Friday, 31 January 2014

The Square Mile

I wrote in my last post about my desire to challenge myself a bit more this year with some personal projects, the first of these being the street photography themed match day project. That project will continue at least through the remainder of the current football season, if not the rest of the year but, of course, I can only do that on certain days. I wanted to come up with something else, closer to home and this is where the 'square mile' comes from. The idea is that I challenge myself to create a portfolio of pictures constrained not by genre but by area; that area being a specific square mile. I may try this with other 'square miles' ultimately but to start with I will be working in the area defined above - a square mile centring on Helsby Hill. All photographs in the portfolio must be taken of or standing in that area and I will endeavour to cover as much of it as I can.

I know this area intimately but that doesn't necessarily mean I can easily create interesting images within it. It is, after all, a fairly ordinary village with little to distinguish it other than the modest heights of Helsby Hill itself. It is, however, an opportunity for me to try some new techniques.

I will not be setting myself a time limit but I will post periodic updates of my efforts here and, as always, welcome any comments. As a starter, here is a picture from this morning.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Match Day

I'm not really a great believer in making new year's resolutions but, lately, I've been feeling like my photography has become a little stale and I need to challenge myself a little more. Consequently, I've started a photographic notebook; the idea being that any ideas I document in the book must then be followed up. The first of these 'projects' is intended to force me to have a more committed go at street photography, a genre I admire but have always found very difficult.

I am an Everton season ticket holder (who says I like things easy) and have occasionally taken a camera along on match day so this seemed like a perfect subject to base my project on. However, I knew that I was never going to achieve much in the short time span I normally have before a game and so, for the last home game, I arranged to meet my father at the ground and set out to arrive at Goodison Park two hours before kick-off. I had with me my Fujifilm XE-1, 35mm and 14mm prime lenses.

It is useful to start with a plan and, prior to going, I had given some thought to the kind of things that might make good images; some obvious like street sellers and some less obvious  such as policemen taking a break in St. Luke's Church. However, I soon discovered that it was going to be far from easy. Opportunities are many but you have to have the courage to take them and, in some cases (as with the aforementioned policemen) I completely bottled it and only came away with snatched attempts which have already been consigned to the digital waste basket. I also had far too many failed pictures as a result of carelessness (focus in the wrong place for instance) and spent far too much time swapping lenses. All good experience of course and this is only the first attempt. I still have some untried plans to execute and am determined to be braver next time. As we Blues like to say; Nil Satis Nisi Optimum!