That being said, this is also a very busy time of year. This week's theme is very helpful, because Simplify has been my mantra this year for the holidays. I am not yet at the 1950's primitive hermit stage, but give me a few more years.
This week we had a number of themes rolled into one. We read about TRIPODS (I use one for portraits, and when I want the background and props to remain exactly in the same place if multiple animals won't sit together and I have to photograph them one at a time and add them to the scene); OPTICAL FILTERS (I use a polarized filter when I am at the beach or in really bright sun; I don't do many waterfall shots, but if I did, I would use a neutral density filter because I like the effect) and STAYING PRESENT (I have learned this last item the very very hard way--in practice--and have taught myself to get my camera settings early on for the area I am going to photograph in, so that when I have the subject in place, I don't look away and miss the best shot).
Finally, all of these mini-themes rolled themselves into SIMPLIFY. Once again, learning from experience, if you have 1000 things in your scene, you probably will only need 3 of them. That means you will spend countless hours figuring out which 3 and editing the other things out. My rule of thumb is 3 maximum items other than the subject, and most of the time I use 2.
So here is my first photo for the week. I stuck with a Christmas theme because.....well....for me, it's Christmas.
But what I am not doing is taking away. I am not having to edit anything out. The luxury of adding, instead of taking is a beautiful thing when you are doing a large volume of photographs. This photo honestly took me 15 minutes. I set up the stool and swag in front of the back drop, set my lights, left my studio door open, and in walked a cat--in this case Barney. If you have a cat, you know that it is only a matter of time until they will jump on something they haven't seen before and investigate it. That's exactly what happened here. I was sitting with my camera ready, settings already in place from a test shot of the stool and swag. I said "Hey, Barney." He looked. I snapped.
Which of these images do you prefer? It really just depends on what style you like and what you are attracted to.
My second photo needs a little story. I needed an updated photo of ME for my website, which I am updating. I hardly ever find myself on the other side of a camera. I don't trust many people to take my photo because I am not photogenic. My thought was to possibly have one of our dogs in the photo with me. Since TRIPOD was on our reading list this week, I set up my tripod, attached the remote and held the trigger. I set up the lighting and took some test shots. I tried my first photos with Billie the Blur Tweedy. NOPE. She kept thinking the trigger was food and moving all over the place and didn't understand she needed to look at the camera if I wasn't behind it. I think I actually had one photo depicting her back legs leaping out of my arms when she'd had enough.
Next I tried Lilah. After an initial "trigger has to be food" thought process, I finally got Lilah to look at the camera by pointing at it a number of times and squeezing the trigger half way to make the "beep" noise. I came up with a passable photo which is now in the ABOUT section of this website.
I am surprised I don't look exasperated, because this was about the 10th photo into the process.
I can also add things to this photo, like a festive overlay to make it a bit more holiday-esque.
I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, or very Merry/Happy whatever-you-celebrate. Tune in next week for the final installment of the year! Hit the rest of the blog circle now, to see what other photographers did with this week's theme. Start with Kim Hollis of BARKography based in North Carolina, and work your way around the blog until you are back here where you began!