Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicago Photography Assignments

I am starting to get back into the regular shooting swing, and I have a couple of "new" cameras to try out, including a neat Holga wide-angle pinhole that I received as a Christmas present and just haven't had the time to really learn how to use yet.

In addition, I find myself getting bored with the same old, same old places and things to shoot.  In an attempt to break out of my location rut, I sat down and brainstormed a handful of photography "assignments" for myself.  I'm hoping to check these off as the summer goes by, and hoping that by posting them here, I will be more inclined to actually follow through.  In no particular order:

Location/Subject Assignments:
  • Meadow Lake Wind Farm (Northern Indiana) - this is a huge (crosses three counties) wind farm in the northern part of Indiana.  K and I first saw this when we drove to Cincinnati earlier this year for K's spring marathon.  I took a few crappy pictures from the freeway rest stop, but they were nothing worth posting.  Would love to take a half-day to roam around some of the back-road highways to get some more interesting images.
  •  Chicago Botanic Garden (North Chicago) - this is often the turnaround point on my "go to" weekend bicycle ride, but I have never actually gone through the gardens as the bike route basically cuts through the back service access road.  Kind of cliche - oooh, pretty flowers (yawn) - but the landscaping of the gardens is actually very cool and this might be a good place to really put my "new" monster medium format camera (a used Mamiya RB67 Pro) though its paces.
  • Still Life/"Studio" - I want to try out some basic studio lighting techniques, and since the dog is wiggly, the cats uncooperative and K only allows herself to be photographed under duress, I figure I will adopt the time-honored tradition of all budding photographic geniuses: hang a sheet, stick some flowers in pot and snap away.  This also provides an excuse to visit a weekend farmer's market for "subjects."  Hmmm, still life with cupcakes . . . 
  • Architecture Tour - when K and I first visited Chicago, we took the Official Chicago Architecture Boat Tour.  It was October, and really cold, but some of the pictures that I took on the tour I still think of as some of my best Chicago architecture shots, and one hangs in my office and continues to get a ton of compliments.  The perspective you get on the buildings is awesome, and you just can't recreate it from the shore.
  • Night Shoot - I have been scoping out a few locations to try and do another night photography session.  I went out recently and took some hand-held night shots at a local carnival, but before that it has been over a year since I specifically shot at night.  That time was on the Lakefront for some fairly typical city skyline shots.  Now I have a few more interesting subjects in mind (hopefully) and just need to find the time.  This is another thing that I used to love to do, but have not done nearly as much of since I switched over to primarily digital.  I think that part of it is that I have just not been very happy with the results I'm getting from digital.  I want to go back and try again with some film (and my new medium format toys).
  • Street/PJ - one of my favorite things to do when I first started getting serious taking pictures was just wander around downtown Seattle and shoot the people and events of everyday urban street life.  Some of my favorite photographers specialized in street photography, and I still find myself walking around going - that would be a cool shot.  The problem is I'm only thinking about shooting and not actually shooting.  Why?  Well, usually when I'm downtown and out of the office, I'm on my way to court and in a suit.  Somehow, while no one looks twice at a 20-something guy in jeans and a t-shirt snapping away with a camera on the street, the same is really not true for a 40ish guy in a suit.  Prescription, bring a change of clothes for after work photography or just set some time aside on a weekend to head downtown or to one of the local festivals.
Process Assignments:
  • Shoot More Film! (especially medium format and 35mm slide for cross-processing) - I've still got a bunch of old, expired film stock, as well as some tasty new 35mm and 120mm rolls that are just languishing away in the bottom of the freezer.  Also, I think I found a good source for relatively cheap 120mm processing.  Time to start whittling down the supply.
  • Home Develop My Black & White - cheaper and faster than farming it out.  Besides, me and the dog need something to do while K goes running on Saturday mornings.
  • Open An Etsy Shop To Sell Prints - I have no allusions to ever making a living off of photography, but perhaps if I could just subsidize the habit a little bit my credit card bills would  be a lot less horrifying.
So that's the wish list.  Let's see how many I can get checked off before Labor Day.


thefoxkids said...

good idea giving yourself assignments!!! I may steel that one! are you going to head to WA for the barn painting migration?? KayLea and I with my Mom are going to attempt it.. it would be good to seeyou if you can steal soem time away! can't wait to see the fruits of your assignments and the esty shop is an excellent idea as well.. talk to my Mom she can give you all the tips and pointers to be seen on esty she's becomming a pro!

Ed L. said...

Feel free to steal to your heart's content. Remember, "good artists borrow, great artists steal." ;)

I will be at the July shindig. Flying in late Thursday night and will be there through mid-day Sunday. Will be great to see you!