Taking My Kodachrome Away

Heather had a great idea, so I’m totally copying it.

She decided that she was going to dedicate the month of April in her 365project to black and white pictures.

My 365project photos have become sort of routine, so I thought that might spice mine up a bit, too.

First, it should be fun.

I’m old enough that for the bulk of my newspaper career, I was working in black and white. With film, no less. Remember that?

Back then, I would buy rolls of black and white for my personal use as well, just because I enjoyed working with it.

Since making the switch to digital, black-and-white has become a post-capture processing option, rather than a pre-picture commitment like it was with film.

If I think a picture would look good in black and white, I can change it. But I don’t have to tailor my pictures around the format like I used to.

Making the April commitment sort of simulates that — yes, my camera will let the pictures be in color, but to use them in the project, I have to take something I would want to be in black and white.

Also, I’m hoping it improves my photography in another way.

As the project goes on, I become increasingly reliant on the cool tricks my iPhone can do with photo software, a lot of which has to do with color enhancement. Take those away, and I’m back closer to just having to take good pictures, not do good photo editing.

Hopefully, this will be the photography equivalent of going acoustic for me. Strip away the fancy production, get back to the basics.

Back to seeing the world in black and white.

Here’s Heather’s post about her project.

And here’s an example of the photo-processing power of the iPhone. (Follow the cut for explanation.)

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365 And Counting

That picture there? That’s my 365th pic.

I’ve written about my participating in the 365project before, and posted some pictures.

I started the project on January 1, 2010.

Which, theoretically, means I should have finished at the end of December.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, here we are, two and a half months later, and I’m just wrapping up. (My Reconstruction project is running even more late. Alas.)

But I’ve now posted 365 pictures. Hoorah!

I wanted to do something “special” to mark the completion of the project. I wanted to shoot a picture in a mirror of my iPhone, since it was the camera with which I took almost all of the 365 pics. I decided to go with a rear-view mirror for the picture to kind of symbolize looking back from the end of the project. And decided to make it a bit of a self-portrait as well.

To be honest, I’m not sure how much I’ve gotten out of the project. I chose to use my iPhone almost exclusively so that I could really work on my composition, since that’s about all you can do with an iPhone, it lacking the fancy settings of my DSLR. The fact that it was terribly convenient for submitting the pictures was just an added bonus.

The problem was, I was wrong about composition being about the only tool the iPhone has. Sure, it lacks a lot of the DSLR settings, but mine now has an onboard suite of photo-editing software, which over the course of the project I became increasingly reliant on. My pictures were getting better, perhaps, but not because my actual photography skills were improving.

I took some pictures during the project that I really liked. I took a lot of pictures during the project that just met the daily quota. I really don’t have any sense of whether I’m any better at taking pictures or not.

Regardless, I’m going to keep going. I’ve met the 365 goal, but there’s nothing stopping from just continuing to take pictures.

I may change my approach; if there’s a day I don’t have a picture, I may be less likely to just take a picture I’m not happy with purely for the sake of having one.

We’ll see.

Pictures Of Valentines

This is the story of two photo nerds on a date.

Both Heather and I are doing the 365project, where you take a picture every day. We take a lot of pictures.

I forget whether I started taking a picture of my salad first, or whether Heather said I should because I said it looked good. She said I could use it for my picture of the day. She didn’t know I already had one.

But at that point, the picture taking had started.

I took a picture of our cheesecake.

So did Heather. The waiter saw it untouched on the middle of the table. He asked if something was wrong with it.

Nothing was wrong with it. It was quite good.

Heather suggested I take the “after” picture. I did.

I took this “after” picture, too. This is Heather “after.” Doesn’t she look happy?

More food. This is the reception they had during intermission at the play. The food and the play were good. The play was a little strange. The food was yummy.

Here’s the set of the play. Another “after” picture.

This is the picture I had taken earlier in the day.

I didn’t buy these flowers. I just took a picture of them.

But I did give Heather this today. She liked it.

The End.

Hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day!!

(With apologies to AKA Jane Random. Heather posted her pictures and story on her blog, also.)

More 365 Rejects

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned in lately, but I’ve been participating in the 365project for, well, over a year now.

I didn’t actually take a picture every day, so I’ve continued over into this year. I’m currently about 90 percent complete for the project.

At the end of the year, I used Apple’s iPhoto to order a book of about 40 of my favorite photos, and was really pleased with how it turned out. It turns out if you take enough pictures, you might actually get some halfway decent ones.

And that’s true not only for the year, but also just on a day-to-day basis.

This, for example, was my picture of the day for last Sunday:

That picture, however, was one of 50 I took that day. Some of those were just practical shots, to go with blog posts or to document things or whatever. But a decent number were shot with the idea that they could be 365 pics. Of those, a many were different shots of the same thing, of which only the best would actually be candidates for the site. And then, of those, I had to pick the best combination of subject and shot for what I actually posted.

I’m pleased with what I went with, but here are some of the other candidates:

I’ll point out, last Sunday was atypical. There are plenty of days I have to pick the best picture, and some days I have to pick from multiple pictures and subjects, but there are also plenty of days that I use the only picture I took, whether it was for 365project or not. And, like I said, plenty of days I forget to take a picture at all.

You can see my 365project here, and you can sign up for yourself here.

Some Fraction of 365

So at the beginning of the year, I started the 365project, in which you take a picture every day for a year.

I did not, in fact, take a picture every day for a year.

Over the course of 2010, I took over 300 photos, hitting somewhere around the 85 percent completion mark. Not bad, but not one photo every day either. Still, I’m proud to have made it the entire year without quitting, even if I did miss a day here and there.

Apart from the discipline of taking a picture every day, my main goal for the project was to work on my composition.  I’m lousy at just about every part of photography except aiming the camera, and I’m only decent at that. So I limited myself, primarily to taking pictures with my iPhone, which has little to work with except composition. In retrospect, I’m not sure how I did. There are some good photos at the end of the year, but I’m not sure that there are any more or any better photos than at the beginning.

The one thing that I did do, arguably, is get worse. By the end of the year, I was much more likely to rely on the battery of photo-modification apps I have loaded on my iPhone. In other words, I got use to cheating. And I don’t know how much that helped or hurt.

In my defense, by the end of the year, I was exhausted. I’d taken a lot of pictures, and felt like I was running out of ideas.  So that probably didn’t help the pictures near the end of the year either.

Which leaves me with the question of what I do now. I could declare my 365 days over, and quit. I could keep going until my 365project has 365 pictures, and then quit. Or, I believe, I could keep going indefinitely, and just continue to take a picture every day, and just let the 365 represent that it’s something I do every day.

Right now, I’m committing to the middle option. I’m going to continue the project into next year, taking photos until I reach that 365 mark, and my completion stat reads 100%.

After that, who knows?

Here are some highlights of my participation during 2010:


Recent Random Pics

Some of these are from my 365project. Others are not.