Monday, January 7, 2013

Week one - 365 Day Challenge

Day One

 A few years ago the 365 Day Photography Challenges began making the rounds among shutterbugs on Facebook and other social media. Until last year I was just a fan of the photos posted by my friends. The purpose was supposedly to get those participating to take their cameras with them everywhere and take photos daily. That was not something I had a problem with. I live in an area with herds of elk and deer, solitary eagles and hawks perched on trees and power poles. The camera is always with me.

Put I have at last gotten over my "film" attitude about the camera and click the shutter without regard to the cost to develop. I download to my computer hundreds of photos. And I do not always give them justice in the post processing phase. In film parlance this is equivalent to having many rolls of film you have yet to develop. So last year I decided to get involved with the challenge and did my first 366 Days of photos on my Facebook timeline. The four albums, one per quarter, shows to me an amazing development. Practice makes perfect and I came to see the challenge as practice - sometimes like just repeating the scales. And sometimes like finally mastering a difficult piece by Bach. And sometimes like deciding to see if you can play the guitar.

Day Five
Spider Wed on Thorns

 I am first a painter so I am far more at home with color. So one of my self imposed exercises is black and white. Last year made me far more comfortable with the lack of color. And it made me more aware of subjects that had very little color like the freeze dried rose buds below. They were naturally freeze dried by the winter weather. Snow, you would think, has no color and makes a good neutral background.

Day Two

Give snow piles, pushed up by a plow, some color and you give them mass. They become Arctic Mountains or glacier ridges.

Day Four

Or drained of color the snow becomes a canvas for shadows.

Day Three

But color is my first love. And the whites and blacks and grays of winter make me seek color out in all its possibilities. I was happy that this first week of photos in the 2013 challenge contained three photos that were not color. But that may also be way on day six and seven I went wild with the post processing.

Day Seven
Ode to a Terra Cotta Urn

The urn above has been a challenge for more than a week or a year. I would hate to admit even to myself just how many pictures I have taken of it. Pictures that fell short. Wise I suppose to always remember to take just one or two more. And I would have trashed them too but I needed a photo to end the week and so I decided to play around. Be careful what you trash.

Day Six - Epiphany

I titled this photo Epiphany and opted to place it last because I hate this plant. My studio is filled with Euphorbia like in  the second picture - Day Five. And because of an unaccounted sudden success with Jade Plants some succulents also occupy my space. This is a palm. One I bought just to adorn briefly one of my last art fairs. It fails to die but thrives. I snapped the picture because it was a focal challenge. BTW it also looks good in black and white. But with this treatment it has impact.

Impact is a word I picked up from a judge at a photography exhibit a friend and I intended. She asked him what he looked for when judging and he said simply IMPACT. After technical expertise and composition of course. But it was impact that separated the winners from the losers. If I had to pick a winner from this week's challenge based on that one quality I would go for Day Six.

Which would be your pick? Yes, we can disagree because different things impact each of us. It is the difference of opinion that makes horse racing possible as my dad used to say.

On to week two. I have decided to post a blog with my photos of each week with what has been revealed to me about my week of practice in photography and post processing. If you want to see the day by day progress check out Binford-Bell Studio fan page. I invite your comments - there or here. Let us begin a conversation about the art of photography or just the merits of practice.


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