Why you should embrace obstacles

Why you should embrace obstacles

By |2015-01-13T17:41:38+00:00Jan 13th, 2015|

The photographer who I was two or three years ago would look at a scene like this and immediately walk right by it. “There are too many damn trees in the way!” is something that I’d likely bark to myself. I suppose that’s a natural progression of growth for me. I usually start with something laid out in a clear, sensical way and practice on that until an evolutionary jump occurs. I don’t think there is a particular amount of time that has to elapse or a certain number of photos that have to be taken before things change but I am sure that a change does occur. It affects the way I see things now. What used to be obstacles and chaos now resembles more of a narrative… you just have to arrange it in the right sequence. It’s also really refreshing to begin seeing in this new way because it opens up an entirely different area of opportunity to create new photos in locations that I have visited frequently. I’m not trying to say that you have to ostensibly accept obstacles just because it illustrates my own growth but there is an underlying theme of being able to identify what those obstacles mean to you. Your obstacles can be wholly different than mine and they can be more figurative than my very literal ones.

So I’m curious, what sort of obstacles have you run into with your growth as a photographer and how have you dealt with them?

Camera: Sony a7R with the Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 lens
Filter: Formatt Hitech 77mm Firecrest Circular Polarizer
Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-34L/BH-55
Stylization: onOne Perfect Effects 9 and Lightroom 5.7


  1. Kevin Brown January 13, 2015 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    One of mine is self doubt. Not feeling I’m up to par. I think we all deal with it, but it can be overwhelming at times. The best way I deal is to just create something, anything. Make pictures until that weight’s lifted. If that doesn’t work I’ll talk a long motorcycle ride which usually clears my head.
    Really like the photo by the way, those fallen trees tell a story.

    • Brian Matiash Photography January 14, 2015 at 10:21 am - Reply

      Thanks for sharing that, Kevin. The demons in our minds usually prove to be the hardest obstacles to overcome. I can empathize with you and I suspect most every other reader of your comment can, as well. It’s the byproduct of removing the barrier to entry for anyone to share their work and open it up for public scrutiny.

      One of my favorite respites for when self-doubt sets in is to take my dog, Kodak, for a walk. My neighborhood is very quaint and quiet, so that plus the fresh air AND the time away from the computer usually does wonders for me.

  2. David Carrigan January 13, 2015 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    I always go for the shot I think I can’t get first and then get the ones I know are a given. Nice work.

    • Brian Matiash Photography January 14, 2015 at 10:26 am - Reply

      I dig that. I usually built myself up to the more challenging stuff… sort of chip away at it one frame at a time. :)

    • David Carrigan January 14, 2015 at 10:28 am - Reply

      I figure if I fall then it won’t matter either way :) I walked out on this waterfall a couple years ago. My wife was ahead of me on the trail. She snapped a shot of me I’ll see if I can find it. Lol

  3. […] Brian Matiash The photographer who I was two or three years ago would look at a scene like this and immediately […]

  4. J.R. Milne January 14, 2015 at 8:52 am - Reply

    My biggest obstacles are my day job and composition. My day job really limits my time to shoot. My lack of artistic composition (knowing what looks interesting) is something I may never overcome. But I just continue to shoot and hope I get a least one shot that I like. I thinking of taking a workshop or two to help me mix things up and learn more of the artistic side.

    • Brian Matiash Photography January 14, 2015 at 10:26 am - Reply

      The day job is something that I have dealt with for most of my life, too, J.R. I needed it to help me maintain my quality of life, pay the bills, and take the trips to get the shots. I think what is missing in so many conversations between photographers and influencers is just how many of us still have the day jobs or have had them for most of our photo careers. This year is the first year that I’m going fully solo with no day job to speak of. It’s terrifying and exciting and I made that decision only after going back and forth for so many years. So, know that you’re not alone here.

      As for the composition obstacles… I worry for the photographer who says that they are not plagued by that. This is not, in any way, meant to diminish your concern. Rather, I want to reinforce that you will likely never fully clear that obstacle. I know I won’t. But, I will be damn sure to approach every shoot with an open and clear mind. That’s about all you can promise to yourself and, often times, it is all it takes.

    • J.R. Milne January 14, 2015 at 11:13 am - Reply

      Thanks Brian!!!

  5. yves70 January 15, 2015 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Like J.R., day job is one big obstacle for me as well. Another is creativity. Creativity in post-traitement for the stylization (you are really great in this exercise Brian !) but also in the field. I am working hard to improve that but unfortunately it’s difficult to find tips to help to develop this aspect that each photographer should have. Finally, last but not least : an amazing photographic eye ! This “eye” makes the difference between a photographer and a good photographer because it will allow you to see something than nobody else saw, it will allow you to compose an outstanding picture and finally will allow you to be more creative. No gear, camera or lens will do that for you !!!

  6. Leah Ann F-Mathis January 15, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Its Beautiful ! Thank you! :-) :-)

  7. Josh Boone January 17, 2015 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Anyway anyone can tell me the settings you would use for a shot like this?

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