Chase the Light

Wind blows softly, wind blowing through flowers, Cedar Park, Texas
Long shadow in the grass, Cedar Park, Texas
Swing set in the park, Cedar Park, Texas
Yellow water like slide, in the playground in Cedar Park, Texas
Funky image of a music box on a playground, Cedar Park, Texas
So, this weekend is the big “Chase the Light,” benefit for Photographic Center Northwest. It’s kind of like a telethon for photography of sorts, where they have the participating photographers produce the images over a certain time period and then they quickly throw together a pop up show from the results to raise money for photography education. In the past, we had to shoot images ever hour over the course of 24 hours. This year, they are doing it slightly differently. For starters, it’s going to be a virtual show, which is nice because it opens it up to more people viewing the work. Then, they are asking us to shoot the images any time over the course of the weekend (today and tomorrow.) As in the past, they will have us submit five images and then the curator (or jury panel) will select one to be included in the show. This year, they promise some sort of entertainment with the show as well.
I thought it might be a good idea to post what I shot, what I submitted, and then share the image they select. They typically select one image from each participating photographer. You can see my submission here. It will be interesting to see what they pick, as I tried to give them a bit of variety, rather than an entire series, where the shots are all variations on a theme. (I’ve done series in the past but, since this is a fundraiser, I thought I would instead try to give them options, rather than chain them to a specific theme or subject for my work. We’ll see how this strategy plays out for the fundraiser.)
An interesting exercise would be to ask yourself, if confronted with these images, which one would you pick? Remember, you only get one and you have to pick one. I know which I would pick and I suspect I know which they will pick (and, yes, they are different.) It’s an interesting exercise to say the least. I hope by sharing my submission it might help some photographers out there who are maybe a bit shy or unsure of how and when to submit work. You can get a bit of a peek behind the “exhibition curtain” as it were, even if this process is a bit rigged in this case. (I know I’m getting into the show, it’s just a question of which one they pick at this point.)
The general notes about my images are as follows:
  • For starters, all of my images were taken during a late afternoon walk along my local greenbelt. For those of you who don’t know, my local neighborhood has a little playground/gazebo area and a jogging trail that sort of snakes around this greenbelt area, with soccer fields, a few park benches, and the like. I opted to walk there because my usual haunt, the Koi breeder place, is still sort a bit closed for the COVID-19 safety measures. I say, “a bit” closed as they are asking everybody to social distance and limiting the number of patrons in the garden center at once and I did not want to take up a slot from somebody who honestly might need fish food, so instead I opted to walk along my local greenbelt and explore the playground near my home.
  • The images were all taken with my Canon 5DS camera. I did shoot some iPhone but opted to not submit this work(and, yes, if you’re wondering, the kids were out with chalk again. Pictures of that to follow at some point, I promise. For now, we have Chase the Light images.) For these images, I used a combination of my walkabout lens (24-105 mm zoom) and my 100mm macro lens. I usually use the 100mm macro at the Koi place so I opted to walk with it today. Had it in the bag and all.
  • It was sunny and warm today, plus we only have two days to make these images, so I tried to go out as late in the day as possible. At the start of my walk, the sun was still a bit high but I wanted to give myself time outdoors, so I went a little bit earlier than I probably should have. A bit hot and the light a bit bright but I enjoyed the time outdoors nevertheless. I did get to shoot into dusk time so there’s that.
Specifics are:
  1. “Wind Blew Softly,” this image was taken almost right in front of my house. My neighbors have a big flower bush and I got down in it while the wind was blowing. Some intentional camera movement (ICM) coupled with adjusting the contrast to heighten the dark appearance. This might be a bit too dark for them (they are printing as well) but I included it as floral imagery usually does well for fundraisers.
  2. “My Shadow Grew Long,” this image was inspired by the theme, “Chase the Light,” as it’s what I thought a typical “Chase the Light,” image might look like (of sorts.) It’s a typical summer time image anyway. In my case, as I went out near the end of the day, the shadows were long and I thought it might be fun to play with these to fit the theme.
  3. “Swing Set,” this is a more “normal” image, at least for me. Some of my regulars might even think this a bit boring coming from me. I wanted to give them something that might fit in well with the work of others, so I opted to submit this.
  4. “Water Slide,” I was having fun using the zoom and ICM in the Playground, this is one of the results. I liked how the image looks like there is water coming from a hose in it when actually it’s just the ICM at work here. Kind of a funky, crazy image.
  5. “Music Box Playground,” this is probably closer to the funky/unexpected images you might expect from me (excuse the dichotomy there, if you will.) This was shot on the zoom and then processed a bit to punch up the colors. The slide in the playground has this sort of panel that looks almost like a radio with knobs and music notes. I was drawn to it and played around with it a bit, as it had quite a visual punch for me (I rather liked it.) Given these five images, this is probably the one I would pick if I had my choice, as, while not technically perfect, it’s a bit funky and it’s colorful, fun, and unexpected (and I like those things.)
I’ll post more details with a link to the exhibition once it’s available. I think that will be on Monday.
Until next time…

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