(This started life as a challenge to myself, then a blog post, and now it lives here. Enjoy!)
Spring 2012. We’re beset with a week of 75 degree weather in NYC. And what do you equate warm weather with? For me, it’s colorful sunsets. So I issued myself a photo challenge – to shoot one sunset each night during the workweek, Monday through Friday. The catch? One camera, one lens, one focal length (how much zoom), one location and the same post-processing for each photo. The goal? Within a rigid set of guidelines, to create five unique photos.
The finished product(s).
Wednesday was tricky. I had a late afternoon meeting and the sky was completely overcast. Where it had been in the 70′s on Monday and Tuesday, it had dipped into the 50′s on Wednesday. Thinking the project was over before it really got started, I didn’t rush home to see the sun set. But I really did want to make this work and to shoot all five evenings, so at 6:30pm on Wednesday I posted this extra from Tuesday evening as a band-aid.
But! As I hit ‘publish’ the clouds parted, the sun peeked out and I was treated to this at 6:47pm. Thankfully, my self-imposed challenge could continue.
The two shots I posted on Wednesday took this set from 5 to 6 photos. So ‘Six Sunsets’ it is. Bonus! Six Sunsets rolls off the tongue much better than Five Sunsets. I’m a sucker for wordplay.
So, the question remains – did I do it? Did I beat the challenge?
Honestly, that’s for you to decide. This was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. You wouldn’t believe how alike dozens of shots were from night to night. However, I did have a lot of fun challenging myself like this, taking one subject and viewing it from as many different perspectives as possible, stretching myself as creatively as I could within a pretty narrow set of rules.
Did I mention I took all of these photos with my phone?
I figured it was the easiest way to limit myself to a single camera, lens and focal length, knowing I’d always have it with me on location if I were in a rush. :-) That, and it helped reinforce the idea that you don’t need the latest and greatest gear to take good photos.
If you’re wondering, that’s an actual shot of my phone with one of the photos that didn’t make the cut. It’s a two year old Samsung Galaxy S (Vibrant on T-Mobile). (I’m thinking HTC One X or holding out for the iPhone 5 next. You?)
Other bits of info for you fellow photographers. The post processing was done in Lightroom. Each photo was hit with the standard ‘direct positive’ preset and same amount of vignetting. As you can see from the shot on the phone, the photos didn’t need to be pushed too far.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, this commercial is right…
…it is super easy to read a kindle in direct sunlight. (Another phone shot w/ some Pixlr-o-matic magic applied to it while I waited for the sun to, ahem, set.)
Now it’s your turn. Shoot photos. Create a challenge or goal for yourself. Let me know how you do, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.