Greig Houghton Photography
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Google+ Project 52: 2012

This year I decided to undertake a photography project to give me some targets to aim for during the year and too keep me shooting.  With the best will in the world, I knew I did not have the time or commitment to go the whole hog and shoot a 366-photo-a-day project, so when I read on Google+ that +Giuseppi Basile was curating a Project 52 I thought it would be the perfect project for the year.  One photo per week with the additional challenge of a set theme per week.

I am currently 9 weeks into the project which to-date has been more challenging, rewarding and infuriating than I ever expected.

This weeks theme, In the Workplace, pictured above, proved just to be the case.  One of my problems of this project has been leaving things to the last minute.  I think come the summer with the long evenings I may find some more time during the week, but with this weeks theme I really had no reason to leave it so late.

It was late Sunday afternoon before I got around to thinking about the project.  Not much of a workplace in the house so decided to get creative.

Plan 1

My first set of shots was a pen on a fancy notebook but with plain paper - boring.  I decided to switch to A4 lined, aligning the lines of the page on the diagonal - still boring.  Add this weeks theme in writing on the paper - a little better.

Plan 2

At this point I decided to change into my shirt and tie and insert myself into the frame with the pen and paper. I couldn't get this to work at all so scrapped this plan and moved to the computer.

Plan 3

Tried a low light shot using myself and just the glow from the monitor. Then tried to use the flash to replicate the glow from the monitor.  Both resulted in to much light spill lighting the junk in the background. In addition, the junk was too close to the computer to blur out using depth of field.  Another plan abandoned.

Plan 4

Back to pen and paper but this time swapped the lined paper for a financial looking document and threw in a calculator for good measure. I didn't like the calculator but the rows of repeating numbers on the page caught my eye.  Zoom in tighter, numbers on the diagonal, lose the calculator, shallow depth of field, focus on the pen tip.  Major improvement, but still room to make it better.  Switch the focus to the numbers in front of the pen and we are nearly there. One final tweak to bring the pen into shot on the diagonal from the top left corner instead of straight from the side and we have the shot.  I should of added, the lighting is from overhead spotlights in my kitchen which I softened by holding my diffusion disk (5-in-1 reflector) over the pen and paper.  This reduced the harshness of the shadow beneath the pen.

The post-processing really took care of its self. With virtually no colour anyway in the shot I immediately converted to black and white in Lightroom.  From there it was a case of minor tweaks to exposure and contrast, sharpening and a slight vignette.

I have to admit I almost gave up twice between Plans 2 and 3 and then again between Plan 3 and 4.  I suppose that is why I like this project so much. Without the pressure of the deadline and a theme to aim for each week I could quite easily given up and got no shot at all or resorted to tried and tested favourites such as landscapes every week.  The project is pushing me, getting the creative juices flowing and working me to nail the shot.

The one thing I don't want to do is to submit snapshots or just rubbish photos.  I know I won't be able to submit amazing fantastically shot every week but I at least want to look back at each week and say that I pushed my creativity and technical ability to my limits within the theme and personal time constraints each week.

Weeks 1-9 so far......

From Top to Bottom, Left to Right:

WK#1  New Years Eve/Day WK#2 Winter (this self potrait was influenced by the legendary Calvin Hollywood and his 'Photographer Project WK#3 Rule of Thirds WK#4 Up WK#5 Eyes WK#6 Signs WK#7 Shadows WK#8 Other Photographers WK#9 In the Workplace

Some more details on these photographs can be found on my Google+ page.