Photo Project 2015: Update

A few photos from the first weeks of my photo project: Kitchen Window:

I’m having fun playing with shutter speeds to see what gives the best effect for the light available on each day. And it seems to be snowing every other day, which makes things interesting!

OK – So, I slept in on the 20th! But the sky was such a clear blue that I had to take a shot…

Next time I check in, Daylight Savings Time may have begun. What to do about that? Hmm…

Photo Project: Final Decision…?

Hi there!

So, on February 5th, I took several photos of the view from my kitchen sink window. Since January 26th I’ve been playing with photographing that scene daily — defining and refining the parameters of the project I’ve dubbed “Kitchen Window”. (See Museum-worthy Inspiration to see what inspired me to try this.) So far, I’d decided to use my digital camera set on F16, recording images as JPEG Fine, with a focal length of about 21mm. The shutter speed has been and will continue to be varied. I just hadn’t nailed down the exact time each day when I would take the photo(s).

Anyway, on Feb. 5th, I took a couple of pictures just before 6:50 am:

What a pretty pre-dawn, impending-snowstorm blue!

Twenty minutes later, I took another with the exact same aperture and shutter speed as the one above right:

10 seconds @ F16

10 seconds @ F16

Twenty minutes later and there was a lot more light! So, I adjusted the shutter speed. This one was also taken at about 7:10 am:

1/2 second @ F16

1/2 second @ F16

I thought I was done for the day, but then the snow came! I had to take another just after 9am:

1/20 second @ F16

1/20 second @ F16

So, the time of morning has quite an impact on the results! The question is what do I want my results to reflect? Robert Weingarten, in his project, 6:30AM, wanted to show the changing light and colors that eluded the naked eye but could be captured on film. That’s why he wanted to be so precise with his timing. I’d like to capture those, too, but I’d also like to observe the changing of the seasons and the beauty of the early morning light.

I’m usually up by 6:30 am, but I didn’t want to commit to that time every day, so I’ve decided to choose a window of time (apropos?) instead. I’ll try to take a few photos of the scene every day (that I’m home) between 6:30 and 7:30 am. (Would you believe that it’s started to be one of the first things I think of when I wake up in the morning?) We’ll see what happens with the light when daylight savings time starts. But for now, I think that’ll work. And I’ll try to keep it up for the rest of 2015. Of course I won’t post every single photo, but I hope to pick at least one or two a week to share. Stayed tuned…and thanks for checking in…

BTW, I’m curious – has anyone else got a photo project going this year? I’d love to hear about it!

Photo Project: Step Three…

Well, I’ve continued to take several photos every day of the same scene — the one I can see from my kitchen sink window. My inspiration for the experiment came by way of a museum exhibition of Robert Weingarten’s photographs, taken every morning at 6:30 AM. See my earlier post, Museum-worthy Inspiration.

In Step Two, I tried to set some parameters: digital camera, ISO 100, JPEG Fine, focal length ~21mm, and a possible aperture of F11. All of the above were taken at F11. Eventually, I took a few at F16 instead and decided to make that my constant aperture. The only real decision left was time of day.

Now, Weingarten chose precisely 6:30AM for his project, as measured by a quartz clock that he owned. I’ve set the clock in my camera to be fairly accurate. But what time should I really choose for my project? Here’s the sticky point. At this stage of my life, my health is more important to me than any obsessive adventure I might embark upon. That being said, I’m not going to set an alarm clock just to take a photo! (Picture me sticking my tongue out at my past self!) When my kids were young, I’d jump out of bed to a 4:50am alarm, just to have enough time to exercise, shower, dress, and have some quiet time before they got up. I functioned, but not very well. I’ve finally learned the value of taking care of myself and sleep has become a priority. Although I still consider myself a morning person, if I’m up late at night, I’m still going to aim for seven or eight hours of quality sleep.

So, I tried a few photos in the afternoon instead.

The view faces north, so it catches the light of both sunrise and sunset. But sunset can vary by several hours as the seasons change. And it’s much less likely that I’d be home every afternoon than every morning. The project needs consistency. So, in the end, I settled on morning for my project.

But what time of morning? In my next post, I’ll show you the fun I had on Feb. 5th taking photos from about 6:45am to 9am. And I’ll share my decision about time…

Photo Project: Step Two: Parameters…

It’s been two weeks since I visited the museum exhibition that inspired me to start this project. (See Museum-worthy Inspiration.) My first step was to choose the scene that I would photograph daily. Check. Now, I must decide what constants my project will reflect and what variables will remain as variables.

For the past week and a half, I’ve been experimenting. When I began, I had no idea that I would learn more about my camera and about photography in the process. But I have. To produce his photos in the exhibit called “6:30 AM”, Robert Weingarten used a slow speed film, procured and cared for carefully, so as to keep this medium as one of his constants. He also set a fixed aperture, focal length, point of focus, time of day, and scene. His only variables were shutter speed and mother nature. By some trial and error, I think I’m close to settling on my constants, too.

Jan 27th Blizzard!

Jan 27th Blizzard!


My camera is digital. So, no need to worry about the condition of film. I set my camera’s ISO on 100, apparently as slow as it can be set. I set the images to be recorded as JPEG Fine and I won’t do any after image editing. The focal length seems to be around 21mm in all of my shots so far. It’s hard to keep it strictly constant when I use my camera for other events and then have to remount it on the tripod for this scene. But, I consider the boundaries of the scene as constant enough to keep the focal length in check. I do want aperture to be a constant, but have been experimenting a little with it. I know I also need a constant time of day, but that’s been a bit tricky and isn’t completely settled yet, either. (More on that later!) My main variables, like Weingarten’s, will be shutter speed and the weather.


Jan 28th F5

Jan 28th at F5

At first, I tried using mid-range apertures between F5 and F8. The camera’s recommended shutter speeds for these settings produced overexposed results. And the foreground was not in focus. Oops! So, I chose F11 instead, in order to keep most of the scene in focus. I learned how to use the Manual setting on this camera — which, I hate to admit, I hadn’t tried in the year since I got it. I set the shutter speed to under-expose because the white snow and white January sky were otherwise overbearing. If I set the camera on auto, the F-stop automatically set at F5.6 with a faster shutter speed. Look at the two below, taken on January 29th. The differences are subtle, but having the whole thing in focus is important. I wonder if I dare use a smaller aperture? Maybe I’ll try that tomorrow.

More in my next post about time of day…


Jan 29th at F11

Jan 29th at F11

Jan 29th at F5.6

Jan 29th at F5.6