365 Project

I'm excited to announce my 365 photo project! This idea has been stewing in the back of my mind for well over a year now. I wanted to call it the "Infinite Series," but first I needed to see if it was even possible. It wasn't until a couple months ago that my idea became more concrete. Historically, I always found editing to be slightly overwhelming. There seemed to be an infinite amount of possibilities one could take when editing an image. What if I did this? What does this do? A part of me felt locked into selecting a final outcome, but I always wondered about the interesting alternatives that came up through my explorations of the programs. As a result I was left feeling stuck, unable to advance my work. I felt pulled in too many directions.

Over the past few months I've had the good fortune of taking tutorials on photo editing programs. Learning the capabilities of these programs has been eye-opening to say the least. Armed with this knowledge I decided I would try an experiment of sorts. What if I took one image and tried to edit it differently everyday for a year? Is this even possible? If so, will I grow tired of this image? What are the limits of an image? There's only one way to find out!

Now that the idea was born I had to work out the logistics of it all. When would I start? What subject matter would I choose for the image? What kind of limitations would I impose on the editing process? Would I limit myself to one editing program throughout the year? 

I decided I would start on July 22 as a way to celebrate my 30th birthday and my desire to push myself further in photography. I was planning on spending that weekend in Savannah, GA and I knew I would find something of interest to shoot. Deciding on a subject matter was a bit trickier though. Should it be something neutral and mundane, something everyone will find pleasing? Or should it push the limits? Should it be simple or complex? Where would I take the shot? I had to keep all this in mind on the trip. As I took in the sights and sounds of Savannah every shutter click was taken with this project in mind. I took around 1000 images on the trip, and after reviewing them all I still had no idea what I would select. I narrowed my selection down to my best images taken on July 22, but I still couldn't decide which direction to go. Maybe an architecture shot, maybe flowers, maybe abstract? 

I kept coming back to one image in particular though. Something in the vein of my developing style. The image pictured below was taken Saturday evening after enjoying a delicious meal at Circa 1875. I grabbed my camera, put on the 50mm lens, and explored Bay street as we sauntered back to the car. The impressive oaks in Emmet Park were bathed in the orange glow of high pressure sodium lights. We came across a Vietnam Veterans' memorial which immediately caught my eye. The bottom of the reflecting pool had a blue hue to it. The orange oaks were reflected in the pool giving the impression that the water was on fire. The hard edges of the marble, along with the fence enclosure added a series of angles and lines that captivated my eye. I knew I was in love with this shot. This was the one.

Fiery Lake. Savannah, GA 2017. Canon 7dmkii, EF50mm f/1.8ii, 1/4 sec at f/1.8, ISO 2000, handheld. Raw image.

Fiery Lake. Savannah, GA 2017. Canon 7dmkii, EF50mm f/1.8ii, 1/4 sec at f/1.8, ISO 2000, handheld. Raw image.

Now that I had an image to play with, it was time to work out the logistics. I decided I would start each day with the raw image, in its completely unedited glory as pictured above. I'm approaching each edit as I would for the first time. I'm documenting my process for each edit as a reference point. To start I am using Photoshop CC 2017, but I plan on expanding to other plugins as I go along.

I imagine that this project will evolve over time. Who knows, maybe I will find that limit to editing that I've been curious about. That point where I've squeezed every ounce of potential out of this image that I have to move on to a new one. If that proves to be the case then I will still continue the 365 project but change my focus from a single image to multiple images. Ultimately this is a way for me to improve my skills in photo editing, to learn more about what programs are capable of in terms of editing, and to experiment with different versions of the same image. 

Without further ado I present to you my results from week 1. Click on the image for more details. My personal commentary is below.

See something you like? Have suggestions or ideas? I'd love to hear them!  Leave your feedback in the comments section. I'm excited to see what the next batch of edits brings. Follow me to stay in the loop on my 365 photo editing experiment.

#1 I used the oil paint filter, something I've been eager to try for a while. I couldn't resist! I like the soft rippling effect.

#2 was a straight up, classic edit. Keeping it simple.

#3 I wanted to play with the liquify filter and add some motion to the water. I also played with masking here and adjusting colors.

#4 I used the pointillize filter. I loved the way this brings out a different range in the image.

#5 I played around with the cloud filter and tried to add a blend mode to make it look like the image was burning. I discovered some issues with blend modes and exporting that I was unaware of. They weren't saving the way they looked in Photoshop. Something to learn more about.

#6 More blend modes here, and more discoveries on the issues of blend modes transferring over. I love the composition when flipped 90 degrees. 

#7 I flipped this version 90 degrees counterclockwise and I find I love this orientation as well. I used masking and a B&W adjustment to bring out the fiery part of the water.