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Thursday, March 1, 2012

30 Day A-Z Photography Challenge Recap

So, earlier in the month, I mentioned that I was participating in a 30 day A-Z Photography challenge. The last you saw was J is for Jingle Jangles. And what a lovely image to leave off with if I do say so myself J

I didn’t quit the challenge. It’s just been, well, challenging (duh) to upload, cull, and edit every. single. night. But with February being over, so is the challenge - phew! After J, I decided to go with an urban theme for my series. Here’s my final image.
Z is for Zones
Background: I loved the Souvenir Foto School class hosted by Miss B.  There were 50 students, required to upload an image (taken that day, strictly enforced!) to our private flickr group with the alphabet as our only daily prompt. If you missed too many days, you’d get kicked out. The accountability (we paid for the class and wouldn’t want to be a drop out!) kept the class focused and consistent. The interpretation of each letter was up to you. There was so much creativity to be admired from the participants and so much to learn from the feedback on everyone’s images. There were a lot of amazing iPhone photos too! I would gladly do the class again, although it was challenging and some days I really just wanted to go to bed instead of upload and edit.

What I learned from participating in a 30 day photo challenge:
  1. There’s beautiful, interesting sights wherever you look. Take your eyes off your phone, iPad, Nook, or newspaper to look around. Fully take in what’s around you. It may just take your breath away.
R is for River

  1. Oftentimes, the best images are the ones that aren’t planned. I ran around the cold zoo for 30 minutes one afternoon determined to get a Z. But my best image for the day happened to be when I was walking around a neighborhood that morning and stopped to take a look behind me. This brings me to my next point.
V is for Village (x5!)

I didn’t intend for this shot to be out of focus. I was more concerned if there were any cars coming! Between this shot and the in focus ones, this one is way moodier, not to mention beautiful bokeh! Hooray for happy accidents!
Y is for Yellow Line

  1. Look up, down, and behind you. The most interesting sights probably aren’t the ones directly in front of you. I was shooting the Oriental Theater across the street. It wasn’t all that original of a shot, so I looked around to see what else I could capture. And right above me was the iconic Marshall Field’s Clock! Thank goodness I looked up!
O is for Old Ornate Clock

  1. Timing may be everything. I walked around the park not sure of what to capture. While shooting a bus stop, this fire truck happened to pass by and I got my day's money shot. The truck adds color and another layer of the city.
S is for Seal of the City

  1. Similar to #4, you might only get one shot, so be prepared. Taking heed to #1, I knew when the theater district would be approaching. I perched up against the train’s window, and had one shot to make my photograph as the train zoomed by the marginal opening between buildings.
T is for Traffic in the Theater District

  1. You learn a lot more with feedback from peers than you would on your own. Other people will see things (both positive and negative) about your image that you won’t. It’s also helpful to see other people’s images and learn from the feedback they receive.  I thought I straightened this image out (I always get crooked shots when shooting from the hip!), but my peers made it clear that I did not! They also liked the man walking into my shot. Without them mentioning it, I didn’t notice he added interest to my photograph.
N is for newspaper.

  1. I’ve outgrown my gear (50mm). My mentor always said there was no need to buy new gear until you outgrow what you currently have. I didn’t fully understand what that meant until now. I know what I can and can't capture with my nifty fifty. I can’t get the shots I’m envisioning anymore, so I’m ready to move on creatively. And my shipment came in today, woohoo!

I’m so glad this challenge forced me to tote my camera around on a daily basis and push my photographic mind creatively. It gave me the opportunity to make photographs outside of my norm (babies, families, art projects). I’m now more comfortable shooting in public and my eyes are more open to interesting leading lines, textures, colors, layers and surroundings.
M is for Midway
I’ve always wanted to capture the beauty of the city (grittiness and all) and never have. Now I finally have a comprehensive set of images to use as artwork for my urban cozy home. I wish I started the urban/city series from the beginning. Hopefully I’ll have the discipline to redo A-J and make a coffee table book. Will you hold me accountable? Do you want to see the other letters?

linked up here:
Sweet Shot Day


Laney said...

I really like your urban photos! You should be proud of your pics. Just wait till you play with your new gear...LOL! Great job Mindy! Can't wait to see your coffee table book.

Lisa Mackay said...

Yours was one of my favourite series - you really captured the essence of Chicago. I can't wait to see what you do with your new equipment! Will you be doing the next Foto School? See you on Flickr!

Jaymi said...

wow beautiful street photography! I love your T for Traffic and M for Midway shots. Awesome!

I thought I was already following your blog but I just realized I wasn't--I'm following you now! :)

Christine Trevino said...

Mindy these are gorgeous. You are so incredibly talented! Thank you for sharing them with us!

Sarah said...

Great shots! My favorites are Y, S, and M!

What new lens did you get? I often find my 50mm to be too tight. Leaning towards adding a 35 or 24-70 zoom to my gear.

Liz G. said...

I LOVE the city pictures!

{debbie} said...

hooray, congrats for most improved!! i can't decide, but my faves of your chicago series is the river, theater, midway, and kimball! love them!

Susannah said...

Wonderful recap! It was great to hear you put the whole project into perspective; something I haven't quite done now that the 30 day challenge is over.

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love Chicago?
Your gorgeous photos remind me again of the beautiful city we live in.

I can never get enough of this city, great job on the photos!

Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke said...

LOVE those! The subway is cool...also love the down on the ground shot of the yellow lines and the nightscape.