Week 34: Birds of a Feather | 2017 Project 52

Birds of a feather… this week was a tricky theme. When I did some research online, all that came up was birds. I’m not good at nature photography so I didn’t even want to try to photograph birds. I wanted to think outside the box. And started making a list of things I was doing that week I should tote my camera to in case inspiration struck.

Company meeting. Check.

Dinner with friends and their look-a-like sons. Check.

Parents dinner. Check.

Eclipse on Monday. Check check check.

birds of a feather

Settings: f/4.0, 1/125 sec, 35mm, ISO 2000
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

A group of us from the office walked across the street to the top of a park garage. We figured there would be less obstructions from buildings and fewer people — we were right. Several of had glasses to pass around. I actually brought Mike’s welding mask with me and viewing the eclipse from it was completely different. It was sharper than using the glasses. And green. But being up there with all those people who all wanted to see this once-in-a-lifetime cosmic event happen right at our doorstep… totally fit the theme.

I walked around and took several different frames, but I kept coming back to this one of my teammates. It’s a bit tighter than I’ve been shooting lately, but I really like the layering they naturally created. And you can see more people behind them also looking up into the sky. The light… it got dim, not completely dark but dim in a way that was weird. In Louisville we had 96% coverage, but it was still bright like an overcast day. But still odd to experience midday.

Spending time outside looking up at the sky, watching the moon meet the sun… some say it was underwhelming… but it just makes me question how small we all actually are in the grand scheme of things.

Week 35: Shoot From the Hip
due 08.30.17

“Shoot from the hip” has several meanings, from gunslingers who literally shoot their gun from their hip to “react suddenly or without careful consideration of one’s words or actions.” But it’s also a popular photography technique, especially for street photographers.

If you’re not familiar with the phrase, it basically means leaving your camera at your hip and taking shots without using the viewfinder. Sounds tricky, yes? But in a good way. Because having the camera lower than normal, forcing a new perspective… and creating images that may surprise you. A few things to note before you try shooting from the hip…

1. Set your exposure in advance. Pick an ISO that works in your environment, even if the light is changing, and consider a shutter speed that’s fast enough. It will save you the headache of over or underexposing. Maybe even consider setting your camera to Aperture Preferred so that it will compute your shutter speed for you.

2. Close your aperture down. It’s recommended to use a f/8.0 or higher. Since you won’t be focusing with your eyes, but more with your hands, it’s good to stop down and make sure you have more of your scene in focus.

3. Use autofocus. I always use autofocus, but this is technique really requires it. So even if it’s not usually your jam, at least try.

4. Keep your camera at your hip and your eyes up exploring. Seriously, wear your camera strap around your neck and keep the camera body at your hip. When a scene catches your eye, turn your body toward it, aiming your lens while it fires. DO NOT look through the viewfinder. This exercise is meant to try something new and see if you can explore without your focused eye.

There are more links below to explain shooting from the hip in more detail, but I urge you to explore. There are days when walking back to my car after work, I hang my camera around my neck and end up with such interesting photos. Don’t worry about being perfect — just pick the photo that speaks to your heart the most. And if you’re on social media, hashtag your photo with #shootfromthehip.

How to Shoot From the Hip
Shoot From the Hip Tutorial
Shooting From the Hip in Street Photography
Street Photography: Shooting From the Hip

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