Notes on 30 in 30

Dear Reader (2020-05-04),

Yesterday (May 3) was the last day of 30 in 30.  The results of the 30 photographic experiments in 30 days can be found here (click here).  Today though is all about the process, and some of the problems I encountered. For each of the 30 days I have provided comments.  If you do not want to see behind the curtains then this post is not for you. Otherwise, grab a bottle or two – this will take a while. I have also included the original Facebook image introductions, if I wrote one..

Ocean Tossed (Day 1 April 4)
~ Getting exposure and lighting correct
~ Getting the boat to stay in the right place
~ There were multiple takes on the movie as I tried to get an even sea at the right angle
~ Facebook: … now I have a point of focus – 30 days – 30 experiments. These experiments are intended to be sketches and are therefore not necessarily polished. My hope is that I will end up with a set of ideas that I can go on to explore further if they strike my fancy.
~ Click here for movie

Under The Onions and I See You (Days 2,3 April 5,6)
~ Lighting and getting the aliens to hang correctly
~ I had to repaint part of the lab wall because I did not seal the sheets of paper together and there was more over-spray than I expected
~ Facebook Day 2: … Today’s experiment presented itself at breakfast time. I knew there were potatoes in the fridge but I thought there might also be some in the pantry. This is what I found under the onions.
~ Facebook Day 3: .. Once the blue paint had dried overnight on the alien potatoes, a little silver and gold paint were added. My wife has a jar of googly eyes, so they got added as well for an image or two.

The Old Globe Thistle Pigs (Day 4 April 7)
~ Balancing the lighting so that things were lit to my liking
~ Below is what became a very common lab setup.  The laptop is connected to the camera for tethered capture using Lightroom.  An exposure is either made from the laptop or using a cable release

Discovery – What Happened? (Day 5 April 8)
~ The Toucan was too big and the idea needed to be revisited
~ Initially I thought this might be an hdr and focus stacking experiment.  In the end I brought out the measuring tape to get the depth of field correct, and it was done in a single image.

Shattered (Day 6 April 9)
~ Notice the heavy duty brown paper to create a bit of an enclosure for the broken glass.  The face shield was the point of focus and the tube gave me an outer edge
~ On some experiments I stopped when I knew I had what I wanted.  In this case the image I ended up using was number 45 from the over 100 images captured.
~ Facebook: … First a serious note. If you’re embarking on a potentially hazardous experiment, know the hazard, secure your site, wear correct safety equipment (I used leather safety gloves and a full-face shield), and clean-up properly. From the 2/3 dozen bottles dropped from about a meter above the floor, here is the outcome. Result: Good experiment – questionable photo. Title: “Shattered”.

Stacked Primaries (Day 7 April 10)
~ Once I got the exposure and composition correct there was a lot of layer masking in photoshop and I still wasn’t completely satisfied with the result
~ Tape is great for holding fake flowers in place
~ Facebook: .. Experiment: Use focus stacking; Result: ended up with 9 layers, and 9 masks in Photoshop and a sub-optimal outcome – but hey it’s an experiment Title: “Stacked Primaries”

With Apologies to Man Ray (Day 8 April 11)
~ How much to wear or not
~ Where to sit and how to sit? I ended up sitting on the stool straddling the flash for the background. Behind me there was a soft box.
~ The whole session became sit click check and there were over 60 of those cycles
~ Facebook: … this image is is not for the faint of heart. Title of Today’s Experiment: “With Apologies to Man Ray”. Point of reference using google is “man ray cello woman”.

Dryer Survivors (Day 9 April 12)
~ Relatively straight forward once I had rigged up a line outside between two lighting stands
~ There is a sequence of over a dozen images while I tried to get the wind and frame to coincide
~ There was second image called “Bob’s First Draft” (below) that did not make the final 30

Nearly Packed (Day 10 April 13)
~ The orientation of the cellophane became important, as a horizontal layering didn’t read correctly

Distant Party (Day 11 April 14)
~ Background of hanging dollar store fans.
~ Between the fans and a camera there was a sheet of glass (notice the tape on the glass for focusing).
~ The first and second sheets of glass broke
~ Process: Spray (water from a bottle) -> observe -> click -> check and repeat

Think Pink (Day 12 April 15)
~ It was not until the editing process was underway I realized the best image of the session was in the first 15. There were another 90 images after that. Sometimes you don’t know what you have at the time you have it.

Unknown 01 (Day 13 April 16)
~ Photographing ghosts is not easy
~ Facebook: .. Today was not an easy one photographically or otherwise. Today’s experiment was to capture the idea of ghost. The technique used for the first image was in-camera-double-exposure. I returned to the lab later in the afternoon and saw the second image, “Missing” (below).

Spring Soon (Day 14 April 17)
~ Nothing to say

A Saw Scene (Day 15 April 18)
~ I Began with parts of the saw. The initial images such as the ones below were banal

Temper Kept (Day 16 April 19)
~ Facebook: .. Day 11 took 3 sheets of glass. For the second piece of glass I tried to cut an old patio door outside. The patio door was tempered glass, and the result was a pile of shards mixed with leaves and snow. The ice melted today revealing today’s experiment. Now I can clean-up the mess. By the way, Dr. Google says tempered glass cannot be cut, unless you first heat it to nearly 538 degrees C, and then cool it. Title: “Temper Kept”

Thoughtless? (Day 17 April 20)
~ As you can see below I don’t take direction well.
~ Over the course of more than 80 images, the idea evolved but the title did not.

A Neurosis or Two (Day 18 April 21)
~ Up to now except for a roll of white studio paper, there had been no money spent on this series. Wood had been purchased around Day 15 to build the frame and the sand table.
~ Facebook: You may have questions. Yes, those are old toothbrushes of mine I have kept for a number of years. Yes, I made the wooden frame for this particular purpose. External dimensions of the frame are 48” w x 32”. To my eye this image works best on a larger screen.

The Lost Expedition (Day 19 April 22)
~ Some may ask “is this actually new”. Of all the experiments this was the only one nearly discarded because I wasn’t sure it initially adhered to my rules. But hey my rules my interpretations.

Torched (Day 20 April 23)
~ I knew I was going to melt the crayons from the outset of the experiment.

Salute to Duane Michals (Day 21 April 24)
~ Let’s agree that a self-portrait is different from a selfie.
~ Over 40 years ago, long before the word selfie was even conceived, Michals understood and had articulated its meaning and significance.

Dunes (Day 22 April 25)
~ This experiment was simplified through multiple iterations.

Crossing The Sawtooth Range (Day 23 April 26)
~ Nothing to say

Passing (Day 24 April 27)
~ Interesting voyage as I navigated between of and about. Photos with depth are “about” something and not just “of” something.
~ The afternoon was spent making paper boats using our daughter’s stack of construction paper and then dipping the boats in melted candle wax to make them water proof. Without wax, a boat lasted less than 5 minutes (yes I timed it in the kitchen sink).

Arthur Looses His Hat (Day 25 April 28)
~ The reference to Magritte is intentional.
~ I did not come up with an easy way to make a bowler hat so top hats will have to do. I quite liked the top hats.

Bat Frog Will Save Us (Day 26 April 29)
~ And we continue to take a surrealist wander

Disconnected (Day 27 April 30)
~ I wasn’t sure how long the arm bands would last so I played with paper rings first

Kitsch Kat (Day 28 May 01)
~ Another one of those strangely simple and time consuming experiments where I tried to get the elements to work together. The final image came after a 2 hour break.

Pour (Day 29 May 02)
~ Such a mess.
~ I was initially so pleased with my water dispensing tool. The results though were uninspiring. Then I moved to paint.

Ciao (Day 30 May 03)
~ Where to place the hand and how quickly do I move it?
~ Where to focus?
~ How low do I have to be to be out of the shot?
~ Process: Click -> Position -> Move -> Check
~ Facebook: .. 30 in 30 has now been successfully completed. I had a blast with this series and am pleased with the result. It would appear some of you liked some of them, some of the time (which from my perspective is about as good a reception as it gets). Heartfelt thank yous to you.

Rule Review
~ 1 ~ Each experiment is new (technique or processing or subject matter or approach) to me, and an experiment had to be completed every day. – Rule met
~ 2 ~ No repeats and no revisiting old ideas – Rule met
~ 3 ~ The result of an experiment has a title, is posted on the day the experiment is completed, and is not necessarily polished – Rule met
~ 4 ~ All experiments are to be completed on our property (most were done inside in what I now call the lab) – Rule met
~ 5 ~ Spend money only if absolutely necessary. – I spent less than $250 and that includes a roll of background paper
Closing Notes
~ I was so pleased that one of my readers bought a print (approx 24 x 16) from day 18 (tooth brushes).
~ In the end I may have told you more and less than you want to know (I was once told that nobody likes to be told what to think). My hope is that having first satisfied myself, I have provided, at least some of the time, food for a smile, a thought, or an emotion.

Cheers, Sean

All rights for all material on any media reserved – © Sean P Drysdale 2020

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