Well, as you know I've been working on the Free Online Photography Course for sometime, and I've learned a lot. In fact, I've been looking at the assignments my sister has been taking at college (studying for a degree in photography), and her photos are covering pretty much the exact same concepts, except that she is also studying image manipulation (photoshop), and I haven't really gotten into that much. I pretty much have limited my manipulation to cropping, and occasionally minor exposure adjustment or picture straightening.
So that Free Online Course is teaching me a lot, and I plan to continue taking it. However, some of the assignments will have to wait for gear (for example, the ones that require use of studio lighting), and even the assignments I can do with what I have are meager material for this blog. I'd like to challenge myself to take photos more often.
To that end, I am beginning more projects.
I have borrowed Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" from the library. I have already read the entire book, and it has helped me enormously with my understanding of using Manual Mode on my camera. Throughout the book there are six suggested projects. I want to complete all six projects.
Also from my library I have borrowed Bryon Peterson's "Learning to See Creatively", and Lee Frost's "50 Photo Projects". I would like to complete all of the projects in Bryan Peterson's book, and would like to pick and choose through Lee Frost's.
In addition to the books from my library, I have ordered "150 Projects to Strengthen Your Photography Skills" by John Easterby. I heard about that book from a fellow blogger, Mary Fran. I plan to go through that book too, and do all of the projects eventually.
Now all of this should provide me with plenty of material! However, in case that is not enough.... I am going to start a "Photographic Alphabet" project. This will sometimes be combined with other projects. A Photographic Alphabet project is a pretty simple idea I got from the Digital Photography School blog. The idea is to focus on one letter of the Alphabet, and go take a picture that goes with that letter. It could be an object that starts with that letter, or something that has the shape of that letter, or a picture that focuses on a concept that starts with that letter (for example, for letter "g" it might be a photo of a goat, or it might be something that makes one think of the concept of "greatness", or it might be that funny looking pretzel that is shaped just like a capital "G".
Now as I said, sometimes these photo projects might be combined, one image taking care of both of them, and sometimes I will focus on one project only. The point is to keep stretching myself, challenging myself, and not let my lack of gear get in the way. There may be a project or two in the books that I can't do with the gear I have, if so I will just skip them for now and come back to them later, but I will still be able to post an alphabet picture. I will tag the posts as either "Photographic Alphabet" or "Photography Book Project", and will always tell where the idea for the project shot came from.
Here is another example of why I so want a telephoto lens. Look at this picture, taken with my Kodak Z710 at 10x zoom, keep in mind that this camera, while it has 10x optical zoom, it only has 7 mega-pixels, and does not take very sharp images at its maximum zoom, also keep in mind that I also cropped the image to show it this close, and now imagine them taken with my DSLR and a medium-price range telephoto lens: