Thursday, December 29, 2016

Projects can keep you fresh.

Day 8 of "Solstice to Solstice"
It's just about the end of the year, and while 2016 has seen its share of bizarre events, disasters, celebrity deaths, and potential end of life as we know it-- on a personal note, I can't complain.  The bigger picture is beyond my sphere of influence, and rather than let fear and/or anger lead my way, I have to do what I know best, and that's to do photography.  I'm not an "event photographer" nor am I an "adventure photographer."  My work is more often introspective, about nature, slivers of life and places, and of course, a lot of it is on film.  If you look through my images on Flickr, where I have been since 2004, you'll have a pretty good idea of what I photograph.  Probably over a  third of the images there are on film.   I continue to shoot it a lot -- in fact, I think 2016 might just be the year that I have shot well over 100 rolls - close to 130.   Developing my own C-41, E-6, as well as B&W has saved me a lot of money -- which of course, can be used to buy more film!

So, with all the film have I shot, what have I done with it?  I have long-term projects that accrue by the fact that the subjects are easily grouped -- Michigan post offices would be one such project. Recurring images of water in various states would be another, and while I had an exhibit in 2102 of winter water images, there are always more.  Sometimes, a single roll can be a small project, and that is always a fun challenge.  I feel that it's good to have some goals and  projects to keep one engaged, no matter what your endeavor. I rarely announce a photography goal, but this year, I am doing a "Solstice to Solstice" project, where I upload one image taken that day, from the Winter to the Summer Solstice -- basically, 6 months. That's not really a project I can do on film, and I decided to use just one camera for that, a Nikon D3200.  It's lightweight, takes different lenses, and while lacking features of my workhorse (and some may say outdated) D200, it allows me plenty of creativity.  So, on December 21, I shot and uploaded Day 1.  I hope to finish with consecutive images on Wed., June 21, 2017.  The idea that I have to produce an image for each day is challenging, and it has to be a worthwhile image.  Half a year's worth.  I think it'll be fun, sometimes frustrating, but I want it to be worth the effort.  I'll know in June.

It's not a bad thing to set some goals, and I think it helps one grow as a photographer.  Maybe you would like to be better at doing portraits.  Learn about lighting, and experiment. Enlist friends or family to pose for you -- find out what your "style" is.  Maybe you'll find that b&w works better for you than color.  Or not.  You'll never know if you don't try.

AuTrain Bay, Pentax 6x7, August 2016
Take a single camera and lens combo and use it a lot.  We all get that "gear-acquisition syndrome" or GAS.  I'll be the first to admit it.  But what if you found that just using a 50mm lens or a 28mm lens for a lot of photography made you a better photographer?  Give it a try.  There are many "projects" one can do in 6 months.

To go to the other extreme, shoot one Polaroid a day.  It's been done by many, but what about you? What story do you have to tell?  Six months of Impossible Project film might be pretty expensive though. Hell, one month of IP film would be expensive, so 6 months would be about $750.  Make those shots count!

Since I have been on winter break (one of the perks of working at a university), I have had time to do some darkroom cleanup, mix up more C-41, and process a lot of color film.  Some of it dates back to June!   Scanning is going fine, and yes, while it takes time, I enjoy the results.

Kalamazoo, MI, July, 2016. Canon EOS 2000.
FPP recording  session, my house, Feb., 2016. Minolta XG-M.

Princess Phones, Kiwanis, December 2016, Minolta X-700

UM Art Museum windows, Dec. 2016, Minolta X-700

Berkeley, CA. Nikon FG, April 2016

Hocking Hills, OH. Nikon F3HP, May, 2016

Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Nikon FE, Feb., 2016

1 comment:

Jim Grey said...

One project that's been lurking in the back of my mind for about a year now is to shoot the barns of Indianapolis. The city merged with the county in 1970 and there are parts of the city that are quite rural -- and some old farms where subdivisions have gone up around them. It's quite a sight to see an old barn next to vinyl-village housing.

But I'm more focused on managing the cost of my film photography as I send a second son off to college in 2017, and my stepson in 2018. I'm starting to do develop-only at the proecessor's and scan my own. It's not much fun but it does cut costs. I know I ought to try processing my own. Maybe in 2017. I'd also like to figure out how to generate a little income through my blog and my photography, enough to pay for film and the odd old-camera purchase.