Summer Projects

Seattle Pier

As life starts to settle back down in Cleveland, with a house closing scheduled, a month of the new job under the belt, and Tracy getting a couple interviews lined up, I am able to relax just a smidge and bring photography back into focus (pun intended).  With that being the case, I figured the best way to dive in is to devote time to a project.  Projects are a great way to keep yourself inspired and energized, or to re-connect if you’ve been passive for a while (which is definitely the case for me).  So, how do you come up with projects?  Here’s some suggestions to help light the fire:

1.  Look for seasonal themes.  With July 4th long weekend only a short time off now, there’s a couple easy projects right there.  Fireworks, Americana, patriotism, parades, and a literal cornucopia of possibilities exist here.

Fireworks

2.  Look for local nuances.  Having lived in Colorado for 5 years, I was pretty far form any substantial bodies of water for a while.  Now that I am in Cleveland, the idea of photography around lakes (specifically Lake Erie) is offering some draw.  Even more specific to that, the lighthouses have spawned a few project ideas. Another one I had was to take just one good picture from my various travels for the last few training trips I was on.  While that never really saw much as my travel timeline prevented much of it from happening, I did walk away with a few good ones periodically.  In that vein, it’s also worth saying to not get discouraged if projects take unintended or unexpected turns!

pier

3.  Look for repeatable imagery.  This is kind of a combo from the above two – but imagine taking a photo of a lighthouse every 10th day or so over the course of a year.  Might make for a cool project that doesn’t require a lot of time involvement regularly, but over time, can have the makings for some great results.

These are just a couple project ideas to help you kick start the summer.  I’m sure others are out there, so feel free to chime in with your own project ideas!

Does Santa Really Exist?

My dad has always been very fastidious around the Yuletide .  Pine needles from the tree are to be swept up daily.  We heated our home with a wood stove, so wood had to be chopped, split, kindling prepared, etc.  We needed to take care to remove all splinters, wood shavings, ashes, etc. regularly. It was so ingrained in us that to this day its effects have not been completely erased, and I find myself hanging shirts on white hangars and pants on black plastic hangers.  Yes, we’re a bit OCD!

So, one year (I think I was 10, my siblings 12 and 14) the kids were all starting to really doubt whether this big fat guy in a red suit climbed down our fireplace with a bag of gifts.  I’d stuck my head inside the fireplace that summer to see how big the opening really was and I was afraid I’d get stuck, let alone a fat guy!  Uh huh….sure mom and dad, whatever!  Apparently my dad got wind of that.  On Christmas Eve, he dragged out his old cold weather boots from his Army days (he called them Mickey Mouse boots), dipped them into the ash bucket (cooled ashes), and then clomped around the tree and the fireplace in them.  He then got some carrots and gnawed off enough to leave the ends all chewed and tossed them out into the snow.

Santa Soles

The next morning all of us woke up to my dad loudly grousing around and threatening to call the authorities at the mess.  All three of us went downstairs, saw the huge footprints of soot, presents around a tree and a lump of coal in my Dad’s stocking!  Even my brother was fooled for another couple years!

I love telling this story, but what’s missing?  (The one above is from the website http://www.santasoles.net – seems others have had the idea since then…)  Anyway, the problem is I have nothing but memories of that day – no photos!  The moral?  If you’ve got your own stories and memories for Christmas, be the annoying one to take photos of them!  Never forget to take photos – it’s a special time of year and photography can keep the child alive in all of us!  Merry Christmas!  Share your photos of how you would capture that story!

Copyright Isn’t Just for Photographers….

The web makes for an interesting place, and often I get emails from folks asking for suggestions and recommendations on how to best protect their images from being used without their permission (and let’s not mince words here – nobody wants to have their work stolen).  Often my response is a bit of this and that, suggesting to make images “web-safe” (i.e. low resolution so they can’t really be re-printed), and to limit the images you publish.  (The more you put out there, the more you have to monitor.) Read more