Sentinel I’ve tried to formulate it in my head and cannot put exactly to words why I love so much taking photos. And now I decided I dont really have to have it in words. It’s what energizes me. And so much has been rekindled just since January on taking on the challenge of the 366 photos project, where now 40 different people, around the world, have taken up D’Arcy’s lead in posting one picture a day to flickr.

I know only a handful of them, I have met Simon in Brisbane, who has access to some interesting mechanical locales, Snow Kisses to the Horizon and got to meet Jen at NorthernVoice who moves between humourous shots (getting pulled over for speeding) to lovely scenes, Dean with his wild sense of humor and dog chewed photos. But what about RightAntler, who not only takes a photo a day, but always gets a photo of a crow? Or Chealion who experiments and documents uses of bounced flash? This is so rich an experience just being in the pool.

Who are these 40? Why are they a “group” that formed without any prodding, direction, it just happened?

That I don’t know.

Like a Radar Dish to the Sun
But after seeing D’Arcy’s new generous effort to share his methods as a series of screencasts I am thinking about the many varied ways to approach doing photos. I am really sorry I missed the Live D’ArcyCast on EdTechPosse and loved the bits I caught in the recording.

D’Arcy has such great stuff to share with his range of knowledge of lenses and being an Aperture Super Dude. J Berries His post on lenses is just brilliant.

So I am not disagreeing or countering what he does, but just trying to shed light that there are many, many ways to do photography, and they need not be copying others, more so, one has to find a method that works for them, but ought to still look beyond that to push themself.

So while D’Arcy is masterfully swapping lenses and deftly dancing in Aperture, I gotta tell you I go pretty darn simple. While I own a Canon Digital Rebel XT, its in the closet. I am waiting for the time I can buy a fast fixed lens, but now a lawyer is getting more than my spare change. In time I will have that. Steel Smile I don’ t like lugging equipment, so I am shooting all on my Canon PowerShot SD800 IS. And while I have an older copy of Aperture but never really dove into deeply, I am still doing my post work in iPhoto. Yeah, its simple, and sometimes I do have to go to PhotoShop to do more sophisticated edits, I’d say 90% or more or right in iPhoto.

See, I am almost a point and clicker. I’d like to make a point that you don’t need necessarily to have fancy, expensive gear (I’d like to try that as an option sometime, though!)… that there is plenty of things to do by focusing as much on composition, cropping, light, etc. I did the whole 35mm SLR thing 20 years ago, did the darkroom srint, shot full on manual for years, yet now I am more interested in just composing interesting images.

The point is not to copy anyones approach or that one is any better, but to absorb them, remix them with your own, and find a style that works for you.

But actually, I am just more interested in exploring composition, cropping while shooting, macro shots, unusually angel shots than dicking with f/stops. I consider myself having 2 cameras- there’s the real one that captures the image, but a second one in iPhoto as I process, crop, maybe rotate. Dull or poorly exposed images are munged through filters, etc.
Pure Dog Fun
For the 366 photos project I have pretty much shot and posted several shots every day, often struggling to pick one, or suddenly remembering at 5pm that I forgot to do anything. Quick! Look outside, is there enough light? Crap! Okay, what screen shot can a slide into the deck?

And actually about the last 15 or so in my set have come from on or neat my estate of 1.3 acres? With an intense work schedule, including a 3 day online conference we ran, I’ve been almost cabin-fever locked inside. My breaks have been daily walks to the mailbox (1/4 mile away) or end of the day opportunities to poke around the back 40. So this has been another interesting challenge- I know every inch of my property, so how can I look at it again to find something new, worth photographing?

Big Cat
I’ve had some happy accidents, like getting down on the ground and trying severe upward angles, picking out a small detail (and more focus by post-photo cropping), just getting luck with noticing interesting light, playing with reflections, stitching a panorama, and getting lucky with action shots.

I am not proclaiming expertise here, but the very premise that D’Arcy made when he described hos effort last year, that this habit makes one first expand their style and form as a photographer, but also causes you to look at the world a little differently, looking over the familiar to try and find something new.

The 366 photos project is without a doubt almost my favorite thing going on right now. And we’ve only gotten a little past the one third point!

And yes, I am aiming to get the fast lens for the Digital Rebel… someday!

The post "Photo Simple" was originally scraped from the bottom of the pickel barrel at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2008/04/photo-simple/) on April 5, 2008.

6 Comments

  • D'Arcy Norman darcynorman.net

    absolutely, alan! There are a billion ways to approach it, and I absolutely agree that there is something energizing about the whole thing. The _last_ thing I’d try to do is preach what I do as The One True Way. I change my own approach often enough for that to be impossible, and what works for me may very well not work for anyone else :-)

    I’m only doing the Digital Photography Sessions because I get questions about how I do stuff, and thought it might be fun to try to document some of it – even if it’s just used as a “well, that wouldn’t work for _me_…” discussion.

    I firmly believe that you don’t need to have a “real” camera to take good photos. There are lots of great ones taken and posted using cell phone cameras. Many others using point-and-shoot cameras. The point isn’t to find the biggest, baddest camera around. The point is to find one that feels good in your hand, and works for you. I just happen to enjoy lugging around my XT and a bunch of glass :-)

    So far, Jen has the best description of why photography resonates so strongly, for me anyway.

    http://injenuity.com/archives/108

    I’m absolutely thrilled that so many people are becoming more active in this. Seriously – this is one of the most rewarding group projects I’ve been a part of. Can’t wait to see what we all come up with in the remaining 3/4 of the year :-)

  • Stephen Downes downes.ca

    The project has gotten me into the habit of taking my camera everywhere, something I would do while traveling, but never at home. So now I’m getting those wonderful shots I would see and regret missing.

    I have found it a great way of being expressive about the things I like – which turns out to be mostly small animals and trees – and of telling my own story about myself, what I do, what I see, in the 300 days of the year when I’m *not* traveling.

    Also, like Alan, I take a number of photos each day, and usually clean up the exposure and colour balance in iPhoto. I don’t need effect so much as I need corrections. This gives me a list for candidates, and more often than not I get Andrea to choose the final photo.

    I like that; it’s a way to involve her, even though she doesn’t take photos. And it results in a bit of a hybrid perspective, since she doesn’t always select the photo I would (I upload all the ‘keep’ photos anyways, so people get to see them, if they look beyond my daily photo).

    It’s a fantastic project and the main thing isn’t what it teaches me or anything practical like that, but that it allows me to live each day more fully.

  • Dean Shareski ideasandthoughts.org

    While D’Arcy is undoubtedly the guru and genius in many ways, everyone seems as you’ve suggested Alan, to finding their niche. Up until this week, it’s really be quite easy. I think it’s going to get tougher.

    Like Stephen, I include my wife and others. Often they’ll say “there’s your picture of the day”. I’ve occasionally involved twitter in making the choice as well.

    Here’s a quote from singer/songwriter Steve Bell about his feelings for Bruce Cockburn. It’s how I feel about the photos you all take as well as a blog post like this. Just replace the word song.

    I have this feeling that songs actually pre-exist anyway. We don’t actually write them. They’re like angels floating around the stratosphere and whoever has their antenna up as they float by gets the song. And so I think it’s okay to say, hey, that’s my song. I should have gotten it but I was watching ‘Survivor’ I guess, and he wasn’t so he got it first.

  • librarymum

    Thanks for sharing this group, and thanks to all the group for inspiring your “viewers” here to take our cameras along. Have you seen the group 365 Library Days on Flickr?

  • Donna

    Alan…

    Thanks for your post. Though I joined the 366 project late (I am only on Day 16) I have already noticed the things you mentioned such as looking at things in new ways and walking around the yard looking for interesting shots. I find myself looking at a spot in the yard and asking myself, “where’s the picture…where’s the picture” until I find a way to look at the scene differently. For me, the project is definitely turning into a photo diary or sorts. I can never remember what I did when or so this project will help me look back and track how I spent my time this year. I am also looking more closely at who I am and trying to find ways to express that inner self through photos. People in my family that I have not spent a lot of time with recently may not really know me (even though they think they do). These photos may help.

    Anyway…thank you for spreading the word about the project. I think it’s a great one and more people should do it.

  • D'Arcy Norman darcynorman.net

    I am certainly no guru, and definitely not genius. I’m just a guy that has fun with a camera. No different than any of the others in the 366photos project. Most of the photos that I take that I like have been total accidents or sheer dumb luck. But that’s the point – taking the time to experiment and play lets stuff like that happen. It’s not about proficiency or excellence, it’s about having fun :-)

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