A new years resolution - use my camera more!  To that end I have adopted my version of the 52 week challenge i.e. post a new photo each week before end of day each Sunday.  No rules, no themes!
Low Key wilted rose
Low Key Wilted Rose - Week 1
This one came together relatively easily which I will attribute more to luck than anything else.  I plucked the rose from a holiday bouquet and let it wilt for a few days.  The photographic technique we something I had done several times before so no major challenges to overcome (need a confidence booster to start - right!!)  Black background, camera on a tripod and multiple exposure at different flash power settings.  Stack-em up in Photoshop, set the blend modes to "Lighten" and do the clean-up and masking.  Easy-peasy!
High Key - Week 2
It only seemed right to jump from a low key image to high key.  I have always liked the white on white style although I still need to resort to multiple images and masking to get a result I am happy with.  Something to keep working on!
Fat Tire Bike - Week 3
Thought it was time to expand to a larger subject and it was too cold to take the bike out anyway.  I took photo sets of the front, rear, side, pedal and seat and these two were the only ones to make the cut.  Note to self - clean your subject before shooting!  I still haven't been able to capture the lighting I have in my head on-camera and invariably resort to using Photoshop and masking.  The "Lighten" and "Darken" blend modes has become my friends.  Where is Joe McNally when you need him!
Candle and base - Week 4
This week was about lighting and reflections although I guess it always about lighting.  It was the glass base of the candle that interested me and I ended up with three versions that took very different paths.  The centre version is pretty much right out of camera - something I don't achieve very often.  The only modifications were some clean-up and a vignette. I tried out some colour grading but decided that was not the point of this exercise.  The version on the left contains multiple layers.  I couldn't get the shadow where I wanted it and the reflection in the base (a happy accident while shooting the shadow) in the same shot.  The version on the far right is simpler but needed two shots to get the shadow I wanted and the light in the base.  Only 48 weeks to go!!
So what have I learned.  I am not a purist - I enjoy the post-production as much (if not more) than the camera work.  I lean (rather heavily sometimes) toward a low-key aesthetic.  Not sure if that is because I prefer that look or I find shadows more forgiving.  I have enjoyed picking up the camera again and often find myself thinking about the next project or how to shoot the current one differently.
Block Plane - Week 5
The sun sets over the plane - sorry couldn't help it.  A rather conventional still life but not without it's challenges.  The first was to create a sunset - two speed-lights on a tri-head with full CTO gels and diffusion filter pointed at a gold reflector seemed to solve that one.  Next one was to control the light and a GOBO to stop spill onto the background and a white reflective card to push light onto the side of the plane handled that. A 120 shots later to get everything working together resulted in this photograph.  The block plane is made by Veritas by the way.
Note to self - I find I need to stop myself from getting creative in Photoshop (force of habit) and remind myself the challenge was meant to make me use my camera more.
Hiking Boot - Light Painting - Week 6
The objective was to do some light painting which was touch and go until the end.  Mountains in the background and river in the foreground.  I know - not obvious but that was the plan/vision.  Getting the photo took a bit more work than I anticipated - I have a whole new appreciation for people that do this for a living and thank all those that contributed to my mood board (Shoe Shoot).
Coffee Cups - Week 7
Minimalism and symmetry this weeks theme.  Finally a photograph that didn't require multiple frames to complete!  Just some clean-up, tone adjustments and dodging and burning.  I added a flourish to the coffee in each of the cups (couldn't resist) but didn't include it in this posted version.

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