Week 43: Key to Happiness | 2017 Project 52

I had a few ideas on how to photograph key to happiness, but I kept coming back to one of them.

A lot of people confuse happiness with joy. They’re both strong, positive feelings but happiness is triggered externally while joy is cultivated internally. But the key to happiness?

key to happiness

Settings: f/4.0, 1/160 sec, 35mm, ISO 10k
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

A self-portrait. Because the key to my happiness is me.

Serious, you are the key to finding joy in your life. Do the the things that make you happy. Visit the places that make you feel safe. Eat the food that brings you comfort. Be around the people that make you feel whole. What it boils down to is you cannot expect someone else to make you happy. Humans are disappointing… only you can make yourself happy.

And by knowing this, understanding this, the decisions we make can lead to… well… being less miserable. And maybe, eventually, find joy.


Week 44: Edge
due 11.01.17

I can see the start of a steep cliff… the outline of a large frame… the border around a grassy field filled with cow… the brink of disaster… I also hear Bon Jovi, so there’s that.

What does “edge” make you think of? How will you photograph it? Another week to interpret at will – make some magic!

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
Have questions about 2017 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description. Please join us!

Week 42: Texture | 2017 Project 52

I keep wanting to go for a photowalk downtown during lunch… but eating lunch is so much better.

It’s a struggle because there’s so peeling paint and rocks and stone and rust… and then there’s left over seafood paella with a plantain and bacon wrapped stuffed date.

Priorities, y’all.

But I had a backup plan for texture and it required was walking out my front door.

texture

Settings: f/5.0, 1/200 sec, 42mm, ISO 8000
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

The woods just outside our door has nice little waterfalls and several large rocks covered in green, hairy moss. I knew it would photograph well, so I went on a little 15 minute hike for the best looking rocks and moss I could find while Mike Murphy was grilling some chicken. I had about 30 frames when I called it quits — I bracketed my exposure to see how much contrast I could create without Lightroom, so I had a few of the same shot. And the bracketing paid off. So did my little hike.

I chose this image for a few reasons. The texture of the moss is clearly evident: it looks soft, almost fur-like, curling off of the rock. And I like the rules of third here: zooming out and capturing a bit of the woods around us really helps set the scene. And then there’s that sun flare: because I haven’t shot a good sun flare in what feels like forever!

I do wish I had stopped down a bit more; at f/5.0 my focal length feels to narrow, but with my ISO already at 8000 I didn’t want to risk more grain for a longer DOF. It’s the risk of shooting after 6pm in the shaded woods… but that sun flare tho!


Week 43: Key to Happiness
due 10.25.17

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” –Albert Schweitzer

What do you believe is the key to your happiness? Is it being in the moment? Being imperfect? Loving unconditionally? Or being loved unconditionally?

Think about the things in your life, in your world, that give you purpose, meaning, and lead to feeling endless joy. Now, how would you like to photograph this thing, place, person or feeling? Write down your ideas, look for inspiration from others, try a few things out this week that might scare you — push through any fears you may have and shoot with your heart. Anything goes.

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
Have questions about 2017 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description. Please join us!

Week 41: Step Back | 2017 Project 52

So things didn’t go as planned this week, but I still took my own advice – I stepped back.

Settings: f/4.0, 1/1000 sec, 50mm, ISO 1000
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

I explored everything this week with new eyes and nothing really excited me. But coming home one afternoon, I pulled over by our little fishing pond in the neighborhood determined. I framed up the shot how I would like to. Then I stepped back. And then again. Until I was under the tree.

Is it a great picture? Not really. But the exercise forced me to use the things around to create more composition within the photo. I used the leaves of the tree to layer and frame the waterfall. I was able to crop the sign out of the image with a slight move. I made sure that no houses were featured. And I also was reminded how much I love our little neighborhood.


Week 42: Texture
due 10.18.17

We’re going a little abstract this week and focusing on texture. It can be tough to photograph because you can’t rely on light or composition very much. But on the flip side your eye is engaged with patterns and colors and intensity. I’ve included some links at the bottom for inspiration in case you need some…

Look for texture all around you. Can it be found in things you see every day? Have you discovered a completely new place to explore? Does the color draw you in? Can your exposure make a difference? Does your photo help us “feel” the texture simply by looking at it?

Get a little weird this week – photograph something you’d normally overlook and see if you like it more in post-editing. Get close to your subject, underexpose the image, get the texture to come to you through the camera. I bet once you start testing yourself you won’t be able to stop!

How to Photograph Textures
Texture as a Design Element
Texture in Photography
40 Terrific Photographic Textures

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
Have questions about 2017 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description. Please join us!

Week 40: Lost & Found | 2017 Project 52

I had an idea this week. It might be cheesy, but I love it.

During last year’s Project 52, I took the most adorable picture of my dog that can hear, Chase. I’ve made it my desktop background.

On multiple screens. You can see that photo here.

I share this image so you can get where I’m going with my lost & found photo. That photo was my inspiration. Chase was my inspiration. More specifically, her ears. OK, wait for the cheese…

floppy ear

Settings: f/4.0, 1/160 sec, 50mm, ISO 2500
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF50mm f/1.2L USM

Chase lost one of her pointy ears. And found a floppy ear. An adorable ear. More character than she ever needed in her life.

Unfortunately, we have trouble with doggins and allergies in September. And unfortunately, I was a bad dog mom and tried to deal with it all without a visit to the vet. Chase ended up developing a hematoma on her left ear. It actually swelled up quite large, and started to go down, but the tip of her ear still has a pocket of blood in it and the cartilage can’t support it. So now it flops. All the time.

When she runs, it flops.

When she snuggles up to us, it flops.

This dog’s cuteness has reached an all time high and I squee all the time because of that damn ear.

Also, I can’t believe how old Chase is getting. Twelve years strong with this furry one.


Week 41: Step Back
due 10.11.17

Most new photographers find themselves getting closer (and closer) to their subjects. I did it myself. And until I had a photographer friend encourage me to “step back” a few years ago, and to shoot wider. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually I was able to embrace stepping back and I fell in love with it.

So this week, we are stepping back. Take your photo like you normally would and then step back to take another shot — and step back again. See how far you can step away from your subject and still create an interesting image, one that you’re still connecting with your subject.

Bonus Challenge: Don’t just zoom out, actually move your feed and step back. I prefer to use prime lenses so zoom is not an option, but don’t forget to use your body to find a wider angle.

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
Have questions about 2017 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description. Please join us!

My Point of View | 3Q17

I haven’t been as active with my camera this quarter as the first two this year; I was neck deep in a project at work, and when I’m busy at work all I want to do is rest when I’m not working. But… I still have some photos that I haven’t shared on the blog. Some extras that I took in between #2017project52 prompts. And I even have some that I haven’t edited yet – that hurts to admit. But these are some from the last few months that bring me joy – or  hit me right in the feels – and make me keep going.