The Genesis Connection

A Newsletter for Through the Lens Photography Club

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

February 2014 Edition

This Month's Meeting: February 11th at 7:00 PM Gateway Church of the Nazarene

I don't know about you, but I'm finding this winter a little bit daunting. I cannot remember such long stretches of cold and wind like we have seen this winter. Personally, I'm about SICK of it! The long, cold winter is also zapping my motivation. I'm finding it really hard to get excited about much of anything, and the delay in getting this newsletter written is proof of that. Of course it doesn't help that I've been down physically after having surgery in January. But...the days are getting longer, spring is actually getting closer, and my strength is gradually returning. I look forward to meeting with you at our February meeting. It seems ages since we've met together.

Lens Lessons: Photography Tips & Tricks

How to Motivate Yourself When You're in Photography Slump

Give Yourself Assignments And Get Out There!

Are you in a photographic rut? Shooting the same subject over and over? Seeing the same people, the same streets, the same scenery day in and day out? How about an exotic, inspiring, stimulating vacation to perk up your pixels! Not an option right now? Well, you can still change the way you see your familiar surroundings and get excited about your regular photo walks by giving yourself a photo assignment!

A photo assignment is a self-driven project that can require one hour or several months – it’s your assignment, so it’s up to you! It’s a way to get out with your camera and improve your skills by challenging yourself. Most importantly, it’s a way to keep your passion for the craft fresh and alive!

Several photo assignment ideas come to mind.

The first is to simply pick a different theme for each photo walk. This is a great idea if you get bored easily or need help staying focused, even for a short time. You might shoot only textures or patterns one day, people with their dogs another day or situations that bring a smile to your face! The list is endless! Your photo walks will soon become a treasure hunt, whether you are alone or with a photo friend.

Then there is the 365 day project – a big commitment which can be a lot of pressure. A good way to ease into that would be a 52-week project. These always seem like “a good idea at the time,” but both options are a year-long commitment. Be sure you want to take that on and that you don’t set yourself up for failure. Remember – these assignments are supposed to be fun!

If you’ve done the themed photo walks and maybe a year-long project, then consider a challenge on a different level – a photo-journalistic assignment. This can be a one-day event project or a story told over time. An example subject would be a street musician you’ve seen many times on the same bridge. Start a conversation. Watch folks passing by. Create a photo essay by including environmental portraits as well as detail shots. You can make a simple project more in depth by following an important or touching story for a few days. Again, the options are limitless. Maybe it’s the story of a lost dog you meet at the animal shelter who finally finds a new home. Or a landmark that is being torn down to make space for new developments and the impact that has on the local community. Or tell a simple but fun story with a series of images from your local farmer’s market. Arrive early, document the merchants setting up their stalls for the day, their interaction with the customers and closing up. You will catch an interesting variety of lighting throughout the day plus wide shots of the trucks coming and going and activity in the stalls. There will be much to shoot – details of the produce, hands exchanging money, children’s smiles and so on. You can just picture it in your head already, am I right?

The goal of the photo assignment exercise is to see your familiar environment with new eyes, and to fall in love with being a story teller with your camera all over again. Oh, and to have fun, too!

Other ideas...

Pick a color and only shoot things in that color during your photo walk!

Collections of identical items are fun to look for and photograph.

Add a tactile dimension to your photography and try shooting some textures, experiment with depth of field and improve your skills in the process.

Another day, another theme... Why not look for clocks?

Sometimes the theme of your photo walk will just present itself to you!

A Post By: Valerie Jardin

Ideas to Inspire You


365 Project

Two years ago I embarked on a year-long journey that changed my photography life forever. I joined the 365 Project, an on-line community of photographers from around the world. For 365 days, I took a photo-a-day and posted it to this photo-journal website. It was a challenge, but talk about a learning experience! In looking at my photos from the first of the year and comparing them to my photos at the end of the year, I saw TREMENDOUS growth. I connected with several amazing photographers from around the world, learned from them, learned from their critiquing, and learned a little about myself in the process.

After a year off, I've decided to give it a go once again. I challenge you to join me (and Shari) in this endeavor. I promise you will not be disappointed. Your life as a photographer will never be the same again. It is a journey worth taking, and worth taking with your friends.

The Go-To-Source

Photographers who desire to improve their photography skills spend time studying the works of other photographers and "listening" to what they have to say. In an attempt to help you broaden your knowledge base, each month I will introduce you to some fantastic photography sites. I will post the links to these sites here. If you find a site you especially enjoy, be sure to bookmark it for future reference.

This month's Go-to-Source, Valerie Jardin, is also the author of the Photography Tips & Tricks article (above). I first found Valerie through Digital Photography School's Facebook page (if you haven't "Liked" their page, you are missing out!). She has contributed several articles to Digital Photography School so I thought her blog was worth checking out. Not only does she offer great advice on photography, but her photography is quite inspirational. You can visit her website or read her blog and find inspiration on every page.


Next Month's Meeting

Tuesday, March 11th, 7-9pm

Gateway Church of the Nazarene, Oskaloosa, IA

Contact Info

Through the Lens Photography Club is a Christian-based photography club open to anyone aged 16 and over, living in the Oskaloosa and surrounding areas, with a passion for the art of photography. The aim of this ministry is to unite, in Christian fellowship, those who share an interest in capturing the beauty of God's creation through the art of photography, and to provide educational opportunities to promote and encourage the advancement of its members in the knowledge and practice of photography.

Remember to Bring Your Camera to Each Meeting!