It suddenly got quiet around here - again. Sometimes I get busy with my job and its deadlines, but lately I've been in a more introspective mood, stepping back from the day-to-day as much as possible, slowing down enough that I can hear myself.
I've learned that creative recharging isn't just about taking time out because you've run out of ideas (I've got plenty of those clanking around in my head), but sometimes about prioritizing, defining what you really want to create, which path you'd like to take. For me, puzzling out those answers is about retreating to a quieter place.
At any rate, I was home alone, organizing (which is required for me when I'm in retreat), and I ran across this little wide + macro lens that I'd purchased for my cell phone camera. The accompanying directions were mostly in Japanese (and the English translation didn't make much sense to me), but it seemed easy enough to use. The wide angle lens worked exactly as I expected. But when I screwed off the macro lens and tried to use it in the same way, I noticed that everything became distorted. At first I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong, but then I decided to just play with it the way it was.
Long story short, for less than the price of a movie ticket, I had several hours of creative fun. Some of the photos didn't quite work enlarged - I learned that high contrast objects were best, as well as strong shapes and patterns. But I'm going to continue experimenting. I still don't know if the problem is with the lens itself or user error, but I had a lot more fun making mistakes than I would have just shooting in standard fashion - a fitting end to my self-imposed refueling.