“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one.”
— often attributed to Mark Twain in error
Working my book like all my life. I tend to grab something that makes a big dent first, then knock things off one small item at a time. It is the method I’ve developed for accomplishing a lot in a short period of time.
I chose triangles as a unifying theme for my book. It is a subject from Freeman Patterson’s book “Photography and the Art of Seeing.” We find triangles everywhere and they are an important element of composition. From a psychological perspective, we ascribe male or masculine attributes to triangles. I favor abstract representations in my photography. For this book I chose to include a wider variety of techniques. I have included landscapes, nature and architecture as well as abstracts.
I create my photographs with a range of digital cameras from Canon and Sony. I photographed all my subjects with a Sony NEX-6 compact, mirrorless camera. To process the photos, I used Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik filters. Viveza and Color Efex Pro are the filters I used most. When processing images I go for the feeling I recall when looking at the subject. This process leads to variations in the adjustments that may be unacceptable to some.
Photography reduces the stress I feel in my life. It is one of the few pursuits in my life that has no purpose other than my pure enjoyment. It gives me an outlet for emotions long divorced from conscious self. For that reason I strive to present that emotion in my images.
I ended up being happy with twenty-three of the images I took on Sunday, but narrowed that down to eighteen. So in two days, I’m almost halfway to done. I doubt that I will use all eighteen, but I would not feel bad if I did.
“What was that you were saying, asked Fred? I’ve got so much on my mind I can’t seem to get anything finished.”
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, why don’t you go take some pictures? You know it relaxes you replied his girlfriend Kathy.”
Today I am starting my SoFoBoMo 2016 project, I’ve decided to work on a personal project of Triangles.
I tend to shoot abstract photographs when left to my own devices. But for this project I have decided to mix it up a bit and include a variety of techniques. With each image I am trying to build in a triangle as a dominant design element.
Today I visited a local park where there are playing fields, lots of trees and a stream. Of the images I shot this morning, my favorite is the one on the right. I am intrigued by the triangle created with the two sprinklers as they cross over the bench. It directs my eye up into the leaves of the trees in the background.
For landscapes I use triangles as a base for my image more often than any other way. But for this image, I like the positive message created by an upward-pointing triangle.
Of course I could not resist abstracts completely. I took several, some stairs, close ups of playground equipment, some motion-blurred trees.
Only time can tell what will make the final cut. I’ll be working on an Artist’s Statement for my book over the next couple of weeks. I’ve found that often images I like will not fit the statement and I must cut them. I also find this to be an essential aspect of developing a “body of work.” The Artist’s Statement drives my final edit. Much in the same way a magazine story will dictate the images that get selected.
If you are looking for something constructive to why not start your SoFoBoMo book?
“I can’t do that, exclaimed Valerie! I don’t know enough about publishing to write a book.”
That is the initial reaction of so many of the people I’ve spoken with about SoFoBoMo. The Solo Photo Book Month is a project that pits you against yourself. Pick any contiguous thirty-one days between 1 July and 31 August 2016. Choose a subject, photograph it, edit and arrange the images, and create a photo book. No fuss, no muss.
The cold reality is that most of us are just not motivated to deal with the potential pitfalls. We find it hard to get motivated. We find it hard to maintain focus. We find it difficult to get done!
But that is one of the greatest aspects of SoFoBoMo. There is no time to worry about what MIGHT happen. There is no time to choose the BEST format. There is no time to doddle.
Because you only get thirty-one days to complete the project, you have to keep moving. You can shoot something with which you are familiar and cut your learning curve. Or you can crash on something completely new to push the envelope.
Planning for SoFoBoMo
You must develop the entire book’s contents within the thirty-one days of SoFoBoMo. But you can prepare for the event. Consider the following before you start:
- Subject – What do I want to shoot?
- Theme – How and where do I want to shoot it?
- Software – What software do I need? What do I need to practice in that software before the event?
- Photo editing software
- Book editing software
- Slideshow software
- PDF conversion software
- Hardware – What hardware do I need? What do I need to practice with that hardware before the event?
- Flash / Strobe
Some subjects / themes that I have seen:
- My local area – shot as street photography
- Uses “normal” lenses
- Monochrome is pretty standard
- My dog / cat / pet
- Can be indoors, outdoors or both
- Can be with or without people / family
- Selective color – digital darkroom technique that still requires some form of subject matter
- Macro – field technique that still requires some form of subject matter
- Travel – document your vacation in book form
The most important part is that you sign up for SoFoBoMo 2016. We look forward to seeing what you can create.