Tag Archives: development

More Shot List

And yet no shot list. I’ve made some progress on my shot list, though, and some patterns are emerging. I want to use people other than myself. (I was thinking last weekend that I’ll have to do a series of self-portraits in order to minimize the hassle factor, but the idea of setting up self-portraits engages me less and less the more I think about it.) I want to use animals. And I’m going to need some space.

Coming Out to Be Photographed

The purpose of this exercise is to get images in my head out of my head where other people can see them. This is pretty much the opposite of what I’ve been doing up until now, which has been recording things that anyone could see but other people didn’t notice.

Wading in the Lake

One of the areas of resistance I’ve had to “making” photographs (as opposed to “taking” them) is lighting. There is so much to learn, and the equipment can be expensive or at least require a lot of construction. I like making things, but when I think about lighting, I realize I like making things qua things. That’s going to have to change in a lot of ways if I am to go forward with this, because I’m going to need to make props, too.

Banana Drama

Part of the motivation here is to get a break from the frustration – so common in outdoor observational photography – of missing a shot. I realize that some days I’ll be replacing it with the frustration of not getting the result I want, but learning to close that gap is part of the exercise.



As an exercise to prepare for my weekly shot project, I decided to make a shot list. I want it to have a dozen doable items, and I haven’t managed to write them all out yet. I do have 7 items on it now, but a few of them require materials I don’t have access to, so I want to keep working. I plan to do a shot this coming weekend, thought, whether my list is “long enough” or not.

In the meantime, I’m carrying a camera every day, which I’d got out of the habit of doing, and that feels good. It’s making me realize that it’s a bit of a challenge both to get a lot of exercise every day AND to get out and do photography. While holding down a full-time job. We’ve had a special project going at the office lately that I’m tempted to use as an excuse, but that’s not the reason I’m moving slowly on this.

This photograph was taken through the window at an antiques shop near my office. I took it with a film camera, and I’ve definitely found over the last year and a half that when I need a kick start, it helps to shoot a roll or two. I pick up my most recent two rolls (from developing) the day after tomorrow, and I have another dozen rolls of a half dozen kinds of film waiting to play with. My project will be digital, for practical reasons, but film sharpens the mind and disciplines the movements.

New Project: Weekly Setup Shot

The majority of my photography is urban and nature observation. Over the last couple of years, I’ve occasionally set up shots, and in the last year or so, I’ve started to get – even become preoccupied by – ideas about photos I’d like to build, piece by piece, even a series or several.

Amy Pays Her Respects Amy's Expansive Corner

My first posed subject was my friend Amy. She’s an actor, and she was happy to give over a whole day to me one winter. I think I took something like 400 shots that day. It was a wonderful experience for me, because it gave me a chance to slow down and try a lot of different things – angles, locations, and processing approaches.

"The Poseidon Project"

Shortly after that, I participated in a project to create cinematic shots. For almost all the shots, I just kept an eye open for cinematic situations around me and tried to capture them. For one shot, I went out to the piers at night with a friend, and we walked around and looked for good locations, finally making this shot. Again, we had no concrete plan, just a general idea of where we wanted to go, and then seeing how the spirit moved us when we got there.

The Three Grape Smugglers

This year I’ve wanted to step up my game, and I’ve made – or at least designed and styled – a couple of shots I am truly happy with. Now it’s time for me to do more, and it has been for a while. I’m going to need help in the form of external pressure, though, because I haven’t been taking the further steps I need to on my own. So this is an announcement of my new project: One deliberately styled and directed shot per week, at least 12, until I finish a coherent series or at least figure out what I want to do next.

Do you have a suggestion or request? I can’t promise to honor it, but I’d love to hear it!