Friday, July 6, 2007

Take a photo a day.

(click on the photo to view it on my Flickr page where larger sizes are available)

There's a growing number of people subscribing to the thought that having a goal of taking and posting a photo a day to your web gallery can help your photography improve by leaps and bounds. When I heard about this, I realized that I tend to be a person who drives past photo opportunities because I don't like stopping the car, or I don't pull out the camera because I only have a half hour until I have to do something. So, I thought I'd give it a try.

On "Day 2" of my quest for a photo-a-day, I got back from dinner late and only had an hour before I planned to be in bed, so I thought "Great, I failed "photo-a-day" on Day 2"! ...I started getting ready for my shower while thinking of something photo-worthy that I could either get quickly tonight or at least get as a photo for tomorrow. Several things crossed my mind, but nothing good until...

While washing my hair, I looked up at the cracking paint on the ceiling of our bathroom. The stupid guys who flipped our house used cheap paint in the bathroom and the steam from the shower has it coming off in sheets. Blah, I thought -I hate painting. Seeing it cracking and peeling cheeses me off. Showers used to be my little retreat, a place where I could relax, but that paint and the future work it symbolizes stresses me out every time I take a shower. But this time I smiled...

A few weeks ago I noticed this heart-shaped patch of bare ceiling where the paint was peeled completely off. What was frustrating before, though, had become really interesting now. -I had my photo op! -I quickly finished my shower so I could grab my camera.

I only took about 8 photos because I was running out of space on my memory card and didn't have time to go through and delete stuff. (I'm really militant about getting my 8 hours of sleep!) But, I framed it 4 different ways and exposed it a couple different ways for each to ensure I'd get a good shot. Then, satisfied with having at least attempted to get a photo that day, I went to bed.

When I got to work, I downloaded the photos and they were a little "blah". -I opened them in my photo editor of choice (Gimp) and couldn't get the balance right between getting the paint a warm white-ish tone, but leaving the ceiling (the inside of the heart) warm like the incandescent lighting made it look. I played and played with it, but in the end I had to make 2 layers in Gimp and use the erase tool where I wanted the warmer color to appear. -It took me about 4 hours in software playing with it before I got a result I was happy enough with to upload.

In the end, I love the photo and it made it to Flickr Explore!. -The lesson learned is that it doesn't take a lot of time to take a good photo or a magnificent place to find a good opportunity. Just keep your eyes open, and having a goal of a photo a day can be a helpful way of motivating yourself to take more photos, which through forced practice, can speed up your learning curve by a lot!

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