"Live frugally on surprise." ~ Alice Walker
Yesterday was GNPA's first annual Jeff Woodlee Memorial Shootout.
It's like a scavenger hunt on crack, racking all over shooting for an hour and a half--things I'd typically never look to shoot.
Like this "bouquet" of fading black-eyed susans at a Decatur cemetery for the Wear and Tear category.
Or this "friendly" welcome sign behind barbed wire beside the cemetery's entrance (for the Enclosure category).
NOT happy with the wire not being in focus, but did I mention we were RACING to get everything done in like NO time???
I mean, I'm used to writing under pressure. But with my photography, I like to work into shoots and projects, FEEL my way into a subject. It's almost a Zen state for me.
So, the cut-throat race and pressure of go, Go, GO!, does't lend itself to my best work or most creative space.
This "Fading Glories" image was for the Two of Anything category (as was the camera's in the opening image). Here, we'd lost the light/cloud cover and the petals's highlights were starting to blow out. But we had to work with what he had.
Ultimately, it was the indoor shots where this "nature" photographer began to relax.
The environment and lighting was more within our control (not shifting every moment), and we knew exactly what we'd arrived to shoot.
Wings in Decatur is this amazing spot to purchase used/vintage camera gear, and I had a blast.
I was finally being creative, rather than searching for ANYTHING that might be useful to my Shootout team.
There were stacks and stacks of filters. With this image and the vintage cameras above, I worked intentionally with my soft focus lens--to create a "vintage" feel in-camera. This image was for the Tools category.
All-in-all, it was a challenge.
I LOVED shooting with new people and meeting great photographers and joking around with our team while we all scrambled and stressed and processed images more quickly than we were comfortable.
A Zen state, it wasn't. But that's the point, I'd gather. Shoot instinctively but with purpose. Create, but think before-hand, work smart, get as much as you can done in-camera rather than in post, and execute when there's very little time to re-take anything.
"Shootouts" (scavenger hunts) will never be my bliss. But the anything-goes challenge of it taught me tons about my strengths and weaknesses and how I can grow my creativity and basic camera skills.
I highly recommend trying it--even if you're challenging yourself, without the team dynamic. Pick an obscure topic, give yourself firm deadlines, be honest and true to those guidelines, and then see what you come up with!
Oh! And be sure to share your results with others, so they can learn from your journey, to ;o)