Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
~ Benjamin Franklin
I REALLY needed to get my shizzle together – in lots of ways and I admit it, I was struggling in making time to do it. So, on Easter Monday I drove to the airport and I got on a plane. I was determined that the next 5 nights away from home and office were going to be time for Lee…
Most of all I wanted to start work on some personal projects and I wanted to have some concentrated time to sort the chaff from the wheat – I wanted to find out what were just ideas and what was pure ambition and hunger, what did I really want and if I wanted them so badly the time had come for no more excuses or ditch them entirely and stop wasting my energy thinking about it.
I spent the next 5 days walking around the beautiful and historic City of Prague – the research had been done and I knew what I wanted to see, where I wanted to go and more importantly I knew WHAT I was going to do…
I was going to learn my Camera – Inside out and back to front, I was going to come back and have a greater understanding of my Olympus E-PL7 PEN and I was also going to have the foundations of a personal photographic project that would carry me through 2016 and beyond.
All I knew was:
On Easter Friday, after a long, long hard think, of wondering, thinking (probably over-thinking) worrying and stressing – I asked Chris Doyle of Hub Projects to create me my own website – so I could have a place to do all of the above. The reason I’d been fretting was because previously I’d done it all through Welshot but I maybe I’m having a bit of a mid-life crisis and an identity issue – for a while now I’ve just wanted to be Me Lee, and not just Welshot Lee… Does that even make sense? I hope so. I probably explain it better here in Finding Lee.
Day Two in Prague – I admit, I was a bit lost and not just because I was wandering up and down the back streets of the Old Town, I didn’t have a set idea for a photographic project and I was feeling a bit weird not having anyone to organise and look after. Some would argue that did I actually need a project, couldn’t I learn or just do stuff without having an outcome or result other than being relaxed, rested and a little more knowledgeable in my cameras functions and setting.
But, as I am coming to realise, that is not me, not my style and I am perfectly happy the way I am and if I need to have an outcome then so be it.
Over numerous cups of strong black coffee (resisting the cakes – because the other shizzle I was ditching was the to-ing and fro-ing with the weight as mentioned here in I need to go on holiday more often) I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need a specific project for Prague but as I have rather a lot of travel planned for 2016 and into 2017 already I could make and create a type of Travel Journal – not only an online version (this Website Blog) but also put all my mementoes into a lovely new travel notebook (large) and THEN also record that in itself as part of our CPD – now forever called “Lets Learn Something New Sessions” that Eifion and I have twice a month with some very good friends – another adventure of learning where I nearly blinded poor Rob can be read here…
So, armed with my HUGE bag of memorabilia and another bag full of bits and pieces as well as a head full of ideas – all I knew was, I wanted to learn how to do “Flat Lays”
Continuous lights, in this instance because we knew there would be no natural light and Off Camera Flash would not give us the look I wanted, tripods that could hold my camera at the right angle, black card for my background and a huge amount of patience and understanding from Robert Prenton-Jones were all going to form the foundation of this learning adventure.
~ By the way, Eif is working on his own personal CPD (Learning New Stuff) and he is working with Sharon – this ensures he gets a bit of peace from me and he can get the time he needs to develop his own ideas and project too.
I had an idea… What I thought was going to be an evening of creating a simple one image flat lay soon became an evening of thought provoking exercise in making me think about what I wanted, not just from this image but from the whole project.
It soon became apparent and I am sure a surprise to no one – that my flat lay was either going to be HUGE or very over crowded, possibly both, it also demonstrated another area of my personality – I like order, organisation and regimentation, oh, and straight lines, parallel straight lines too when it comes to composition of my flat lays…
More coffee made, Robert said to me again, “I’m not going to make this easy for you Lee, it’s going to teach you more than just your camera, I am going to make you think, about what you want, what the end goal is and how it can have a sense of continuation throughout your project”.
“Making images like this, the time will be spent doing the prep, the setting up and the looking and learning, the actual making of the image, the pressing of the shutter button will only take a minute, Robert continued to say”.
So, the outcome?
I also realised that I didn’t have to do it like everyone else does their “Flat Lays” either – mine doesn’t show my camera, mine uses continuous lights (I like the shadows and the depth it gives) and my post processing is kept to a minimum – transferred to SnapSeed, a little sharpening, an addition of a frame and yes, I did saturate just a little. The idea, for me is to keep it as simple as possible – I am never going to work at a computer to produce an image, it has to be as instant as possible and that is perhaps just WHY I love my Olympus E-PL7 PEN so much, it works for me and my workflow as well as my personality.
My Project? Well, I am recording my adventures, not only in my paper journal but also in my photography. As well as images that I’ve taken in Prague, or will be elsewhere, I will be creating and making “Flat Lays” with the bits and bobs that mean something to me that I have collected on my adventures.
The continuity is in the style, lighting and composition as well as an interesting quirk – I’ve got to do a page for EVERY letter of the place visited. This will either keep my mind clutter free and simple like when I visit Oslo (4 pages and flat lays) in August or I am going to have to come up with lots of inspiration when I visit Barcelona and Lanzarote in December (9 pages and flat lays)…