After the rush of inspiration that was the OCA North meeting at the weekend, I decided it was time to Just Get Out There and Take Some New Pictures.

I combined the advice I was given at the last tutorial (make some new photos based on the current concept) and the OCA North session (dig deeper and make more variations of the same image) and went for a walk today looking for a lost glove to take lots of pictures of. And I found one!

Walking with purpose

Before going out to take pictures today, I took a little step back and made a plan of action. Almost everything I’ve included in versions of this project so far have had the following characteristics:

  • Taken while I was generally walking around for another reason
  • Taken on a smartphone camera
  • Taken with available natural light
  • Either the only photo I took of the glove, or in a few cases one of two or three
  • Pretty much all taken from a similar vantage point

For the next version of this project I made the decision that this spontaneous vernacular photography approach won’t get me far enough, creatively speaking. I decided that I needed to get out there and make images more purposefully.

This means:

  • Take a ‘real’ camera out with me
  • Take a speedlight, in case I needed to control the light better
  • Go out with a more deliberate intention of finding subject matter
  • Take more photos, from different vantage points, at different distances and framings, at different apertures – work the scene!

Added to this, I decided that I needed to deliberately slow myself down when taking pictures; one of the unfortunate side-effects of my career swing into commercial photography is that I have become somewhat trigger-happy, shutter-wise (my business specialism is animal photography, which is sometimes a numbers game in terms of capturing the right shot…). For personal work, when I’m working with inanimate objects, I need to ease off a little and get into a more methodical and thoughtful pace of shooting.

I felt that a good way to achieve this would be to shoot manual focus. I invested in a decent manual focus lens for my camera. This has the added psychological bonus of separating my ‘work gear’ from my ‘personal project gear’, which in turn helps me to get into the right frame of mind when shooting.

First experiment

Armed with the above plan (and kit) I took a walk today and within about 20 minutes came across a lost glove – yay!

Now, I’m not saying any of these images are necessarily classics, or even usable at all. But the point was to get out and try stuff – to get into the mode of working the scene, trying different compositions and lighting ideas.

It felt OK. In fact, it felt better than OK, it felt like I’d had a minor breakthrough, I’m making progress after a little while of stalling. I got a few funny looks, but I’m sure I’ll get used to that…