Cogitating – 365

I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve applied to join a 365 group from 1st January and over the last weekend I had a good look at their Flickr groups. An impressive collection of images but more than that a testament to their doggedness and determination – I realised that some of them have been doing this for up to ten years solid! I’m not sure if that’s determination or insanity but I’m impressed nevertheless.

© Dave Whenham

I have (or had!) 63 days in which to think about the challenge and contemplate my own impending insanity. The image I posted in my last blog post (left) was labelled 63-2017-1 which was my shorthand for 63-days in 2017 image number 1.

I’ve decided to start the daily posting habit now, with sixty three days left in 2017, to enable me to work out the pitfalls and hopefully establish a routine to set me up well for the 365-2018.

As yet I’ve not been posting these daily although I think that’s the next logical step in the process. But what haveI learnt in these first eight days? It might be easier to think about it by posting the first set of images and jotting down my thoughts alongside each.

63-2017-1: this image (above) was taken on the day I decided to embark on this project. It was taken with the Fuji X100t which is normally to be found in my coat pocket or a small shoulder bag. It reflects an all too familiar scene on the high streets of small towns such as Elland. For Sale and To Let boards adorn many once thriving businesses. There are no more banks and we have just the one butcher now. A handful of cars can often be seen in the short-term parking bays but you don’t see many people wandering the hight street these days. A sad sight but sadly one that is becoming more common. It is almost certain that there will be more images from Elland town centre in the coming months.

© Dave Whenham
Catch! 63-2017-2

63-2017-2: this image (above) was pre-planned from very early in the day. Knowing that we were going to be eating at this local restaurant for the first time that evening I thought it would be the perfect image for the day. I didn’t actually leave the house that day until the evening but first thing that morning I put the Fuji X100t in the pocket of the jacket I’d be wearing to make sure I wasn’t going to be relying on my iPhone. Pre-planned since breakfast this was a good second image in the series and good discipline too.

Dave Whenham
Dear Zoo. 63-2017-3

63-2017-3: November did not start too well as I left the house for the day without my camera! I had left it on my desk the night before intending to download the image from that evening and then got distracted. I had decided that today’s image should be one of Zac, one of two live-in grandsons, on a trip to the garden centre. The Fuji would have been ideal but at least I did still have my iPhone however which was just as well. They say the best camera is the one you have with you and I had to be content with that homily for image number three in the series.


63-2017-4: Thursdays are going to be a challenge, particularly in bad weather. I have four grandsons. Two live with me, one spends the weekend here and the other spends every Thursday here. So I woke up on Thursday knowing that my image would of necessity involve Ted unless I opted for a night time shot. However, as capturing semi-candid images of Ted is a regular photographic activity for me I thought it appropriate to get one in during the first week.

© Dave Whenham
Ted. 63-2017-4

This was taken with the Fuji X-T20 at f4, ISO 3200 and handheld at 1/10th of a second. It is a little soft and there are definite signs of camera shake but it’s still an engaging portrait. Shooting into the sun coming through the window I opened up by two stops compared to the metered reading; I wonder if I should have opted for a faster shutter speed and brought the exposure up in post? Still, a reasonable outcome and a pre-planned one too. The challenge for 2018-365, as if that weren’t challenging enough, will be to find different images for Thursdays that don’t necessarily involve Ted.

I did actually take a second image (see below) for the 63-2017-4 slot which is actually a far better image in my view and also ties in nicely with 63-2017-1. However, it was taken with my iPhone and as I want to limit the amount of times I fall back on this device I opted for the image above as the “official” Day 4 image.

© Dave Whenham
An alternative 63-2017-4 image.
© Dave Whenham
Jakob. 63-2017-5

63-2017-5: I had no firm plan for Friday but kept the Fuji X-T20 by my side throughout the day as I pottered about doing household chores. It was the last day of half-term and Jakob had arrived that morning, slightly earlier than usual for his weekend stay. When his Dad took him outside to wash the cars I saw the opportunity and captured this abstract of Jakob (above) cleaning my car. I deliberately framed it with the view to a square crop eliminating all recognisably car elements. This was an image that would not have happened if I’d not been thinking “image a day” as I’d have simply thanked Jakob but not bothered to capture a record.

63-2017-6: The first Saturday of the challenge and I had planned to take the drone out on to Marsden Moor for a flight and to capture that days image from the air. In the event I was on child-minding duties at short notice so decided to make it an I-Phone day and to try to find an image that captured both Autumn and child-minding. Just because one is using a phone doesn’t mean that composition, thought and camera craft need all go out of the proverbial window.

© Dave Whenham
Autumnal Ted. 63-2017-6

63-2017-7: I knew exactly what image I wanted today from the moment I looked out of the bedroom window and saw the crisp blue sky. I’d seen the potential yesterday and knew the conditions were right. It was the second thing I did that day, immediately after enjoying my morning mug of black coffee. I wanted to show a truly autumnal image without heading into the woods or countryside. Mission accomplished!

© Dave Whenham
Autumn in the Town. 63-2017-7

63-2017-8: And so we come to this morning. I went to bed last night fully intending to get up early today. With the chance of frost, low lying mist and bright sunshine it would be an ideal opportunity for some bright, misty images. It was indeed as forecast which makes  the fact that I slept through my alarm double galling. I cannot remember the last time I slept through the alarm and when I crawled out of bed at 8:30am I could see that the day had indeed started as forecast but was rapidly clearing into a bright, sunny morning with a clear blue sky.  My first instinct was to say “sod it” and forget about photography but just as quickly the thought came into my head that I might still get something worthwhile for Day 8. Which was why twenty minutes later I was pulling the car over at the roadside to grab a quick image of Bower’s Mill in Barkisland. Built in the 18th century this was a water-powered fulling mill although it was later converted for other processes: corn mill, worsted mill, woollen mill.  The 5-storey mill  has since been converted for use by small businesses. I captured my image with a Nikon D7100 and a 300mm lens to compress the scene and accentuate the contrast between the still frosty mill and surrounding  buildings in the valley with the sunlit houses on the valley side.

© Dave Whenham
Bowers Mill. 63-2017-8

So there we have it. An eclectic mix from the last eight days. At least three of these images (Day 2, Day 5 and Day 8) would not have been taken without the thought of the daily challenge to spur me on. A couple would not have happened had I not had my iPhone with me and whilst I am going to try to limit the amount of images I capture with that device I did find that knowing the images were part of my daily challenge did make me think more creatively; Day 6 is a good example of this.

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