Wednesday, May 16, 2012

30 Days of Photographs II: Our Favorites

I know you thought this would be over by now, but this is the last post in the 30 Days of Photographs II challenge, I promise. Michael and I said we would choose our favorite photos, and that we have done. Since we seem to be joined at the hip lately, we also made this a shared exercise and spent hours looking at all the photos, discussing our favorites and (dis)agreeing on what to post.

In the interest of keeping it short, we’re doing half and half, so if you can’t find yourself in this post, chances are you either didn’t participate, or Mike’s doing you at his blog. Yes, it’s exactly as dirty as it sounds.

First up, is Mike. The other Mike. CheesyMike of Nicky and Mike at We Work For Cheese. While Nicky and Mike are always mentioned together, Mike certainly held his own in this challenge and provided us with some truly stunning photos to enjoy. His photo for Lines in all its artsy black-and-whiteness was good enough to hang on MikeWJ's wall, and I wouldn’t mind a copy of it myself. And who could forget the lovely branches he shot for Wood? What we went for in the end, though, was the photo Mike posted for Wheels. We simply love this shot, everything from the angle to the lights to the perfect composition and the very pretty wheels. Mike told me he’s been thinking about maybe investing in an SLR camera, and we say go for it! The sooner, the better, because with an eye like this, it would be criminal not to keep taking photos.

Mike - Wheels

Next, we have Mo, the polite Englishman who singlehandedly made everyone’s month when he provided us with 30 days worth of beaver jokes. Mo seemed to be pretty low on ideas for most of the themes, but somehow, a little beaver would conveniently appear to provide him with photo opportunities and made sure Mo had a beaver-filled month. Despite being full of furry beaver, Mo’s photos were incredible; only a very skilled photographer could have made 30 days of beaver look so good. Even his outtakes were amazing! (We especially liked the drowning beaver…) Among the photos he posted during the month, our favourites (don’t mind the spelling, he’s English) were Something I Hate and Ordinary Matters, they were both wonderful displays of focus and framing. The one we picked to display here, though, was his stunning Portrait. The fact that she is holding the damn beaver in her hand just makes her that much more precious.

Mo - Portrait

John, the dufus with no name and a very fruity face if we believe his Portrait was indeed a self-portrait, gave us beautiful photos from Panama, a few history lessons and this great photo of a boat, sitting in the water, all alone, waiting for summer. John took all his photos using his iPhone, something that’s hard to believe when you look at his wonderful photo of the moon. But even though there were many great photos to choose from, Michael and I both agreed to post one of the outtakes. This fantastic self-portrait wasn’t one of the thirty original photos, but it was too good not to display here.

John - Postscript Portrait

For Mariann, this entire challenge was one big experiment on the effects of Ambien on your photographic skills. I’d call it a great success, because Mariann published by far some of the most interesting photos and posts of the bunch. A personal favorite of mine was Outlier, in which Mariann used “Ziva” to score about a million points in Scrabble. Also, check out her outtakes for a wonderful photo of the moon, and the scariest dolls you will ever see. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But when it comes to the photo we chose to publish here, Michael and I were definitely in agreement, we went with her photo for Time, where Mariann photoshopped two halves of her face into one photo. She was 26 years old in one photo, and 51 in the other. 25 years worth of life experience, in one photo. We applaud you. Mariann, and find you stunning, both 25 years ago, and now.

Mariann - Time

LaughingMom’s 30 days were full of frogs and turtle orgies, some great photos and some very memorable and touching posts. Her photo for From an Ant’s Perspective was a gorgeous study of focus and depth of field, and her post for Future was a wonderful tribute to her daughter. In Fish Tales, LM told us about her father, and posted a stunning photo of his hands, but the one Michael and I chose as our favorite, was the last one, The Devil; beautiful photo and a very touching post about the pain of special needs children.

LaughingMom - The Devil

Tanya posted consistently good photos, and has apparently made photography memes into an extreme sport, since she is right now doing another month worth of one-photo-a-day. Poor woman probably has a death wish. A couple of our favorite photos by Tanya were her cat in a mirror, and the stunningly weird clock she posted for Time. I’m pretty sure Michael wants one of those. The photo we chose to display here, however, was her shot for Stranger. Yes, we have a thing for self-portraits.

Tanya - Stranger

Next up is Cheryl, the not-so-amateur-and-more-professional photographer with an unholy love of birds who peck your eyes out. Not surprisingly, Cheryl posted lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of photos of birds, risking us all getting our eyes pecked out. Because that’s what they do. They peck your eyes out. Cheryl also made the wonderful badge I’m proudly displaying in the right-hand column to show that I survived the insanity of 30 Days of Photographs II. In all honesty, though, Cheryl posted too many amazing photos to list here, just go to her blog and look at them all. It’ll be worth it. Beware of the birds, though. The photo Michael and I chose to display here, is the beautiful Devil.

Cheryl - The Devil

Katherine was a late joiner, but we were very happy she decided to join, because if she hadn’t, we wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy this amazing shot of her son son, flying over a hurdle. However, at one point when we all came over, expecting a nice photo, we actually interrupted a very private moment between Katherine and a fish. We all agreed never to talk about that again. The photo Michael and I chose to display here today, was one that we felt was a little overlooked. When Katherine joined, she posted the photos for the first few days all in one big post, and her photo for Silence was simply amazing.

Katherine - Silence

And last, but most definitely not least, we have Michael, my partner in crime and a gifted writer and truly amazing photographer. I must be really into making a fool out of myself since I keep going into competition against him, but it’s worth it to get to see his photos. Michael has an amazingly impressively, absolutely enormous cactus, writes incredibly funny tags for all this posts, has a knack for making Ordinary Matters seem truly extraordinary and clearly only takes photos when the skies are impossibly blue. Michael posted some truly stunning photos in this competition; he started with a bang for Silence, a fantastically well-composed shot of a headstone at a cemetery. His shot for Power had everyone oohhing and ahhing, and his outtakes were better than most of my posted photos. I thought a lot about what photo of Mike’s to post here. I wanted to post them all, but decided to stick to just a few. I considered showing off Mike’s impressive Wood, but instead went with his beautiful photo of the Moon.

MichaelWJ - Moon

This next photo is his photo for Stranger. He told me he spent ages standing at that spot, taking dozens or hundreds of photos of people walking by, (can we say stalker?) and only a few people ever noticed him taking their photo. This girl definitely noticed, and Mike managed to capture the perfect moment and the perfect look on her face.

MichaelWJ - A Stranger

The last of Mike’s photos that I’m posting is Fire. Ever since I first saw this photo, I can’t stop looking at it. There’s just something about the dramatic smoke, the cars driving away from the fire, and this lone photographer, heading the other way, into danger. It is a fantastic shot and should be published for all the world to see.

MichaelWJ - Fire


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

30 Days of Photographs II: The Outtakes

This challenge is like the killer in a horror movie, just when you thought it was finally over, it comes back to life to haunt you some more. I took hundreds, even thousands of photos since March, but you only got to see thirty of them. I know you must be devastated about that, so today I'm going to be posting some the photos that didn't make the cut the first time around.

The first three photos are all photos I considered for Day 1, Silence, at one point or the other. The car all alone on that hill, the graveyard with the fresh coat of snow, and the table at the restaurant, waiting for its first customers of the night. They all convey a different kind of silence, but in the end, I of course went with a little toy lamb. Why? I have no freaking idea .

For "From An Ant's Perspective" I went with a shot of an orchid, but at the time I was choosing between two shots. This one, the reject, I wanted to post today just because those freaky petals kind of look like an ant's antennae.

This glass of water was an option for "Mirror," I liked how the light was reflected through the water and the glass, but at the time opted to go for a more literal interpretation of the theme.

For "Something I Hate" I went with snow. Takatalvi, to be more specific. The next photo is also a take on snow. It's a photo of the speedometer in our car. We're doing just about 80 km/h on dry, bare roads when we could be doing 100 km/h. Why? Because of the winter. Most of the snow was gone at that point, but we still hadn't gone back to summer time speed limits, and the drive to M's parents' place seemed longer than ever before.

The next photo was taked at Kakola prison in Turku. Had I not gone with the man on the bus stop for "Waiting," I'd have gone with this photo, because I am fairly sure waiting is what most of the men inside those walls are doing. Every day, all day long.

The next two photos were taked for "Wood" and "Time" respectively. The wooden chair lives with my sister, and the old telephone lives at the mom and dad's.

The next photo was taken at a gig where my brother's band was playing. This is not my brother, this is their guitar player. I considered this photo for "Fire," because it sort of looks like he's on fire, doesn't it?

The next two photos are from my "White" collection. Lovely, beautiful snow...

The next photo is a portrait of my very good friend, Dani. I have many photos of Dani with perfect lighting, perfect composition and picture-perfect smiles. But I like this one the most, even with the shadows and the slight blurriness, because the look on her face is just wonderful.

This photo I considered for crowd, I know it's just a pair of legs, but I promise, there were plenty more people there.

I took many photos of my sister, this is another one I considered for "Nude," but in the end went with the one where you could see her face because it was just more intimate. Plus, she's beautiful.

And last, in this long, long list of outtakes, is my cat. Because no meme is complete without a photo of a cat.

These other brave souls also participated in the 30 Days of Photographs II challenge: MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Mariann, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen and Katherine. *