In Five Paragraphs as the full title suggests presents tips and information on digital cameras in digest form. For installment #2 we have some ideas to get the creative juices flowing again.
It’s A Ringer. There is nothing like a challenge to jump start creative thinking and here is an easy challenge to start. Go to the park or a lawn and garden area. Take a hoop about the size of a Hula-Hoop and toss it as far as you can. After the hoop comes to rest your assignment begins: Compose and shoot 20 unique images of whatever is within the confines of the hoop. Alternate challenges – stand within the hoop and shoot 20 images from that location, shoot only in B&W, or even use the hoop’s resting place as the location where a prop is positioned. The goal is to make the photographer focus on taking pictures and just taking quick grab shots.
Filtered Light. Make three or four squares about 5 inches on a side from waxed paper. Using crayons randomly color on the waxed paper squares, primarily in the center, make each square as different as possible. Wrap the waxed paper over the end of your camera’s lens and hold it in place with a rubber band. Now carefully tear out a hole in the colored waxed paper about the size of a dime or a nickel centered over your front lens element. Now walk around your yard taking pictures, using the aperture control of your camera to vary the intensity of the filter effect. Use each of the five “filter sheets” that you have made and study the differences between them in how color, aperture or the size of the torn hole changes the image. Want more inspiration? Use window screening material instead of waxed paper (don’t color it) or even fine gauge white latch-hook substrate. The goal is simple inspiration without spending a dime.
Musical Chairs. Grab you MP3 player and earphones, make sure you have a few songs loaded that are about three minutes long. Walk around your downtown area, look for interesting details or scenes to shoot. When you find a scene immediately turn on your MP3 player to the beginning of a three minute song. You cannot take any pictures until the song is finished, use the time to explore angles, focal length options and details. After the song is over you may take ONE picture, then you must move on to find your next scene. The goal is to learn how to study a scene and make good compositional choices.
Macro Magic. The rules to this exercise are simple. With only a macro lens on your camera (macro flash too if you have one) spend 30 minutes exploring your kitchen. You may move anything and position it any way that you wish. Your feet may not cross the threshold into another room and you want to wind up with about 20 really interesting close-ups. Purely a creative exercise, the goal is to find interest in mundane subjects.
Easy As 1, 2, 3… The previous exercises all limited the photographer in some way; here is one to set your feet free. Walk around your neighborhood, your park or your downtown and take pictures of subjects and objects that are shaped like all 26 letters of the alphabet. Make it a bigger challenge and get the alphabet in both upper and lower case. Don’t reuse any subjects! That wrought iron stave that looks like a lower case “p” can’t be reversed to become your letter “q”. Using more than four neon sign letters is cheating!
Conclusion: Sometimes it takes just five simple exercises to get back in touch with our creative side. By being very specific in our limitations or our goals we learn to think in creative ways to overcome the obstacles in front of us and complete the assignments.