January’s Themes

So, part of challenging myself is to follow a themed photo 52. If you have never heard of one of these it’s where you either set yourself a list of themes for the year and shoot one a week. There are no rules other than what you set yourself so you don’t have to pressure yourself, unless of course you decide to put it on your website and don’t finish it and then the whole world can see you failed! Doh! Ah well, too late now!

So, rather than blog every weeks photo I’ll be doing it every fortnight or month as catch up unless there’s a particular reason for doing so, such as wanting to share something topical or a technique I think others may be interested in.

So, to catch up here’s Januarys 5 themes including a practice week at the beginning.

ThemeSong Title / Lyric

The beauty of these themes is they can be completely interpreted however you like and a theme like this is wide open, you just have to start thinking of your favourite songs or band and within a few minutes you’ll surely come up with something. For me, as it was early January and almost the 1st anniversary of the death of David Bowie I went with one of my favourite Bowie songs, which sci-fi Guardians of the Galaxy fans may recognise.

Moonage Daydream

The shot itself is a merge of two, one was exposed for the moon, one for the stars then both layered so I could apply a mask and bring through the stars from one to the other. So, basically what we used to do with film cameras as a double exposure. It really does show that you don’t have to travel far to get a lovely starry night image, this was literally taken in my back garden and took 5 minutes.


I was stumped on this one I have to say, I had no idea what I was going to do with this and finally thought of a shot which would show something in order of size. For that I came across some Russian dolls on ebay and had a shot planned in my head where not only would I shoot them on a diagonal showing them in order of size, but also use a shallow depth or field so they seemed to fade away as they got smaller.

In the end however that never happened due to one thing and another with the delivery. So, that left be a bit annoyed and frustrated and the next shot is an example of what you shouldn’t do as it’s probably the worst shot I’ve taken for years. However I put it here as I let the pressure of needing something get to me. Let it be a lesson to you all!


So, there are some things going for this shot on first impressions. It was a quick shot, I had the porcelain turtles on hand (well, the wife had) and it stayed with my order of size theme. I processed in black and white as I felt it would allow you to focus on the shape and pattern of the shells and also you can just see the slight reflection in front of each turtle. But whatever I did I just couldn’t get the position and focus just how I wanted, you can seen in particular the small turtle on the right is more out of focus than is comfortable. So, I’m off now to castigate myself relentlessly and say ten Our Fathers!


Moving swiftly on to comfort. I don’t really know what to say here as many ideas were going through my noggin such as, comfort food, a plush bed, good shoes, a pair of gloves and scarf. But then this presented itself, my cat asleep on the sofa and thankfully with cats, once they are in their comfortable spot they don’t move about very much. He was quite happy to ignore me while I set up a flash unit and my camera on its tripod.



Don’t be afraid, it’s only me. Yep, I just didn’t have to look very far again for this one, I only had to look in the mirror! Portraits that have impact are usually dramatically lit and the Low Key technique lends itself to this very very well.

I set this up in my living room with the curtains closed and one flash on a stand to my right side, so camera left and higher than me to give some shadow under my chin but enough light too allowing some shape to my neck and shoulder. Without that the image would look like a floating disembodied head.



This next shot, the last for January, is one I’m extremely happy with and am likely to get printed out for my kitchen. We have chickens and this is a fresh egg from that very day from one of my own chickens. How cool is that? Anyway, I digress.

The shot is a simple one of the two forks interlocked and the egg gently balanced on the tines. This is a shot you could easily try at home as the square ends formed actually make the balancing of the egg easier than it looks. The setup is on my living room table, one sheet of white paper that curves behind the egg all nestled on an open laptop. The light is from my patio doors so completely natural and beautifully diffuse, you really can get some great shots right by your living room window.


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