On Digging Into The Ol’ Bag O’ Tricks

By |2012-08-08T11:39:22+00:00Aug 8th, 2012|

This past Saturday, I was treated to a wonderful day of roaming around San Francisco, surrounded by a cadre of fun and amazing photographers – it was a reunion of sorts from the +Google+ Photographer’s Conference that happened earlier this year.

After walking through various parts of downtown, I felt my overall attention span waning a bit – like I was having some mental fatigue. I’m not sure what it was but I definitely felt interest levels start to dissipate. Maybe it was because I had already shot a bunch of architecture or, more likely, it was the onset of a food coma from the delicious Indian food (and grilled cheese sandwich) that I ate.

And that’s when I remembered the photographer’s bag o’ tricks. There are all sorts of fun little experiments that we can employ whenever this lack of creativity begins to show up. In my case, I started going on a feverish rampage to pan along with any interesting vehicles that sped by me. Fortunately, because I was in San Francisco, this meant photographing the bright and fun trolley cars that zipped by.

Panning, in particular, was a really fun exercise because it required a lot of discipline, trial, and failure. But with each attempt, I felt myself learning something new and saw results improve rather quickly. The best part about this was that it immediately made my attention and creativity spike back up – like a second wind of energy.

So, next time you’re out and are feeling like you are in a doldrum, just remember that you’ve got your own bag o’ tricks. You just need to dig in and see what you pull out.

A personal thanks to +Amy Heiden, +Tressa Crozier, +Michael Bonocore (and Rocky),  +Chris Chabot, +Lisa Donchak, +Barry Blanchard, +Ed Sweeney, +Joe Ercoli, +Toby Harriman and, of course, +Ricardo Lagos for making my Saturday so freaking awesome.

Google Maps Location Info
37.78860, -122.40230

In terms of processing
This is a single exposure taken with my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens.

I applied Fashion Passion and Blue Dawn to the trolley car and masked in Grunge onto the street so that it was help make the car pop. Tonal Contrast was applied globally. All done in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.

In album Urbanity and Architecture (1 photo)

Google+: View post on Google+


  1. Vincent McMillen August 8, 2012 at 8:50 am - Reply

    cool +Brian Matiash!

  2. ayesha sultan August 8, 2012 at 8:52 am - Reply


  3. Amy Heiden August 8, 2012 at 8:53 am - Reply

    This turned out awesome. 

  4. Paul Ferzoco August 8, 2012 at 8:55 am - Reply


  5. bethany falmer August 8, 2012 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Smiles, it's a great image Brian
    I hope you get your mojo back soon

  6. Siwei Zhang August 8, 2012 at 8:56 am - Reply

    nice shoot

  7. Steve Kalman August 8, 2012 at 8:59 am - Reply

    That trial and error learning is one of the blessings of digital. Film photographers had to spread that process out over days or weeks and deal with varying conditions. 

    Great job on the photo and more importantly, on overcoming the blahs and finding inspiration.

  8. Decater Collins August 8, 2012 at 9:00 am - Reply

    i'd like to see a panning shot of the grilled cheese sandwich

  9. Jennie Guzman August 8, 2012 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Great capture of movement…love this

  10. Laurent Coppée August 8, 2012 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Totally see what you mean with the lack of inspiration … my bag o' tricks include eating random stuff … I try to avoid drinking since I'm generally driving :-D
    Love your photo, and yes panning is pretty tough , you did a wonderful job here!

  11. Barry Blanchard August 8, 2012 at 9:20 am - Reply

    I remember watching you take this +Brian Matiash… love it.

  12. Joe Ercoli August 8, 2012 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Good seeing you, man! We'll have to sync up next time and make sure that we get some shootin' in!

  13. clodus Rous August 8, 2012 at 9:24 am - Reply

    buen barrido..

  14. Chris Chabot August 8, 2012 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Really love the result of that fun bit of panning! Had a fantastic time exploring that bag-o-tricks with you

  15. holger feroudj August 8, 2012 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Great that you mention this +Brian Matiash – I was doing the exactly same thing like 2 days ago when I went with a buddy to take some photos, ending up in Shibuya (Tokyo) at this huge crossing you might know from movies like Lost in Translation – anyway, it's really THE spot everyone takes photos at and since I live in Tokyo and been there countless times it really doesn't evoke any motivation in me to take even more shots of that…… so I did panning! Just like you described :) And that way I could actually come up with some shots I didn't do before haha… What a coincidence that you write about that today!

  16. Shelly Gunderson August 8, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Very neat motion shot!

  17. Lena Lindh August 8, 2012 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Rember my childhods transports.

  18. Richard Hawkins August 8, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply


  19. hazem gad August 8, 2012 at 10:38 am - Reply

    true coulor

  20. Lisa Donchak August 8, 2012 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Awesome shot – so great to see you!

  21. hussein hatami August 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Hello Brian
    there are pics wonderful.

  22. Kimm Gaillard August 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the commentary and reminder +Brian Matiash, I need to dig into that bag o' tricks!

  23. Sergey Bidun August 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    great feeling of motion in this shot!

  24. Giselle Lynne August 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    That is so cool

  25. Toby Harriman August 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Worked out great +Brian Matiash. Next time we will have to actually go shooting together.  

  26. Simos Xenakis August 12, 2012 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Great tip. Thanks for that.

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