For anyone just joining us (and by us, I mean me, but us, too, because I'm doing this with two other AMAZING photographers), my friend Michelle McDaid and I decided that even though we live in different cities, we need each other as a photo buddy. We took on a year-long project, with a different theme every month. The themes have been either technical or based on subject-matter. The point is to have fun and to also take on a few challenges to expand our photographic skills. We called it the M.E. Project.
Soon after we began, we were joined by Michelle Perrin, and we have been pretty good about posting most months. The great thing is Michelle Perrin's first name is also Michelle, so we didn't have to change our logo. Hah. Some months are easier than others, not just in terms of how we did working our theme, but also because life has a way of getting in the way. Life is what happens to you when you're busy making plans, right?
I strongly encourage you to visit both the Michelles' websites, they are both incredible photographers with unique styles.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. This month's theme was: wide angles! Since I have used 24mm lenses quite a bit, I felt I needed to get a little bit braver. I rented a Zeiss 15mm lens for a weekend, plotted several photo excursions, and almost all my photos are from that weekend. I loved this lens, and as always I seem to be better at composition with prime lenses than with zoom lenses. By, like, a lot.
Here are Michelle McDaid's and Michelle Perrin's contributions for this month [to be updated]. At the bottom of this post you will find links to the posts and photos from past months, and a link to all the photos I've taken so far for this project.
I started by taking a stroll in downtown LA on an Art Walk night. Lots of opportunities for street photography, and the perfect ambiance for it, it's art walk night, no one even blinks at some woman taking pictures of people on the streets.
I have not added much explanation to the photos, they should stand on their own (unless of course they're part of a story being told through photos, but that's not the case here). I have titled them, and if you hover over them with your mouse you should be able to see the title, which might give you a tiny bit more information, but I hope that is not necessary.
At one point during the evening, we (I was out with my date, Jesse, that night) were looking at an art installation of weird man-beast creatures wearing snazzy cotton underwear. Another couple was also looking at the installation, and the guy said he would kill for underwear like that. Naturally, I turned to him and asked whether he had someone in particular in mind already, or would he be willing to take a list. What followed was a detailed and expansive negotiation about how many people he would kill for me, and for how many pairs of underwear. I had no idea how far a good pair of cotton briefs could go.
I came back to downtown a couple of days later -- lots of tall, wide buildings, which I've never really had the right wide angle lens to photograph. The John Ferraro building is where the LA Department of Water and Power is located. It's surrounded by water and by solar panels (power) and is very zen, especially at sunset.
Then I wandered off to Civic Park, where they have this fountain with colored lights (the colors change). It makes for a very banal photo, normally, but this time the light and the lens together made it work. Finally. The white building in the background is City Hall.
Finally, I took photos of my mom with the beautiful trees up the street from us. My mom loves trees, she was always up a tree when she was a girl.
I have a couple more of her with the trees in the Flickr set. Below is one of these trees from below, they are quite majestic.
The Zeiss lens is very expensive and fancy glass, and I have to admit that it takes pictures that are crisper and more detailed than any other lens I've worked with. I can now understand why everyone says spend the money on good glass. Of course, I used a full-frame camera I would not dare to pair such a lens with anything less than a full-frame camera, but there you go. Maybe I'm wrong about that.
The last two are fun pictures I took of sunflowers at a community garden in Westchester (near LAX). I accompanied my friend Willow to a fundraising dinner where she has her little plot. The food was phenomenal, the garden very impressive, and I took a couple of photos while I was at it. This was more or less a 35mm lens, also a prime lens.
If you want to see the album on Flickr (you can see the pictures full-screen, which with wide angle is recommended), you can do so here. You can also see all the M.E. Project photos so far here. If you want to read past M.E. Project posts, here are the links:
Some months went better than others. Eh hem. I can say definitively though that this exercise has actually helped me be a better photographer. For example, I'm significantly better at noticing backgrounds and composing with backgrounds in mind. Ditto with black and white and environmental portraits. We have not decided on September's theme, but will do so within a day or so. We are deciding between rat's eye view and reflections. Stay tuned for further photographic adventures!