Project 35

March 2, 2013

It’s been over a year since I did my last photo a day project (Project 50) so it was about time I pushed myself again to do another one. Starting these daily projects off is always a bit nerve racking since it forces me to come up with something creative and original everyday, no matter how I’m feeling, how busy I am, what the weather is like, and how little I want to be sitting infront of a computer at the end of my day!

I think my shooting style has matured in the year since my last project. It’s now much clearer to me how light and composition are absolutely fundamental to the power of a photo, irrespective of its content. From a technical point of view, using the perspective from a 35mm lens is far more versatile than from 50mm, so I can take advantage of the additional width to pull the viewer in to the picture even more. With the f1.4 lens I use, I also have one more stop of aperture to play with.

Project 35 is 35 photos taken on 35 consecutive days with a 35mm lens.



Sydney Opera House original view
Day 1 – A Fresh Perspeciive | It’s been over a year since my last photo a day project so I thought it was about time I had another go. I think my style has matured somewhat since my first two projects, and I’m keen to approach this one from a different angle, hence the title of this first photo. Each day for the next 35 days I’ll be posting a photo here. Please Comment, Like and Share, so I can gauge what’s popular. … and I promise they’ll get much more interesting than this one 😉
Police try and rescue people stuck in lift
Day 2 – Stuck | Only on Day 2, and already a little stuck for ideas and regretting starting this project… then out of the blue this crazy scene at Circular Quay! A dozen or so unfortuante tourists had become trapped inside a lift, with police rescue and their giant hydraulic can opener freeing the sweaty sardines and setting them back into the wild…
Horse eats grass in Centennial Park
Day 3 – Sebastian | One of the things I love about cycling to work is that I’ve discovered a whole new world in Centennial Park. Even though I’ve exercised there many times before , I’d never seen what went on first thing in the morning or after work in the evenings. I reckon I could do a whole 35 day project based just on this amazing place… I got lucky with some amazing golden light on the way home today, and this horse was literally glistening under the rays. This photo was featured on the Centennial Parklands blog.
Centennial Park with Sydney city in background at dusk
Day 4 – Golden Hour | Golden Hour is what photographers call the first and last hour of sunlight of the day. Light is typically softer and warmer, especially so in the hour before sunset. I ride past this view every day on my way home, but today the light was amazing. This photo was also featured on the Centennial Parklands blog.
Light painting by a lake
Day 5 – Five Hundred | Today’s photo was a bit of a nightmare! Originally, I had an idea for a beach photo so scooted down to Bondi in my lunch break, but it didn’t turn out as planned. When I got home and the daylight faded, I started panicking. Whilst there’s still a lot you can shoot at night, I was determined not to be sitting up late, editing in front of my computer. Which is exactly what I’m doing now… Anyway, I was kind of banking on getting to 500 Likes today but it seems I’m still 2 shy! It’s taken just over a year, but still, I’m pretty satisfied. I think the majority of them are from people I don’t know, which is a huge compliment and I’m really grateful. Fingers crossed when I wake up tomorrow morning, I’ll have actually made it to 500… which will make my scrabbling around in the dark, swinging a light around my head totally worth it! I’m a bit bored of light painting photos, but I think the composition on this one lifts it a bit. Let me know what you think. Here’s to the next 500 🙂
Cyclists race around Centennial Park at dawn
Day 6 – Peloton | For some reason I woke up at 4.30am this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, so headed down to Centennial Park whilst it was still pitch dark. As soon as I got to the outer oval, I was greeted by a flying Christmas tree and a roar of carbon wheels. I’ve never seen anything like it – a pack of 30 or so riders, cycling at break-neck speed in complete darkness, lit only by flashing LED lights. Apart from wearing way too much lycra, cycling in a peloton looked awesome fun, but I doubt I’d be able to keep that pace for more than a hundred metres or so! I’m guessing these nutters start cycling at 5am and do about 50km at competition pace before their desk jobs. Impressive. This photo was taken at about 6.30am when the sun had just started to rise. It probably looks kind of fake with the blurring, but there’s no Photoshop – just flash and a dragged shutter to try and show the speed of the cyclists.
Luxurious beachfront house in Palm Beach at night
Day 7 – Swell | This is the house that we’ve hired in Palm Beach for Adrian’s 30th. Gonna keep this one short and sweet as have to get back to the party!!
Stunning photos of sun rising over rocks in sea
Day 8 – First Light | On four hours sleep and a hangover I’m pretty chuffed with this sunrise shot. I used an ND filter for this shot which cuts out the amount of light hitting the sensor, allowing you to slow the shutter down even in daylight. Now it’s time to get back to the party! Have a good weekend every one 🙂
Girl asleep on sofa by stairs
Day 9 – Worn out | Wow, that was a big weekend. I need a weekend to recover! I’m also pretty worn out from this project too, but will try to keep pushing myself to create images I’m satisfied with. Hopefully this week will be a little easier…
Black swan in lake at Centennial Park
Day 10 – Black Swan | I lured this little fella towards me with some peanuts and lay in wait in the reeds. One of the short comings of the 35mm lens (and anything wider) is the closeness you need to be to the subject to give them any kind of presence. When the subject is small, this is even more of a challenge. However, you can still use the extra width to create a frame, to draw the viewer’s eye in. I think this shot works too because the swan is backlit, giving it a halo and separating it from the background.
Sydney skyline at sunset
Day 11 – Dusk | I had to scoot over to the north shore after work to get this shot at a place called Bradley’s Head. Where that guy is sitting on the end of the pier there has got to be one of the best spots to watch the sun set in Sydney.
Kowa 66 camera
Day 12 – Beauty | This is a photo of the view finder of a circa 1976 ‘Kowa 66’ medium format camera which I was lucky enough to get my hands on in Osaka last year. Everything is manual with no light meter to set exposure, and you look down from above into the view finder to see a ‘live’ image of what’s in front of you. Needless to say I doubt I’ll be shooting much with this thing! The title of this photo will make more sense tomorrow…
Nikon D4 sitting in grave yard
Day 13 – The Beast | This is the D4, Nikon’s flagship camera and arguably the best dslr in the world. The photos it takes aren’t noticeably better than cheaper cameras, but where this camera stands out is its speed – it can shoot 11 frames per second. For comparison, an Uzi can fire 10 rounds per second, so this beast is pretty much a machine gun! Due to its speed, it’s the most popular choice for sports photographers. You remember in the Olympics when Usain Bolt grabbed a camera off one of the photogs after his 200m win? That was a D4. (Apparently he engraved his name into it with a screwdriver before returning it to its owner, who sold it on eBay for $7k…) Anyway, I’m using this camera tomorrow to shoot a wedding. Admittedly, it’s complete overkill for such use, but at least I won’t miss any of the action.
Bride and groom hugging in tunnel at Cockatoo Island
Day 14 – Newly Wed | I shot a wedding today at Banjo Paterson Cottage in Gladesville. After the reception, I went with the bridal party to Cockatoo Island for a quick photoshoot. I’m so fortunate to be able to shoot at interesting locations such as this. Today was pretty full on – I think I’m more exhausted after shooting a wedding than running a half marathon! I certainly sweat about the same amount today… I haven’t had a chance to go through all the photos from today yet, but I’ve chosen this one for now. Many more coming soon Congratulations to D & D!
Girl on phone under Autumn trees
Day 15 – Autumn | It’s interesting how with photography you can make a place look totally different, just by shooting from a different angle. This was taken by the side of the road, with me lying down shooting upwards into a couple of small trees. Elissa was probably wondering what the hell I was doing rolling around in the dirt while she was on the phone to her friend…
Sydney skyline at night
Day 16 – City Glow | There’s no story behind this one – I just left it until the last minute to decide what my photo of the day would be and opted for a simple one. Luckily some passing clouds added to an otherwise unimpressive shot. I’m running out of steam and I’ve still got 19 days left!!
Swans in lake at dusk
Day 17 – Home Time | A quick pic from ‘Model Yacht Pond’ on my way home today. Something calming about the reflection…
Sprinting up steep hill at Atunga Street
Day 18 – Sprint | Every week during lunch break we jog down to this steep b*stard of a hill near the office and sprint up it until our hearts are beating out of our chests. Today we found out that it’s actually the steepest hill in Sydney, and only a fraction less angled than the steepest residential street in the world! That made us all feel very special for a minute…until we remembered how rubbish we all are at it!
Symmetrical photo on football field
Day 19 – Balance | One thing I love in a picture is balance. There doesn’t have to be perfect symmetry, but just some kind of balanced composition that makes a picture comfortable to look at. I think the reason why I like Wes Anderson movies is his use of balance and composition. Every one of his frames (especially in Moonrise Kingdom) could create an amazing photo. I don’t expect many people to like this picture I took on the way to work this morning, but the way that the truck was parked perfectly in between the rugby posts stopped me in my tracks. I had to wait a few seconds for the line painter to be in the right position, but I’m quite happy with the outcome. Viewed small it’s probably pretty uninteresting, but if it held your attention for more than a few seconds, I guess I’ve succeeded 🙂
Tamara surreal beach photo
Day 20 – Tama | Minimal, dream-like photo today, taken during my lunch break at the beach. That’s Javert over there on the right. I think his vague outline helps the photo, perhaps by giving it a sense of scale. For those outside Australia, Tamarama is a narrow beach in between Bondi and Bronte, where we tend to while away the summer days. I think this one could be nice printed big on a wall – what do you reckon?
Ibis walking through trees in Centennial Park
Day 21 – 森の中 | 森の中 (Mori no naka) means ‘in the woods’ in Japanese. The first character means woods, and is made up of 3 smaller characters that look like trees (木). The last character is ‘in’, also logically represented by a line through a box (中). If only the 40,000+ other characters were this simple to remember! The Japanese lesson was to distract you from the photo, as I’m really not satisfied with it! I only had a few minutes on the way home and am too tired to go out and shoot anything else. These trees are amazing though – I just wish I had more time to do them justice. Oh well, moore interesting stuff coming over the weekend…
Double exposure photo of girl and sea
Day 22 – Double | With film cameras, there’s a technique called a Double Exposure where you can take a photo, then wind the film back again and take another photo over the top of the same exposure, creating a layered effect. As you’re exposing the same slide of film twice, you have to underexpose each photo to create a correct exposure. With most dslrs, you can do this in camera, although it’s still a bit tricky to get the right ‘mix’. Am quite happy with how this turned out though, as well as the fact that we got a good few hours of sun down by the sea today 🙂
Shadow of Japanese girl wearing Happi coat
Day 23 – Happi | This photo is part of a set that I took today for an exhibition to be held in Tokyo later this year, at the art gallery at the foot of Tokyo Tower. The model is holding a ‘Higasa’ (sun umbrella) and wearing a ‘Happi’ – a traditional Japanese coat usually worn to festivals. For those who haven’t read it already, here’s a story of how my mum got the Beatles to wear a JAL Happi when she was an air stewardess in the 60s: (
Berkelouw book store bookshelf
Day 24 – Bookworm | This evening I shot the 2013 Indie Book Awards in a book store in Paddington (thanks Tommy!) Here’s a photo from their second hand book floor. I added some grain (noise) to give it the feel of an old school library – the place where you’d get shh’d a few times, then inevitably kicked out. Or was that just me?
Bulldog rests face on ground
Day 25 – Waiting | Tonight I went to watch Elissa play netball. Doggy dog here was also watching the game, although she doesn’t look too impressed… I left the owner a note, so hopefully she’ll get in touch!
layered photo with dog walker, cyclist and reader
Day 26 – Layers | As well as balance, angles and lighting… layering is another element that can bring interest to a photo, making it more 3 dimensional. I think this is my favourite photo of the project so far. Whilst there was admittedly a lot of luck involved with the timing, I composed the shot deliberately, sitting in wait with the girl on the bench ready in focus.
Wing of airplane on runway
Day 27 – Angles | This was a quick snap as I walked up the steps to our plane to the Gold Coast. Not the best example of using angles in a photo but it does keep your eye entertained for a bit I guess. More interesting stuff coming up this weekend as I’m off to a small fishing village named Yamba…
Windy Yamba beach scene
Day 28 – Yamba | From what I’ve seen of this small town so far, the scenery on the coast is pretty spectacular. It’s a mixture of barren woodland, huge rocks, gritty beaches, knee high grass and rough seas. The weather’s not been great so far but the conditions were good for a photo. Maybe you can imagine the winds howling around me when I took this one…
Mangrove swamp
Day 29 – Mangrove | This mirror-like swampy mangrove was like something out of a David Attenborough documentary…
Dramatic portrait of champion triathlon cyclist
Day 30 – Champion | This is Elissa’s dad Jeff. Last year he turned 50, and won the ITU Triathlon World Championships for his age division (50-54), held in New Zealand. Incidentally, his time was also quicker than the 45-49 division, meaning he would have whooped their younger asses too! Jeff’s so chilled out – he’s not on any special diet, doesn’t do any fad training programs, drinks beers with the rest of us… but is still a world champion. That’s pretty cool 🙂
Tweed valley and Mount Warning at sunset
Day 31 – Tweed | Here, I was standing in a sugar cane field in the Tweed Valley at sun set in Elissa’s home town of Murwillumbah. The mountain on the left which looks like the profile of a man’s face is Mount Warning, which we climbed at the start of the year. I’m getting a bit bored of shooting landscapes. I think I need to get my thinking cap on for these last few days…
Backlit horse and rider at sunset in Centennial Park
Day 32 – Rodeo | Last week I was asked by Centennial Parklands if some of my photos I’ve taken during this project could be used for their publicity. I’ll also be shooting some other photos for them in the future. I’m really happy about this as I love the Park and am keen to show it in all its glory. I’ve had some good exposure during this project and I’m very grateful for those who’ve Liked, Shared and Commented. Only 3 days left…
Light streaks
Day 33 – (Unplanned) Disco | I suppose if I wanted to sound like a real ‘artiste’, I’d say I planned how this shot has come out, and all the lighting mayhem was actually a carefully controlled experiment. In reality though, I was trying to go for a reflected photo in the lift of 3 Elissas (Day 33), but only had 5 seconds to do it before the door shut, and screwed up the shutter speed and white balance which was set from a previous photo! This was the result… and I like it! Straight out of camera – I couldn’t have done better if I’d tried!
Long exposure shot of Bondi sea at nightfall
Day 34 – Bondi | ‘Weather proof’ isn’t a claim I felt confident testing tonight with my camera in the pouring rain… but Nikon done good I got drenched taking this shot but I hope it was worth it?!
Flashes surround man
Day 35 – Curtain Call | I won’t lie – this project hasn’t been fun all the time. Coming up with a concept and executing it everyday is tiring, especially with all my other work going on… Hitting the upload button on this final photo brought on a huge wave of relief! I’m really happy with a few of the photos, but I have mixed feelings about the others. These photo-a-day projects are hard like that – sometimes time gets the better of you and you have to make do with something with which you’re not completely satisfied. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the ride! Who knows, if I pluck up the courage again I may even be back with another Project 35… 😉