Today is the first Monday of the month. Which means that today is photo challenge day. The theme for this challenge was “morning”.
Now. Morning is 100% absolutely the best time of day in my home. Oren willingly plays, dismantling the spice rack and shelf of pots and pans. This goes on for almost an hour. I am allowed time to brew coffee, make breakfast, do dishes, groom our unicorn. It is a magical time of day where the possibilities are as many as I can count. I had chewed on the theme for quite some time, thinking it would be such a breeze.
At first I wanted to shoot morning light. But “light” is a future prompt, which I may have enough fodder for already. Then I wanted to capture the spirit of baby at his peak of awesomeness. Turning a camera on him always yields the same series of photos: blur, followed by hand in the entire frame. My next thought was food. Breakfast being the most important and absolute best meal of the day, I thought I would shoot an eggy meal. Finally, it struck me, how silly I am. There is one thing that morning revolves around. And you know what it is. It’s coffee.
The rules for this post remain the same as last time, no editing. This is about learning how to use a camera.
This was my first setup. Which I do not love. It took me a long time to configure the best angle. My first morning of shooting I came out with this result over and over. After pouring over these photos that evening, I realized it was the angle of the photos. This picture is all horizon, no coffee. I liked the props, though the stain in the wood was fighting with the pine cones, rendering them invisible. The vase of sticks felt out of place and willy-nilly to me and the coffee beans were making this feel too staged, despite trying to recreate an image which utilized beans as a prop. I couldn’t make it work in a way I wanted.
So I tried again. Elements that I knew I wanted to keep were the surface I was shooting on, white dishes, and the spoon. New: perspective, coffee in a white cup, rearranged props.
I was much more pleased with this series, the direction it was going proved more satisfying for me. The above was of my first shots. That’s me reflected in the spoon, you caught me. This photograph is all pine cone though. Which is great, because it is a precious trio of cones. But I wanted more coffee. After reading a lot about how to use my camera and photography in general, I had attempted to put into practice the rule of thirds. The results, I feel, was unsuccessful in this shot. That’s okay. Deep breathing. I took this rule of thirds so seriously as to try and separate the photo into three with three separate props: spoon, cones, coffee. It is unsuccessful because, as you can tell, the coffee is still approximately half of the photo. I will continue to work utilizing this concept, perhaps I may even find myself satisfied in the future.
Then there was this photo. This is like, ideal date with myself. A blank slate of paper, a full cup of coffee. I took a sip of said coffee, and set it down again to shoot it. I wish I had turned the handle. While this is how the mug was placed back onto the dish organically, I was displeased with the handle’s direction. I felt it was pulling the eye to the bottom of the photo and not creating a line towards the cones and up to the spoon. I was also starting to struggle with my camera’s ISO settings and the lighting in my house. This session was shot near a south facing window, however as the day moved on I found the light became concentrated in less than desirable places, casting odd reflections on my dishes. I recovered from this by utilizing a tripod and white board. Oren loves the tripod. I can’t use a tripod without a third body to restrain him. He climbed the tripod, taking it down. I released my camera moments from disaster.
Handle rotation: accomplished. This image is pared down. The notebook is removed. This is about coffee. Despite this being my final image, I still see room for improvement. Coffee flecks from the french press are visible. There is still an interesting reflection in the liquid. I am visible in the spoon. Still. I am, over all, very pleased with how this photograph came out. This particular prompt, “morning”, has provided a great leap in my skill set. I now have knowledge of my camera’s white balance and I am becoming very comfortable shooting in Manual mode. All because of coffee. Impressive stuff, that caffeine.
Thanks for following this process.
If you are interested, you can check out the work of those individuals partaking in this challenge with me (which I recommend because it is likely that they came up with some brilliant shoots):