I feel it's so important to do personal work. It not only keeps you creative, but it also helps clear the mind.
I recently took a trip to Utah for a business/personal growth seminar ( I also feel it's important to attend such things) and my lovely fiance' Karli made sure we had a few extra days to explore Utah. I really had very low expectations, as I had only been to Salt Lake City.
Then we got outside of the city and I was floored. We had amazing clouds and nothingness, which is my favorite thing. I love to shoot in the desert for fun.
One of the things I like to do on these personal shoots, is shoot things that I never get to. I also like to take gear that will make it more difficult to get what I want. Let's say you always use telephoto, then leave it at home! I used my little canon M3 with one wide zoom lens for this trip. I kept kicking myself, that I didn't bring my dslr with me, but guess what? It forced me to see things a different way, and the images weren't my normal predictable landscape shots. By limiting what I had, it made me more creative. Sort of like when you take electronics from your kids away, they get bored, but then get creative. The next thing you know, they are drawing, or playing with legos and using their mind. Same principle here.
In my commercial work, I rarely get to shoot black and white. When I was shooting these, the predictable thing was to shoot color. The Utah landscape had so many colors, it really was stunning. I wanted to not do the normal, and decided to spend time when I got back to my computer creating stunning black and whites that I could hang in my house. It was so refreshing to know I was shooting just for me.
It was also refreshing being able to just sit and watch the light play, and shoot when it was exactly right. The image above was taken about 30 mins after getting there. I just sat and sat and waited until the shadows from the clouds were exactly where I wanted. No one telling me to hurry up and get the shot done. Just me and the mountain and the clouds, very zen.
The last place we stopped, was a bucket list place of mine. When I was a child, the wild world of sports used to have the land speed record tries at Bonneville Salt Flats. My whole life I wondered how and why they would go there instead of some race track to try and set the records. Now I know. Standing on that much hard salt, was a treat for the senses and hard on the eyes. So much white, it was a sight I will never forget. Best of all, I have images to remember by that weren't made for anyone else but me.
When you feel blocked or tired, try to schedule a trip with your camera for fun. Remember when it was a hobby for you? Get back to that pure space in your head where you just shoot for the joy of it, and not the commerce. It really is a totally different mind set.