I once read about a photography teacher who gave a series of assignments (or something along these lines): 1) take an interesting photo of something within a mile of your house 2) take an interesting photo of something within 500 yards of your house 3) take an interesting photo of something within 100 yards of your house, and etc. I suspect the purpose of the assignment was to teach and emphasize how much your creativity, composition, and control of your camera is more important than an “interesting” subject. After all, anyone can take a photo of a gorgeous sunset or a beautiful piece of architecture – a lot of times, the photo only ends up being a snapshot of what is already there. Or, in the case of architecture, it’s really just a snapshot of what someone else has created. Just my personal opinion, of course, feel free to disagree with me.
As such, one of my personal goals lately is to find photo opportunities right around the places I see every day. Or, you can interpret it as, I’m too lazy to go anywhere to find photo opportunities 🙂 Texas, and especially Houston, is arguably one of the most ugly places for scenic photos, whether nature, landscape, or architecture. There are a few interesting places around here, but every other person with a camera can take a photo of the Mecome fountains (three fountains in Herman Park on Main St.), for example, and they eventually all end up looking the same no matter who clicked the shutter.
The outdoor light during the day was bright and soft last week due to some overcast rain clouds, and it just happens to be my favorite type of outdoor light. So I grabbed my medium format camera, jumped in my car, and zoomed off to…right outside the neighborhood of where I live. Seriously, too lazy to go anywhere. The drive didn’t even last 2 minutes…I could have walked there if it weren’t raining on and off.
Overall, I’m decently proud of these two following photos for two reasons: 1) like I mentioned above, the challenge of creating a decent looking photograph just within my everyday surroundings and 2) no light meter! :O (For those who are unfamiliar with the term, light meters are the sensors in the camera that tell you if the combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO will make your photo too bright or too dark. Of course, we usually want to be Goldilocks and aim right for the middle – just right. This is usually automatically determined if you use a point and shoot.). Seriously, no light meter in this camera, and I was too lazy to bring a second camera with a light meter, and no way in heck am I going to spend 200 bucks on a handheld light meter. So I just guesstimated the aperture/shutter speed values, erred on the side of overexposing, and click! Thank God negative film has such large latitude.
Bronica S2, Nikkor 13.5cm f/3.5 and Nikkor 7.5cm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 160VC
This last image, I took at the dog park over the weekend when I brought my stinky dog for his every-two-week trip to the park. I really, really love this image for it’s emotive value, but it kills me that I didn’t focus on his face properly. Well, my excuse is that manual focusing with medium format cameras is ridiculously hard on subjects that dart back and forth 😛 And yes, this guy was keeping up with the best of them. Perhaps though, for the sake of artistic value and making up nonsense to sound philosophical, it’s an even bigger statement that the focal plane falls on what the dog no longer has…
Bronica S2, Nikkor 13.5cm f/3.5, TMAX400 – my favorite black and white film so far…I’ll be sticking with this one for a while.
Hope you guys are entertained 🙂