Creative refill part 2

So let me get to the photo challenges for day 5-7 from the course (read part 1). As the week progressed I struggled to keep up with both the live classes (which I ended up watching the following days) and the challenges, but we were free to catch up on the weekend.

Day 5 Anthony Epes spoke about subject fixation and the importance of avoiding it. In short, it’s sometimes easy to get so focused on your subject that you miss what else is in the frame and you might only see it later. We were told to go out and put everything we had learned thus far in to one photo. This one had me scratching my head… I posted these two very different photos to the group:

On the sixth day it was time to talk composition, the favourite subject for many photographers. However, Anthony Epes emphasised all on the “why” and not the how. Why have eg leading lines or framing in this shot? Does it improve the final result? Does it help tell a story?

The final challenge was about telling a story and trying to focus on having one subject and two supporting elements. As work is always on going on the farm I decided to focus there, for me photography is all that more interesting with people infront of the lens!

The course has definitely fuelled my creativity and reminded me why and what I love about photography. If you fel stuck in a rut and dry on creative juice I can highly recommend attending an online course, the options are endless. Look up Anthony Epes to see what he has on offer or any other photographer that inspire you, or find a local workshop. Get inspired and get creative!

Update: almost forgot to share this photo; taken with my cellphone (remember your best camera is the one you’ve got with you!). Posted it under challenge 1 – light.

Creative refill part 1

At times it can feel like you’ve run out of ideas, you’ve taken enough photos of the same kind and as a result you end up bored or feeling like you’re not as creative as you first had thought. I’m sure anyone in the creative field can recognize that feeling. But there are ways to get back in to that creative space and to get those juices flowing again. One way is to join a workshop or a course, which is exactly what I did.

A couple of weeks ago I came across the blog and website belonging to photographer Anthony Epes and decided to sign up to his news letter. That is how I learnt that he was about to host a week long live streamed online class with no fees attached. Too good to be true! With internet/network being a challenge here at times I took a chance and joined the Facebook group where the lessons would be live streamed.

What I appreciated most about the course was that it was all about creativity, nothing on gear, no exif, shutter speed this and aperture that. I think many times we (aka photo nerds) get caught up in the gear obsession and forget that the most important part of creating a great photo is being in the present.

The course was called “7 essential skills to transform your photography”. Every day there was a live lesson and we could drop questions a long the way, or we could watch the video in our own time. In every lesson we were given a challenge, we could then go ahead and post on the group to receive as well as give feedback.

The first lesson was all about light! As a photographer you are always chasing light, the right light for your subject, however we were now told to make light our subject. I started out feeling a little lost, even just shooting at the sky, but as I walked around I started seeing it, the light:

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Lesson 2 was about imagination, creating something new in a familiar place. We were told not to go further than 30 m (90 feet) from our homes. I came up with the idea to create a double exposure with a self portrait and a photo of a page from the book I’m currently reading.

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Day 3 was in a way about the gear, but not in a pretentious way at all. In the end we all shoot on a wide variety of cameras but of what use are they if we do not learn how to operate them? The challenge was to learn a new function, perhaps discover something we didn’t know at all, or a setting we hardly use. I learnt that you can create HDR images straight in camera, though the downside is that they are only jpegs and the result was awful, still, challenge completed!

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“regular” image
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with HDR on medium effect
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with HDR on high effect

In the fourth lesson Anthony Epes spoke about how we position our selves and how we can change the result by shooting from a different angle. As I was just at home that day I ended up using my washing line for this challenges! The yellow t-shirt is the subject that I try to capture from various angles.

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This already ended up quite a long post so I will continue with the remaining challenges in another post soon!

Theme 6/12 – Double exposures

After reading an inspirational article about double exposures in a photo magazine I took a look at my camera manual to figure out if and how I could try it out. Once I had the settings figured I set out to do some double exposures. It sure wasn’t as easy as I first thought, but I slowly got a hang of it and I had a lot of fun with it. Plus I now have tons of ideas of what to do next. There are different ways of creating a double exposure (that started off as errors in the days of analog photography) and the way I did it is by taking two photos where the second is layered over the first. Another way is to layer photos in camera afterwards but I found those not to have the same depth (you can also layer photos in Photoshop, but not in the version I have). The tricky part is to get the settings right on your first exposure. To create a silhouette you need to have the background overexposed but the face/hand still quite dark for the second exposure to come out. These are some of my double exposures>

Theme 5/12 – Self portrait

I always find it hard to put myself in front of the camera no matter what. It’s like giving up control, but not to anyone else as I’ve taken these photos with self timer or handheld the camera. It’s just something about seeing yourself in a way you’re not used to. At the end of the day it is a healthy experience and we all need to take a look at ourselves and learn to love ourselves so that we can teach our daughters to also love themselves. (I had promised to include a happy photo, but I guess i need to work on that!)

You can see two previous posts with self portraits here and here.