Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Making The Best Of Some Short Downtime

Personal projects are very important.   Sometimes they can be pre-planned, other times they just appear when you least expect it.  Personal projects allow you to experiment in ways that you wouldn't normally.  They also give you full control over what you are doing.  A good refreshing for mind, body and soul.

On a recent trip to Dayton, OH there was some unexpected downtime between events, so the wife and I were able to take a bit of a rest.  We needed the break, weather being high humidity and in the mid to high 90F degrees.  Back at the house we were renting, I found some "target rich" still life.

Gear Used:
Olympus OMD EM5 Mk II
Olympus 25/1.8 prime lens
Ambient Light for "Zeke"
Olympus supplied external flash with the EM5 Mk II for some of the walnut shots.

Right inside the front door, we were greeted by "Zeke", the name my wife gave him.  :D

The property owners came up with creative ways to monitor the house, using "Zeke" to hold the camera as well as the microphone.

After Zeke gave me very little outside of his A/V look, I started wandering elsewhere.  This time in search of light.

Found a nice, big window with the setting sun illuminating the formal dining room.  I liked the size and quality of the light - now I just needed to find a suitable subject.   There were some flowers there, but I was not feeling them.  Wandering through the house, I found a bowl of walnuts and almonds.

Took an overall shot of the bowl.  Trying to use some things I'm learning about video production.   Here I am looking to set the scene with a wide shot.

Then we come in with a closeup.  A single subject, standing on it's own.  Side lighting.

Bringing in some extra subjects - and kicked the EM5 Mk II into hi res mode, which gives us a bit more tonal range as well as a 40mp jpg to work with.

So, now, I'm pulling in some extra shapes, with the almonds, and looking at a different angle.  Looks like I'm trying to create a nut Stonehenge or something.

Didn't want to continue on with adding more walnuts/almonds, so started looking at incorporating the nut cracker and picks.

Almost looks like a masonic symbol of some kind.

So what did we learn here in all this?

1)  If you really want to make an image, you can.  Don't let the location or circumstances inhibit your creativity.
2)  Doing this kind of project, regardless of how small, keeps the creative thoughts flowing.
3)  With minimal gear, you can create some great images just by working with the light you have.
4)  Use times like this to try and create a feeling or evoke emotion from something that doesn't usually get associated with it.

Technical growth goes only so far, and at the end of the day, the technical stuff is really all science.  The biggest place for growth in your personal photo journey is going to be in finding creative ways of expressing things that people see everyday.  It is also one of the most difficult.  That journey is often a very personal one, and means different things to different people.

That is also what makes it great, fun, and rewarding.