In September, I made an unplanned two-day stop in the Zuluk, Pangolakha region of Sikkim. On a clear day, the gorgeous landscape yields views of the entire Khangchendzonga range from certain vantage points, which I was familiar with due to previous visits. This prior knowledge helped as I had only one morning to shoot the landscape at sunrise. But the site from where to shoot this range is not the point of this story. 

What I want to share has to do with mind over matter. At times, it's difficult to manage a good shot. Like at this place: the timing and light were perfect, the sky was clear. But somehow, I found myself at a loss. 

When I work continuously over long periods of time, my mind seems to stop functioning, turning almost helpless. Everything I shoot seems repetitive, stale. I am unable to create anything fresh and there begins a creative crisis. I don’t think of myself as a creative photographer; my work involves documentation of our natural world. But I attempt to keep things interesting to ensure that people don’t tire of my work. And sometimes, that is challenging. I bet most of you will be familiar with this mindset. 

In these situations, first, I try to relax; it’s important to first empty your mind of negative thoughts. And then change something, either equipment, perspective or light. If I change the way I approach a situation, I create a possibility of a change in the result. 

Here, at Pangolakha, I made some very simple changes when I couldn’t get the shot I wanted despite the beauty of the morning. I changed the lens, went low, changed my point of focus and tried to use the light differently. I maintain that these images are not different or great, but I attempted to overcome my mental block, and this was the result. Mind you, it doesn’t always work; it is ultimately mind over matter, and it’s worth a try.

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