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I thought it was high time to post another photo project. This is a favorite of mine and has a primary focus on training your eye. Making the mundane magical is exactly what artists do regularly. This project works on honing that skill.

First you will need to select a mundane object. Mundane simply means everyday or ordinary. Nothing special or particularly defining of this object. I will also say that the smaller the object, the more flexibility you have with your photographs.

Here are some ideas for mundane objects:

  • Army Man/ Legos
  • Banana/ Apple
  • Fork/Spoon
  • Soap/ Nail Clippers
  • Cup of tea or coffee
  • Most random item you carry with you in your backpack or purse

Remember simple is a good place to start and will offer you many options.

Challenge:

Choose a mundane object and focus at least 30-40 images on this one object. You must make your object look like the following:

  • Light
  • Heavy
  • Beautiful
  • Ugly
  • Tall
  • Micro-Small
  • Soft
  • Hard

Remember these words can have different interpretations for different people. That is the fun part! 

After you select your object, consider setting up a home studio of sorts. You will need:

  • Light- any type of house lamp or position you studio by the window
  • A Surface to Shoot on- Choose something with texture or pattern like a stump or bubble wrap
  • Background- Find a simple plain background- this could be a sheet, metal, foam core etc
  • Reflector – Grab a piece of white foam core or even white paper to pop the light back onto the subject from the window.
  • Objects and Items – Have some plants or other items to highlight your object

Here is my 2 Minute Home Studio when I need to shoot a product or item quickly.

Things to Think About

These are some suggestions to help you get the creative juices flowing.

  • Lighting- How can you use this to create drama and emphasis (maybe backlight it ?)
  • Shadows- the shadow of the object can also make a photo
  • POV – Point of View and angles can make a huge difference in the size of your item
  • Fishing Line- Consider a way to stage your object and have it suspended
  • Composition- Use the Rule of Thirds and make sure to check out the 8 Basic Composition Styles to help you.
  • Destroy it- if you have multiple, manipulate the form and break it apart
  • Get Close Up– Use a macro lens and focus on texture
  • Motion– drop it, throw it, or slowly drag it to capture the motion.

Results:

Spending this much time with one subject will be beneficial. It will be a challenge to force yourself to look at something for a long period of time. Whenever I do this photo project I am always challenged and inspired at the same time. Let me know how it goes! I would love to see your images, so make sure to tag me on Instagram or drop a link below.

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Hello Fellow Photographers! In photography you have certain controls within the camera that allow for “effects”, mood, and image interest. Today let’s explore the basic camera controls, what they do, and how you can control these on your phone camera.

Often when I capture a interesting shot, I am asked what I used to take the image. As if somehow my gear was doing all of the work. Trust me, you can go buy the newest mirrorless camera on the market or a top of the line DSLR and that does not mean you will be able to make the same capture or quality of capture.

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Photographing in the rain can be tough. It feels dreary and often uninspiring when all the lighting is an overcast diffused gray. However, I have to get over this and shoot despite the weather.

As you know I am an avid hiker and try to get outside and at least once a week. In my current location and the surrounding areas it rains….ALL the time. I live in the Pacific Northwest, home of green and lush forests, but this means rain for about half the year. The video above was one such day on a hike.

The same can be said for some of our travels. An equally dreary place was Ireland that held a similar climate. We visited in the summer and were able to experience some glimpses of sun, but the constant spitting of rain was common.

Here are some of my top tips for shooting in the rain starting from the gear to what you can look for. Watch the video or read the post! 🙂

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We LOVE to travel. However, in the winter months we tend to baton the hatches and huddle up at home. In the Pacific Northwest it is either raining, frosty, foggy, freezing or a combination of these. This less than inviting weather combined with the instinctual need to hibernate can make it challenging to both create and get outside. Despite this you can photograph in the dead of winter.

Thankfully, my partner and I made a pact to have at least one adventure a week.This means we get out and hike most often. Although biking, snowshoeing, skiing and the occasional spelunking have also been fun in the winter.

1. Bundle Up First

Prepare yourself for the weather. In the PNW we are used to the rain, but I still freeze in winter so start layering. We love merino wool, buffs, and a good down puffer.

DO NOT FORGET THE GLOVES. You will be shooting on your camera, so you will also want the kind that are “tech touch” sensitive like the ones pictured. This way you do not have to ever take off your glove to get a shot.

2. Look for Textures
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The History: A Woman, a Pioneer, and Prussian Blue

In the days of the first photographs, around 1839, pioneers of this field who integrated science and art began to emerge and take their place in the history of photography. During this era the thought of color photography in the contemporary sense was not even in the minds of the ingenious inventors.

However, one color did manage to make its mark through the hands of a woman born in 1799 named Anna Atkins. She is marked with being the first to publish a book of photographs and one of the first female photographers. [1]

Figure 1. Anna Atkins, Untitled, Cyanotype Photograms, 1843-1853, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions.

The vivid Prussian blue images that you see above are one of the 425 photographs published by Atkins. It is called a cyanotype. The name cyanotype was derived from the Greek word cyan, meaning “dark-blue impression”.

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Looking for a challenge this week? I have the perfect photo project for you.  This is an assignment I give my students who are first picking up a film camera: Point of View (POV).  A photographer’s vantage point is so important and can truly bump up your photography game.  I also think considering POV allows you to consider the world around you – making one more aware.

Eventually, you may find yourself creating an entire series of photographs with a specific POV. This will yield  authenticity and an aesthetic that brands your own work.

The Project:

In the next two weeks, take photographs using the following list. Consider your point of view and where you can move. Where you and your camera are will determine the message of the photo!

As you are shooting, post your photos on social media using the hashtag #masterthepov so we can all see and share.

Points of View to Find and Photograph

*All images are my own

Birds Eye View: Get up in the air or on a chair and look down

Worms Eye View: Get on the ground and look up! The tree on the left is actually only about 3ft. tall.

Squat: Yes, squat and be mid level- see how this changes the subject

Bellybutton Shots: Hold your camera at your bellybutton in a large crowd. No, you will not be able to look at the image, but it can give you some seriously cool results

Your own eye level: Bring it back to the basics

Surprise me! Find a new angle and POV not on this list! I would love to see it. The one below is my “lurker” POV.

Don’t forget to use that hashtag #masterthepov on Instagram. Follow me to see what I have done.

 

 

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On August 21st at approximately 10:19am (in Vancouver WA) there will be a solar eclipse!  To see if the eclipse will be visible in your area click here and enter your city.

Use your phone to photograph the eclipse…. Below is how I plan on capturing the eclipse on my smartphone.

1. Practice First

Start taking some photos of the night sky or moon using the tips below so you feel prepared for shooting in a low light setting.

Ireland at Midnight taken with iPhone 7plus

2. Protect Eyes

Run down to your local store or grab a pair of solar eclipse glasses off Amazon.  I bought one for myself, and one to use over my lens. A solar filter will be helpful for toning down the sun as you photograph and can even allow for that ring of light to appear.

3. Tripod

Use a tripod to stabilize the camera. Since it will be low light, shake and movement will easily cause your photos to be grainy or blurry. I would suggest having a tripod and mounting bracket for your phone to remove this risk and allow for flexibility in shooting, such as a timelapse video or burst.

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