasn’t really moving in the direction I wanted to.

With that in mind, I have decided to invest in my love of photography. At the end of last year I upgraded my camera and I booked a trip to New York specifically to take photos. I spent days just walking around just taking photos of the city. My investment hasn’t stopped there though. Over the next few months I have a photography course booked, as well as a trip booked to The Photography Show. Both of which I hope will provide me with the tools to really push myself.

My investment isn’t only financial, I will also be taking trips every weekend to local places and giving myself projects to complete. The idea behind this is to encourage me to take my camera out more often and try out new things. This is even more important to me this year as I won’t be travelling abroad as much as I did last year so finding inspiration closer to home is a major goal of mine.

This weekend I popped into Sheffield and took a few shots of inside the Winter Gardens. It is one of my favourite places in the city, all the plants make for a very relaxing environment even if there are a lot of people around. My aim here was to capture a few close up shots of the various plants and flowers. I had varying degrees of success with this which has a lot to do with the light which was not amazing, hence why I decided to make some of these shots back and white. I had fun trying out different settings working out what produce the best image. The idea behind this though isn’t perfection, its about learning new things and seeing what works and what does’t in certain situations.

I will share some of my favourite trips here on the blog as a way to record my photographic journey this year. Here are a few images from todays shoot.

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New York, New York

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Visiting New York is always such a joy for me. I always feel like I take some of my best photos when I visit this city. It always inspires me to try and get the best shots. New York always gives me more freedom to try out new things such as street photography as no one gives a shit if you are walking around with a massive camera looking more than obvious that you are trying to photograph them in a cool outfit, or with their cute dog.

Then there is the architecture, which despite being captured by a million people in a million different ways, never gets boring. Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler, the Empire State Building, all icons, all worth capturing over and over again, and each time I go back I can’t help but get sucked in my their charm.

This was my third time in the my favourite city and as well as exploring all the usual haunts I spent a lot more time in areas I had previously neglected such as Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan. This trip was very much about getting inspired by photography again as a big chunk of 2018 saw me barely pick up a camera. I made sure to spend every single day I was there taking as many photos as possible and I managed to find my love of photography again.

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Now I am back home, trawling through the hundreds of images I took during the week I was in NYC and I am once again enjoying the editing process. Experimenting with black and white photography is something I have always been a little wary off, mainly because a lot of my images are of landscapes and don’t always lend themselves well to this medium. However, New York has the architecture and clean lines that stand out even more in black and white and I am pleased with the results. Fulton Street Subway and the Oculus both provide some great shots. I only discovered them after taking a photography tour of that area.

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I am currently plotting to get back there in the summer to experience the city in a different season. All my previous trips have been in December and whilst the city is wonderful when it’s dressed up in festivities I would like to experience it in the warmth.