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Thread: "That Tree" A photo project

  1. #1

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    "That Tree" A photo project

    A picture of the same tree everyday for a year turned into an amazing photo project and a journey of self discovery for the photographer, Mark Hirsch.

    That Tree slide show at NPR.

    I have often considered photo projects but I guess I haven't stumbled onto the 'right' one in my mind yet. The lovely images and and potential for both personal and technical growth are something to aspire to regardless of the subject matter chosen. I'm off to review my project concept list...

    Have you ever done a photo project? Did you have similar results? I would like to hear about your projects, the resulting technical growth, personal insights and even the frustrations. Did you achieve a breakthrough in your photography as a result of the commitment to a project?

  2. #2
    xpatUSA's Avatar
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    Re: "That Tree" A photo project

    The only completed work for me was taking a load of wristwatch shots of my collection - not really a project in the spirit of this thread which I take to be photography for the sake of photography having a well-defined theme. However, technical and equipment growth did occur after it became apparent that hand-held shots under room lighting with a Kodak C6340 point-and-shoot was not cutting the mustard

    A wobbly table-top tripod, a couple of CFL desklamps and a Nikon D50 formed the next step, along with a growing interest in photographic theory.

    A visit to the local camera place produced a somewhat sturdier tripod and the watch Grail of sharpness resulted in a move to the Sigma SD9 - some would say a step backward but the Foveon sensor was irresistible.

    After flirting with a D90 for about a week, a SD10 was procured, along with the well-respected Sigma 70mm macro lens which immediately proved that I still owned a wobbly tripod.

    So more money flowed out and a Giottos MT 9240 tripod with a MH 7001 ball-head flowed in. At the same time, a pair of LED 30-deg floodlamps upped the lumen count considerably. Just to be cool, a Philips TL-950 tube went in the overhead position and such mixed lighting (tsk) doesn't affect my watch shots that much.

    The macro lens and the sturdy tripod were the notable breakthroughs in my set-up. The learning would be more about lighting i.e. angles, diffusion, reflection, than anything else. Been playing with flash lately - a bit hit and miss so far

  3. #3

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    Re: "That Tree" A photo project

    This may depend on what you call a 'project' Shane.

    Some of us are doing a weekly photo project; Project 2013 or various other titles. This follows on from a number of Project 52 threads last year.

    A couple of years ago we had a Photo A Day challenge for one month.

    One of my projects from last year was to record wildlife from the 4 sites which I most visited during the year. I eventually collated some photos plus text into a slideshow and a PDF format version. Recently I gave some links to the upload site where I have it stored for anyone who wishes to have a look.

    I didn't want to get involved in Facebook or any of the other public sites but would willingly share it with anyone who wanted to do something similar.

  4. #4

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    Re: "That Tree" A photo project

    So what I have learned so far (from Ted) is that there is a real possibility that in the process of improving your technical abilities you will spend a small fortune But seriously, I think that Ted's experience highlights the fact that working on a project will really focus your attention and encourage you to research and learn about different aspects of photography which can only be a good thing in the long run and will likely have a cross over effect into other aspects of your work.

    Geoff, PM me the link as I would like to take a look at your project.

    Thanks guys! I'm looking forward to hearing input from others.

  5. #5

    Re: "That Tree" A photo project

    I did a kind of project like that.

    I managed to take pictures of a tree just outside my house, two times a month, for an year (last year). I must say I found it hard to always keep the photo from the same angle - IMO that is what helps to give the m"ohhh" result in the end - and, 5 months before the end, I changed camera (it was a big change, from an almost point-and-shoot to my alpha 77 :P and I could not keep myself shooting with the first one - I should have, for the effects I wanted to give).

    At the same time it was good and bad. It was cool the feeling of taking the last picture, almost like beating a personal challenge. It was possible to see changes on the tree - although I was expecting more (for reasons I will explain below) - but it is really amazing !

    As the down parts, it was the way I did that was not correct: I should have taken the two shots at the same date every month (I had some pictures by the end of a month, then right in the beginning of the next month, and there was, of course, no change - not even on the weather ). I guess if you shoot everyday this is not a concern. Second, I should have taken the photos all on the same hour, so I could include the sky as a context.
    The other down part was related to the results: as I was shooting for afar, no zoom included, it was hard to see the very small changes the tree passed. For at least 8 months, it was almost impossible to see any change at all. I also find out that I live in place where it is mostly cloudy/dark most part of the year - not that I did not know, it was just that actually seeing it was a shock XD

    I will do it again, this time correcting my mistakes, and I will also zoom in a bit, so to shoot a branch (a big one), and be able to notice smaller details rather than the full picture.

    Hope to have helped ^^

  6. #6

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    Re: "That Tree" A photo project

    It's ironic that his project is about a "lonely" (his word) tree. Based on the few photos of it that I saw at his website, it's far from lonely.

    To answer your very insightful questions, my project to photograph glass in my makeshift studio has been extremely rewarding and educational. I have learned lighting techniques, helpful information about tabletops, horizons and backgrounds, stuff about the physics of light, and on and on and on. And I have barely begun on the journey in which the process of getting there is equally as important as arriving at the destination.

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