OK confession time.  Week 7 wasn’t Macro / Close up.  It was “Summer”.  But we decided that this topic sucked and decided to change it.  Unfortunately we didn’t change it to Macro either, we selected “insect”.  You know the kind of thing, those close up macro shots of a bug so it fills the screen.  So you can see all the hairs on it’s head or it’s bug shaped eyes.  We thought that would be cool.

So Friday night I get home and it’s still super sunny outside, so I go out into the garden with my camera, macro lens, some lights and my tripod to take that perfect bug picture.  Guess what.  No bugs.  Nothing.  Couldn’t find a single thing!  Ok that’s not completely true, but the bloody ants wouldn’t stand still and the spider I found in the web was being blown all over the place by the wind.  After a couple of hours of not ONE picture I got board.

So Saturday comes.  Back out there again and again NOT ONE BUG.  I mean, what the hell is going on, where did all the bugs go?  Just two weeks ago I couldn’t take a step without swatting a bee out of the way!  But Saturday was a failure again.

Sunday arrives and I’m starting to think all the insects are dead – is this the beginning of the end???  Then Kathryn, a friend calls me up and tells me she needs my photography services urgently.  I got all excited thinking, YES here comes my first boudoir shoot :-) but I get to her house and she wants me to shoot some bloody flowers!  Talk about disappointed.

Anyway, these flowers originally belonged to her mother (or Cameron’s mother – I can’t remember I was too upset about the no boudoir) and Kathryn’s daughter Danielle got them when her grandmother passed away.  They were old, very delicate and had sentimental value (and Kathryn wanted them gone).  So she thought I could photograph them for Danielle so she could keep those as a keep sake instead of the flowers.

Immediate I realized I’d brought the wrong gear.  I needed a macro lens and didn’t have one with me.  So I grabbed the flowers and took them home and spent an hour working on a number of nice compositions.  As this was a macro shot – and that’s very similar to shooting a bug (ok it’s not that similar but go with me on this one), I submitted this picture for week 7.

As I was the only person to submit a picture this week I felt pretty good.

So week 6 was street photography which is a genre of photography I’m not too familiar with.  The idea goes like this.  You go out into the street with your camera and shoot people doing interesting “stuff” hopefully showing real emotions or caught in great compositions without them knowing.  That last bit is the challenge “WITHOUT THEM KNOWING”.  Those of you who know me well know I’m not that inconspicuous.  I kind of stand out – quite a lot.  I’m clumsy, loud and not the kind of guy who can do this without being seen.

But I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a go. So out I went with the camera to see what I could shoot.

So guess how many times I was caught taking a sneaky picture?  That’s right – EVERYTIME.  Apparently having me standing in front of you with a camera in my hand and my tongue sticking out is a bit obvious.

That said I quite enjoyed the process, it can be a little voyeuristic, you sitting on a bench waiting for someone to do something “interesting”. When I got home I also found I had an excessively large number of pictures of young women (they were over 21 – I’m not that bad).  Very few dudes :-)  I also had a lot of shots of people staring directly at me with a “Get Lost Creep” look on their face – but that’s normal.

Some street photographers find a great background with good light, and just sit there waiting for the right subject to come along – I’d suck at this, it’s too much like nature photography for me, sitting by a hole in the ground for hours.  Others stop passers by with “interesting looks or faces” and ask if they can take their portrait.  This I think I could do, once I got over the embarrassment.

Anyway after an afternoon in the mall I got a few pics I liked, and this one was one of my favorites.  It would have been better if she was closer to the guy, but she didn’t want to look at him or acknowledge he was there, and I thought that was funny.

Week 5 hit while we were on vacation in Hawaii.  The theme for this week was “Lights”.  One of the fun parts about this weekly photo shoot is that it’s all about interpretation – I’m allowed to do anything I like that say’s “Lights” to me.  (My game my rules :-).

When I travel I do tend to take quite a lot of gear with me but I don’t normally take any lights.  This time however I had a single speedlight with an umbrella.  While talking to Abi one afternoon we thought it would be fun to take a picture of her flicking her wet hair back.  I figured to do this I’d need a light to freeze the motion and get that perfect picture.  So just after the sun set we walked down to the hotel pools to see if there were any empty ones that would allow us to make a picture.

Unbelievably the infinity pool was empty so we ran to that and Abi jumped in.

I put the Umbrella and speedlight on the end of a mono pod and asked Lisa to hold the light pointing at Abi.

Before Abi started to flick the hair I needed to get the lighting right, so we took 5 pictures getting the right exposure and light power.  Once done, she started to “perform”.  Amazingly it took less than 10 attempts to get this shot.  So from start to finish it was 14 photographs.

I have to say I knew what we were trying to do but didn’t think the image would come out like this, both Abi and I were delighted and celebrated the shot by swimming in the pool together for the next half hour.

Hope you like the shot too.

Week 4 is here and the subject/topic is Landscape.  (I guess we weren’t very imaginative this week).  Anyway Lisa was out for the day so Abi and I hit the road.  We decided to head for Marymoor Park and see what we could find.  We walked down to the Sammamish Lake water front and took some shots there, then we walked over the this huge windmill and shot some of that, next we headed over to this old building that’s used as the Marymoor’s offices and shot that.

All the images were nice but none of them really grabbed me.  We were going to head home and we noticed that the sun going down over Redmond made the sky look amazing.  But where to shoot it!

So Abi and I started driving around looking for something to be in the foreground of the sky and sunset.  Then we passed the sports fields.  Wimbledon was currently on and the tennis courts were empty so I thought I’d try there.

We set up and immediately I knew I had a great shot.  We stayed there for another 20 minutes and I took loads of shots of the sunset.  The picture below was my favorite and I’m really pleased with the end result.

It’s week 3 and time for a new topic to shoot.  This week we had to shoot “Natural Light” and I figured, what’s more natural than a sunset. So I jumped in the car and headed over to Alki Beach in western Seattle.

It’s about a 40 minute drive and a lovely part of the city.  It has a large beach area where people picnic and play beach volleyball.  There are loads of hip restaurants and coffee shops along the shore line and it’s full of people just enjoying the water and sun.

When I got there it was still around 30 minutes to sunset so I just walked along the beach shooting what I could.  You have to be a little careful as it can come across as a little creepy walking around with a camera while people are in the swimming costumes.  (But I can do discreet :-)

Eventually the sun started to go down over the Olympic mountains and the sky broke just at the right time so I could see the sun in the distance.  To add a little foreground interest I shot the image next to a beach telescope, positioning that so it didn’t get in the way of the suns reflection over the sea.

So that’s week 3, natural light.