Week 5: Landscape – Black and White

After studying German for five years of my youth, you would think that I would remember more than a few odd words and spurious phrases. However, when you consider just how long ago my youth was, and how little I have used my German over the years decades, you probably shouldn’t be that surprised. One of the few things that I remember is particularly relevant this week’s entry for the photo challenge. “Besser sp├Ąt als nie.

I know this post is late. Week 5 officially ended a couple of days ago. I didn’t get out to take the shot until Monday morning. This Monday morning. Yesterday. So, I’m late. As we say in English, “better late than never.” It loses nothing in the translation from German.

This was landscape week, and the particular assignment was to get a black and white photo. The instructions suggested a “scene with great contrast that will make a great black and white.” Unlike typical landscape photography which is best done around the times that the sun is rising or setting or – at the very least – hiding behind a layer of clouds, black and white shots are best taken when the sun is high in the sky. ( I would tell you to Google Ansel Adams images to get an idea of what I am talking about, but I would prefer that you didn’t look at his work before you see mine.) Continue reading “Week 5: Landscape – Black and White”

Week 4: Headshot

The 52 Week Photography challenge, as composed by Dogwood Photography, rotates between three categories: portraits, landscapes and artistic shots. On the fourth week, then, we are back at our first category: portraits. This week’s challenge was to take a headshot. As they said, “You shot a selfie, now shoot a “selfie” of someone else!”

My week 1 self portrait was done in the traditional style of a headshot: bright, white background. fairly sterile. I wanted this week’s version to be a little more refined and stylized. To be refined, I had to start with a different model! For that matter, in order to complete the assignment I had to find a different model. Fortunately I have a patient wife who was a willing candidate and she happened to need a headshot for work. Two birds, and all that. Continue reading “Week 4: Headshot”

Your own backyard

Iceland, Croatia, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Peru, Oregon, Utah, the list could go on. In no particular order, these are places that I would love to visit with my camera. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to spend a small amount of time in a couple of those spots, and those visits did nothing but whet my appetite to return. You’ve probably seen breathtaking photographs taken in some of those places. There’s a reason that so many photographers spend so much time and money to get to them. So, I find myself relating to the duck in the picture above, trying to paddle my way back to Mt. Hood.

The reality, however, is that those kind of trips are few and far between for me. I will never see some of the places that I think about visiting. And that’s alright. There’s plenty of stuff to shoot right around here. Continue reading “Your own backyard”

Week 3: Red

It snowed yesterday. I don’t know where you live, so maybe that’s not a big deal to you. After all, snowfall in January in the northern hemisphere isn’t really that unusual. Unless you live where I do, in South Carolina. Every couple of years we get enough snow to notice, and yesterday was that day.

Schools, government offices and most businesses around here shut down at the mention of the possibility of a snowflake sighting, so that leaves time to get outside. For me, it also meant a chance to complete the third week of this year’s photography challenge. Continue reading “Week 3: Red”

Week 2: Traditional Landscape

It was landscape photography that motivated me to pick up a camera again. I enjoy the woods, the mountains, and the serenity of hearing nothing but birds, brooks and my boots on a trail. I wanted to be able to bring back some of the views that I saw along the way to share with others and to spark my own memories. So you would think that the idea of taking a landscape photograph every third week as a part of the 52 Week Photography Challenge would be particularly exciting for me. It is. And it isn’t.

This week’s challenge was a Traditional Landscape. The specific instructions were to “shoot a beautiful landscape and share it with the world. Find a nice foreground and don’t forget the sky.” I don’t live in an area of the country that most people think of when landscapes are mentioned. We have no rocky mountain ridges or colorful deserts or breathtaking seascapes. At this time of year we don’t have winter wonderlands or snow-capped anything. We have a lot of brown. With touches of grey. So I knew that finding a traditional landscape shot this week would present an extra challenge. Continue reading “Week 2: Traditional Landscape”

Week 1: Self Portrait

So the challenge has begun, and so far I am 1 for 1. I’ve gotten the first shot of my 52 week photography challenge under my belt. And I killed a few other bird in the process.

This week’s challenge was “Self Portrait”. Frankly, most photographers pick up a camera so that they can stay behind it, but self portraits are beneficial for a number of reasons. One, they let you shoot people, even when there are no people around. So when you are testing a new setup, or lens, or light or whatever, you can work out some of the kinks before you involve a model or a client. Two, they give you some sense of what your models have to go through. The next time you say “chin down”, or “angle your shoulders”, or “smile with your eyes”, you may have a little more empathy for them, and a little more clarity in your instructions. Three, it provides you with a new profile picture for social media. At least it will for me. Continue reading “Week 1: Self Portrait”

It’s a new year

I am, by anyone’s definition, a hobbyist photographer. By that I mean that I do what I do because I enjoy it. While I am not opposed to the idea of receiving money for my work, I can’t ever imagine myself as a full-time, professional photographer.

Because my photography falls into the category of “hobby”, I find that it is the thing that I do when all of my other responsibilities are cared for and I find myself with some free time. In other words, photography is – generally speaking – at the bottom of the priority list. I’d like to change that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not planning on skipping out on work, or family or keeping my house in order. I just want to find a way to bump my photography a little higher up the chain. Continue reading “It’s a new year”