Awakening the Photography Senses

March 15, 2016
Fog photography

Last week was a tough one. As many of you already know, I’ve just finished a three week stint of flying solo at home whilst my husband worked away and it always takes a little while for our routine to settle back to normal, for the exhaustion (for both of us) to subside. Last week was however a particularly hard adjustment. My husband missed his flight from L.A. and arrived back much later than planned on Mothering Sunday. His first meeting in London was at 10am the next morning, so after barely 12 hours in the house he was gone again until the following evening. My eldest son was sick with a virus, he’d been running a temperature through the night, and ended up having three days off school. We juggled this between us through the week, I had a photoshoot on Tuesday at our house, and a day of appointments and meetings in London on Wednesday. The trains were cancelled due to flooding and I ended up in a town 30 miles from home, sharing a taxi with complete strangers and home many hours later than planned.

Thursday was a catch up day, I ploughed through loads of framing work and thankfully Oscar was back at school and well again, but Max was sick at the childminder’s and had to be picked up early. This “tale of woe” is probably very familiar to many of you with small children. It’s just life isn’t it? It’s how it goes, it’s fine, you cope, you crack on, you hope to catch a break soon. We don’t have any family nearby to help pick up the pieces for us, but we always manage one way or another. The reason I’m telling you is that all of this has somewhat taken it’s toll on my creativity. Not surprisingly really, it’s hard to find the time to be creative and set up beautiful still lives, or snap delicious food preparation, or get out with the DSLR. You just find yourself doing what’s necessary, both in life and in photography.

We all have times children or no children, when life needs to come first. You’ve just got to prioritise, photograph what’s got to be photographed, do the work that’s got to be done. This however eventually starts to niggle at me. I get very frustrated at my lack of creativity and I start to dislike my images. I have to some days literally say to myself “step away from the delete button” as I gaze at my Instagram gallery with an overly critical eye. Losing the photo mojo, or the “phojo” as I’ve seen it called, is something I come across all the time in people’s captions whilst scrolling Instagram. None of us can keep up the constantly high standard of imagery that we challenge ourselves to produce. So how do we get the mojo back? Get the ball rolling and start being excited by creating images again?

Personally every time this happens to me, I realise the thing that really floats my photography boat is getting back to nature. Getting outside, with my DSLR and shooting the elements. It seems to awaken my senses and I start thinking and feeling like a photographer again, running about like an excited child playing with the light, lying on the ground to get the angle right, I just have so much fun with it! On Friday morning we woke up to a thick blanket of fog, and there for the first time in a long time, was that “EEK” feeling. I got down to the park for 8am with Max, but I needn’t have rushed, the fog was going no where! To be honest it wasn’t my favourite kind of fog, it was a real “pea souper” as we say. If I’m being picky, I prefer that moment when the sun is about to burn the fog away, and the light rays start to filter through. But fog is still fog, and it hides lamp posts, cars, pylons, bins and benches, and of course the greenness of the grass! Hooray! As I’ve said before, one of Nature’s finest filters.

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We didn’t stay out for long, fifteen minutes maybe, it only a degree above freezing and Max is tired on Fridays after three days in childcare (but thankfully he wasn’t sick any more). I soon bundled him up and carried him back to the car, and took him home for warm milk and a story. It may have been brief, but this spell of excitement reminded me how good it feels to be passionate about photography, to get the creative juices flowing. The fact that I only took a couple of shots I want to use is ok, I felt like I got to flex my photography muscles, working quickly and efficiently to think through a scene, how to compose the shot, get the settings right, thinking about and reacting to my surroundings. This is definitely what I love most about photography.

My advise would be if you too are struggling with time, energy, and creativity, to try and pinpoint the thing that floats your photograph boat. Is it people and portraits, low light, golden hour light, food, flowers, a new city to explore? Find the thing that awakens your senses and go and shoot it! I am craving blue skies, fields, my children, and flowers (not in a jug or beheaded on a board, but a field full of them) at the moment. I’m very much hoping to get back to Nature, and very soon.

I’d love to hear from you, have you ever lost your mojo? What is the thing that you really love to photograph the most?

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

PS since I started writing this on Friday, we all had a tummy bug over the weekend!! Haha, we are definitely going to get that break now though.. 😉

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47 Comments

  • Reply Brooklyn W. March 15, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Amazing photos! I’ve always wanted to photograph in fog… but I’ve never been in a good place at the time and NEVER have my camera with me when it’s foggy!

    Instagram: @latidoblog
    Facebook: la ti do

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      Thank you so much! The fog is amazing to photograph, usually you have to get out really early and find something “in” the fog to give the picture a bit of focus! Good luck, I hope you find some!

  • Reply Julia March 16, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I feel your loss of phojo, I hit that wall in January trying to get over flu / mid January work madness (happens each year in our house) and you’re right, remembering what you love to photograph and finding time to do it is just what you need! And for what it’s worth the pea-souper photos are beautiful too. I have my fingers crossed for your phojo, and more importantly that you catch that break soon. Not long till the hols xx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 16, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you Julia, I guess it’s something that happens to us all at times, and it always passes too! I’m glad you mojo is back too. For what it’s worth, this week is much better than last week! Not long at all now xx

      • Reply Julia March 16, 2016 at 2:12 pm

        I bet your mojo is on a sunny beach waiting for you…

  • Reply Gemma Rust March 16, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Beautiful shot Hannah, like you say nothing like waking up on a day like that to have your creative senses awakened! And what a morning it was, quite spooky. Freddie was just disappointed we couldn’t see the trains going past the end of our street when we set off to school.

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 16, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      Ah thank you Gemma! It was crazy fog wasn’t it! Bless Freddy, I don’t blame him, it’s a little weird not being able to see anything around you! xx

  • Reply Olena March 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Dear oh dear, and you didn’t say a word on instagram. Almost seems like a double life now😂😂. Sorry to hear about all the trouble and those precious little ones under the weathe.. It was tough enough not having Adam home, and well done you treating yourself to a much needed break!! My only wish that we didn’t give ourselves such terribly tough time about the loss of mojo.. It’s always temporary, and yet it maybe just that suffering that brings it back..

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      Ah no not at all a double life, just not the place for it in my book. I only wrote this piece by a way of saying it happens to us all, despite what people may think! xx

      • Reply Olena March 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm

        Dear Hannah, I am sorry, I did not mean to be unkind. I was trying however unsussessfully to say that your feed is an epitome of beauty, balance peace and happiness.. And sharing experinces like these makes you more real. Glad to hear the sun had already come to replace the clouds

        • Reply Hannah Argyle March 17, 2016 at 2:54 pm

          Oh Olena not at all! I’m certain you don’t have an unkind bone in your body, I didn’t think that at all. Thank you so much for your very sweet words xx

  • Reply Rachael Smith March 16, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Great blog post! I know that feeling all too well. The beach always gets me excited about my photos again. Sorry you’ve all been sick. Hope you get some weeks of calm and routine for a while now xxx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 16, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks so much Rachael! You’re so lucky to have the beach and it looks great in every season. I think we’re the same that we need to get back to Nature to really be happy! Thanks lovely, we’re all loads better now and really looking forward to a holiday at Easter xx

  • Reply Belinda Love Lee March 17, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Oh I love the term phojo, it’s just hilarious! I think regardless of if you see yourself in a creative flow or not know that the world sees your beautiful gallery as one of the best out there! I’m not just saying this to float your boat, but it’s true! And beyond being a great photographer you also have a killer kind personality and that’s what has me coming back to your insta and blog for more! xx!

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 17, 2016 at 7:53 am

      Aw thanks Belinda you’ve totally made my day! So glad we’ve connected through Instagram. Some days it seems to come easily I guess and others you just don’t feel it at all, I think it must be the same way for everyone! xx

      • Reply Belinda Love Lee March 17, 2016 at 10:23 am

        Awww I’m so super glad we’ve connect too! I totally have those shitty days also, and whenever I tell my husband, he’s like “YOUR CRAZY, think about how others look and feel and see your life! It’s from a totally different perspective!”

        • Reply Hannah Argyle March 17, 2016 at 11:30 am

          Aw I know it’s definitely all about perspective, and sometimes its nice to know that others are struggling with inspiration too when everything might appear so glossy! xx

  • Reply tonyboncore March 17, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Good morning from New England Hannah! What a wonderful, concise and helpful read. Thanks so much. As you know I love nature shooting, I feed off it. Lately I have been consumed by real life and haven’t even tried to get out and shoot serious nature scenes. My last outing I spied an American Bald eagle in a tree. My 300mm zoom was not enough to give me the joy I’d hoped as I stood in a constant misty rain overlooking the South Hadley dam. After 8-10 snaps, I gave it up and headed to an appointment. So today’s agenda, reset my thinking and try without putting to much pressure on myself. Maybe my phojo will return. Thanks my friend. And I love your photography! Happy day, your ig/fb friend tonyboncore

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 17, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Thank you so very much for popping over and reading Tony! How amazing to see a bald eagle like that, it’s definitely hard when you put the pressure on yourself to get the shot, and maybe your equipment isn’t quite right. I hope you get another chance, but even more so I hope you can enjoy getting out there and looking for him with your camera! Maybe you’ll find lots of other things to shoot too 🙂 I hope the photo is soon back and i look forward to seeing the results on Instagram, have a lovely day x

  • Reply Zuzu365 March 17, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Thank you, Hannah, so very much for sharing! I have been hitting the delete button way too often and actually thought about taking a little break from Instagram. It’s so comforting to know I am not alone hearing those words from you, one of Instagram’s best! I’m so glad you are all feeling better and life has settled back down. Hannah, thank you for sharing your words and beautiful photos with us! xx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 17, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Ah Judi thank you so much, we’re all much better thank you and looking forward to a week away together in a couple of weeks time. Just what we need! Your images are always so polished and hit the nail on the head for me, I think you are too hard on yourself! Love seeing your part of the world on a daily basis xxx

  • Reply Shazoo March 17, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I can feel you Hannah. We all go through phojos. Love your tips and advice on it. I hope you get a good break and find time to take beautiful pictures as always.

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      Thank you so much lovely, we do indeed. I hope you enjoy the rest of your week, I always love your pictures when they pop into my feed xx

  • Reply Ania March 17, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    I can feel you Hannah , it happens to me so many times . I spent all my day at work (work that I hate), then when I came back at home so many things to do, most of my pictures I’m taking during my lunch break , sometimes I’ve so many ideas in my head but not enough time to realize them …the other days I have totally lack of inspiration…I think you’re a great photographer and a great artist ❤
    Sorry for my english😐😕

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 18, 2016 at 7:34 am

      Thank you so much Ania, and your English is perfect!! I adore your pictures too, I would never know. I’m sorry you don’t like your work, it must be so frustrating for you. It’s interesting to see how many people are the same, maybe its the curse of the creative? xx

  • Reply Michelle March 18, 2016 at 3:09 am

    So sorry Hannah that you have had such a difficult time these past few weeks, I think I have mentioned my Hubby travels some for work and I couldn’t imagine having lil’s to take care of on my own all while working, you need the Mum/Wifey of the year award! Thank you for sharing what has helped you when the loss of photo/mojo hits, I hit the delete button all the time, I really need to stop second guessing and being my own worst critic. I hope things have settled down a bit for you since writing this and everyone is feeling better, hugs sweet friend xx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 18, 2016 at 7:35 am

      Ah thank you Michelle, I don’t know we just get through don’t we! You certainly shouldn’t be so critical of yourself, your work is always so beautiful. Love seeing your part of the world every day! xx

  • Reply Kimber Hall March 18, 2016 at 4:07 am

    it sure is true that life has a way of taking over everything! I would never have imagined that you had lost your phojo- your feed is always a calm place for me to stop at on IG. Sorry to hear you’ve all been ill, that’s the worst thing! Hopefully, things can calm down for you and your sweet little family! Thanks for the great advice and all the inspiration you send my way with your beautiful photos!

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 18, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Thank you so much Kim and likewise! Your images are astonishing and always so perfect. I’m sure Spring will bring better health, and a holiday is coming up which is just what we all need 🙂 xx

  • Reply Kim Young March 18, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    A lovely post and beautiful photos as always Hannah – we just don’t get enough fog here in WA – only very occasionally! Sorry to hear you’ve all been unwell – sounds like things are on the improve now which is good news! I have totally lost my IG mojo this month and have taken zero photos, but after reading this I feel that I may just recover one day soon! Your IG feed is always a wonderful inspiration to me. Love Kim xx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 19, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Ah thank you so much Kim, I’m glad you are ok I was just starting to wonder about you! Things are definitely on the up, I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend this weekend! I hope you find a way to get your mojo back, I always love seeing your pictures, so calm and beautiful. Lots of love xx

  • Reply Jules March 18, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Gosh Hannah what a tough few days you have had. Hope you are okay lovely. Absolutely love these photos, you are so talented and your insta truly always looks so flawless and cohesive. And yep, I lose my mojo regularly – I definitely struggle with being creative at times and often get into insta slumps xx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 19, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Ah we’re fine thanks hun, just one of those things isn’t it. Not ideal but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel! Thank you for your kind words. I would never know you lose your mojo either, and i guess we are both in the same boat we have commitments and just have to keep posting! Maybe that’s a good thing though, it helps to keep snapping I think xx

  • Reply Bex Jenkins March 18, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Oh Hannah – what a run you’ve had. We had a week like that last year – hubby away and boy really really sick and no family for miles. But like you we survived – just! Hope your break comes really soon! Re the phojo- I haven’t felt excited about taking photos in ages. Ever since we got back to Sydney from our holiday back in the UK. I’ve decided not to force it and to enjoy a little Instagram break. But with autumn slowing arriving in the Southern Hemisphere with its gorgeous golden light, I have felt the eek feeling once or twice recently. Wishing you a run of good health xxx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 19, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Hi Bex, ah thank you lovely, it all seems to come at once doesn’t it! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed a little break and it’s lovely to hear you are back at it now and feeling excited again. It’s a great feeling. Have a lovely weekend, take care xx

  • Reply Daniela (Wunderblumen) March 20, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Dear Hannah…I really hope you and your family feel better. Your fotos always look so perfect! My english is not good and sometimes I don’t find the right words to say what I think. I’m so happy to meet you on IG ….sometimes our creativity needs a break. I wish you the best and hope spring will come soon….so we can take photos in the nature. Greetings, Daniela

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 21, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you so much Daniela, we’re all loads better and looking forward to a holiday soon. That’s very kind of you, i hope your photos too! I guess sometimes it comes easily and other times feels like a struggle. Very much looking forward to Spring! Happy to have met you too xx

  • Reply Natasha Seager March 20, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Such an honest piece of writing Hannah. I’m glad you got to get out there with the fog & I hope you’re all feeling 100% now. I wis I had more variance of things to photograph. I think I get sick of the same old therefore my phojo goes! Hopefully a trip to Europe will change that! xx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 21, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Ah thanks for reading Nat, it is hard isn’t it after several years of photographing the same places! I’m sure your trip to Europe will give you hundreds of photos to cherish for years to come xx

  • Reply Emily Ellis March 22, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for this dear Hannah. I needed to read it. I hope you are all so much better now. xx Em

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 22, 2016 at 11:46 am

      Aw thanks Em, we’re all fine thank you. I hope all is ok with you xx

  • Reply Claudia March 29, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Wow Hannah your blog is amazing as all of your work!… FINALLY had the time to sit and look at it.. this post especially is how I feel lately… Hope you and your family feel better now!! Keep up the amazing work!!!

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 30, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you so much Claudia!! It’s so lovely to hear you enjoyed looking st it. I’m sorry to hear you are lacking mojo too at the moment. I hope it comes back. Your photos are always amazing xx

  • Reply Debbie April 15, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Lovely post and great images, love the red coat! You are lucky to have two photogenic children to capture. I have been admiring your IG photos too! I am considering giving IG a try, but haven’t got a very good phone camera. Can I ask if it is possible to use a DSLR for IG photos do you know?

    • Reply Hannah Argyle April 15, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Debbie, thank you so much I’m really glad you enjoyed it! I’m very lucky to have two photogenic kids 🙂 and they are happy to be photographed which helps a lot too!
      Yes you can definitely use your DSLR, you just need to post the pictures from your phone handset (or I think an iPad) so you have to get your camera images somehow onto your mobile phone camera roll. Most people use Dropbox or email it to yourself and download the image from there. I hope that makes sense! X

      • Reply Debbie April 15, 2016 at 10:02 pm

        Thank you Hannah for your advice, it is much appreciated. I will try and give it a go! Look forward to seeing more of your photos. x

  • Reply Welcome Spring - Hannah Argyle Photography April 30, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    […] this month. I waffled previously about lacking inspiration and feeling too much pressure here, and it seems it’s happened to me again, but in a bloggy writery way rather than a […]

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