Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Projecting Your Vision

Greetings, volks. Welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place! Lovely weather, beautiful skies, and an abundance of time give rise for photo opportunities and exercises here.

We’re blessed in the Hohenfels area with such a variety of things to cater to all our interests, at least photographically. Many volks find the castles and historic locations to be the ticket for them, others love the country scenes, and still other volks love seeing the cities. We’re located where you can find something to interest you and fuel your creative fire.

Today we’re going to try to throw some fuel on your fire by revisiting the subject of projects. As we discussed in a previous post, projects can get you thinking and lead to some creative ideas and photos. We’re going to do a short post about getting a project going as an exercise this week.

The first step to completing your project is getting together some ideas thinking through an outline. It’s important to have a theme, something that will tie each image to the other images, and to the project as a whole. Some ideas for projects in the Hohenfels area are shooting only trees, shooting playgrounds, a series of stream shots, or even the local Rathauses. Once you have a general theme, narrow it down some. For instance, if you choose to shoot trees, limit yourself to small trees or something to narrow your scope to less than just “trees.”

Decide on what tools you want to use. Decide on what items you’ll be using in your photography, and put together a kit to bring along. Make sure you have the right tool for the job! If you decide to shoot bugs for instance, don’t use a 24mm wide-angle lens, unless your theme is little specks of bugs in a big scene. Planning now can save you some missed shots later.

Also, think of some limitations on your tools. Perhaps shooting without a flash or using only a prime lens. By adding some creative limitations, you boost your creativity by working with what you have. A very important limitation is limiting the edits you can perform in software. Limit yourself to adjusting levels, curves, brightness, contrast, and saturation. Include these limitations in your visualization, or you may be disappointed with your results. Most photo contests you’re likely to enter limit editing to those listed above. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to use those limitations to help us get the most of the tools we have.

Once all the above have been decided, it’s time to make of list of places where we can the shots to work our project. Know where you’re going, research the places and lighting. You should visit a couple times at different times of day. Know the lighting and knowing how we make the most of it gives you the ability to make your image inspire others.

With everything in place, it’s time to get out and start shooting. Add some variety within your theme by shooting black and white, shooting some color, and low light shots. Keeping to your theme will bring everything together.

Projects can be created for the weekend, for vacation, or even for special days and times. One of my friends, Jen, recently did a series of lighthouses. Her shots were great, and although they have edits like vignettes applied, show how beautiful the structures, and more importantly the locations, are. These things are a marvel for anyone who’s ever seen one, and Jen crafted some wonderful images that fit that to a t! Check out her blog, Jennifer O on our links page, you’ll definitely enjoy her work!

I’ll leave you with a couple shots from one of my on-going projects, featuring crosses and small chapels in our Hohenfels Area.

Hohenfels Volks:Crosses and Crenelations
EI80, f/8, 1/60 Developed N-20% to control tonal range and contrast.
Crosses and Crenelations. Shot on film, exposed to bring the range near bright white on the walls and crenelations of the wall and developed to bring that back to a tone that holds detail. Even though that area is pushing white, the tonal range and detail are available.

Hohenfels Volks:Crosses and Crenelations 2
ISO 125, f/8, 1/30
Castle and Cross. By shooting the sky at about m+1/3, then decreasing exposure by about 1/2 stop and applying an inverted s-curve to the image, the clouds, cross, and castle all add an element to the image, and create a decent balance.

I hope this inspires everyone to undertake a project of their own. A project can take on a life of its own, and can add some inspiration to your time behind the camera. It doesn't have to take all your photo time, but you may end up giving it a more than fair amount! Take care and enjoy the rest of the week!

Is there anything you’d like to see here? Do you have a question? Let us know what project you're working on! Share your thoughts here or at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Of course, commenting on both Facebook and here is always appreciated, too! Don't forget, we're on Google+, too!

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