Inside the pianosm

Let me get this out of the way right up front. This challenge kicked my butt.

I could give you a half dozen or so excuses why I wasn’t able to get out to shoot some of the people and places I had planned on, and blah, blah, blah….but the fact is, I didn’t, and I wound up having to shoot right around my house, and well…I took 18 shots total—none of them good.

I felt like I should post something, so I’m posting the last shot I took (in desperation mind you), of the inside of a piano (shown above) because I knew as I was taking the other 17 shots that I didn’t have anything. However, even though I didn’t get a decent shot; I still really enjoyed the challenge.

NOTE: Here’s a link to the flickr Group I set up for anyone who participated in the challenge, where you can upload images you took during the weekend (and following the challenge rules). There are already lots of cool images up there from people who clearly did a better job than I.

The “Oh No!” Moment
I hiked over to a large pasture near my house, with these beautiful cypress trees with a perfect glassy mirror-like reflection. I got set-up to shoot (and it didn’t look nearly as good through my viewfinder as it did as I’ve driven by it a hundred times), but I took the first shot, and then immediately looked at the LCD monitor on back of my camera (which of course was turned off), and even though I was all by myself I had to laugh. How I’ve come to rely on that little monitor!

Click: 22¢ Click: 22¢ Click: 22¢
I remember back when I actually did shoot film, and how hesitant I would be to press that shutter button because each time I did I knew it cost me 22¢. I had that same feeling all over again, of making darn sure that before I took the shot, that it was composed properly, that my settings were right, and that I was really holding the camera steady (By the way, none of that helped).

Time won’t let me…..
Of course, it was the wait that got me. If I thought I really had gotten something, it would have killed me, but knowing I had pretty much blown it, it was easier waiting than I thought.

I didn’t get extra credit
Although I did set my ISO before I started (and didn’t change it, though I was highly tempted to on one occasion), I didn’t get extra credit for not post-processing, because I  had to tweak the White Balance as I had been shooting outdoors and had pre-set my White Balance to cloudy, and needless to say, the Piano wasn’t outdoors. The fact that I needed to change the White Balance was just another reminder of how much we rely on the ability to change WB on the fly with digital, any time the light changes, without having to pop in a new roll of film. I also added contrast and an edge vignette in post (Oh the shame!). Anyway, I didn’t get extra credit for no post-processing, but do I get any love for hand-holding the shot at 0.6 of a second? No? Didn’t think so.

Of Course the Real Winner From All This Is….
The children of the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya. Just a few hours after I announced the challenge on Friday, I got an email from Molly Bail at the Orphanage, letting me know that she knew something was up, because all of a sudden donations were literally pouring in (she didn’t know we were doing this, so it caught her totally by surprise).

So many people really pitched with donations—-it was just amazing. Even people who couldn’t participate still donated, and that really warmed my heart. There were posts from people who went way above and beyond, and literally donated hundreds of dollars (people like my friend and fellow photographer Janine Smith who has an incredibly big heart, and reader Eric Harmon, who couldn’t shoot this weekend, but gave a big donation anyway).

I am so genuinely thankful to everyone who went that one optional step further, donated the cost of a roll of film, and helped  move the orphanage closer to self sufficiency. Your compassion never ceases to amaze me. I feel very fortunate to have you guys as my readers.

More Challenges to Come
Although we won’t be helping the Orphanage every time, I’m planning a new challenge each month, and the goal will be for us all to try new things photographically and creatively (including some techniques in Photoshop and/or Lightroom that will be new to a lot of us), and I hope you’ll share some of your ideas with me of things you’d like to see in upcoming challenges.

By the way….
Did I mention I have big news tomorrow? :-)