Thursday, 29 December 2016

366 Project Month Nine - Single Shot September

After two months of no set theme, I wanted to challenge myself more in September. With alliteration as my guide, I was trying to decide between Single Shot September, or Stranger September. In the end, I chose the former. The idea being each day I would take one photo, and one photo only. In my mind, I imagined an SD card at the end filled with exactly thirty photos.

The Beginning

At the start of the month, this is what I did. I took one photo, then put my camera away for the rest of the day. The first day was an incredibly surreal experience. It is a scene where I would normally fire off a bunch of photos, and possibly look around nearby areas for other opportunities. Instead, putting my camera back into the bag and heading home felt both alien and wrong.

Day one of my Single Shot September series
The early days were also a bit intense. I would double check almost every setting and image corner before I would gingerly press the shutter, praying nothing would go wrong.

For the photo above, I wandered around and must have put the camera up to my eye for about five different scenes before finally settling on that one. This was day five, and it wasn’t until day twelve that something happened to make me relax a bit more.

I had lunch and coffee with some friends, and while sitting down over coffee, my friend asked to look at my camera. While I was talking to the other, I heard the shutter fire. The dream of having just thirty images on the SD card at the end of the month just died. Sure, I didn’t use his photo, but it still meant I suddenly relaxed about taking photos after the initial ‘shot of the day’.

The Failures

There were also some definite failures: shots I would have liked to have re-taken if I had the chance. One such shot my mum’s toy poodle, Sebastian. I used a wide open aperture to let in more light (as he is oh so dark) but the resulting depth of field was way too shallow for my liking.

There was also another day where some moss on some rocks intrigued me. I was peering through the viewfinder, trying to find a composition I liked, when one of my friends surprised me by walking past. We decided to go get dinner together, and, maybe due to the extra pressure of knowing he was waiting for me, I rushed to take a shot rather than find a better scene.

But, I consider the ugly ducklings as my biggest failure.

The Ugly Ducklings

September is the start of spring in Australia, and during a walk through the botanical gardens I came across a family of swans. There was a young girl walking behind them, and so I waited for a clear shot. If I hadn’t been doing a ‘single shot September’, I would have taken photos of the little girl with the baby swans, and I think it could have made a great photo.

Above is the photo I ended up posting. After the swans reached the water, I got worried they’d get too far away, and eventually took that rather disappointing photo. I also used the fact I was using a high resolution camera to make a very considerable crop. In fact, it make me think I was kind of cheating in the single shot September idea. Although it was from the first frame I took that day, the crop pretty much changes the picture entirely.

No other photo in my 366 collection comes even close to the crop I applied here

Month End Thoughts

In the end, like any other month with a theme, I also got a lot out of this month. There were often times I would find a scene, and wait for the right moment to get the shot. However, by the end of the month, most of the tension when I came to take a photo had gone, and I felt much more carefree when I hit the shutter.

Luckily the woman in the bottom right didn't chose that moment to leave

One thing I have found over this year is just how important timing is. So often seconds make the difference and, I must confess, there has been more than once when I have missed the shot. Although this whole year is great training for this, a month of been forced to take a single shot only is particularly effective.

I had to wait patiently for several minutes until some people filled the gap

You can read about my experiences from other months here.
If you want to follow along in my journey, you can see how my 366 project is progressing on Instagram: @andrew366

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