Well, it’s been an intense week of research, trial and error and little sleep as I tried to figure out the best way to bring the interactivity and fun of a healthy forum community to The Discerning Photographer. Although the tab for ‘Forum’ has been visible on the site for the past few days, it’s only now that I’ve felt comfortable enough with the functionality to go ahead and make it official. So….Tah-Dahhh! Forums are ‘Live’!
I’m starting with five broad topic areas: Photo Assignments, Photo Gear, Photography How To, Photo Gallery—Your Best Shots!, and All Things Video. Once we see how this initial group of ‘seedlings’ takes off (or withers), I’ll make changes, drop, add, subdivide, etc., based upon how the organic growth of the conversations develop. I’ll also probably be looking to recruit a few of your Discerning Photographers to help with forum moderation, once things get going…so don’t be surprised if you get an email about that!
I’m very excited about this newest development on the site, but I want to add that this is just the first of a broader reassessment that I’m undertaking. I want the site to be clean and functional and the overall design to support and facilitate easy access to the material you are looking for. So expect design changes in the months to come as well.
Please note that to participate in the Forums, you must register…so please go ahead and sign up! It’s a very simple process and will make it possible for you to post topics, photos, etc., into our ongoing discussions. You’ll be able to get your photography questions answered, your photos admired (or critiqued, up to you) and you’ll have a genuine photo ‘hangout’ that will be open more or less 24/7.
Finally: our first Photo Assignment! I’ve spent some time puzzling over where to start the assignment process. I haven’t wanted to make it too hard, too easy, but ‘just right’ for our first time out. So this assignment is a good one, regardless of your skill level:
Digital photography, and the fact that making photos, once you’ve bought your camera and flash card, is virtually ‘free,’ has cheapened the picture-making process, both literally and figuratively. What I mean is, you don’t have to worry about what it’s ‘costing’ you to make photos, so you can BLAST AWAY AT ANYTHING THAT MOVES.
What if each press of the shutter button was precious? What if you only got to shoot ONE frame? I am willing to bet, you’d make damned sure that it was worth shooting, was well-composed, etc.
So: Take a camera. Go out and look, observe the light, feel the wind in your face. Slow down and try to really, really observe the world around you. When you’ve found something truly wonderful, SHOOT ONE FRAME. STOP. Shoot no more!
Many years ago, National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg gave himself just such a self-assignment: go outside in the woods around his home, and only shoot one photo per day for 90 days. The result was a stunning article for the magazine (which published all 90 images) and later a beautiful book, Chased by the Light.
Assignment #1 will remain open for roughly two weeks (Oct. 18), at which point I’ll close the Topic post and write a piece on the main site about what go shot, what I liked, what worked, etc. See how this Assignment changes your approach to your shooting.
Detailed instructions for posting your ONE FRAME into Assignment #1 is available over in the Photo Assignments Forum.
Finally and most importantly, please let me know about any functionality issues with the Forums. This is the birthing of a new and complicated piece to the website, and there will be some unavoidable bumps in the road….so help me out and let me know.
Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Or subscribe to our Facebook page or our Twitter feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog