Do you ever feel stuck in a creativity rut? I'm not sure if that is what best describes what I experience, but some days I walk away feeling really discouraged. Maybe I was trying to force something that wasn't there. Maybe emotionally I wasn't vested in the scene. Or maybe I just have blindfolds on and I can't see past what I have already seen before. But whatever the reason there comes a time when I find myself uninspired by my own work. On a recent trip to the Oregon Coast I was in one of those ruts. I walked away with a couple of good images, but the creativity wasn't flowing for me. I just wasn't feeling it. I persisted. I went through the motions. However most nights I think I would have been happier wrapped in a blanket with a warm cup of tea watching the waves crash on the shore. Why didn't I? I don't know. (This is something I need to stew on for awhile. Look for that discussion in a future blog post.) It was then that I decided to seize a chance to do something extreme, to shake life up and literally shift the SUV into 4 wheel drive and take off across the desert. And that is exactly what I did. I jumped on an opportunity to spend two days, 40 hours to be exact, in the California desert chasing wildflowers, sand, and dynamic winter light. I was in need of some sunshine, warmer weather, and scenery basking in the glorious signs of spring. Nothing screams spring louder than flowers. Currently sections of the Anza Borrego desert are engulfed in wildflowers. News articles have labeled this years bloom a superbloom stating all the recent rain into southern California has ramped up the wildflower population throughout the Anza Borrego State Park. Superbloom or no superbloom I found what I was looking for. Inspiration in a landscape that was vastly different then my usual sights. Color, texture, lines, and light. I struggled a little to make sense of a sometime chaotic desert scene. I problem solved, searched, tried to view the landscape in a different way. I really focused on what were the most important elements of the story and how to include those elements in a way that would make sense to the viewer. Then I wrapped up all of that technical side of photography and put it aside so I could focused on feeling. I have been home for a few days, but still I can close my eyes and hear the coyotes yipping, smell the sweet fragrance of the flowers as the first rays of warmth fell across my face. My emotions were intense which fueled my creativity as I poured it into my images. So back to my question in the very beginning. Do you ever feel stuck? I'm a firm believer that you have to unstick yourself. How? By feeling. By feeling the world around you with an intensity that the natural world and creative world seem to meld and your eyes open to what is around them. Standing there at sunrise in the desert I began to see the world as form and lines, tone and shades, and color and texture. The compositions start to show themselves in the landscape. My focus moved to those aspects of the landscape I needed to include to complete the frame. Finding inspiration in the landscape around me renews the creative spirit and propels me forward. (As I write this I am doing a lot of thinking about that Oregon trip, being stuck in a rut, feeling melancholy, harnessing that into creativity, wondering if I have ever harnessed that more subdue emotion. Hmmm more reflecting is in order.) I have only been home a few days, but wanted to write about this experience while it was still fresh in my mind. I have only just begun to cull my images, but I have picked out a few of them to post-process. So here's a brief look at the Anza Borrego desert from my point of view.