- 365 Project August Wrap Up
- 365 Project July Wrap Up
- 365 Project June Wrap Up
- Taipei Players: The Royal Threesome at the Crown
- 365 Project May Wrap Up
- Black and White Street Portraits
- Street Portraits, May 2011, Part 2
- Excuse Me, Can I Take Your Picture?
- 365 Project April Wrap Up
- Return of the Bobble Heads
Category Archives: 365 Project
The end of holidays means a return to routine.
The majority of the photos in this project have all been mined from the same area of Taipei, close to my house.
Walking the same beat has gotten a little monotonous. However, I did experience my first instance of confrontation this month. An angry man ran up demanding that I delete the photo I had shot of the outside of his business. I explained that he has no right to forbid photography on the street around his shop. He said that he had put up a sign disallowing photography. The absurdity of his claim was making me angry, so I simply deleted the photo and walked away, not needing the situation to escalate.
I hope you enjoy this month’s photos, although I do feel the repetitious nature of this project is sucking some of the creativity and joy from what used to be a spontaneous activity. Check out the full gallery.
July turned out to be a pretty interesting month. Having summer holidays really helps one bust out of their rut.
I got to enjoy metal shows in the middle of the week. I had a fantastic tropical holiday on a sublimely beautiful island in Malaysia. I enjoyed a sojourn in Singapore and had a chance to catch up with good friends there. Got serious with my friendly neighborhood tattooer and started a collage of old school tats on my leg.
I did deviate from one of the fundamental guidelines of my project. There are a few shots that contain no people. Oh well. I don’t feel that I have violated the spirit of my project, which was to introduce more of a human element into my photography.
Oh yeah, I’ve started shooting digital again. It’s more convenient, I didn’t want to travel with a bunch of film, and it is difficult to regulate the temperature of developing chemicals in the summer.
I’ve made it to the halfway point! There have been a few days where I lacked motivation and didn’t put any heart into my shot, but I’m glad I never gave up.
I can’t say that I have gained any deep insights into photography. Always carry a camera, don’t get bummed out about the one that got away, and do it for yourself.
Make sure you check out the full gallery. See you next month!
The month of May took my 365 Project to new and unexpected places. Despite the fact that I am doing the same thing every day, I am finding new and interesting ways of doing it. I have used a disposable plastic camera. I have been stopping and asking permission to shoot people’s portraits.
This has been the most interesting change. Reactions vary wildly, from a dismissive wave to a consenting nod, or a great big smile. Admittedly, I sometimes have to work up the courage to ask people for their photo, but I am almost always rewarded with a smile and hopefully a flattering photo. Some have even contacted me and requested a copy of the picture.
I have also compiled my photos from this project and put them together in a gallery. I find it gratifying to look at the gallery of currently 151 photos that I have spent many hours collecting.
Yeah, I know my updates are falling behind. Film takes time. Sue me. Not like anyone actually reads this thing anyway.
My sharper eyed readers (the few of you that there are) will notice that some photos were not shot on black and white film. I broke all of my rules and used a zoom lens on a digital body with color processing. Convenience wins sometimes. I went down to sunny Kenting to partake in Spring Scream, the best indie music festival in the solar system. Didn’t want my pockets bulging with rolls of film, they were already full of beer. Check out my Spring Scream 2010 set.
I’m starting to enjoy the process of photography more and care less about the results. I like exploring the city and having interaction with other Taipei dwellers.
Anyway, here’s my shots from April. Mostly the same formula, Nikon FE2, 50 1.8, Kodak Tri-X developed in Ilford LC-29. Streets. People. Outrageous Japanese band.
I’ve got 50mm eyes and I see in Kodak black and white.
I’m glad that I’ve made it three months without missing a day, but I did phone in shots on a few days when I felt less than inspired (see if you can spot them!) I’ve gotten pretty good at shooting on the streets with the manual Nikon. I can approach my subject, raise my camera, compose, focus, and shoot without slowing down or missing a step.
Shooting with my Nikon FE2 is actually the best part of this project. I love how much of a dedicated shooting machine it is. Guessing exposure and manually focusing has made the photographic process much more involving and personal. There are also absolutely no distractions on this camera. I wish one of the camera manufacturers dared make a digital version of this camera, right down to having a lever to cock the shutter and no distracting LCD on the back.
I’ve also had a lot of fun developing my own film. It’s much easier than I thought. The only minor difficulty I’ve encountered is the occasional stubborn roll that doesn’t want to roll onto the spool. This has resulted in a few scratched negs, but that’s part of the fun of learning. I love opening the reel and seeing the wet negatives uncoil. It’s brought an element of magic back into photography that digital doesn’t quite capture.
Last month I started shooting film. I started off hating it, but ended up falling in love with the process and the additional challenge. However, I never fell in love with the Canon EOS 30 that I was shooting with. I was continually missing the performance of my 7D and felt that the camera was getting in my way with it’s less than stellar viewfinder and an old autofocus system.
For March I’ve started using a pair of vintage Nikon FE2 manual film bodies. These are bloody sweet cameras. The film Canon’s automation was convenient but removed the feel from shooting while lacking the sheer performance of modern cameras. The simple Nikon puts me in control without distraction. It’s like driving a vintage car after getting out of a soulless Toyota. The mirror slap is unmuffled, the dials and levers are mechanically connected to the guts of the camera, and the zip of the film advance lever always feels like shifting gears in a car.
The large, bright viewfinder puts the joy back in manually focusing. With no auto focus points to consider I feel like I am looser with my composition. Now I compose and focus instead of focusing and recomposing. I’ll probably end up with more out of focus photos, but I’ll have more fun doing it.
The Nikon FE2 also offers aperture priority shooting, but I have yet to use it. It’s more fun to shoot manually. I feel like the exposure needle in the viewfinder gives more immediate feedback than an LED display. It also feels more intuitive to adjust exposure using the lenses aperture ring. But I can’t always read the needles in really low light so I have been guessing more at exposure. I hope the exposure latitude of Tri-X results in usable photos.
Oh, I’ll also be developing all of my own film this month. That’ll be the topic of another post.
Last month I dove into the world of film with a donated automatic film SLR. This turned out to be more challenging than I had thought, but I think I am a better photographer as a result. I learned a lot, such as how to be more selective with my shots, work without an idiot proof auto focus system, and deal with a maximum ISO of 1600.
I didn’t realize how good I have had it as a photographer in the digital age. I have enough collective memory card space for over a thousand high resolution RAW photos. A roll of film holds 36 frames. This meant there were many times I lowered the camera without taking a shot if I thought the photo would be too boring. I have never really been a spray and pray kind of shooter, but I’m even more selective now. Each shot also costs money, and I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on processing costs.
My digital body has 19 highly sensitive auto focus points and can lock focus and track a subject even in really low light. With my film body I felt that only the center point was reliable. This led to more missed shots due to the composition changing while waiting for focus lock. It also resulted in more boring compositions with a centered subject because I don’t trust the focus recompose method with human subjects.
My most used film was Kodak Tri-X. This classic black and white film is probably the best choice for low light photography. I was shooting a lot in the evening, so I had my lab push it to ISO 1600. The results were good, but I regularly shoot my digital camera at ISO 6400 and get great results and also have the option of color photos. There were simply some lower light photos that I was unable to take.
Despite these differences between and digital, the act of going out to take pictures is fundamentally the same. I still need to stay alert and keep my eyes open. I still need to find the best angle from which to compose my shot. I still need to respect my subject and thank them with a smile or nod if they notice me. My attitude towards film has changed over the month. At first, I couldn’t wait to get back to the familiarity and performance of my digital body. Now, I can’t wait to load the next roll.
Make sure you check out the full gallery below, and stay tuned for next month’s theme.
I am going to photograph a different person every day for 2011. Every month I will have a different photographic theme or use a different piece of equipment. Last month I used a 35mm f/2 on a Canon EOS 7D. This month I will be shooting film through a Canon EOS 30 (thanks Craig!) with a 50mm f/1.8. These two setups offer a similar field of view, so I will continue to learn how to “see” through this perspective.
As someone who has done most of his shooting with a digital camera, I feel as though I am shooting without a net when I have a film camera in my hand. I won’t know if I have a keeper until I get the shots back from the lab. Consequently, I have to be much more conscious of my technique. I will also likely take extra shots to ensure I have something good, which may lead to unexpected surprises.
8.49% finished my first 365 Project. This has probably been my most instructive undertaking as a photographer. If anything, I have simply spent more time with camera in hand looking for photos.
I have found it much less intrusive on my daily activities than I anticipated. I just throw a camera around my neck as I walk out the door. Simple.
I will try to stick to a loose theme every month. This month, every shot was done with my 35mm f/2 lens. This has allowed me to become very familiar with one focal length instead of constantly zooming in and out and swapping lenses.
I have become much more comfortable shooting people. I am surprised how many people automatically wave and smile as soon as they see me with my camera. This project has allowed me to feel more connected to the people in my surroundings.
Very rarely do people turn away, scowl, or raise their hand in protest. When this does happen I immediately drop my camera and abort the shot. No reason to be too much of a jerk.
This project has left me feeling rather exposed as a photographer. The time constraints of my life don’t always leave me with the opportunity to score an incredible shot every day. I don’t have the luxury of waiting until a great shot comes along. Therefore, I have to upload the best shot of the day, good or bad.