I bought myself a new camera in October. For some years I had coveted the idea of having more control than my superzoom camera gave me, although I still dearly love the photos it has given me. So I bought the camera and tried it out on our trip south. (And yes, I still plan on writing about that … soon!) I’ve realised though that to become accomplished with my new camera, I need to use it more often. So I am going to try a weekly photography challenge. Actually, I am going to do two weekly photography challenges. (Yes, I’m a sucker for punishment, but time is short.) I’m going to do last year’s challenge, because I need the discipline. But then I saw that this year’s challenge is all about telling stories, and I love to tell stories, whether here or with my camera.
I was a little horrified, though, to see that the first week required a selfie. You may know how much I love selfies! Well, I reasoned, I don’t need to post the result of every week’s challenge, do I? After all, I don’t pretend to be a good photographer, just a keen one. So I played around, trying to ensure that the light wasn’t hideous, or that I wasn’t hideous. I used my little tripod, and also my wifi app that allows my phone to take over remote control of my camera, so I didn’t have to jump up and down to adjust the camera. It was all good practice for me. The results weren’t brilliant, and even as I write this, I’m still not sure if I’ll actually attach the photo, but I do want to document that I actually did the challenge. Week 1 half-completed.
The second task was both easier and harder. I had to tell a story using the rule of thirds, which is, apparently, an important feature of photography. I’m not sure I’ve approached it correctly, but there is a story, and the timing is appropriate, as I took the photo just before taking my Christmas tree down for another year.
My fat angels (I have three) have been amongst my favourite decorations for over 20 years. I first found them in Thailand, that most Buddhist of countries that embraces the idea of Christmas celebrations and lights and carols.
They were, I think, the first of many decorations I bought there. I loved their angelic faces, and the sheer humour of their shape, their faces, and their instruments. I love their wings, though they are quite delicate. I’m very careful with them. They survived 17 years of living with two cats, who were thankfully remarkably well behaved around the tree, and they’re still doing well.
More robust were the felt decorations that I found in Thailand. I bought dozens, red, green and white reindeer and stars and camels, and even a squirrel or two. All very (northern) Christmassy. But my favourites that are uniquely Thai, are my felt elephants. Not Christmassy at all, but they represent such an important part of my life, and so they hold an important place on my tree.
So I chose this photo because completely unintentionally, I had hung these two decorations – so different but forever linked – so close together on my tree. I didn’t move them (although I realise now I probably should have), so they’re not perfectly balanced, and it would have been nice if the elephant had been facing the angel. But the angel’s uplifted eyes are in one of the intersections of thirds, and the elephant peaks at another intersection of the thirds, and this is where they were on the tree. So I took the photo. That’s what I do, essentially. I take the photos that are there, rather than design and plan my photos. Just as I learned to write back in 2006 with 44 words a day, I now need to start thinking like a photographer. I guess that’s a good lesson to learn at the beginning of the challenge.
But in the meantime, Week One was completed. Getting started is often the hardest part.
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