I think most painters, writers and photographers experience periods of creative block. I know I do. It’s as if there is a voice within us that whispers that the next creative act can wait another day. The more we listen to that voice, the more days that pass where we “just don’t feel it” and the camera, brush or pen simply sits idle.
For me, this voice comes in one of three choruses:
Conditions Aren’t Right – The light won’t be right; I don’t have the right gear for that; getting to the right location will be too much work.
It’s Been Done Before – With billions of pictures on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook and other social media, there’s probably no place on the planet that hasn’t been photographed already. Why bother?
It Needs to be Perfect – That’s a great idea but I could easily screw it up!
I doubt that I’m alone in this thinking.
So what’s the antidote for this artistic roadblock? Pick up the camera. Go out and shoot something, anything. Done is better than perfect.
After a month or so of feeling uninspired to click the shutter, I decided to take the camera along as my wife, dog and I made our traditional July 4th excursion out to Peaks Island to celebrate Independence Day.
Knowing that we would be taking the late morning ferry, I turned down the volume on the internal voice that reminded me that “the light won’t be right at mid-day” and decided to focus on color – bad light be damned. To capture the true essence of Peaks one must reveal its colorful sights and care-free lifestyle. Think of any Jimmy Buffett song you’ve ever heard and Peaks Island embodies it. This is Margaritaville north.
About a twenty minute boat ride from Portland’s waterfront, this is a tourist haven in the summertime. With ferries running about once per hour, visitors can spend as little or as much time on the island as they please. There are several good restaurants, a general store, ice cream worth the calories as well as bike, kayak and golf cart rentals. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes.
There aren’t many rules on the island. If a car runs, it’s considered road-worthy. Don’t have a car? A golf cart will do. No cart? Get a bike – the older the better. This place is as laid back as it gets.
Each trip to Peaks is unique and often times the ferry ride itself is what stands out. My favorite pastime while on the boat is to survey the various items that people bring aboard – keeping in mind that there are about 1,000 year round inhabitants and hundreds more seasonal residents that need provisions and other “stuff”. This year’s winner: a guy carrying a 4 foot plastic Santa Claus figure. Must have been a deal he couldn’t refuse.
If you’ve never been to Peaks Island, you need to go and experience this quintessential slice of Maine for yourself.
If you’ve been contemplating a visit but haven’t pulled the trigger yet, turn off that voice in your head that suggests “there’s no place to park near the ferry” (go early); it’s too chilly on the boat (bring a jacket); “I won’t know what to do there” (Google it). It might not be your “perfect” summer excursion, but then again, it might. Besides, done is better than perfect!