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Photo a Day Challenge: Day 27

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 27 - Fridge on Ilford Delta 100 filmFridge - Irvine, CA
Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 10:49pm
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It's funny what a deadline will make you do. Here is a photo of my fridge. Why? Because it was 10:45 at night and I'd yet to take a photo of the day for my photo a day challenge. My lady and I had just returned from a long day out on account of it being my girlfriend's birthday. The day was nearly done, the light was long gone, we were ready to turn in, and I couldn't yet check that box next to "take a photo" on my daily "to-do" list.

Strangely enough, I wasn't stressed about this. Normally I start to stress a little bit when cutting it this close on a deadline, even if the deadline is self-imposed. I knew there was little left to photograph in my apartment, especially at this hour, and time was running out. But I guess by day 27 of this challenge I was starting to realize that there are photos to be found anywhere at any time, you just need to get a little creative.

I looked around my dark kitchen for something to shoot. Then it hit me: the inside of the fridge has a nice bright light source. Why not use that to make my exposure? So I opened the fridge and set my camera on the counter across from it. Thanks to my trusty granite countertop, a tripod wouldn't be necessary. The natural clutter on the shelves added plenty of interest to the shot and required no rearranging. I metered the scene at 1/60 of a second at f/2.8. It's nothing I'd frame on my wall, but I got my photo and I realized we were low on milk. Win-win.

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 26

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 26 - Tess on Ilford Delta 100 filmTess - Irvine, CA
Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 5:29pm
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This is Tess. She's my girlfriend's jack russell terrier. Tess is...quirky. Alright fine I'll say it, she's weird. Just plain weird. But her weirdness is really entertaining. And if a dog doesn't entertain you, then what's the point?

Tess's favorite place in our home (other than my lap) is under our bed. Even when I'm home, she chooses to stay under the bed. I don't know why. She's not under there because she's scared or anything like that. I also know that she enjoys my company. But I guess she's just a lone wolf, as it were. One of the few things that'll make her come out from under the bed without any coaxing is if she hears a wrapper crinkling in the kitchen.

On this day 26 of my photo a day challenge, I had just returned home from work and decided to knock out my daily photo before heading out for the night. As I grabbed my gear from my closet, I saw Tess waiting patiently under the bed for my girlfriend to come home from work. I knew this would be my photo.

With dim lighting, my exposure came out to 1/8 of a second at f/2.8. The 1/8 shutter speed would be far too slow to handhold, so I let my camera rest on the ground. But even with camera shake out of the equation, I'd need Tess to not flinch or move at all during the slow shutter. So patiently I waited for her to freeze as she concentrated on the doorway off to the right. She was listening for my girlfriend's footsteps coming towards the front door. She knew they'd be there soon enough. I focused quickly, locked up the mirror, then triggered the shutter with a cable release. Before I could fire off a second safety shot, she lunged out from under the bed at the sound of the front door opening. Good thing this frame came out sharp...

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 21

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 21 - Boy in Canoe on Ilford Delta 100 filmBoy in Canoe - Woodbridge Lake, Irvine, CA
Monday, September 2, 2013 at 2:32pm
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It was Labor Day on Day 21 of my Photo a Day Challenge and I was walking around Woodbridge Lake in Irvine in search of my shot for the day. There was a lot of activity going on at this artificial lake on account of the holiday and the energy there was very enjoyable. I really love some good ol' community fun and recreation. Everyone is having a good time, we're all taking a break from the bustle of daily work for a change, the smell of barbecues fill the air...classic Americana.

With my Mamiya RZ67 camera in hand loaded up with my usual Ilford Delta 100 film, I took a stroll around the lake with my eyes peeled for a good photo. I walked and walked and walked, attempted some photos, failed, then walked some more. I had nearly circumnavigated the entire lake and was on my way back to the car feeling quite defeated. A full hour searching this big lake and I just couldn't find a thing. I was itching to photograph some people, and there were tons there, but I couldn't make anything work.

Then I made it to the top of a pedestrian bridge spanning the lake and spotted a couple of kids out navigating the waters. They were clearly friends - one in a canoe and the other on a paddle bike. I immediately liked these kids. In a world of iPhones and Xbox's, they were doing what kids should be doing on a beautiful day like this: getting away from their parents and enjoying the weather. I loved the role they were playing in the larger scene of Americana surrounding this lake. The perfect weather, the barbecues, the calm waters, the energy of everything...it was all punctuated perfectly with these two kids operating their respective water craft. They were the bow on the present that was this scene.

The intensity with which I appreciated these kids engaging in such a simple activity may seem strange to some people. But it was so reminiscent of that certain type of picturesque childhood you saw in the movie Stand By Me or The Sandlot. These kids reminded me of a time and place when red-tape, regulations, and iPads didn't rob kids of their desire to explore and get into trouble. These kids are exploring as much as the rules will allow. It may not be the same as finding a dead body or trying to recover a prized Babe Ruth-signed baseball from "The Beast," but they're doing as much as they can with what they got. I have a lot of respect for that.

But back to the picture-taking. From my vantage point high up on the bridge, I visualized a shot from directly above the canoeist as he paddled slowly under the gangway. Lucky for me, he decided to stop right below me, allowing me to fire off a frame of him and his friend without ever giving away my position. Both shots were exposed at f/10 at 1/250 of a second.

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 21 - Boy on Paddle Bike on Ilford Delta 100 filmBoy on Paddle Bike - Woodbridge Lake, Irvine, CA
Monday, September 2, 2013 at 2:31pm
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Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.