For May our shooting theme over on the oopoomoo workshops Facebook group was ‘shadows’. And, wow, did we get a great bunch of images. Thanks to everyone who participated! Below are our favorite creative interpretations of ‘shadows’ by oopoomoo photographers. If you want to be kept abreast of our latest assignments just subscribe to our newsletter (upper right of this webpage) and you’ll also get our free Born Creative eBook! And if you want to participate in sharing and providing constructive feedback on images be sure to check out our active and fun Facebook group.
It was a tough decision – so many inspiring, unique images entered into our March oopoomoo Newsletter challenge! But we felt there was one portfolio that really gave us hope that spring might be finally here, and that was Gerry Hiebert’s impressionistic, interpretative take on this the season of new beginnings.
What colours do you envision when you think of spring? The fresh green of new grass pushing through the golden straw of yesterday? The blush of fruit blossoms against the purple willow of winter? In a sense, spring and fall are seasons perhaps best described not as entities into themselves but times of transition. That is part of their excitement, the juxtaposition of what is with what is coming.
So that is why we get kinda excited around here when we see an artist working with themes that also explore contrast in such an original way. Using Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) in most of his images, and a soft, bejeweled colour palette, Gerry’s collection perfectly captures the hint of new growth overlaying the old. We are given an impression of what might be left behind and what is yet to come. And isn’t that the bittersweet hope of spring?
Gerry wins one of oopoomoo’s Personalized Portfolio Reviews and we look forward to seeing more images from this creative artist. If you want to be informed about our next photo challenge be sure to sign up for the oopoomoo newsletter.
Many of us only do photography when we have something to take pictures of: a birthday party, a vacation, an iconic destination, a portrait, an owl in a tree etc. We take pictures of things… we rarely make images of our ‘feelings about things’.
Our feelings are always trying to emerge in our photography but are often suppressed by our obsession over gear, concerns about technique, and worries about what others will think of our photos. Our egos often get in the way of expressive image making. And so the results of our photography are impersonal, predictable and clichéd. After a while we are not even sure why we take photos and we become bored with our work.
To remedy the boredom and get back in touch with why we take photos, Samantha and I recommend doing a personal photography project. It’s best if the project is something simple and achievable. Don’t try some grand epic project or you’re bound to fail – start small and make it fun. And give yourself a deadline and an outcome: when will you finish and how are you going to collate or present your work?
For example, my personal photo project for the next six months will be a weekly photo walk. Once a week, starting with the week of January 12, I will pick up my camera and head out on a two to three hour walk and make images of things I find interesting. I might walk in my neighborhood, meander in a city park or stroll in nature.
Why a walk?
I chose a weekly photo walk for three reasons. First, walking is environmentally friendly. I just walk from wherever I am. No driving involved! Second, walking is healthy for body and spirit. Third, walking slows you down giving you time to look around and see; I’ll get to know an area much more intimately which is important because for the next six months Samantha and I will be house and pet sitting in different locations in Alberta. What better way to learn about a new place than by walking in it? After each walk I’ll write a short journal entry about the experience and process any images I made.
What is the outcome?
Once a month I’ll share a story or two of my walking journeys here on the blog. The final result of the weekly walks will be a hand-made, hand-bound journal of my photos and writings that will be completed by July 30.
What’s in it for you?
So… we encourage you to come up with a project that excites your creative spirit. If you like the idea of the weekly photo walk, then feel free to lace up your boots and join me on the journey. Glad to have you along!
If you have a different project in mind then we encourage you to share your idea and your deadline for the output (e.g. a book, print show, eBook, or online gallery). Feel free to post your project idea and photo results from your project, or the weekly walk, at any time over on our oopoomoo Facebook group. There you’ll get encouragement and advice from fellow oopoomians. If you’re not on Facebook feel free to email me at email@example.com and tell me about your project or just share images from your weekly walk. Samantha and I will select some of your project ideas or weekly walk results to highlight here on the oopoomoo blog, with your permission of course. As well, we may give out a prize or two just to keep things interesting, hint, hint 😉
Good luck with all your projects. We are excited to see what you come up with!
Happy New Year, everyone! Darwin and I are opening the New Year with some intensive creative work. Carrying on our Creative Sabbatical (although now as house sitters we are Artists in Your Residence!), we have prioritized our time around some personal growth and personal art projects. We’ll share some results on the blog from time to time. Next week Darwin will tell you about a project he’s excited about, but as for me…along with finishing my Pressed Landscapes project, I am also working on a series of tree portraits.
Those who follow my work know I have a soft spot for photographing trees and grasses. In fact, on our recent trip to Antarctica, surrounded by penguins and seals, not even a scraggly twig in sight, I found myself missing my usual subject matter. While I enjoyed the wildlife and glaciated mountains, I wasn’t moved to photograph much. To each her own, I guess!
My goal for this tree project is hopefully to convey something about the nature of these plants that manage to survive and even at times thrive in often challenging environments. I hope to avoid anthropomorphizing (if that can be applied to plants) too much but capture the forces of the world in the bodies of the trees.
Oh, and my New Year’s Resolution is to get in shape, of course. 🙂
Early in December we called for you to make winter abstracts and upload them to our oopoomoo Facebook group for comments and a chance to win my 50 at 50 retrospective eBook. We have been getting really great images. But some people think that because they don’t have snow or ice where they are, then they can’t do winter abstracts. Not the case… if you are in the northern hemisphere it’s winter; shoot anything you want as long as it’s an abstract (we even leave that open to interpretation but here is our definition). And it does not have to be nature. If you’re stuck in the house or office great abstracts can be made there as well. So get shooting if you haven’t already and upload your photos before midnight December 31, 2014.
Below are a few early results from intrepid photographers in Winnipeg that don’t use Facebook and who went out together on a winter abstract photo shoot and came away with inspiring results. Anyone not using Facebook can send me their pictures for consideration by emailing them to darwin at opoomoo.com.
Speaking of Winnipeg if you’re in the area May 2, 2015 be sure to come and see Samantha and me giving our full day seminar on Creating Story and Mood in Photography. Also the good people organizing this event will billet people coming from out of town so you can save money on hotels. Just email us if you are coming from out of town and we’ll put you in touch with an organizer. And now onto the photos….
For July’s Creative Assignment we asked you to take your least used lens (or least used focal length if you only own one zoom lens) and head out four times in the month, using just that lens/focal length. Well it seems everyone had a busy July and few managed to get the assignment done. We are extending our assignment until the end of August to give you more time to do this valuable exercise. Below are some results from our blog readers who made the time to do the assignment. We hope their results provide you with inspiration to do the assignment for yourself. For August share your story of your least used lens and the images you make on our oopoomoo Facebook group for feedback or comments! We’ll pick our favourites and feature them here on the blog. Sam and I will get out there as well with Sam using her 60mm macro lens and me using my Sigma 85mm f1.4 lens. Happy photography.
Results from Carl Heino
I do a lot of landscape and macro photography. I seldom use the long end of a zoom lens. The attached image was shot just beyond (112mm) the mid-range point of my 18-200mm lens. I chose this image because I tried to frame the scene using the Second Narrows bridges (rail and road) and because I thought the wake of the tug could act as a leading line causing the viewer’s eyes to go first one way and then shift the opposite way before, hopefully, looking through the gap in bridge pillars to the downtown core beyond. Unfortunately, due to the position and speed of the vessel from which I shot and the speed of the tug, I was able to snap only three frames before the opportunity was gone!
Results from Frances Gallogly
I took up your challenge to photograph with my least used lens on four occasions.
My least used lens is my Tamron 16-28. This may seem odd as this is a range that is used frequently by many landscape photographers. However, I find I use my 24-70 a great deal more. I think there are two reasons for this. First, I live in the Northeast and don’t do grand landscapes very much. My photos are generally more intimate landscapes like rural barns and meadows. When I am in Florida during the winter I tend to do fishing piers and beach sunrises. The 24-70 seems a better fit for this. Secondly, ever since I took your Landscape Photography class, my Lee filter system has been an important part of my kit and I can’t use these filters on the 16-28.
So out I went with nothing but my 16-28 on four occasions. It was a challenge and a good learning experience. I’ve attached some of the photos. The first occasion was a day in New York City in which I photographed around Rockefeller Center and Grand Central Station. The second occasion was an afternoon I spent in the historic seaport town of Southport, Connecticut. I took a photo of an old Victorian house and a photo at Fairfield Beach and converted these into digital paintings. The third occasion was a trip to Weir Farm. This is a National Park in Branchville, Connecticut, where the Connecticut Impressionist painter, J. Alden Weir, painted en plein air in the 1800s. I photographed his studio, the Visitor’s Center which is an old farm building, and some of the barns and the Sunken Garden. The last occasion was a trip to Dover Plains, New York, where I photographed some farm scenes. I doubt that the 16-28 will supplant my beloved 24-70, but I now have a much better feel for its capabilities and will undoubtedly use it more frequently.