Monday, January 3, 2011

New Photographic Projects

For as long as I can remember I have been a spontaneous photographer with all of my shoots. With limited exception, I have always just taken my camera with me most everywhere I went and just hoped to take some excellent pictures. 

Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.

In fact, I sort of considered myself a journalistic sort of photographer who had an artistic bent and took all kinds of artistic abstracts and landscapes. Sort of an overly broad range for a photographer but it worked. A bit. I would travel somewhere that I had never been and just take random pictures hoping for a lucky shot and failing a lot of the time.

That being said, I have been trying to rework my way of shooting, as should you, to be more targeted. Now, I’m not saying that you need to decide you’re going to only do macro and then forsake all other forms of photography. In fact, I’d never advocate something that extreme. Instead, I think that the photographer’s focus should be on a topic and some research should be done when possible.

It may sound a little bit stuffy but it really isn’t that straight-laced. In my own life, my photography coincides with the travel I do and needs to ride shotgun with a host of other responsibilities including sightseeing with family and friends (read: not dedicated photographers) and not keeping them tapping their toes waiting for me, navigating new places with minimal information (although I do have my Garmin), and trying to make sure all of the plans stay in place. All of this while trying to take photos.
See the issue?

I may have every desire to make photography the primary focus of what I’m out doing but that’s not usually possible for how I usually travel. Have you ever set up a tripod and an intervalometer with family waiting on vacation? Don’t bother; unless the whole family is a strange amalgamation of photographers then it most likely won’t be appreciated. Now, I’m not saying that they aren’t supportive of the hobby, they most certainly are, but It’s hard for someone who’s not a nut for f/stops to understand why it takes 15 minutes to set up for a landscape or why you get up at 4 am for a sunrise.

That being said, back to the crux of this post. I’m trying to nail down a method that I can use to make more effective and targeted photos with less fuss and “spray and pray”. I would like to get into the habit of having at least a minimal idea of I want to shoot and if not at least what to expect from any given location.

So to bring it back to the idea of photographic projects, my next project is an incredibly broad one that is designed to help in my goal. I plan on making sure that:
a)      I research the places I am going to before I go and mentally visualize what I want to shoot at that location and how I plan on handling that. I also plan on having a pre and post shoot log in a notebook with me at all times for ideas and debrief after I get back home or to the hotel.
b)      Be able to develop a tighter style while shooting out and about that creates a story of the location that I’m at
c)       That being said, I plan on developing a method of a groundwork shot that will setup the location for the viewer and follow up with tighter shots working down to portraits and detail shots, aiming for 30-40 unique printable photos of the location

Now, this won’t happen overnight and may not happen just as I planned out here but the goal is to get as close to this as possible. This project will culminate in a Blurb book that will let me track the progress. It’s important to have a final product you can look at the end of a project and this is mine.
Here’s to working on projects and more importantly to finishing them! Wish me luck!

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Tallmadge, Ohio, United States
I'm Mike and I'm The Perpetual Hobbyist! I'm an avid home brewer, tinkerer, and traveler. Even though I work a 9-5, I always find time to indulge in my passions - even with a tight schedule. Join me as I make the most of my free time - learning and doing as many things as I can