26 Nov 2014

30 Day Photo Challenge - Week 1

I read about a 30 day photo challenge, suggested by Haje Jan Kamps of photocritic.org, and decided to give it a go!

Day 7 - Upside Down

Today is the end of the first week of my photo challenge. It's been fun, and challenging, and I've taken quite a strange selection of shots, most of which I wouldn't have done in a normal week. Today's topic initially seemed quite straight-forward - "Upside Down"; I've taken plenty of upside down shots before - of the reflection of Battersea Power Station in the River Thames, of the dog lying on his back - but everything I tried today looked plain odd. Finally I came across some stark winter trees along the edge of Tooting Bec Common in South London, nicely silhouetted against the moody skies. I turned the camera the wrong way up and came up with this.

Day 6 - Tell a Story

How do you tell a story in just one photo? This was quite a challenge! I tried to think of something in my own life that told a story. For as long as I can remember I've been collecting match books - from bars, hotels, restaurants, companies, at home and abroad - wherever I've seen them, I've taken them. I have hundreds. The collection rarely gets added to these days, given that most places stopped producing them when they banned smoking. They tell a story, mainly of my twenties - of places once-visited, of places much-loved, and of places long-gone...

Day 5 - In Motion

As a Londoner, the first thing that came to mind for the topic "In Motion" was a moving tube. As we were going to see a friend across the other side of the city for lunch today, a tube ride was definitely in order, so I got my opportunity. I didn't have the right lens or a tripod with me, so didn't really get a shot I liked, but this will have to do. Some of the light trail shots I took a few nights ago around Oxford Circus would've been better, but I didn't get the chance to recreate any of those today.

Day 4 - Friends

I spent most of today with my friend Helen, who I met on an organised trip travelling around China, ten years ago. She is a fantastic singer and her husband bought her a session at the Crypt recording studio in Crouch End for her birthday, so I went along with her to take a few shots, together with her old friend Barbara.

The topic of today's photo challenge was "Friends", so this was an easy one, given that I was with two women who've known each other since their first day of secondary school. Here they are, Helen on the right with Barbara.

Day 3 - Ground Level

Today's photo subject was "Ground Level". Since I spend a while each day out and about with the dog I thought I'd get down to his level for today's challenge. He is a bit obsessed with playing ball, and he's started doing a puppy bow, barking with the ball in his mouth, before running around like a bucking horse. Here he is just before sprinting off, tail wagging madly.

Day 2 - Black & White

This was an easy one. Well, lots of choice of what to photograph, anyway. As I've just bought a replacement set of extension tubes (who know what happened to the first lot) I thought I'd do a macro shot. I have a massive collection of cowrie shells (yes, I know, I probably shouldn't pick them up from beaches...), so decided to capture one of my favourite ones, and then convert it to black and white.

Day 1 - Self-Portrait

This is not as easy as it sounds! Trying to hand-hold a heavy camera and lens with one hand and focus with the other (and getting both eyes in focus) is quite tricky. The shot needs to be fast to have any chance of sharp eyes, so the aperture has to be wide open, meaning the focus has to be spot on. Even if you're using a tripod, trying to get the eyes in focus is a big challenge.

Also, vanity comes into play - you want to get a shot of yourself looking halfway decent. I noticed how big the bags looked under my eyes, how lined my skin looked, how wonky my nose was, how thin my upper lip was... I sat in front of the window, with the natural light on my face, and pointed the lens in my face, over-exposing a little - I find this usually helps hide a few of these areas of concern.

Needless to say, quite a few shots were taken, and this was my favourite. I've flipped it over so it looks like what I see in the mirror, so probably looks a bit weird to people used to looking at me normally. I also did a little post-processing to hide a few blemishes and soften the lines a little...

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