Beginnings (the start of a visual journey in 2010)

Many widely recognized yearly photographic efforts are made by the likes of Jim Brandenburg, among others, but I decided to undertake this series for many reasons. The first spark occurred when I came across a collaborative daily blog turned written documentation, A Year of Mornings, which appealed in a human way. It was a part of the photographers' daily lives, a document of the passage of time, as well as an aesthetic effort.

This project is designed to amass a series of related and unrelated images as they flow and feed off of each other, creating a vision of a whole year of experience.

A larger reason to shoot so much was to force myself to continue to push images. Some days I have projects in mind, other days I'm inspired with a flash of insight, and some days I think, "damn, what am I going to create tonight?" Either way, I've kept going.

When this series began I thought of it as a 365+ project because the goal was to have the equivalent of a year's worth of daily images that would follow and reveal twelve months. But, because I'm also working and a full-time graduate student as well as a human being with other interests, I gave myself the leeway of not photographing every day, so long as the final number of images surpasses 365. When I began posting on a social network site, I started by sharing an average of two photographs a day; by the end of January it looked as though the quantitative goal would be reached halfway through the year. I tend to work in series and like to show context, so a challenge has been paring down daily posts to just one or two images. With this blog I will try to be more particular and share no more than two photos per day.

Thus far, we're 1/12th of the way through and not a day has been missed. More importantly, though, I feel the tendrils of inspiration not previously imagined, and for that reason, this already feels like a success.

Please enjoy, contemplate, comment and share with your friends.


March is drawing to a close, which marks the completion of 1/4 of the year and this project.

Reviewing the images I'm pleased by some and bored by others. Many photographs would not make the cut were it not a daily regimen. But, though I missed one day due to illness and, technically supplanted one day's picture amongst its vacation brethren during the week and a half of Alaska photos, the gears are still rolling.

The images I've been more pleased with have been the light/color compositions, although projects such as the water droplets, reverse lens macro, smoke and TTV photography were also highlights. Where I seem to grow stagnant are with images relating more directly to documenting me or my life, especially the mundane, but perhaps that's personal perception. April will be kicked off with a weekend in Chicago.

Keep on checking in as I keep on keepin' on. Recent layout goodies includes the ability for you, oh honored viewer, to rate posts and vote on imagery types.


As June winds down, 365+ nears its crest. Counting back, however, just over one hundred images remain to be posted.

These past few months I've embraced the loose design of the project and shifted into a relaxed schedule of posts. In favor of sharing greater context and more consistently solid imagery while maintaining an eye on the year as a whole, I may not shoot or post every day, but continue to translate the spirit of the time. Early July marks the beginning of the descent and holds the promise of visual adventure as I head back to Alaska.

Please be aware of new links on the right column noting Artists, inspiration and intriguing ideas or commentary.
*Clicking on most photos will enlarge the image*

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 27 ~ creative lighting workshop

Our Nikon sales rep and a national trainer held a short wireless lighting demo for employees prior to this evening's workshop for registered customers. They went over a few situations and then set us loose to create our own versions at some pre-envisioned stations. The trainer, Paul Van Allen, has a flickr page devoted to his projects for home studio set-ups designed to be budgeted under $25 each (assuming you have a camera, lens and speedlight).

A few of the projects reminded me of the Camera Creative book I've recently gleaned some inspiration from, especially, of course, the water-droplet demo. Typically I prefer to shoot alone, but it was fun to play with this group.

More images than usual today but I also struggled regarding whether I should post these, since, although I made decisions, the original concepts are Paul's. This runs into the master's theme I intend to explore, regarding image ownership.

For this image I deviated from instruction a bit, merely in the act of playing with flash manual settings rather than TTL. That choice led to the yellow portions. The setup was a folded piece of paper on top of an opaque tub. Underneath the lid was (what looked like) an SB-400 speedlight, and optional red and blue Honl gels.

I prefer this image rotated. It was shot with a softbox set up to the left of a left-facing flower.

I adjusted the white balance for this shot of a cheese-grater, which is shown cropped and upside-down.

These shots were fun to make. We could have dropped things into a fish tank all day! Jeff, our rep, was very kind to continue holding a focusing aid (in this case, a hammer) in the tank, in between strawberry drops. Of course, the top image is rotated to my preference, again. Two flashes were used for this situation: one behind to illuminate the water, and one to the side for the strawberry.

These last two images are even less my own. I had little hand in the composition aside from post-production cropping. Paul set up a camera on a tripod and we each used the cards we'd been shooting on in that camera. He also physically depressed the shutter on several of my shots, while we talked about timing. But, they're posted here to illustrate, again, the fun to be had with patience and water, as well as the creative possibilities of adjusting white balance. He also stressed utilizing the reflective property of water, demonstrated in the bottom image with a pink flower. I liked his idea to use a clamped, pierced water-filled plastic baggie, as it created such a nice steady stream of drops... so much better than my one-handed attempts with a turkey baster, on January 17th (but that worked, too).

Gear: Nikon D300s, Nikkor AFS 85mm f/3.5 micro, SB-900 (unless otherwise noted)

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