Archive for the ‘Home Again Project’ Category

Reflections on the 100 day project

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014


This blog is normally supposed to be about the photos but as the 100 days project comes to a close I wanted to set down a few thoughts about how it went, and what I learned and where I go from here. In a way it seems like I’ve been doing this forever and in another like it went by in the blink of an eye.

The great challenge of a 100 days project is to make photography a priority for at least a little while every day. When my brother died 37 days into the project I very nearly abandoned it. But in the end I had to ask myself what better incentive did I need to commit myself to spending time doing what I love every day of my life? So, it was hard, but I kept at it.

Some days it was more like a chore than an opportunity to pursue my passion. Now that I am getting to the end it is more like a habit, a routine, just something I do every day. I could just keep going on but I am not going to for a number of reasons.

First, I don’t think I do my best photography when I am under pressure to produce something. The way I like to roll is to have a project that I work on once a month or once a week where I can devote full days to photography and not just a few minutes so I have something to post the next day. In the end I didn’t get out to shoot every day but I did at least process something from the period of the project. I do like the idea of committing some time to processing every day because 1) it helps keep my skills sharp and 2) it keeps photography on the front burner even if I am not out shooting. So I will continue with that aspect.

Second, I don’t like to share my mistakes and failures. As I got further into the project it was a little easier to go back in time to earlier days of the project and find something I could make a decent image out of; but I can’t say I am proud of every image I posted in the past 100 days. I will continue to do my image of the week on the photo blog. That gives me a little more time and freedom to come up with something really good.

Third, there will, no doubt, be another opportunity for a 100 days challenge and if I don’t put it aside for now I won’t have that to pick up in the future to stretch myself again. And it is a stretching, an exercise that helps one to keep skills sharp and learn new ones. I did a lot of experimenting with software and processing techniques when I just didn’t have anything I liked. That was how I came up with my favorite image of the project which will be hanging in the dining room of my new house as a reminder of the value of a 100 hundred days project.

And finally, I will soon be moving in to said new house so photography will have to take a back seat at least for a couple of weeks. I had envisioned that the moving in would be part of the project and I would have to work around it but it was not to be.

So what else did I learn? I learned that photography is a lot more fun when you are not weighed down by 25 lbs of equipment. I would say about 90% of the images I shot during the project were done with my EOS M. I love the freedom it gives me and I love unobtrusiveness of being able to walk around with just a small camera and no tripod. Yes, there are times when the big lens and the tripod are the right tools for the job but I am going to come home with a lot more images if I allow myself the freedom of a mirror-less camera in the situations where it is appropriate. I sometimes see myself on a scouting mission with the little camera to be followed up by a serious visit with the full regalia.

I have found myself drawn more and more to impressionistic photography. So, precise sharpness is not as critical as in traditional photography. Another nod to the little camera. Unfortunately, I am still eternally frustrated by the lack of a telephoto lens for the EOS M, the absence of an electronic viewfinder and the clunkiness of changing settings. So, sorry Canon, I have decided to trade up to a Fujifilm XE2 system which will include a wide angle and a telephoto zoom lens and a 60mm Macro lens.

I also turn more and more to macro photography. Partly because I am too lazy to get up for sunrise and too food oriented to skip dinner to shoot sunsets. But seriously, there are plenty of landscape photographers in the world and precious few beautiful landscapes. I will, of course, continue to shoot the Oregon Coast. That was one of my reasons for coming home. But one thing the project proved is that there is always something in the backyard to shoot. It is freeing in a way to know that I don’t have to be constantly traveling in order to add new images to my portfolio.

So, I am taking a break for a few weeks to get my house and studio set up. Then look out world, I will have no more distractions to keep me from pursing my passion. I just have to decide on one of the many projects in my head to commit to. What will it be???

Day 100 – Buncom

Monday, October 6th, 2014


And so it comes to a close.  I shot this image at a wide spot in the road called Buncom which really just consists of 3 abandoned buildings. It was kind of grungy because I had to shoot through a dirty window so I thought “Why not take it a little further?” So I added a texture from the French Kiss Glorious Grunge collection.  I think it works with or without.  Tomorrow I will post my favorite image from the project and so thoughts about how it went, lessons learned, etc.

Day 99 – Provolt Store

Sunday, October 5th, 2014


Here’s another one from the Applegate Valley.  I admit I hoped at the time that trip would give me enough images to finish out the project.  The processing challenge on this one was that I wanted to give it a painterly look but I still wanted to be able to read the 7up sign. After narrowing down the options and doing a little tweaking I am pretty happy with the result I got from Topaz Impression.

Day 98 – Vitus Vinifera

Saturday, October 4th, 2014


I took a little drive through the Applegate wine country this week hoping to get a chance to photograph some grapes.  This image or something similar has been in my mind every since I was in Italy and too sick to get off the bus when we stopped at a vinyard.  I’m hoping there will be many more like it in the next few years. In post processing I did the usual routine in CEP then took it into Topaz Impression for a light painterly treatment.

Day 97 – Barber Pole

Friday, October 3rd, 2014


I haven’t added anything to the Nostalgia collection in awhile so I was excited to come across this barber pole in Jacksonville, Oregon yesterday.  I had to photoshop out some other signs and crop to make it a more generic barber shop.  Then I processed it in CEP and finally took it into Topaz Impression for a Cezanne look.  It was kind of green so I added a warming filter in Photoshop. I’m liking the result. I’m wondering though how it would look in black and white with just the stripes in color?

Day 96 – Orange Flower

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014


Not sure if this is a marigold or what but I tried to get a little different perspective on it.  Did the usual processing in CEP.

Day 95 – Milkweed seeds

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014


On my camera walk in North Mountain Park the other day I found bunches of milkweed seeds.  I may have to go back with the big girl camera as it was hard to get the degree of sharpness required for these beauties with the little one. Standard processing and yes I forced myself to forgo the Topaz Impression treatment.

Day 94 – Morning Glory

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014


I took a stroll in the park yesterday and found some amazingly beautiful Morning Glories.  Still fascinated with Topaz Impression.  This one got the Cezanne treatment

Day 93 – Lock

Monday, September 29th, 2014


I’m still having fun processing earlier images in Topaz Impression. this is a lock on the side of a barn door out in the orchard country.

Day 92 – Leaf

Sunday, September 28th, 2014


Here’s another leaf.  I processed this one in the usual way in Nik CEP, then I added a texture from the French Kiss Collection and did some blending and masking.  Finally, I took it into Topaz Impression where I selected the Cave Dweller II preset and did some tweaking. I’m not completely happy with it but the problem was that I shot the leaf on the grass where it lay and the grass made it hard to do a good job with the masking.  So, lesson learned, in my next round of leaf images I will lift them out of the grass for a cleaner look.