SiJ '17 - "Dear Future Me..."

Discussion in 'Photo Challenges' started by Lightmancer, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    This time next year we will be relaxing having completed Single in January 2017. But ten and a half months from now, with Christmas looming large, we will be declaring participation and choosing our weapons...

    What advice would you like to give your future self today, that will benefit you and other future participants? What stopped you, what did you find hard, a bind or a bore? What motivated you to keep going, and why? Please jot down your thoughts here while they are still fresh in your mind!

    I'll kick off.
    - I chose a camera that would not be hard to carry every day
    - I tied SiJ to an exercise and weight loss drive. One activity supported and encouraged the other.
    - Mostly because of the above, I had a shot in the camera most days before 8am. Sometimes I took a better shot later in the day, but I had my "banker" early on, which meant I felt less pressure.

    Next?
     
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  2. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Veteran

    489
    Jan 19, 2015
    Ok, well these are my thoughts:

    Never ever ever use auto settings, always choose your own.

    Believe it or not, shooting raw is easier, it's actually harder shooting jpeg, you can correct any raw image in PP. Using jpeg only without pp’ing forces you understand your camera better, composition, what settings to use for tones.

    Getting a new camera and applying self imposed restrictions, will force you to get familiar with its controls and settings which you don’t normally use and this, come February, will be invaluable when using this knowledge shooting raw again.

    Doing the sij forces you to ‘see’. It will take you away from what you’re familiar with, which is why we do it, right?

    Whatever focal length you choose for the sij, you’ll definitely understand it better by the end of the month. So choose one for the sij that you don’t ordinarily use or even like.

    Good composition can make anything interesting.

    You are going to have to purposely go out for no other reason than to take 1 shot for the sij. It’s going to take up your precious time. What’s more, it’s better if you go out not 5 minutes down the road out but out out. Knowing that you’re taking 1/4 of your day to do it will make you think harder about that image. Soon the Christmas holidays are over, you have to go back to work and doing this every day gets very hard.

    Having said that, there's a mountain of subjects in your own home that, if you view them correctly as subject matter, can easily qualify as sij entries. You'll always have 'home runs' - pets, a selfie. Best to wait towards the end of the month before using these up though.

    You’ll feel like you don’t want to do it. Just do it. Even if it’s boring. Even if you’re so uninspired that you know deep down that today’s image is probably going to be a dud and you’re going to have to end up posting that dud. All other sij participants are feeling the same as you the longer the month goes on and will support you with comments/ advice/ inspiration. No pain no gain, corny but unfortunately true.

    The downsides are worth it because you come out of it more experienced and therefore better.

    Would I have taken as wide a variety of shots and subject material if I wasn't doing sij? No, I certainly would not have. When looking back, this justifies the uninspiring boring times.

    If you’re lusting after a very expensive camera (I dunno, let’s say, an R-X1 ii, at $5.5k AUD!) and have read the specs but have not used it - wait till after the sij before deciding. Going out there shooting everyday purposefully may well change your outlook.

    Trying for most of the day to find that shot, not finding the one, then getting that keeper late in the day is a good feeling.

    Apply the new info you've gained from the sij for the next 11 months.

    There will always be handy tips, for example @ajramirez@ajramirez technique of shooting at 11.55pm and 12.05am.

    Try to find the time to comment on others’ entries, you won’t get time to do all of them, but it’s a much needed source of support.

    Know that you haven’t explored the full capabilities of your camera (you just haven’t, right?)

    Oh and I learned that VSCO works fine on jpegs - experiment with it with your ‘leftovers’, it’s really quite fun (btw, the free VSCO LR presets are still available for download).
     
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  3. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    Good recommendations!

    My recommendation would be to send a reminder (PM?) to those who committed themselves. I did commit myself but as weeks passed I forgot about it until I logged in on January the 3rd (or was it the 4th). So I missed the first couple of days

    For participants:

    use a camera that you are likely to bring/have with you and try to combine it with another activity (as Bill said). In my case, driving the bike every day. Personally I am very happy that I opted for the iphone instead of a standalone camera. It is easy to forget to bring the camera.

    I also found that processing of iphone jpegs gives a lot of flexibility: do some PP on the iphone itself and upload directly from iphone; same on ipad; same on computer. So it took me very little time to prepare and upload photos.
     
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  4. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    I totally forgot to thank the organizers and those who were able to comment during the series. Great work!
     
  5. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    For me, ..I just won't. Bad time of year in this part of the world, to be outside any more than necessary (for an old man). And doing the desperate inside shots, is just discouraging after weeks of trying to be "original". I may shoot some, but no more "forced" shooting for this old man.
     
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  6. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    Steve
    As always, pick a camera that fits into a coat pocket. Note that the EM5II with a prime qualifies. The alternative is to buy a Pen F before Jan 1, 2017. :eek:
     
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  7. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    The main piece of advice I would give myself is to plan ahead of the month. Since I know that most (if not all) of my Monday through Friday shots will be at night, scope the potential shots ahead of time, so that I do not end up wandering aimlessly through the night. Also, if you are going to pick a prime lens, pick a focal length that suits you. Although, I must say I did grow fonder of the 35mm focal length after this month.
     
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  8. tonyturley

    tonyturley SC Top Veteran

    624
    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    OK, having read both SiJ threads pertaining to JAN 2017, I'm assuming SiJ means one commits to using only one camera/lens combo, every day, for the entire month, and posting those images at whatever interval the group has agreed upon?
     
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  9. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Exactly so, Tony. We've been doing Single In January (SiJ) for a few years now, as an antidote to the PCBs (Post Christmas Blues). The "rules" such as they are, have evolved over the years, but it boils down to a) participating in something, not just blobbing b) committing to using one camera/lens/focal length for the month and c) taking a picture a day during the month and subsequently posting it for comment & critique. Some of us have made our lives harder, for example by picking an inappropriately large rig, or shooting the whole month in HiBW (guilty!). People also use it as a way to force them to come to grips with a particular lens or camera.

    Bottom line is that it is supposed to be motivational, inclusive, inspirational fun, not an onerous, tedious chore. I think which side of that line you stand comes down as much to your frame of mind at the outset as to the storms that batter your path through the thirty one dark days of January. The only person you are competing with is yourself, but damn it feels good when you post shot #31...
     
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  10. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Tony, if you are on the fence, I suggest that I am even MORE on the fence. And I've done a few of them. And I always say "never again" after doing one. But I'm doing this one, and I suggest you give it a go. I've been enjoying your photography both here and on the Fuji site. I think you should challenge yourself with whatever gear you're either in love with...or a recent purchase that you need to push through.

    The old adage that I like to keep in mind is "whatever doesn't kill you will only make you stronger". And I'm fairly certain that merely taking a photo every day for a month will NOT kill you.
     
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  11. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    Correct. Just to clarify, however, you are committing to using one camera and lens for the SIJ, not for any other photographic activity you may have during the month.
     
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  12. tonyturley

    tonyturley SC Top Veteran

    624
    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    Hmmmm, interesting. I tend to take a few photos almost every day, anyway. I delete most, but I like to pull my camera out and play with angles, DOF, other esoterica. Might be fun.
     
  13. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Veteran

    489
    Jan 19, 2015
    I can see some supportive individuals here, this is boding well....
     
  14. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    Steve
    Well, at least I took my own advice.
     
  15. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    Steve
    This is actually a great photographic exercise. Folks are pretty lax about the rules, although most are strict about the chosen camera/lens unless something breaks. The key thing is that this is a friendly group of folks engaged in the actual act of photography for a month. There is no need at all to stress over this. It is a chance to be experimental and playful with your chosen hobby within a framework that is supportive and helpful. Despite my occasional "will I have time for this" feelings, this is always enjoyable.
     
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  16. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Mark
    Wow it survives, SURVIVES! ;)

    Can I play?