A few months ago, my family and extended family went to Lamtoc, Negros Oriental Philippines. These are some of the photos I took during our vacation.
I’m taking a photography course as one of my electives this semester. The first assignment was to take two photos: still life and headshot. I used my trusty Nikon Coolpix P7700 for the assignment. It took me almost an hour to complete the two photos. The assignment was due Thursday noon and I took the photos on Wednesday.
Still life photo: It only took me a second for inspiration to hit me. I was at home, looking at my surroundings, and figuring out how to stage the photo. When something clicked in my mind — I immediately grabbed my Instax mini 7s and put it on the TV glass stand. Why a TV stand? I love reflections shots, so I took advantage of our TV glass stand and the natural light (it was after 2 p.m.) from the window.
Headshot photo: It was 3:30 p.m., and I was on the bus figuring out how to stage the headshot photo. As I was walking in the skywalk to work, I stopped for a second and looked around me. It was almost 4 p.m., the sun was going down, the sun’s light was reflecting on a building which reflected on the windows of the skywalk. It was beautiful. I didn’t really care about the people who were walking around me — for me that was THE moment — so I looked around and smiled. At work, I asked my coworker to go with me to take her picture. I had to do it right away because I didn’t want to miss the light.
As promised, here’s part II. As I said in the first part, I failed this challenge because I only took a total of 19 photos out of the 30 days.
I learned a lot from the challenge. I kind of hope that I’d do it again, but I can’t really afford to buy film right now. I wanted to do it again because I think it will help me improve.
For now, I’ll upload the photos that I really like. They’re probably the “best” ones out of the 19 photos I took. (Personally, these photos still suck but what can I do. I’ve had the camera for more than a year and I still haven’t learned how to use it.)
I wanted to maintain the quality of these photos to show the quality of the camera. When I opened them in Photoshop, I was so close to editing them. But then I remembered the purpose of this challenge. One of the reasons was to learn how to use the camera based on its given settings. Film cameras will really make you more disciplined because every film is valuable. I guess another reason why I only took 19 photos was because I felt so bad wasting my money on film. I felt even more terrible when the photos turned out really, really bad. And me being a cheapskate (sometimes), I didn’t really want to waste my money on film.
But I’ve learned my lesson. I really have to learn using my Instax mini 7s before I take photos. I do not want to waste my 20 bucks on film again. I may take poor photos in the future with this camera (again!), but we’ll see. I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll have to review the 19 photos. When I was doing the challenge, I wrote down notes every time I took a photo.
While I was organizing my bookshelf in the last week of November, I was watching TED videos for inspiration. I came across Matt Cutts’ “Try something new for 30 days” talk.
My close friends bought me a Fujifilm Instax mini 7s last year for my birthday. They know that I love taking pictures as a hobby so they decided to buy me one. I wasn’t really able to use it often for two reasons: 1. film was expensive ($19.99 + taxes for a 2-pack of films that has 10 films each — that’s like a dollar per film — very expensive, seeing that I’m a student and I’m broke); and 2., I had no time.
I realized now that being broke and having no time are just mere excuses for me not to use the camera.
My friend Erika suggested I write about this everyday. First I said no, and then I thought about it. She has a point. And so, after day three, I decided to talk about this challenge on my website.
What I learned from this challenge:
1. Never take pictures under fluorescent light (especially a white person). I asked my friend, Erika, to be my subject for Day 3. She was nice enough to volunteer. Unfortunately, she was sitting under fluorescent light when I took the picture so I took another one. One of the rules for this challenge was to only take one photo — doesn’t matter if it’s ugly or not creative.
2. Do not be embarrassed if or when people see you taking a photo. You are in public. Do not care what anybody will think or say.
3. It’s okay to make mistakes. This is how you learn. On day 13, I looked back at all my photos and I hated all of them. They were all terrible. Some of them were dark, some of them were bright, and some of them were just terrible. And it’s okay. It’s alright to take terrible photos because I this is how I will learn. Even after the challenge, I look at all my photos and I only liked two or three of them.
4. If you see something picture-worthy, just do it. Take a picture. It was a little after 8 a.m. when I was driving on my way to my work placement when I saw the sun. It was sooo beautiful. So beautiful. I’m a nature person, so I love anything about nature. I knew I had to capture that moment. But I hesitated. I went inside and put away my things first and then went downstairs again. Unfortunately, that moment was already gone. The sky had a different colour.
5. Never hesitate. This is probably my main problem in capturing photographs. Whenever I see something interesting and picture-worthy — a building, a tree, a road, a sign, a person, a moment — I hesitate if I should take a picture or not. That’s probably the biggest mistake I ever did while doing this project. Because I hesitated, I wasn’t able to capture that “magic moment”. Because I hesitated, I forget to take a picture for the day. Because I hesitated, I missed out on opportunities. Even if I say that I won’t hesitate again, I’ll still do it. Because that’s just me. And I know that I have to change that mindset if I want to improve my photography skills.
Did I win my 30-day challenge? No. There were some days that I didn’t take pictures, and that was the only rule. I lost the challenge, but I learned some things.
I think I’m going to do another photography challenge again. Not this month though. We’ll see.
In Part II of this blog entry, I’ll post the photos that I took with my Instax camera.