Yesterday we decided to brave the cold and Victoria's cold, to take the pups out for a little walk somewhere new. Tori knew of a dog run in the next town over in Washington Lake Park so we packed the dogs up in the car and set off. I brought my X-Pro2 & the Fujinon 23mm f1.4 lens to snap some photos while the dogs ran around. The park was virtually empty so the whole trip was nice and relaxing. I wasn't feeling particularly inspired but it was nice to use my camera in a different setting and capture something new.
The other day while eating lunch at work I was complaining about my 365 project. I was going on about how I have run out of subjects to photograph in Bayonne. My coworker Jill commented that she loved my photos of Bayonne. She remarked that it seemed like an interesting place to live. As a result this idea changed the way I have been photographing this little city over the past few weeks. It’s common to live somewhere for a period of time and become used to it. A place that was once new and exciting becomes mundane and boring. With Services like Instagram we see photos of exotic locations around the world. We have a glimpse into styles of life that are different from our own. This further increases the apathy we have for the places in which we live. As a content creator I like to flip that idea around. Thanks to social media I can present people a little slice of my life. I like to think that I can be someone’s escape to a location they have never been to. I can reach someone as far as the other side of the world or in Jill's case, the other side of the lunch table.
On another note my last post, January In Review, was a big hit. I shared it on Reddit and it ended up being the top post on r/photography for almost 24 hours. It was then picked up by the photography site PetaPixel who then published the post to its readers. I ended up receiving something like 5,000 hits on my website over the course of a few days. This blew my mind. Most important, it has encouraged me to keep writing. Maybe this thing has some legs after all
Well that’s one month in the books for my 365 project. There were some days where the ideas came easy and some nights filled with tears. (Okay not that dramatic.) According to Lightroom I took 1244 photographs this month. I’m not surprised at that to be honest. In hindsight starting a photography project in January is not the best idea. Photography is all about light and January has around 9 and a half hours of daylight. So if you have a full time job like I do, and you commute, you can see how it’s tough to find the time to go out and photograph. Is it me or has the weather been terrible this month? It seems like it was raining every other day. It made going outside and making a photograph very challenging. I shouldn't complain, I made it through the month and I'm on to February now. Writing this review made me appreciate the first month of my project and I'm excited to keep going. So here is my review of January 2017...
This is a big one. There were so many times over the last month when I thought I had the perfect photo early in the day. Then for one reason or another I’d go out again and make something better than what I had. So the lesson here is keep going. Be prolific.
Expect the Unexpected
Another important lesson I learned is to go out and explore with an open mind. There were many occasions where I had a photo planned out in my head thinking it was going to be easy. Only to end up with something completely different from what I wanted, but better.
Don’t Take The Easy Route
I’ve said this in the last two blog posts and I’ll say it again here. The point of this challenge is to well..challenge myself. If I’m afraid or uncomfortable doing something different from what I’m used to, chances are I’m doing the right thing.
I Need To Get Out More
Unfortunately I’m starting to run dry when it comes to ideas that fall in line with my daily routine. There are only so many photo opportunities at work or in Bayonne. This isn’t a bad thing though. One of my goals for February is to get out and explore a bit more. Even a place as close as NYC.
Tori In The Street.
I didn’t pick this photo for my 365 Instagram post, In hindsight I should have, but that's okay. It’s still making it into the book. (More on that later) What I love about this photograph is the color combination of blue and orange. It's actually pleasing to our eyes and is often used in hollywood.. So look at me go!
The 24hr Sunrise
A cool concept that I was unaware of until I was standing by the lake in Williamstown. Two sunrise photos taken almost 24 hours apart, at different ends of the state. They look great on opposing pages in my printed book.
Unsplash NYC Meetup
Last Tuesday my friend L’Heureux and I (pronounced: Laroo) made a trip into the city to meet some of the Unsplash team. (More on Unsplash later.) Long story short on our way back to New Jersey we did the touristy thing and made a bunch of pictures in the new WTC transportation hub. I did something different and focused on something other than the beautiful architecture.
What Im Looking Forward To
Unsplash 365 Project
I’m also uploading one photo a day to my Unsplash account for 2017. If you don’t know what Unsplash is here are the details. Every photo on their website has a Creative Commons Zero license. This means you can do whatever you want with the photo, the possibilities are endless. The amount of traffic the website gets is great for photographers. In the past 30 days my collection of 60 photos is right under a million views. Yes a million... It is a great place for exposure.
365. The Book!
I’m also printing my favorites from this project into a book. Printing a photo gives it so much more meaning than looking at it on a tiny little screen. Right now the book lives in the form of a screw post portfolio. (I can add to it throughout the year.) But who knows, something more permanent may be on the cards when this is all over.
Photos for January
We arrived at the park at about 4:35 yesterday afternoon. The sun would be setting in twenty minutes. The sunlight at this point was perfect. It was casting this warm feel over every surface in the park. As Victoria and I were getting Scarlett out of the car, she turned to me and said. "Are you going to just walk around the park again and take pictures? Why don't you try something different this time?" At first I was gutted. I had this whole idea in my head about how I wanted a golden hour photograph to look. I thought I could shrug the idea off but as I began walking around the park I felt uninspired. I began to realize that I could take the easy sunset photo or a photo of the pink and purple clouds above my head. I'm for the day, and all would be right in the world. Or so I thought.
Over the past few days I've started to realize that one of the goals of this 365 project is to challenge myself. Sure there are plenty of appealing photo opportunities around me on a day to day basis. I have a dog, a cool car, a pretty girlfriend. Instant like generators. However I don't want this project to be about taking pictures. I want it to be about making good photographs.
So back at the park I was sitting on a bench watching Scarlett run around and chase a ball. As an experiment I set a slow shutter speed and snapped a few pictures of her running. I ended up getting something that was different, and most important, something I was proud of. I still have some photographs of the park at sunset, I'm a sucker for that kind of light.
It's probably not the best idea to try panning photographs with a 35mm (50 equivalent) lens. Im happy with the result though. Scarlett did her best to try and mimic the Exxon tiger. Do they still use a tiger?
I had a moment last night. I put the bourbon pictured below to good use, as a photograph and well.. you know. I was having a tough time making a photograph that would best represent January 27th, 2017. I didn't want that photo to be the one for the day at first. I thought it was easy and somewhat boring. Sometimes you have to relax, step away from the computer. You have to let your mind wander away (have a glass of whiskey) from photography for a bit... I came back to the computer a few hours later and processed that image into something I'm very proud of. That amber color is perfect.
It is our job as photographers to separate our emotions from our photographs, to present a scene so that the viewer can develop their own emotions.
Reflecting on last night, I've learned that you have to keep going. I may not like something at first so sometimes I have to walk away and clear my head for a little while. To do great work I have to put some thought into it, even if that means thinking about something else for a while. I cant let my emotions get the best of me. It is our job as photographers to separate our emotions from our photographs. I do this because it is my responsibility to present a scene so that the viewer can develop their own emotions. Without mine interfering.