With the encouragement of a few really good friends, I decided to attempt my first 365 project and thankfully I have not yet failed. I think in the last nearly 5 months I’ve only missed one day shooting with my DSLR or any other sort of “big camera.” Shooting for myself personally is really important because this is where I get to try out new techniques, take risks and think outside of my traditional box.
The biggest hurdles so far have been a lack of light, especially in January and February. During those first two months when it was getting dark at 4PM I had to use a lot of artificial light, like lamps, flash lights and ambient light from appliances or iPads and computers. It was really difficult at first as there are only so many different types of artificial light sources I felt comfortable using, so I really had to step outside of my comfort zone. When shooting in low light, I like to place my subject in front of my light source and backlight my image, especially when using an LED flash light or my cheap IKEA reading lamp. When you position the light to shine directly into the lens and have your subject filtering the light you can get some pretty amazing and dramatic flare. This will also produce some beautiful silhouettes. It was really difficult at first as there are only so many different types of artificial light sources I felt comfortable using, so I really had to step outside of my comfort zone. Thankfully I had fun experimenting and took a couple of my favorite photos to date. In addition, I had to get over my fear of using a high ISO. Before I started my 365, I never would let my ISO get over 1000. I quickly had to let that fear go and realize that my camera was built to handle low light. And in conjunction with editing, I was able to end up with photos that I loved, even though they are not “technically” perfect.
The best piece of advice I can give is to keep experimenting. If you think something is strange or weird or you aren’t sure if you will like the results, the best thing you can do is TRY. You will never know unless you whole heartedly try.
As somebody who works full time outside of my photography business I thought I really was setting myself up to fail by trying to take a photo each day. A couple of things I have learned so far is that you really can’t set your expectations too high. You can’t expect to make magic every single day. There are going to be days when your images are just “so so,” and probably won’t be share worthy. But if you remember the reason you started the project, then you’ll realize that lulls are part of the growing process. It’s important to try new techniques as well. When I am feeling bored with my images or surroundings I like to play with shutter speed. I like to slow my shutter down to shoot panning images or create intentional motion blur to create movement in my images. Another thing you can do and something I just recently began exploring is shooting and using a prism or convex lens to create some cool reflections or bends in the light, a la Sam Hurd. Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be a prism or something similar, you can really use anything to create some cool foreground in your images. No matter what, though, you will inevitably forget to shoot an image one day, and it’s important not to beat yourself up. We tend to be our own worst critics instead of our best cheerleaders. That’s been the hardest, yet most rewarding part so far, is realizing that I can self motivate. That the desire to create and experiment and have fun with my art really lies within me, and by digging deep you can tap into it and grow as an artist.
For these images, I used my Canon 5D Mark iii and varying lenses. My go to lenses are my 24-70L and my 28mm. I love my 24-70 because it allows me to capture an entire scene but also zoom in quickly to snap portraits if needed and capture details. I love my 28mm because of the crazy flare that I get when shooting directly into the sun.
About the photographer:
Wife to a creative soul and mother to two feisty girls who keep me on my toes and entertain my need to constantly have a camera in my hands. Documenting our life is my passion and creating adventure for my family is my goal. My love for the mountains and oceans run deep, making the Pacific Northwest the perfect place to call home. I am a camera hoarder, film lover, tea drinker and love a good game of scrabble.
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