A photo of some trees. And the creative process. As it pertains to me.

I want to see how close I can come to recreating this image, using Photoshop rather than the original filters I use for Instagram shots.

I want to see how close I can come to recreating this image, using Photoshop rather than the original filters I use for Instagram shots.

It was going to be a quick-and-easy task. I was seeing an image for the simple purpose of sparking creativity. [Pause for the first back-story in this piece.] Over on The Collabative's site, we launched a photo-based side project called "Sparks" (conveniently also found via www.isthisyourspark.com) in an effort to promote greater creativity in our little corner of the Internet. We do this by sparking people's imaginations with random photographs, and encouraging them to write or draw or paint or otherwise create something, using the image as a spark. Sometimes - even the most creative among us - you get blocked.** And a nice prompt can help shake you out of the creative lull.

Instead of locating the shot I'd set my mind on finding, I ended up, instead, inside a folder of shots I'd downloaded from my Instagram account. No longer sure why. I just liked the way they'd turned out when I'd applied all the various and not-at-all-easy-to-recreate-all-these-months-later filters that turned The Photo In Question into something I very much wish I HAD created in Photoshop rather than through the aforementioned process.

This shot has been chosen for our latest Sparks creativity prompt.

This shot has been chosen for our latest Sparks creativity prompt.

Without realizing it was happening, I was off. First I searched for the original image. For the purposes I suddenly had in mind (that reach far beyond Sparks, you won't be surprised to learn,) it's more ideal to work from the largest possible version of the shot. Why on earth couldn't I find the original? Oh yea. Vague recollection of one time backing up a lot of pics I was quite sure I'd have no need to revisit at any time in the near future, to an external hard drive. And since I'm not in the same house as that hard drive is, I finally caved and moved on to the second best thing: a smaller copy of the original, fortunately larger than that Instagram version. The original photo pleased me enough to pique my interest and curiosity for creating the other image, but in an of itself I didn't find it interesting enough as a standalone image.

Now that Instagram version! That, my dearies, is another thing altogether! I love that shot! I love it enough that I decided I absolutely must try and recreate it "from the ground up" and so commenced making a copy of it and starting to explore applying some of my Photoshop filters. I'm sure I must have been at this side, side project for a solid 20 minutes before it occurred to me that all I needed to do was choose a simple photo for Sparks and get on with the things on my list. Since this particular visual project, while more than a little enjoyable to me, isn't really something I'm allowed to do on a standard workday. The Sparks thing was enough of a diversion.

But you know what I realized? Not that it's fine writing. Still, it's been fun to discover that I've broken through a bit of my recent stretch of writer's block. So there's that.

I'm hoping that there will be a (much less wordy) follow up Part 2 one day soon. I need to return to the experiment I started to explore today. Can the image at top be recreated using other tools? Will I find myself interested in a whole different direction, once begun? The only way to find out is to jump in and see! I'm excited at the next phase. At which time I will very much enjoy sharing the new piece that is created from these images. For now, take a look at the Sparks prompt posting here... and take a stab at it! What does this image spark you to create? What about another of our Sparks images?

**I was recently reminded of this when I hit a creative wall with my writing. Sure, I could write the meandering, rambling emails I'm sometimes known for, and I could write clever one-liners. But quality essays? Quality stories? Nope. Walls. Brick walls everywhere I turned.