Monday, September 5, 2011

Wherever You Go …

… capture an image.

This is my new prescription for myself and my students. New photographers always want to know what they should do to get better at their craft. Naturally, it is a process and the number one bit of advice from just about everyone is to "shoot, shoot, shoot". And that is the best tip but what do you shoot?

Well, of course, shoot what you most interested in and try to do your best whether that is portraits, street, landscape, or just family, friends and pets.  Use your skills. Practice new skills and techniques. Try new ideas. But it is also a really good idea to shoot just about anything else, especially subjects that are not your norm. There are lots of great prescriptions out there from other professional photographers that can help you do more shooting; shoot a particular color, shoot with one particular lens, shoot things that go with or look like numbers or letters… Here's mine; shoot a photo everywhere you go. Grocery store, friend's house, work, gas station, park, or backyard. Anywhere and everywhere.

For my shoot "Wherever You Go" prescription, I use whatever camera is with me for this and try to snap something just about everywhere. They are not all terrific images! Yours won't be either and don't expect that. However, that is where the fun comes in. Shoot a portrait like a landscape or a landscape item like a portrait. Put a motion blur on a stationary object by panning. Over expose, under expose. Take a photo of the dry cleaners upside down. There are no rules except to capture something in as many different locations as possible. The subjects will not always be superb so that's where your creativity and your technique comes into play. Trying your best to capture something that seems impossible to get may be the best image to try whether it actually succeeds or not. Remember that prescriptions like this are about the process not the final image.

So, you will have problems composing an image. Especially when you are trying to make another image at a location you visit everyday. Look for contrast. Look for color. Look for something totally boring (pretty easy) and shoot it with a odd angle. Shoot something very close. Shoot something abstract. If you give yourself the task of shooting something, you'll find something. And you can always skip a location that you visit often.

It is also fun to process some of these less than "fine art" captures in wild ways. Go ahead and put a totally obnoxious vignette on the image. Or over saturate. Or blur it. Or over sharpen it. Use the apps on your cell phone to whack them totally out of shape. You can see from my examples here and in the future that I'm not trying to create perfect images with this process. Rather, I am trying to expand my vision and skills in varied situations.

So, you try it. Shoot something right now, wherever you are. Then post it and let someone see it. Have fun!

Here are a few of my recent Wherever You Go's ...

Near the Boulder Digital Arts office, Boulder, CO

View from storage, Erie, CO

Outside Mike's Camera, Boulder, CO

Outside McGuckins Hardware, Boulder, CO