Week 1 – Self Portrait

A new year and I have not made any New Year’s resolutions. Instead I joined a 52 week challenge, where the task is to make one photo per week, each with a different topic. What I liked about these challenges is that they give you an excuse to go out and photograph, and the different topics will probably make me try things and go places I might not have done otherwise.

The 52 weeks have the following topics. You can find the original list, with some comments at Dogwood Photography.

  1. Portrait: Self Portrait
  2. Landscape: Traditional Landscape
  3. Artistic: Red
  4. Portrait: Headshot
  5. Landscape: Black and White
  6. Artistic: Candy
  7. Portrait: Faceless
  8. Landscape: Wide Angle/Panorama
  9. Artistic: Shadows
  10. Portrait: Environmental
  11. Landscape: Reflection
  12. Artistic: Transportation
  13. Portrait: High Key
  14. Landscape: Zoomed in
  15. Artistic: Metal
  16. Portrait: Movement
  17. Landscape: Urbanscape
  18. Artistic: Texture
  19. Portrait: Messy
  20. Landscape: Nightowl
  21. Artistic: Fantasy
  22. Portrait: Hands
  23. Landscape: Weather
  24. Artistic: Sparkle!
  25. Portrait: Silhouette
  26. Landscape: Simplify
  27. Artistic: Blue
  28. Portrait: Family
  29. Landscape: Waterscape
  30. Artistic: Patterns
  31. Portrait: Street Candid
  32. Landscape: Colorful
  33. Artistic: Collaboration
  34. Portrait: Child
  35. Landscape: Nature up Close
  36. Artistic: Food
  37. Portrait: Fashion
  38. Landscape: Get Low
  39. Art: Handmade
  40. Portrait: Sitting in a Chair
  41. Landscape: Get High
  42. Artistic: Minimalist
  43. Portrait: The Elderly
  44. Landscape: A Tree
  45. Artistic: Nostalgic
  46. Portrait: Backlit
  47. Landscape: Abandoned
  48. Artistic: Bokeh
  49. Portrait: Dancing
  50. Landscape: Symmetrical
  51. Artistic: Art
  52. Portrait: Another Self Portrait

The first task is a self portrait. Simple enough. I had a few different ideas that I wanted to try out, using coloured gels, and double exposures. The intro sequence to True Detective has some inspiring examples and I was even considering using video to make an animated gif (but I ran out of steam).

For the self portrait I put my camera on a tripod, and turned on the self timer mode. I also got a second tripod with a snooted flash on, to act as my light source. One thing that immediately became obvious was that getting the focus right is very difficult, especially when you have to get up to trigger the next photo. I sat with my head against the wall, then checked if the eyes were in focus, or if I had to adjust the camera. In the end I found it easier to move the camera back and forth than to adjust the focus ring to fine tune the focus.

One of my first photos, lit by a single flash from the side. Here I had just swapped my t-shirt for a more proper shirt.
Here I added a second flash from the left, to light up that side a bit. One thing I have noticed on my newer flash is that when the diffuser is not attached I tend to get some patterns from the light.
The left flash is gelled with a blue light. Here I have repositioned both flashes to light half my face each. Sitting there in front of the camera I realised I should have spent more time before thinking about possible poses.
Here I have switched to use a wired trigger for the camera, which allowed me to turn off the self-timer, so that I could use auto-focus. This massively increased the amount of photos in focus, but meant I had to sit a bit closer to the camera.
I decided to do the double exposure of the photos in photoshop. Here I had placed the flash to the left, to illuminate the wall behind me, and a bit of my face. Then I picked a second photo that I had taken of my brother and two of his daughters and overlaid them on top of the self-portrait.

If you think this sounds fun then sign up for the Facebook group and join the party.

— Johannes

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One Comment

  1. Sander
    January 2, 2016

    What a good idea and very well executed! I like all images, especially #1, 2 and 4. The pattern of the new flash is noticeable but here it doesn’t bother me. Have a great 2016.

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